Pregnancy is generally accompanied by a huge change in a woman’s life. Every woman needs to keep this transition in mind as they prepare to begin a wonderful journey of nine months towards motherhood. There are two important things that play a huge role during the time of pregnancy - planning and purchasing. The list of tasks can be endless. From the decoration of the new room to baby-proofing the house, it leaves you with little time to consider the things you need. However, there are a lot of items that can make your life significantly easier. Although everyone progresses through the pregnancy journey differently, it is important to invest in a few essential items which can be used throughout your pregnancy.
What are Some Essential Items for Pregnancy and Maternity?
While maternity clothes are essential for every expectant mother, there are a lot of other things too which one needs to include in their arsenal. Following is a list of some must-haves that can help you get through this pregnancy.
1. Clothing Items
An important thing to remember is that maternity clothing can be quite expensive, and buying new clothes every month is quite expensive, not to mention tedious. This is why it is important to stock up on some basic maternity clothing items which will last you through all the trimesters. It is also advisable not to fill your wardrobe with maternity clothes because they will only be used for a short period of time. It is good to have a combination of some clothes that you already own along with maternity clothing. Certain items like cardigans, loose shirts, and coats can stay in rotation for the growing belly. These can be paired with some foundation items, which will not only be comfortable but will also make you look great.
- Dresses: Gone are the days when the only options pregnant women had were oversized t-shirts and sweats. There are many options in dresses these days. With soft and stretchable fabrics, you can wear a variety of styles. A stretchy tank dress in a basic color like black or white can be easily dressed up and down whenever needed. There are many loose-fitting housedresses too which can accommodate your belly even in the third trimester. There are also nursing-friendly dresses to allow you easy access post the pregnancy for breastfeeding.
- Jeans: Pregnancy does not mean you have to compromise on style. Jeans are not only comfortable for casual wear but also look great. They come in a variety of styles and colors with stretchable bands, which can accommodate your belly as it grows. They usually cut low in the front and high at the back to give a good definition to your bottom.
- Pants and Leggings: Whether you want to work out or lounge around the house, a comfortable pair of maternity pants or leggings are a must. Activewear is being used for pregnancy clothing as the fabrics usually have a lot of stretch.
- Bras: One of the first features besides the belly that undergoes change during pregnancy are the breasts. Many women have experienced going up one or even two band and cup sizes during their pregnancy. Besides this, some soreness and swelling are often observed in the first trimester. Thus, it becomes important to support the breasts with a stretchable bra that is comfortable. Although sports bras can be a great option, there are nursing bras available these days which have great coverage and also give a lot of support. They come in a variety of sizes, from C to DDD or E.
- Socks: It is quite common for feet to get swollen during pregnancies due to slow blood circulation. One way to prevent it is by propping the feet up occasionally. Compression socks are also great for this purpose, as they not only prevent swelling but also prevent the varicose veins from developing.
- Nursing Tank Tops: Nursing tank tops are a great option for a foundation piece, which can be paired with a light cardigan, jacket, or worn just as is. The unique feature of the nursing tank tops is the stretchable and soft fabric, which is great during pregnancy and also for postpartum.
2. Pregnancy Pillows
Sleep deprivation is one of the lesser-known issues of pregnancy. When you are carrying so much weight around your belly, sleeping can prove to be tricky. Something that helps you, in this case, is a pregnancy pillow. A good pregnancy pillow will be able to support the lower back, baby bump, hips, pelvis, and also knees. They can also be reconfigured for postpartum recovery and breastfeeding.
3. Pregnancy Band or Support Belt
A belly band or support belt is great for providing support as your belly grows. They can also be used to keep your pants up when they cannot be buttoned up. In addition to this, it can also be used to cover up your tummy when the top or shirt is too short. The pregnancy belly band is made up of a special material that is great for locking in moisture. You can use the belly band after putting on belly butter so that it absorbs better into the skin and does not rub off on clothing.
4. Water Bottle
It is very important to stay hydrated during your pregnancy. There are many benefits of drinking water, as it helps in preventing constipation, minimizing swelling, and also fighting fatigue. As such, it would be good to have a handy water bottle with you at all times. You can even go for the insulated water bottles that are great for keeping your water hot or cold.
