Wednesday, March 7, 2012

pregnancy survival kit

I think each and every woman deserves a medal for surviving pregnancy….and a handbook on how to do so at the start of it. This is far from a handbook on how to survive all the changes to your body, emotions, and life, but I thought it'd be fun to put together, because I am insane about my products….and even more insane about the thorough research and seriousness which I bring to all my decisions no matter how large or small the purchase. I read hundreds of reviews, I compare prices, I try things out and return them—I have a knack for finding products that have the highest customer reviews at the most reasonable price, all while being a quality purchase. A great majority of my choices are also eco-friendly and/or non-toxic. This list is a little different in that I did include some more expensive items, but sometimes, when you are pregnant, you splurge (or find someone to buy you a gift;). So, here is a list of my favorite pregnancy survival products...

1. You may not be able to "cure" morning sickness, but you can alleviate it to some degree. Enter, preggie pop drops. They contain all natural ingredients and a cocktail of essential oils and aromatherapy to help combat nausea. I prefer the drops as opposed to the lollipops—they come in more palatable flavors (IMHO) and are easier to eat. They are also supposed to be great during labor for a quick burst of energy or to help with nausea. 

2. Ginger is another morning sickness helper. I eventually developed an aversion to the taste of ginger, but in the beginning I relied on ginger chews and ginger tea, both of which I found helpful.

3. This is probably one of those strange items you see hanging out on the end of an aisle at Whole Foods and wonder who uses them and why. Well, it saved my life during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Luckily I already owned one (yes, I'm the person who buys those random, curious items). The purpose of this contraption is to rid your mouth of bacteria by scraping it off your tongue, but the bonus is that it also "erases" all tastes from your mouth which is a wonderful thing when your mouth tastes like puke even after you brush your teeth, or as a preemptive strike against vomiting when you have a taste in your mouth that your body is in the middle of violently rejecting (happens all day long when you have morning sickness).  

 4. Yet another morning sickness helper: sea-bands. I found these relatively helpful—sometimes I felt a bit of relief when wearing them, sometimes it didn't change a damn thing. But, you'll take all the help you can get during your first trimester. I wore these nearly 24 hours a day for months.

 5. Ahhh, the Snoogle. I cannot live without it! I started using this very early on (from about 7 weeks) since I had one lying around that my sister-in-law had given me. Even before I had a sizable belly, I was so uncomfortable in bed. This pillow helps alleviate the back pain, hip pain, aching knees and aching belly that are so common during pregnancy. I also put a regular pillow in the center of it to support my belly, which I find incredibly important. 

6. One of the unexpected pregnancy ailments I've struggle with big time is the overabundance of mucous one's body tends to manufacture while pregnant. I go through a minimum of two boxes of tissues per week, and on occasion have gone through an entire box in 24 hours. It's crazy. But, this problem is compounded by incredibly dry nasal passages, which (can) lead to pain and blood. My midwife suggested this natural nasal spray which seems to help (in combination with the rest of my nasal ailment arsenal).  

7. Another big help in the nasal department is a neti pot. I've been using a neti pot for years and love it, but I love it even more now. It flushes out your sinuses, helps break up and release all that mucous, and is incredibly soothing. (I have also inlisted the help of a humidifier recently as the problem only gets worse as your pregnancy progresses, ugh, but I haven't found a humidifier I love yet) 

8. I've tried a few different maternity tanks/camis and none of them compare to the Gap Pure Body collection. These are silky soft, flattering and really grow with you. All the other tanks I own have already long passed their expiration dates so wearing them now means showing off the bottom half of my baby bump, exposing my breasts or just plain not flattering my body. The ruching on the sides of the Gap tanks really lets you wear them for the majority of your pregnancy. I've been wearing mine since about 16 weeks and still have plenty of room left.

9. Oh, these yoga pants! I wear them for everything because they are like heaven against a pregnant woman's body. The material is so super soft with just the right amount of hip-hugging, falling into a wider leg. Super flattering. Much cuter than they appear in this photo. I think these will be great during the postpartum months as well.

10. I cannot live without leggings as a pregnant woman. They are great in the beginning when maternity pants look ridiculous on you, but your uterus is bloated enough to be uncomfortable and you don't fit into your old pants. I could not handle anything with buttons or zippers during that time, ouch…so tender. But, these leggings will last your whole pregnancy too, which is great. I prefer these under-the-belly leggings by Hedi Klum—better quality than the others I've bought and I find it a relief to not always wear pants with a tight panel covering my entire abdomen. These are another item I think will be useful postpartum.  

11. Why in the world would I ever need a sleep bra? I did not know until the woman at the maternity store insisted I buy one, which I did, and I've worn it every single night since. Somehow it helps. In the first half of pregnancy your chest is so sore and uncomfortable….and then those girls just start to grow….and grow. This bra makes sleeping so much more comfortable, plus it doubles as a nursing bra later on down the line.

