Everyone has a different experience through pregnancy and birth, so these things may or may not help you. But if I had to do it again, (which I'm sure I will someday) these are things that I would make sure to have on hand.
- Ginger and Peppermint were diffused to quell my queasy stomach
- Digestive Blend inhaled from the bottle also calmed my stomach
- Anxiety Blend #4 helped me through many anxious nights
- Grounding Blend and Frankincense on my feet every morning helped ground me as my body went through many changes
- Anti-Aging Blend and Fractionated Coconut Oil rubbed on my belly kept stretch marks at bay until week 35, and then I think it was inevitable because my stomach was the only place that gained weight, and there really was no more room at the end there! I am using it during postpartum to help them fade.
- Deep Blue Rub for all my aches and pains in my back and neck
- Lifelong Vitality Pack for prenatal vitamins (I was only able to take these with lunch, or I felt sick)
- Women's Bone Nutrient Supplement helped my anxiety when I took it in a protein shake before bed (these were bigger supplements, so I had to empty them into a shake to be able to swallow them.)
- DigestTAB - probably my most used product in this category. It was the ONLY thing that worked on my constant acid reflux (have you seen how much hair my kid has??) which I suffered with 2nd trimester on. The taste is way better than TUMS and the texture is not as chalky. Not to mention, it's more natural and doesn't have extra, unnecessary stuff in it.
- Clary Calm for postpartum hormones (I didn't use this during pregnancy since it has Clary Sage in it which can cause contractions of the uterus, though it is diluted in this blend and might have been okay. Better safe than sorry!)
- Cypress and Geranium for hemorrhoids
- Muscle Pain and Nausea blend by Stephanie Fritz for labor/birth. This was helpful close to the end of my labor when it was hard to keep my sounding in the lower vocal register. When I did it correctly, it made me a little queasy so Reagan put that on my ears, wrists, and ankles.
Memory Foam Ballet Flats
These were the absolute best for being on my feet all day at work. I found them at Famous Footwear.
- The Bump: I liked this one the best for tracking my pregnancy and reading up on what was happening with Judah's growth each week.
- Baby Nursing: There's a lot of nursing apps out there. This one is free and easy to use. You can add other things besides which side you nursed on and for how long. There's places to add weight, doctor appointments, vaccines, diapers, and sleep patterns. I really just use it for nursing and weight.
- Full Term: This app lets you time your contractions during labor. You just have to hit the start and stop button. It was nice to do it myself sometimes to help keep my mind distracted. After a while, my husband took over though. I just said "Surge" and he'd start and "Okay" and he'd stop it. It tells you the duration and frequency of your contractions of the last hour and the last 6 hours.
Everyone's body is different, but having healthy snacks to eat throughout the day instead of wolfing down huge meals frequently was really helpful for my nutrition needs and to keep my weight gain in check. And this isn't something to just have for pregnancy, it's super helpful for labor and for postpartum if you're breastfeeding. I snacked throughout labor to keep my energy up (can you imagine not eating for 22 hours of hard body work??) I would add that a toothbrush is helpful for labor as well because everything I ate gave me a bad aftertaste which made me more uninterested in eating even though I forced myself to eat anyway. I was only told you needed x more calories while breastfeeding. It made sense since my nutrients were going into the breastmilk which was quickly being used up. No one told me I would be FAMISHED after breastfeeding sessions! It's nice to have quick, high protein and high fiber options.
- Kind Bars
- Carob Energy Bites
- String Cheese
- Sargentino On-The-Go-Snacks
- Greek Yogurt (only kind I like is Wallaby Organic)
- Double Fiber English Muffins
- Justin's Natural Peanut Butter
- Amy & Brian Coconut Juice with Lime (good electrolytes for labor!)
- Unsalted nuts (hazelnuts and cashews are my favorite)
- Dried Fruit
- Organic Wheat Crackers
- Organic Rice Cakes
- Groaning Muffins (I made a big batch of these a week before I went into labor. They were great for before, during, and after birth!) Here's a link to the recipe by Nourishing Joy.
Large, Insulated Water Bottle
We got a two pack of Takeya Thermoses at Costco. They hold 40oz and keep my water cold. Since it's metal, I'm also able to drop it without breaking it, and put essential oils in it to keep my body cleansed. It's really hard to drink enough water during the day. I tried to drink at least two of these every day.
No one likes constipation. Unfortunately it's a near and dear friend during this time of your life.
- Squatty Potty: very helpful. Except when you have to poop and you're not at home to use it.
- Natural Calm drink powder: Helps move things along. i got it at Sprouts. Get the Raspberry Lemonade flavor, not the unflavored kind.
