Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pregnancy Must Haves : How to Survive the First 20 Weeks

Now that I'm 26+ weeks into this pregnancy, I have decided I have adequate experience to post my "survival tips" & my "must-haves" for the first half of pregnancy. 

Granted, I'm not as experienced as you mommas with multiple kiddos, but I'm pretty sure every woman who goes through the first 20 weeks of pregnancy gets her own opinion on which items she feels are necessary to survival.  I mean...she is carrying a baby inside of her... That alone should give someone enough credit :)

So, without further adieu, my list.
(In no particular order)

Or the "shhhhhnnnnooooooogle" as I like to call it. 
This bad boy will be your cuddle buddy.  
You already have a cuddle buddy?  Trust me... The Snoogle beats a snoring hubby any day! (Sorry Matt) 
When I started getting terrible round ligament pain, nothing could help me sleep.
Then I got this lover... And boy did it change my sleeping!  I still got the ligament pain, but I could at least curl up in the fetal position and stay that way!!!  
I never had to worry about ending up on my belly, and it almost always keeps me off my back.
It's also perfect to have between your thighs/knees as you sleep so that your hips won't start aching from being "out of place".
I got mine at motherhood maternity, but you can buy them in many stores and many websites. 
Tip: Hubby will hate it... But just remind him that it's "for the baby" :)

The cookie of all ginger cookies.
This little sweetie is light and delicious.  
The ginger helps settle your nauseous stomach in the first trimester, and is much tastier than eating saltines.  
I found mine at the market in town... I'm pretty sure Abertsons would have them, and if not, they could order them for you. 
Tip: Hubby will love these... They are just too yummy to resist a taste.. And once you taste them, you can't just stop at one. Keep them hidden.

3. The Belly Maternity Band.
I have this little jewel in White, Black and Tan.
I really feel this thing is better than wearing a tank top under your shirt as it doesn't add layers and it stays in place!
When your jeans start to get a little (ok, a LOT) snug, get one of these belly bands and no one will ever know that your pants aren't buttoned!
I like to loop a hair tie through my button hole and around the button.  THEN I wear this on top... The hair tie keeps my pants a bit more snug than if they were just undone, and the belly band keeps all the goods hidden.  
Now that I'm 26 weeks, I even have jeans that won't zip... And you can still use this!
I also heard it's good for post delivery when you are breast feeding.  You can wear it to give you a little more coverage if you have to lift your top for nursing.  
I have both the BeBand from target and the TummySleeve from motherhood maternity.  I think the BeBand stays a little more snug as it has sizes to choose from, where the TummySleeve is one size.  
Tip: There is a seamless tag imprinted on both... Just make sure you wear it right side out so that you don't look "tacky" and then have that one Gucci adorned Benz driving lady at the market tell you that your tag was showing and that it was "tacky" ..... Lady, I'm growing a baby right now, you're lucky I have clothes on at all!

All doctors recommends staying overly hydrated during pregnancy, especially in those early months when you may be throwing up a bit.  
I don't know about you, but drinking water is so much easier for me to remember to do when I always have it in front of me.  
And when I have a straw.  
Sometimes I do get sick of plain ol water, so I will fill my cup almost full with water and then add a splash of juice or a splash of a caffiene free soda like Hawaiian punch or Squirt.  Mmmm.
Tip: I have had multiple plastic water cups, but they always seem to break or crack or smell funny.  This one is my new favorite - stainless steel! 

5. Sparkling Water: Perrier and LaCroix.

Perrier: Ol Reliable, around since 1898!!!  My mother used to drink this when I was just a wee one.  She always had the lemon lime flavored one.  I never really liked it much until I started trying to drink less soda and more water.  I soon discovered that I missed the carbonation that soda had.  I didn't miss the flavor, I didn't miss the caffiene.  I missed the bubbles.  I craved the bubbles.  I needed the bubbles.
So I tried this, and I was hooked.  I can turn down a soda any day if I have this as an option.  
(Or S.Pellegrino with both a lemon AND a lime)

LaCroix: New Age sparkling water.  Originally made in 1981, but not widely distributed until 1996.  My mother would LOVE this water.  Not only does this water come in a CAN - which is so much cheaper than buying bottles - but it comes in 11... ELEVEN flavors, including unflavored or "pure", cherry-lime, apple-berry, peach-pear, coconut, lime, lemon, orange, berry, cran-raspberry and grapefruit. 

