If you follow me on my social media you'll be well aware that I’m pregnant and that actually, we’re ever so close to meeting our little bub! It's been equal measures exciting and nerve-wracking over the last few months but we feel incredibly blessed to be meeting our little one in just a matter of months! It’s all systems go at our home at the moment, frantically trying to get stuff ready for our new arrival but at the same, it doesn't quite feel real. It blows my mind to think that early next year we will have a whole new little human as part of our family and we can't wait to meet them, to give them cuddles, and to squish their tiny little cheeks.
It’s been a wonderful journey so far and we've enjoyed every minute, even the ones that have not been so pleasant; because we know that with every passing day we're that little bit closer to meeting our little love. I could be here for hours talking about my pregnancy experience so far but in the interest of saving you time, I'd advise going to my Instagram to catch up on what's been happening over the past few months of my pregnancy because today's post is all about my top pregnancy essentials including products and practices that have helped me along the way...
Exercise - Working out has probably been the number one thing that has contributed to me having a smooth pregnancy so far. I'd been working out 2-3 times a week before I found out I was pregnant and have pretty much carried on with my workout routine throughout my pregnancy. I've had a few weeks where I've taken a break but on the whole, I've tried to keep active as much as possible by incorporating various forms of exercise such as weight training, HIIT, Yoga, and swimming. Staying active has been extremely beneficial for my mental health and my mood and it's also helped me in a lot of physical ways including, keeping my energy levels up, reducing aches and pains, preventing constipation and swelling, and helping me sleep better. The hope is that I can carry on working out up until the end of my pregnancy and that it can help with a shorter labour and with reducing my risk of a needing c-section.
Staying Hydrated - the benefits of staying hydrated are well known and documented but they were stressed to me, even more, when I found out I was pregnant. Luckily for me, I've never had an issue with staying on top of drinking my H2O so I just make sure even to this day that I always have my water bottle beside me and to drink regularly throughout the day. It helps when your water bottle is a lovely design and portable enough to take with you everywhere you go. I have a cute one from Next which I highly recommend for its insulation which helps my water stay nice, cold, and refreshing for longer.
Pregnancy pillow - My pregnancy pillow was an absolute godsend once I hit my second trimester and started finding sleeping comfortably quite difficult. I have the Bbhugme Pregnancy Pillow* which is a monster of a thing and pretty pricey but it has honestly been my pregnancy best friend. I use it in the recommended way which is to have it between your legs and under your bump as support when you side sleep but it also works well behind my back when I sit in bed, on the sofa, or at my desk as I work. It also makes for a good nursing pillow once the little one gets here and works as a tummy time support too so, all in all, I think it's worth the hype!
Pregnancy+ App - I downloaded a bunch of apps when I first found out I was pregnant but as the weeks went by I culled my apps and was left with only two. The Pregnancy+ App is no doubt my favourite and I find it so helpful for learning about the changes that are happening inside my body every week. I also love that it gives you a size representation on your phone of what your baby looks like each week and you can customise your baby's race which makes it so much easier to picture our little one. It also gives helpful advice for partners and has so many cool added features like a hospital bag packing list, a kick counter, and a contraction timer.
Stretch Mark Oil - Stretch marks are part and parcel of being a human incubator but it definitely helps when you feel like you're doing something to help their appearance. I've been quite lucky as I haven't had any stretch marks yet and the jury's still out on whether the stretch mark products I've been using are the reason for this but I must say I've enjoyed using Palmer's range of products. I use the massage oil first then the lotion and then I finish off with the luxurious tummy butter. At the very least the products smell amazing, leave my skin feeling soft and supple and they give me a little routine to follow every day to have some precious bonding time with my bump.
Stretchy comfortable clothing - Pregnancy can definitely have you in a style rut and I have a blog post coming up on how to stay stylish during pregnancy but the one thing that has helped me feel like myself during pregnancy is having an array of stretchy and comfortable clothing. I've only bought a handful of maternity items and have opted to size up or go for clothing with material that has some give instead. Comfort is honestly key and as much as I'd love to fit into the season's latest trends, I've found that when I feel comfortable, I feel more like myself and don't dread getting dressed every morning. So if you're only going to buy one thing throughout your entire pregnancy, I recommend some comfy leggings*! I have some plain black ones from Asos' petite range and I practically live in them.
Finding your tribe - Finding my tribe has been such an integral part of keeping me grounded and sane during my pregnancy. Its been so reassuring having people I can talk to and turn to for advice. Especially with me being the first person in my friendship group to get pregnant and not being able to talk to my friends about all things pregnancy. I highly recommend connecting with people who are in the same boat as you to help support you through your journey; whether it's for practical advice, sharing cute baby clothes, or asking weird questions about cravings or bowel movements. There are various Facebook groups you can join or you can connect with people by reaching out to them on social media and there are even apps like the Peanut App which is basically a Tinder for pregnant women which helps you connect with other pregnant mamas in your area! It's awesome!
The Positive Birthing Company Hypnobirthing course - I could write a stand-alone post on hypnobirthing but if you've never heard of it, I suggest looking into it and seriously considering taking a course. My husband and I have been doing the Positive Birthing Company's hypnobirthing course and it's been great for arming us with knowledge and practical tools to prepare us for labour and birth. It's a digital online course that only costs £39 and it's worth every penny. It's packed with videos about the science behind birth, relaxation techniques, mp3s, an editable birth plan template and so much more. It has honestly helped demystify birth and made me feel so calm and prepared for an experience that was always something that terrified me immensely. Go look into hypnobirthing NOW! You will not regret it.
Staying off google - as much as Google can be a blessing, it can also be a curse, especially when it comes to pregnancy. You'll be sure to find every scenario humanly possible and it's very easy to get lost in the black hole of unverified information which is especially dangerous when you're having negative thoughts about your pregnancy. I would suggest only looking at official resources, like NHS pregnancy advice website and even then taking everything with a grain of salt because the information provided is very general and it's important to remember that every pregnancy is different. Be very discerning with what advice you take on board and if you have any pressing questions or concerns, reach out to your midwife or call your maternity assessment unit immediately!
Writing down questions - Midwife appointments can be few and far between, especially during the beginning of pregnancy. It was so hard for me not to worry about everything, particularly in the first trimester where a lot was happening but not happening at the same time if you know what I mean. I found it to be a good practice to write down a list of questions to ask my midwife at our next meeting. This was great especially for questions that weren't urgent and that didn’t need an immediate answer. Having a list of questions handy also made sure I didn't forget anything when I did meet my midwife because, with so much swimming around my brain on any given day, it's easy to forget to ask questions.
So there you have it! I'm back, I'm preggars and these were my top pregnancy essentials. I hope this will serve to help any first-time mums like myself navigate pregnancy and find some comfort in the form of some practical items as well as things you can do to help your pregnancy journey feel smoother. Sending love and positivity to anyone trying to conceive or going through their pregnancy journey - humans are pretty good at having babies; I mean there's 7 billion of us on earth so I'd say we've got this!