5. Comfortable Sneakers
All the weight of the pregnancy can often result in sore feet. It becomes important to have a good pair of sneakers that are lightweight, breathable, and have an ample amount of cushion.
The hormones can wreak havoc on your skin during pregnancy. Keeping acne under control can be a huge task, however, there are many skincare products in the market that can come to your aid. Some of the pregnancy-safe ingredients you should look for in skincare products are lemon peel oil, lactic acid, green tea extract, and cucumber.
7. Belly butter and oils
One of the biggest concerns for any woman during her pregnancy are stretch marks. A great way to minimize the damage caused by stretch marks is by using a moisturizing cream or oil to massage the skin so that it stays elastic. There are many great options for moisturizers these days, from belly butter to essential oils.
The list for maternity must-haves can be endless. Some of the other items which you must consider are:
- Herbal tea for relaxation
- Eye drops because the hormonal shift can lead to dry eyes
- Ginger to prevent morning sickness
What is the Importance of Good Nutrition for Pregnant Women?
A healthy diet is very important for a woman during pregnancy. It has been found that a woman requires an additional 300 calories during the first three months of her pregnancy. Although the cravings during this time can be quite uncontrollable, it is important to choose healthy food options to increase your caloric intake. During pregnancy, you should try to eat three meals a day, with one or two snacks. It is best to take small, frequent meals of nutritious food. Eating healthy ensures that you and your baby get the required strength.
Here are some tips you should take into consideration for making a meal plan.
- Try to incorporate different kinds of foods from the four food groups, which are Fruits and Vegetables, Meat and Proteins, Dairy, and Grains.
- Every meal should have some elements from at least three of these food groups.
- Eat more whole grain and high fiber meals like oatmeal, cereal, and whole-grain bread.
- Incorporate some kind of meat or meat alternative in your diet every day. Some good options are beans, peanut butter, fish, poultry, eggs, and meat.
- Remember to drink a lot of water.
Essential Elements for a Healthy Diet
There are certain nutrients that are essential for a healthy diet. Some of the most important nutrients every woman should include in her pregnancy are:
- Folate: Folates should be included in the diet even while preparing for the pregnancy. It has been found that a diet rich in folates will help in preventing neural-tube defects in the child. Since all the major organs of the baby are usually formed within 8 weeks of pregnancy, it is important to take at least 400 micrograms of folate supplement before and after conceiving. Many prenatal vitamins have the required quantity of folates for the mother.
- Calcium: Calcium can be extremely useful for both the mother’s and the baby’s bones. It is usually found in milk and other dairy products, and also in green leafy vegetables, soy milk, and calcium-fortified juices. It has been recommended that every pregnant woman should take around 1,500 milligrams of calcium daily.
- Fiber: Constipation is a common problem many women face during pregnancy. The best way to prevent constipation is by including more fiber in your diet. You can do so by including around 5 to 7 fruits and vegetables every day. You should also keep in mind that whole grains are always better than refined grains.
- Iron: Iron is an important ingredient for the mother as well as the child. It helps in the growth of the baby and prevents iron deficiency during birth. Iron is often included in the form of supplements in prenatal vitamins. Besides this, some of the important sources of iron are meats, fish, poultry, leafy greens, bread, cereals, and lentils.
Some Things Pregnant Women Should Avoid Consuming
There are certain foods and drinks that could prove to be harmful to the mother and child.
- Certain large fishes like tuna, shark, and swordfish contain a high level of mercury. It has been found that the consumption of high levels of mercury can cause neurological damage in the baby.
- Uncooked or raw meat can cause serious complications in the fetus. It is important to cook the meat well to kill the bacteria. Certain nutritionists advise reheating even the cooked meat to kill any traces of bacteria in the meat.
- Some soft cheeses like brie and camembert can have harmful bacteria, which is known as Listeria monocytogenes. This results when the milk is inadequately pasteurized. It has been found that this bacteria can cause a host of problems like premature birth, miscarriage, and blood poisoning, among other complications.