12. What pregnant woman is without a tub of belly lotion? When it came to choosing a belly butter I was adamant that it be natural (free of parabens, etc)— your skin is your largest organ and whatever you put on it is absorbed into your body. I don't like the idea of the carcinogens present in standard lotion being passed to my baby. It can be difficult to find natural lotions that are effective, but this one really is—it's kept my belly in great shape. Plus, it's super affordable.

13. I use the belly butter in the morning, and the stretch mark firming version of it at night. It's not nearly as moisturizing, but I like to think it's keeping things nice and firm. I do notice my belly looks nice and healthy after applying this.

14. I am a HUGE Dr. Hauschka fan in general, but I am even more in love with their products as a pregnant woman. This cleanser is perfect for the combination of skin ailments I've suffered over the course of pregnancy. It keeps your skin clear during those hormonal first few months and soothed and moisturized when dryness and irritation hit.

Cleansing Milk

15. As much as I LOVE the Dr. Hauschka cleanser, the one drawback is how expensive it is. To make the bottle last longer, I only use it at night and supplement with Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser in the morning. It's dirt cheap at $4 and extremely mild—it does not irritate and is great at keeping your skin clear. It's not natural, which bothers me, but the list of ingredients is pretty short so I've made my peace with it.

16. Another favorite from Hauschka: Quince day cream. It's very soothing, light, doesn't cause breakouts and makes your skin absolutely glow. I normally don't suffer from dry skin, but during pregnancy it's been pretty dry and itchy.

17. This product is great as a mask—it's soothes, clears things up and evens skin tone—but during pregnancy I've used it as an overnight spot treatment for acne (as the instructions suggested). The first trimester absolutely ruined my complexion and it's a major bummer when you can't use anything to clear it up. This, however, is all natural and really heals zits. I bought the small, travel size to save money and it's plenty big—I've barely put a dent in it 33 weeks later.

18. Another common skin problem during pregnancy is blotchy, red skin. It's very sensitive and made worse by sunlight. A SPF is necessary for any time spent outdoors or you can end up with what they call "the mask of pregnancy." Not attractive. This product is natural and does not cause breakouts. Love. it.

19. To help hide those hormonal breakouts or blotchy patches in the first trimester, enter the Haushchka cover stick. It also works really well at healing skin issues and zapping zits. My skin actually looks better after a day of wearing makeup thanks to this product.

20. I've never been a foundation wearer, but given all the skin issues I've mentioned so far, it's been a must. Like the Hauschka cover stick, this foundation actually improves the condition of my irritated skin. It's super gentle and light. I use it to even out the redness in my skin and it's perfect for just that.

21. Most of my skin issues cleared up when I hit the second trimester, the time when your skin is supposed to "glow." However, the one issue that persists is the darkness under my eyes. I always look super tired, and have had noticeable veins appear under my eyes that have not gone away. This natural concealer provides heavy coverage without looking it. It also contains natural antiaging/antiwrinkle ingredients (safe during pregnancy), which is great for fine lines around the eyes.

22. The weight of my uterus and stretching ligaments have plagued me since about 20 weeks. I find it incredibly difficult to be on my feet, do housework, or go for walks. I just bought this maternity belt, which helps support some of the weight and alleviates back and hip pain. Should've purchased it long ago! Ahh, relief.

23. I definitely recommend investing in maternity underwear at the very beginning of pregnancy. I found that almost immediately after conceiving, the area beneath my underwear elastic band became incredibly tender and bloated (and sometimes even painful to the touch). I thought buying a larger size underwear would be enough, but it really doesn't help. Maternity underwear are cut really low in the front so they sit underneath your belly, but have more room in the rear for that extra junk in the truck your are sure to sprout.

24. My husband bought me a chair massager for Christmas. At first I was skeptical and preferred my husband's nightly "real" massages, but this Brookstone find (I have a different one than pictured below, but they no longer sell mine) has been a god send. I still get the real deal from the hubs, but I use this at least once or twice daily as well. Such a great thing to have around when your back is constantly aching.

25. In the beginning, I read a ton of books. Too many. I found myself confused by too many opinions, frightening stories, and descriptions of horrible complications I was likely to never experience. This book is absolutely delightful. Half of the pages contain beautiful, inspiring, encouraging stories of childbirth and the rest provides useful/helpful information for pregnancy and birth that doesn't scare or confuse. It left me feeling empowered and totally capable of giving birth.

26. All the Dr. Sears books are great. I say if you want to know what's going on inside your body (and your baby's) during pregnancy, keep it simple. This book is simple and, like the Ina May book, doesn't scare.

27. There are so many choices to make during pregnancy and childbirth. Why not take responsibility for them and decide for yourself instead of having some doctor decide for you? This book presents all your choices and the pros and cons so you can make truly informed decisions.

Your favorite yummy treat, a doting husband/partner, a support system of women who share your beliefs about pregnancy/childbirth and a few girlfriends to vent to about all your pregnancy woes also don't hurt!


1 comment:

  1. I just found out my sister is pregos and I wanted to put together a little Pregnancy Survival Kit and seeing as I have never been pregnant this post has been super helpful! Thank You so much!