- Healthy Mama Move it Along capsules: I found it at Target and bought it for after birth. Whatever stool softener they gave me at the hospital during my stay didn't do anything. I took one of these when I got home and had to RUN to the bathroom an hour later (sorry if that's TMI). It was very effective and made pooping much easier after all the trauma that my body went through a few days before. I switched to taking just half at meals after that first full capsule. Ha!
I made three playlists for labor based on my research of what other people had.
- Calm Labor Playlist
- Upbeat Labor Playlist
- Wordless Labor Playlist
I ended up not using the upbeat one, which people recommended for the pushing stage. You're not really thinking about music at that time, and me especially, I was in the OR just in case there was an emergency C-Section so music wasn't really happening then. The other two were great, but I wish I had added more to make them longer. I was not expecting a 22 hour labor. :-/
They give you some at the hospital to layer on pads to ease the discomfort of just giving birth. You'll want some at home for afterwards too. I used two tubs. Not something you want to run out of, trust me.
Maternity Belly Band
I can't remember where I bought mine or what brand it was, but it was really helpful to have a band around my middle through my first trimester when I was a little bloated but weren't ready to announce our pregnancy yet. I needed to hide my stomach for a few months and help my jeans fit later in the pregnancy when I wasn't quite ready to wear maternity jeans.
This site is where I bought most of my maternity clothes. They have cheap, flash sales that are great and you get free shipping for the rest of the day if you buy something. So I always bought the cheapest item I wanted, and then did another separate order with everything else. You can also find good deals on baby products. I found my nursing pillow on there and they have an Ergobaby sale periodically too. A word to the wise, stick to dresses and tops. The swimwear and bras have a variety of fits to your changing body and aren't always successful. Shipping does take a long time on these, so plan ahead.
StitchFix recently added maternity clothes to their site. I only ordered one box during first trimester when I was trying to get some flowy clothes that were nice for work but would still hide my changing stomach. It was nice getting it at the beginning because I can still wear a lot of the pieces now post-pregnancy.
Don't do birth without one! It was so nice to have the support of someone that had been there before and encountered all kinds of labor and delivery. It was helpful to have someone to talk through different things with and get a second opinion about when we should be going to the hospital. And it was really nice to have someone to follow up with afterwards when I was trying to get through breastfeeding.
I got a chiropractic adjustment twice a month throughout pregnancy, and switched to weekly appointments at Week 37. I'm not a huge fan of the popping/cracking kind of chiropractic adjustment, so I was intrigued when we went to an orientation at the Cap Wellness Center and heard about how Dr. Jay Warren simply puts pressure in various parts of your spine that are out of alignment to signal the brain that there's a problem there so your body can address it. (The reason your brain isn't paying attention to the area on its own is because of stress in other areas of the body that it's dealing with.) I love things that allow the body to naturally heal on its own, so I thought it was worth a shot! It was wonderful to have a way to address the pain in my body regularly, and Dr. Jay is so nice too!
Healthy Births, Happy Babies Podcast
You don't have to be local to get this service! It's free and it's amazing. My doctor is a huge advocate for educating women about pregnancy and birth and this podcast that Dr. Jay hosts is one way they made that happen. I learned so much from these episodes and it was nice to have positive outlooks on pregnancy, birth, and postpartum from the speakers that came on the show.
Last but not least....
An OB/GYN that supports your vision for birth
Dr. Nikolas Capetanakis is the best OB/GYN in North County San Diego. If you have the option, become his patient. You won't regret it. His casual manner was a breath of fresh air for an anxious woman like me. He handled emergency situations cooly and dismissed my worries easily. His staff is incredible and the vibe of the office is positive and upbeat. If I had any doctor besides Dr. Cap, I wouldn't have been able to deliver Judah breech. He had confidence in me and my body, which empowered me to do what I needed to. I can't sing his praises enough.
There were some things I tried during pregnancy that I was not impressed with.
- Body Pillow: I spent $60 on one with great reviews, and I didn't love it. It kept me awake more often during the night because I had to untangle my legs from it to flip over to the other side.
- Raspberry Leaf Tea: Supposedly it gives you an easier labor. I don't know about that. It gave me acid reflux every time I drank it.
- Dates: Also supposed to give you an easier labor. 22 hours of pain....not exactly my idea of easy
- Belly Bandit: a postpartum girdle that is supposed to help your stomach shape back up after birth. I haven't worn it a ton, so I don't know about its ability to tone your stomach. I haven't liked how it feels when I wear it. It's fine standing up, but when I sit down, it digs into my chest uncomfortably. If you want to deal with that, then I at least recommend you get the kind made with bamboo fabric. It's softer and feels better against your stomach.
- Padsicles: These were okay. I preferred the Tucks pads for cool witch hazel.