- It is important to rinse any fruit or vegetable thoroughly to remove any traces of dirt and bacteria.
- Drinking alcohol is strictly advised against during the time of pregnancy.
- It is also important to reduce your caffeine intake. You should not be drinking more than 200 mg or two cups of coffee or tea in a day.
- It is a good idea to limit your intake of salt, sugar, and saturated fats.
The Importance of Exercise for Pregnant Women
Most experts believe that low-impact exercise like yoga is safe during pregnancy. However, strenuous exercises which involve the lower body, like running and aerobics, is advised against. This is because a high-impact workout can often put a lot of stress on the baby. Swimming or walking are some of the best activities for pregnant women as they don’t throw off their balance. Another good option is water exercises.
What are some essential items of pregnant women in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Trimester?
Whether you are a first-time mother or you have been through it before, the requirements for every trimester can be different. So, it is important to keep the needs of each trimester in mind before purchasing items.
For some women, the first trimester goes fairly smoothly. However, there are many women who experience many unpleasant side effects like swollen breasts, bloating stomach, accompanied by nausea. There are certain items that can make your first trimester significantly easier-
- One of the most unpleasant experiences in the first trimester is morning sickness. There are a lot of products available in the market these days - from natural remedies to acupuncture wristbands, which can provide immediate relief to the symptoms of morning sickness.
- As mentioned before, adequate hydration is extremely important during pregnancy. For this purpose, it would be beneficial to keep handy insulated water bottles that will help you stay hydrated throughout the day.
- A belly band is great for giving that extra support, and it also works as a cover-up when your favorite pants are not getting zipped up because of the growing belly. It is also a great item for postpartum recovery, which could help you return to your pre-pregnancy body.
- It is important to wear a comfortable bra in the first trimester as your breasts start to swell. Another great accessory for the bra is an extender hook. This is a great solution as your breast size fluctuates through the pregnancy.
- You should start taking a Prenatal Vitamin from the get-go. These supplements come with all the essential vitamins like A, B, D, E, B6, and B12, besides omega 3 fatty acid and folic acid.
- The start of your pregnancy can often be accompanied by a lot of fatigue. As a result, many women start losing the glow. Thus it is important to allocate some time for your skincare regimen. There are many great skincare products for pregnant women in the market these days, which are free from parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.
- It is important to invest in chemical-free cleaners because inhaling harmful chemicals can prove to be quite dangerous for pregnant women.
In the second trimester, the baby bump actually starts to show. This can be an exciting time for pregnant women as they start feeling the kicks of the baby. Usually, by this time, the morning sickness also disappears. Following are some of the items which can help you tide through the second trimester.
- As the baby bump continues to grow, you would need to give your skin some much-needed care so that it retains its elasticity. A great way to keep your bump smooth, hydrated, and nourished is by massaging belly butter into the skin.
- As the morning sickness starts to dissipate, another symptom kicks in. The second trimester is often accompanied by intense cravings and many women feel hungry all the time. You can purchase organic protein or fruit and nut bars as an anytime snack. They can be great healthy alternatives to junk food when those cravings kick in.
- Leggings are a must-have item for every woman during her pregnancy. They are one of the most comfortable and versatile pieces of clothing. They provide the right amount of compression to support the growing belly. They can be worn all through your pregnancy and even during postpartum recovery.
- As your belly starts growing, finding a comfortable sleeping position at night can be quite hard. A pregnancy pillow can be quite helpful in bringing some relief for pregnant women by providing an adequate amount of support to the entire body. As your belly starts to grow, your underwear can bunch up under the stomach. This is why it becomes important to buy some specialized underwear that perfectly on the growing baby bump.
- The second trimester of the pregnancy is often accompanied by sore back, hips, and pelvis. Maternity belts can be quite useful to provide support during this time.
Even though the third trimester is filled with the excitement and anticipation of the baby, it is also accompanied by more discomfort for the pregnant mother. It could be one of the most challenging months, as women often feel sore and tired. Following are some of the self-care products that can help you get through the final days of the pregnancy as your due date draws near.