I try to only drink soda every so often.  (As in one soda every 2-3 days)
But I can't go a day without bubbles.
So I turn to Perrier and LaCroix.  
When I was about 12 weeks along, I needed the bubbles even more desperately then I ever had before... The carbonation does wonderful things for an upset tummy.
I never had the morning sickness that doubled you over, or the kind that brought you to the porcelain throne, but I did have the kind that made you dizzy just to stand at times.
These delicious drinks made all the difference.
You can find them both in almost any market or gas station.
Tip: Totally try out each flavor... Especially since your tastes change all the time during pregnancy, it's nice to have a few different ones in the pantry. 

These are my vits of choice.  I've never had a problem with taking pills (so not a hint to any kind of self harm I swear!) but I have always had a problem with not throwing up my vitamins.  I don't think I have a weak stomach - I can gut and skin a hog with the best of em - but for some reason, vitamins make me queasy, even if taken after a meal.
These gummies are gentle on my tummy.
And they don't even taste that bad as they are flavored with carrot and blueberry juices.
My doc still has me on an additional 2mg of Folic Acid QD and an extra D3 supplement (about 1000iuQD), but I've known many women who just take this chewable and have very healthy pregnancies and babies. 
(Extra folate is just excreted by your body, but don't overdo it on the extra D3)
Here's the stats on these gummies: 
Vit A: 4000iu - 50%dv
Vit C: 30mg - 50%dv
Vit D: 400iu - 100%dv
Vit E: 15iu - 50%dv
Niacin: 20mg - 100%dv
Vit B6: 2.5mg - 100%dv
Vit B12: 8mcg - 100%dv
Folic Acid: 800mcg - 100%dv
Iron: 0mg - 0%dv 
Zinc: 3.8mg - 25%dv
It also does contain 65mg Omega3 and 50mg DHA, but the dv hasn't been established. 
I buy mine at the drugstore.  I swore cosco had them, but they were nowhere to be found during my last cosco run.
Tip: I'm really bad at remembering to actually take these every day, so I put stickers by the calendar and every morning after I take them I put a little butterfly sticker on the day of the month... That way it's an easy reminder to take them when I haven't!  Also, my husband is now aware of when I do or do not take them, and he is great to remind me that "the baby needs vitamins".

Not the lotion, the good ol tub o butter. 
The kind that makes your hands greasy for the rest of the day.
The kind that makes you repel water the next morning while in the shower. 
This stuff works.
Now... I could lie and say that I have great skin and that I'm just not the kind of person that would get stretch marks... But I am that kind of person.  
A few years ago I lost about 15lbs in just a few days due to a medication switch and my boobs and my butt just shrank!  I had no idea that you could get stretch marks from losing weight too quickly!!!  So, my teeny little butt and my size A cup boobies were covered in stretch marks. 
The moment I found out I was expecting, I started using cocoa butter.
I lathered it on all the growing areas - boobs, belly, love handles, butt and thighs.
And 22 weeks later (as I found out I was pregnant at week 4) I have yet to have a new stretch mark.
I do get itchy skin every once and a while so I know my skin is changing, but I keep it lathered up enough so that it doesn't get dry enough to get stretch marks.  
It is kind of pricey, but I've only gone through 2 tubs so far... So I'm thinking 4 tubs total for 9 months? Not too bad, and worth every penny.
If only it kept away the cellulite... :(
I get mine at target, but I've seen it at the market too.
Tip: When you don't feel like getting your hands oily, take this little tub to your hunny and tell him you need to be lubed up and where... Chances are he will not turn you down.  You might even get a back rub too :)

If your face reacts to pregnancy anything like mine did, you will need some routine hydration. 
This stuff is brilliant.
The gel seems to make this lotion last all day and even throughout the night.
However, during the first few months my skin was a mess due to all those lovely pregnancy hormones.
I had lizard skin on my forehead, and this lotion kept it manageable.
I put this on before I put on my foundation, and my peely skin never shows through. 
Also, it's nice and satiny which leaves your skin feeling hydrated but not sticky. 
I buy my Clinique at Macys but you can also order it offline where it will often come with free shipping and free goodies. 
Tip: if you haven't used it before, ask the Clinique counter for a sample.  If you like it, buy the "super" sized one... It lasts forever and is a better buy.

