If I've learned anything about pregnancy "essentials" over the last 8+ months, it's that they're highly personal - what works for you isn't necessarily going to work for someone else (e.g., the snoogle. sorry, snoogle. I gave you a fair shot.) Still, I've been keeping track of what's made this whole human-growing process a little easier, just in case we ever have the chance to do this a second time :)
So here they are...
1. I read a lot of books with this first pregnancy - some a little intimidating, some a little more conversational, and some that fit just right. The Mayo Clinic's Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy and Great with Child rose to the top of my list. The former is a great reference tool that you can go back to each week to check symptoms, growth, etc., and the latter gave me a lot of comfort in those early weeks when everything was so new and fragile.
2. Never have my lips been quite as dry as they are during pregnancy. Baby is hogging all of the moisture, and I have at least two sticks of lip balm on me at all times.
3. I started lathering up with Mama Bee Belly Butter around 10 weeks (ha!), and so far, no stretch marks. While I think your likelihood of developing stretch marks is more directly related to genetics, it helps to feel like you're doing something proactive.
4. I got a little freaked about drinking from water bottles with high levels of BPA and PVC after reading this book, so I switched to the Bobble. I drink tons of water, which has kept digestion pretty smooth and has helped limit water retention (oddly enough, it's proven).
5. It took me forever to find maternity pants. Forever. Between having short legs and not knowing what size I should be ordering, I ended up returning 5-10 pairs of pants. Then one Saturday, we made the trek to the only H&M in the area with maternity pants, and I bought out the whole section. Bless you, H&M.
6. Baths during pregnancy are the best, especially as baby starts to put pressure on your lower abdomen and back. I've always loved LUSH's bath bombs - set yourself up with a one of these, a candle and some music and the world is right again. Twilight, Avobath and Honey Bee smell amazing.
7. Sleep machine, where have you been all my life? We actually registered for this one and got it from a friend a couple of months ago. We started using it immediately, since I'm such a restless sleeper, and I'm in love. I hope it has the same effect on baby.
8. A good back massager is a household necessity, regardless of your condition. Blake has been so great about trying to make me more comfortable throughout the pregnancy, and is always willing to give a back or head rub. Tools like this one are a big help for problem areas.
9. I've mentioned before, but yoga and stretching before bed or early in the morning make a difference, especially if you do a lot of walking in less-than-ideal footwear (ahem). This video and this video are still top choices, but even simple yoga stretches have provided relief in a time crunch.
10. As soon as you start to feel acid indigestion, buy yourself a good antacid. Chances are, that business isn't going away any time soon. I've tried other natural solutions, but nothing has worked as well as your garden variety chewable.
11. And finally, a tolerable prenatal vitamin is a must. I went with Rainbow Light because it's food-based and vegetarian, but there are so many options out there. Blake is also pretty adamant about his unborn child getting enough omega-3 fatty acids, so I've taken this since the first trimester. Just look for something with at least 300 mg of DHA. There's a huge discrepancy in the levels provided in different products.