- With a growing belly, the most comfortable piece of clothing item will be a dress. One can choose to wear a variety of dresses, although the most comfortable options would be loose-fitting or maxi dresses.
- A stretch mark relief cream can be immensely helpful in the third trimester. As the skin stretches, a lot of itchiness can be felt around that area. This is where a stretch mark relief cream comes in, as it not only relieves the itchiness but also provides moisture to your skin.
- An exercise ball can be a great item for this period. It has been found that bouncing slowly on the exercise balls can help your back and joint by taking off the weight of the belly.
- In the last stages of your pregnancy, the feet start to swell as the body deals with the excess fluid. Compression socks can be great during this time are they help with swelling and also blood circulation.
- Congestion is quite common in the final weeks of pregnancy. Many women experience sleeping and breathing difficulties due to congestion in this period. A humidifier is a great tool that will help you breathe easier.
- Another tool that can help you with the soreness and back pain of the third trimester is a massager.
What Should a Maternity Care Package Consist of?
Pregnancy can be truly wonderful, but the pain, discomfort, and ache that is usually accompanied with it cannot be ignored. Many of these items discussed above can make your journey more comfortable and healthy.
However, sometimes a long list of pregnancy must-haves can seem daunting. This is where a maternity care package comes in. A maternity care package with some essential items can help in simplifying your choice. Consider the following products when building a pregnancy care package for a new mama.
1. Prenatal Vitamins
They are one of the most important aspects of a good prenatal routine. Prenatal vitamins consist of many pregnancy-approved vitamins and minerals that will provide your body with the necessary fuel. It is advisable to start taking them while you are planning for your pregnancy so you can make a smoother transition after conceiving.
As your baby bump grows with time, your back starts to suffer. In the later stages of pregnancy, it can get quite intense as the baby drops further into the birth canal. One can experience pain and ache in the lower body along with vaginal pressure. A maternity support belt can be extremely helpful here, and it is a must-have item in a maternity care package. It helps in redistributing the weight of the belly to give your body much-needed comfort. They are made with breathable and soft mesh fabric with a velcro fastening. They can also be used in postpartum recovery.
These support belts are the best bet for getting back into shape after pregnancy. Pregnancy can take a toll on your body as well as your spine. A recovery support belt, which consists of three separate belts, a stomach belt, a waist belt, and a pelvic belt, can help in straightening your spine. It targets the different parts of the tummy and also your hips to help in pulling back the saggy skin. It prevents the fat cells from getting enlarged and also compresses the uterus so that it returns back to its original shape.
A blood pressure monitor is a must-have item in a pregnancy care package. Whether or not you have hypertension, it is important to monitor your blood pressure so you can keep track of your health. KeaBabies has a great selection of blood pressure monitors which are trusted and recommended by physicians and doctors.
Nursing pads are a great item that can be added, which can provide a soft cushion to your nipples when placed inside the bra. They are made from ultra-soft breathable material to make your breastfeeding journey easier. They not only prevent leakage but also reduce odor from leftover milk. Since the KeaBabies nursing pads are made with organic bamboo, they are safe for the baby as well.
This nursing cover has multiple uses. It can be used to breastfeed your baby comfortably in public. Since it is made from soft and breathable premium quality fabric, the baby stays quite comfortable inside it. It is not see-through, thereby providing you maximum privacy during breastfeeding. It can also be used as a stroller cover, a car seat canopy, or a shopping cart cover to keep the baby cozy and comfortable. When you are not using it for any of these purposes, you can wear it as an infinity scarf. KeaBabies nursing covers come in a variety of shades and fun prints.
The journey of pregnancy is unique for every woman. You can use this guide of maternity must-haves to go about your daily life with more ease. If you did not have any essentials on your list until now, these suggestions will prove to be helpful for you when you start planning your pregnancy journey. KeaBabies has a wide variety of products for everything you need, from pregnancy and maternity care to baby care items.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Sara Gale
Sara loves traveling and exploring new places with her family. She is mom to 2 lovely children and loves bringing them out on adventures.