I had begun a journal the day after I found out I was pregnant.  I wanted to keep track of all my feelings, all my symptoms, what Matt and I were excited about, our questions, my "firsts", my dr visits, etc.
I especially needed to keep track of it all so I could blog about it later!!!
Now that I'm safely past my 1st trimester, I don't use it as much since i write everything straight on the blog or post it to fb.  
However, this little teal "one line a day" journal is very handy.  It gives you space for about 1-2 sentences and is small enough to keep in your purse, or later in your diaper bag.  
I think it'll be nice to go back through it each year and see what I was doing or what happened the year before. 
I found my little book at target, but I'm sure you can get them at bookstores or online at amazon. 
Tip: Keep your book somewhere visible so you'll be more likely to write in it daily. 

"I am lovin these tights!  They're Fantastic!  They lend support everywhere you need it, but they breathe! ... These tights, I'm tellin you - the best!" - TJ off Gilmore Girls.

TJ is pretty ridiculous... BUT he is so right about these leggings!
They give you the belly support you need, they don't bunch up, and they are not see through! 
I wish I could wear them everyday, but alas, some occasions call for real pants and not leggings.  
They are perfect for days spent around the house or for running errands. 
And I'm excited to pair them with loose tops now that spring is here! 
I got mine at target.  I need to go back and see if they have other colors! 
Tip: If you're first and second trimester is mainly in the winter months like mine were, especially if you live where it's below 0*F like I do, make sure that you take the time to shave your legs before wearing these out in public... If you catch my drift...

11. A TV Show Series 
My classic go-to tv show is Gilmore Girls.
It happens to be fabulous for expecting mommas as there are 6 pregnancies throughout the series!
There are lots of fun mother-daughter laughs, father-daughter moments, and cute little anecdotes about pregnancies. 
It's always good for a laugh! 

Reba is another tv show that is fabulous to watch!
My sister got me season one when she found out I was pregnant, and my hubby has since bought me the remainder of the seasons. 
I have to admit that I'm only on season 4 but it's great so far!
There are pregnancies, babies, father-son, father-daughter, mother-daughter, mother-son, mixed families - it's just terrific for a 30 min sitcom :) 
And Van is hilarious, he makes every episode worth watching! 

The first trimester I didn't feel Iike doing much besides sleeping or lounging as I was either exhausted or nauseous.  
You'll need to have a few good books to read, some good snacks and drinks, and some good tv shows.
If you don't have any favorites, try one of these two... I'm sure you'll like one of them. 
Tip: I'm in no way endorsing that I support teenage pregnancy nor do I fully agree with any of the other socially or morally shocking moments in the above tv shows... However, it's not trash tv like a reality show, yet it's also not the discovery channel or PBS.  It's something to help pass a couple nauseous hours and to help you laugh and smile and to look forward to the new baby to come! 

12. Doterra Peppermint Beadlets
Peppermint is said to aid in the treatment of nausea.
These little guys are about the size of a water droplet, maybe even smaller. 
They are filled with peppermint essential oil.
You just pop one in your mouth and not only will it help tame your nausea, but it will also freshen your breath!
DoTerra oils are not sold in stores, but you can buy them from a rep, including me! :)
Tip: don't take too much peppermint as too much will give you a tummy ache and/or heartburn.

13. A hubby. 
I could forego numbers 1-12 just to make sure I had this guy.
He has been the best husband and friend a girl could ask for.
He lets me slack on my chores around the house, he offers to fix dinner (BBQ, Mac n cheese, or spaghetti) :), and he will even give me a massage here and there.
Now that I'm becoming more and more like an elephant seal, he is even being sweeter.
He helps me off the floor when I'm stuck sitting criss-cross-applesauce, he gets me things when my fat booty is too tired or lazy to get them myself, and he has started to help me with my feet/socks/shoes since bending over is becoming increasingly problematic.
He loves to feel the little buddy moving around inside me and he is always eager to tell it goodmorning or goodnight or that we love it :)
He is going to be the best daddy.
And if you don't have a hubby, I'd recommend anyone close to you who you're around all the time. :)
Support is a huge thing to have when you're growing another human inside of you. 
Tip: the hunk pictured above is taken... Sorry ladies! I'd like to say that I snatched him up, but the truth is he snatched me before I even knew what hit me! Now we both have the ball & chain and are loving every minute of our lifetime sentence :)

That's about it for the first half of pregnancy ... What would you add to the list? 

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