People really make pregnancy look easy….and you definitely have days (which can turn into weeks) where you feel totally normal, but it can sometimes be a bit of a challenge to remain energetic whilst being well-rested, well nourished and keep going with your busy day-to-day lives.
Aside from the bacon sandwiches which really were an essential some days, here are a few of the things which I found really helped me….
1. Bath Salts
I have spent SO much time in the bath since being pregnant and having a (warm, not hot) bath in the evening really helps to restore you and helps you sleep well. I’ve been using bath salts for a long time as they’re brilliant for digestion, helping your muscles relax and are great to help aid a better nights’ sleep. I always use Westlab salts as they have a great selection with different scents (or completely neutral if you’re having trouble with different smells!)
2. Relaxation Aromatherapy
Having a sleep spray has also been great for helping me to fall asleep quickly, fall back to sleep if I wake in the night and just generally helping me to feel more relaxed in my bedroom. I was very lucky and my lovely friend Kate made me one, but if you want to buy yourself one I also love the Neil’s Yard Sleep spray. If you’re struggling during the day and need something to calm you down (I know I sometimes felt really overwhelmed and anxiety took over when I felt ill / tired / hormonal) then Indigo Aromatheray ‘Pregnancy Care’ pulse-point has been really brilliant for me and it’s perfect just to have in your handbag.
Recipe for Kate’s Sleep Spray
50ml rubbing alcohol (she used witch hazel)
50ml distilled water
50 drops lavender essential oil
Directions: Mix, shake and spray!
3. Peppermint Tea
When I’ve been through stages of feeling nauseous (which was especially bad in the first few months) I actually found that I couldn’t stomach Ginger which everyone kept recommending! So I stuck to peppermint tea which really helped and was also good after meals (if you also feel generally very bloated). My favourite brand was Teapigs, who also do a lovely Ginger tea if you can stomach it (I’m back onto it now I’m in the third trimester).
4. Comfy leggings
When you start to need extra stretch and also just generally want to be more confortable then leggings are such an essential! I really struggled to find those that weren’t either very see-through or much more sporty looking, but came across a brand called Love Leggings who have great maternity leggings in a variety of colours which are really comfy and don’t let the world know the colour of your knickers..
5. Stretch Mark Cream
I’ve been using creams and oil since the beginning, even when not much stretching was going on just because it’s a nice thing to do and I wanted my skin to be as prepared as possible. My bump did suddenly get much bigger and the skin suddenly tightened, so in hindsight I’m really glad I did it since the beginning and would definitely recommend it. I used a variety of balms and oils (as all vary in texture and found I preferred to use something less oily in the morning) including P’ure Papayacare, Bio-Oil, Organics babies mum & baby rescue balm and Neils’ Yard Mothers Balm. They’ve all been brilliant so would recommend any of them!
6. Bath Oil
It was my birthday and Christmas whilst I’ve been pregnant and I’ve been given two really lovely bath oils (Aesop and Neils’ Yard) which both smell amazing and make you feel a bit nicer on those days that you don’t know what on earth is going on with your body and you just want to feel surrounded by nice things. They definitely both give me that ‘spa feeling’, especially when teamed with a cup of herbal tea and candles everywhere.
7. Flu Jab
I know this is a strange one to put on an essentials list, and I’m afraid is only really relevant to people who are pregnant over winter. I have never had my flu jab but as it’s free and my Mum really recommended me to have it, I thought I’d go for it. As someone who is always a bit run down throughout winter months I couldn’t believe how much better I’ve been!! Even when both Gracie and Holly have been ill in the office, I’ve managed to avoid catching things…. It doesn’t make you totally immune to everything but it definitely has made a difference.
8. Seedlip & Fever Tree Tonic
When Friday hits, you’ve had a full-on week and just want to have a nice big glass of wine or G&T to relax you, sometimes a glass of elderflower just doesn’t cut it!! Seedlip (My favourite is the winter spice) & a nice tonic (I love the Fevertree range) is actually quite a good substitute. Obviously you don’t get that initial tipsy feeling, but in a nice glass with ice and lemon it does feel like a treat and when you wake up feeling fresh the next day you really don’t feel like you’ve missed out!
TIP: Don’t try Seedlip on it’s own….I made this mistake and then took me a while to try again as it was a bit strange without anything.
9. Pregnancy Pillow / Sleep aids
I’ve tried a few different pregnancy pillows and have put my recommendations for different stages / types of sleepers in a separate review (at the end of this blog) so that you can see what’s best for you. I would absolutely recommend getting one when you start feeling like sleep is a bit more challenging, and definitely once you need to start sleeping on your side too.
10. Maternity Bra
I had such painful chest for at least the first 3 months and literally lived in sports bras! When I came out the otherside of the pain (it does go away!!) none of my normal bras fitted me anymore as I’d gone up 3 bra sizes so I had to invest in a couple of new bras. I still wanted to be generally comfy without feeling really frumpy (as a lot of the maternity bras are quite unattractive) and my friend introduced me to this brand Charley M by Cake which does really nice bras which are comfy and also look nice. They’re also for maternity / nursing so you can use them once you have the baby too, and they sell them on ASOS which is always handy if you have the prime membership!
The best pregnancy pillows
BabyMoovbelt from Kiddies Kingdom (£39.99)
This is great for travel as it’s easy to fold up and put in your luggage, but it is also great as an extra support alongside any pillows especially when you get back pain as the memory foam at the sides really helps support the extra weight pulling your waist down. It’s not the most attractive addition to your nightwear but you won’t care once you feel how comfortable it is.
Best for….being comforted and getting cosy
Microbean Maternity Sleep Pillow from Jojo Maman Bebe (£39)
Because this is quite long, it’s really comforting. It also means that you’re able to wrap it around you depending on where you need the extra support. As well as a sleep aid, I always bring this one down to the sofa when I’m watching TV and have it as an extra support behind then around me for maximum comfort! The microbeans means it’s really easy to mould to the shape you want.
Best for….those who usually like to sleep on their back
Dream Genni Pregnany & Feeding Pillow (£49.99)
After around 24 weeks you’re supposed to stop sleeping on your back, but for those of you like me, who are so used to it….it can be quite hard and before I started using the Dream Genni I would constantly wake up on my back even though I’d gone to sleep on my side. There is an extra support attached to the pillow which goes underneath you and has a cushion on the back so that it stays in place and keeps you on your side. It’s really comfy, easy to wash and comes in a variety of colours.
Best for….those who are on a budget
Ikea pillow (£7 + £3 for the cover)
This is such good value, it is the classic ‘V’ shape of a pregnancy pillow so you can put it between your knees then the other part can come underneath your bump. It’s also really comfy to have behind you as a reading pillow (which my husband can also vouch for!) if you’re not always using it as a pregnancy support.
Best for….those who have a small bed
Babymoov pillow from Kiddies Kingdom (£34.99)
This was the first pregnancy support I bought – it’s really small so doesn’t take up too much room in your bed and if you just need something either between your knees or in front of you then it’s great for that…or you can use it underneath your knees or behind your head if you’re reading in bed / on the sofa.