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Feb 26, 2015

My Favorite Pregnancy Stuff

Pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant? Just like everyone says, it is an amazing, wonderful, and life-changing experience. But no one can deny that it is also often confusing, overwhelming, and uncomfortable. With the latter in mind, here are some things that have helped me get through the first two trimesters of my pregnancy with a smile on my face (most of the time).

1. Hilaria Baldwin: Fit Mommy-to-be Prenatal Yoga:  I've tried a few different prenatal yoga videos and this one has been my favorite by far. It includes three short workouts (back, hips and overall relaxation) that you can do separately or combine into a 1-hour workout. You might not think a 20 minute yoga session would do much, but Hilaria crams a surprising number of poses into a short amount of time. As you might imagine, this is a faster-paced video, which I prefer. I'm not a yoga beginner or a master, but I've found all of the positions to be relatively easy, even as my belly has grown. Plus, the partner stretches segment features Hilaria’s husband, Alec Baldwin, as yoga assistant. That alone is worth the $8 price tag.

2. Expecting Better by Emily Oster: Early on in my pregnancy I definitely struggled with all of the conflicting information I received about what activities, foods and beverages would or would not harm my unborn child. Expecting Better presents the research behind a lot of the recommendations made for pregnant women, pointing out those based on good science and those based on studies that were less than perfect. I really appreciated Oster's evidence-based approach, and the information she presented allowed me to decide for myself about the risks associated with every day things I had taken for granted before becoming pregnant, like coffee, sushi or gardening.

3. ASOS Maternity Dresses: Finding stylish maternity clothing is not easy, especially stylish dresses. Of the 10 or so stores I've found  that actually have a maternity line, most offer only a few dresses, and for some reason all of those dresses are striped. (Side note: why must all maternity clothing be striped? I love stripes as much as the next person, but that doesn't mean I want to wear them ALL THE TIME. How about something in a nice bright color? Or some other pattern? Someone please explain.)  ASOS is the exception to this rule with pages and pages of maternity dresses in every style imaginable.

4. Old Navy Maternity Leggings: I was so excited when my belly got big enough that I needed to wear maternity pants. I quickly realized, however, that there was a downside to the elastic waistbands: maternity pants have a tendency to fall down. On me at least. Of all the pairs I've tried (at least 6 or 7 at this point) these are my favorite, hands down, and the only ones I've found that don't fall down. Technically, they aren't pants, they are leggings, but the fabric is thick enough that they feel like pants, which is good enough for me. Like a lot of stuff from Old Navy they do run a bit large so I would advise sizing down.

5. One Bad Mother Podcast: Since I've been pregnant this has become my favorite podcast. The hosts, Biz and Theresa, have two children each and share their moments of triumph and moments of failure with equal honesty and humor. Episodes 11 and 39, in which the hosts tell their birth stories, are a great starting point for pregnant listeners. I found it so refreshing to hear moms talk candidly about their experiences, the birth plans they made, and why those birth plans differed from what actually happened. Speaking of birth stories, this one is the best/most terrifying one I've ever read.

6. Pea in the Podcast: This is another podcast that I've been listening to regularly. Pea in the Podcast episodes fall into two categories. One type is very short, usually less than 10 minutes, that takes you through each week of  your pregnancy, addressing issues that commonly arise during that week. The other type is longer, usually 20-25 minutes, and covers larger topics new moms must consider, such as feeding options, working while pregnant, and financial planning.

7. Lucie's List: A coworker of mine recommended this site and I found the product reviews to be a great resource when I was compiling my registry. Plus, when you sign up you get access to a helpful registry checklist and a weekly newsletter with all kinds of helpful information.

8. Leachco Snoogle Pregnancy Pillow: This pillow has the dumbest name ever,  and a pretty hefty price tag to boot, but it has been a lifesaver. I developed hip pain relatively early in my pregnancy and sleeping with this pillow immediately relieved it. Now that my belly is getting bigger I definitely appreciate having a pillow underneath it for support. Of course, I could just use four regular pillows instead (two under my head, one under my belly, and one between my legs), but a giant body pillow seemed like it would be much easier to reposition during the night. Plus, it can function as a nursing pillow after the baby is here. If you decide to buy the Snoogle, I definitely recommend getting one with a zipper cover, like the Missoni-inspired one pictured above, because the standard Snoogle cover is a real pain to get on and off.

9. Raspberry Leaf Tea: This is the only item on my list that I haven't actually tried yet, since my doctor has advised me to wait until I'm 36 weeks pregnant before I start drinking it. Raspberry leaf tea is thought to help tone the muscles of your uterus, resulting in shortened delivery times and reduced need for labor interventions like forceps or a vacuum extractor.The tea builds up in your system over time; it is recommended that you start out by drinking one cup a day and work up to three cups. You should consult your doctor before taking raspberry leaf tea.

10. Humidifier: I am a big believer in using humidifiers during the winter, but I've been especially religious about it since I have been pregnant. I suffer from "pregnancy rhinitis," which is basically a constant stuffy nose for no reason. It's no fun, but the humidifier really does help. Plus, you will probably want one for the baby when it arrives. I love this particular brand of humidifier; they are inexpensive and there is no filter to change, just be sure to disinfect weekly with white vinegar and water.

I hope these suggestions make your pregnancy a little easier. You should also check out my previous post on my pregnancy beauty routine. New moms out there, please share any other pregnancy must haves that people should know about.

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