Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Things I Consider Pregnancy Staples

My husband and I are expecting baby girl # 4 toward the end of this summer. While I've done this a few times already it has been a few years and some things have changed since my youngest was born. I thought that today I'd come on here and share with you a list of a few things I consider pregnancy staples. There may be things you think are overkill on this list or things you may be certain I forgot.

  • Prenatal Vitamins -  This is definitely a given. If you were trying to conceive your doctor will have recommended you start taking these in advance. If this was more of a surprise you will want to grab some during your next trip to the store and not wait to see the doctor.
  • Maternity Clothes - Again this is definitely a given; at some point your regular clothes will either not fit any longer or will still fit but be too uncomfortable to wear. This time around I had to start wearing maternity clothes at about 5 weeks because every thing else made me incredibly nauseous.  I was obviously in a rush and bought several shirts and jeans from the maternity section at Target. If you are taller and therefore have more upward expansion area for the baby these might last you the entire pregnancy. However, if you are short and baby can really only go out you should know that you will most likely need to buy new shirts toward the 2nd half or final 3rd of your pregnancy. By contrast the shirts from Motherhood Maternity will most likely still fit you toward the end of your pregnancy but may look rather long in the beginning. (You should know that they are shifting to be an online only retailer so there is no longer a way to go in and try their clothes on.)
  • Underwear One Size Up - There no nice way to say this but your rear side will expand at some point. Early on in my pregnancy I bought several pairs of the next size up and put them away for when I needed them. I didn't want to be caught realizing my underwear was uncomfortably small.
  • Shoes With Good Support - It is not uncommon for your feet to expand during pregnancy. My feet are currently 1.5 sizes larger now than before I had kids. Toward the end of your pregnancy you may have some swelling in your feet and legs. At that time I tend to look for a pair a tennis shoes a little bigger than my normal size, especially if I'm going to do any sort of walking or exercising. They offer good support and have the space for your feet to fit. If your feet swell so much that they have trouble fitting in shoes please talk to your doctor! It might be nothing but it won't hurt to find out.
  • An Extra Pillow or Two - There are some nice maternity pillows on the market but initially I just recommend 1-2 (cheap) extra regular pillows. They are inexpensive, will help you figure out where you need extra support and can be used as a regular pillow later.
  • Silicone Ring - When I reach the 2nd half of pregnancy (or even just warmer pregnancy weather) my fingers tend to swell, especially at night. While some people won't mind not being able to wear their wedding ring, it bothers me. I have found that a silicone ring is an inexpensive stretchy solution that gives me the ability to still wear a wedding ring and not worry if it won't come off or go back on.
  • Insulated Water Cup - The brand of water cup isn't nearly as important as it's ability to keep your water cold, fit in your vehicle's cup holder, and being large enough you aren't refilling it every 5 minutes. This is something you will continue to use after your baby is born, especially if you breastfeed. Very few things make you as thirsty as breastfeeding.
  • Small Insulated Cooler or Lunch Bag - While we do homeschool, our girls go to an enrichment program once a week (while not mid-pandemic). I use this day to run errands, get all the groceries we will need for the next week, have lunch with my husband, and take care of any appointments I don't wish to take 3 kids to (hair, doctor...). Because I'm making a concentrated effort to not eat like garbage and am rather sick the first half of each pregnancy taking a small cooler with fruit, yogurt, cottage cheese, and/or other high protein items with me on my errand days makes a huge difference.
  • Razor With Shaving Strip Built In - I am not a very tall person so when I am pregnant the only real place for the baby to go is out. This means I have a tendency to look further along than I am. By about 30 weeks old ladies generally ask me why I haven't had my twins yet (I've never had twins). While at about the half way point I can normally still bend well and reach my toes (as well as normal) it takes some accommodating and is a bit tiring. At this point I tend to switch from a regular razor with shaving cream to a razor that has a shaving strip already built in. It seems silly but reduces the workload with shaving by about a 3rd.
  • Small Battery Powered Fan - Pregnancy has a tendency to make you sweat. Being pregnant in the summer has a tendency to make you sweat a lot. I find that a small battery powered fan helps me be more comfortable if I'm outside and there is no breeze. It's a rather small investment so I don't even feel bad that it doesn't get used all the time.
  • Chore Chart - If you are pregnant and have older kids a visible chore chart makes your life significantly easier. Pregnancy brain is a real thing and if I can't see it written out when I need it, I very well may forget it. Seeing it also reminds them of exactly what it is they need to do. The reality is with everyone here all the time I simply cannot do all the work myself. They each have a small list of age and skill appropriate chores that they complete twice a day and when they do them regularly it makes a huge difference; it makes the rest of my workload manageable.
  • Planner - Again pregnancy brain is a real thing! Most people incorrectly assume it goes away after you have your baby but it doesn't really. I mean it gets a little better but it never really goes away. I have found that having a planner makes a huge difference! Actually, I call mine my brain. Toward the end of your pregnancy you will have more doctor appointments than in the beginning and I personally am not reliable enough to remember what is when. There are many different types of planners and what works best for you is probably different that what works best for me. Personally I prefer the Big Happy Planner. (If we didn't homeschool and I didn't have several kids the classic size would probably be fine.) I like that I can move things around, and with their hole punch (I bought mine with a coupon from a craft store) I can add whatever pages I want. You could even just purchase the covers, rings, and hole punch and make your own from scratch (and download inserts from a seller on Etsy or another online retailer). I quite recently started using the inserts from the Passionate Penny Pincher's PDF planner. I'm having trouble staying on task and she lists daily reminders that help me significantly. For example today's reminders are to change the bedroom sheets and to read Psalm 103. Again what works for me may not work for you, you may want or need a digital calendar/planner.
  • Freezer Meals - Toward the very end of pregnancy I like having some dump and go freezer meals in my freezer for when I get home from the hospital. You can find some basic ones on Pinterest that you can make accommodate your family's preferences and dietary restrictions. The nice thing about dump and go meals is that they are rather easy to assemble and all you need to do is dump the bag in your slow-cooker or pressure cooker and most of dinner is already taken care of. Some days I combine a dump and go meal with some rice in my rice cooker set on delay. When you have to feed not only you and your spouse but also your other kids having a few dinners ready to go will save your eating out budget!

What do you consider a pregnancy staple that I haven't listed? 

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