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Advice from non-first timers: what *stuff* do I need?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

The internet is so overwhelming with all the different Things Pregnant Women Need.  We aren't telling anyone yet that I'm pregnant, so I haven't been able to ask any friends...what do I *really* need?!


When it comes to books, what do you recommend?  What is helpful and informative?


Do I need a "Bella Band"?  Does body butter really work?


I'm so grateful for all the information out there, but there's just too much of it and I don't know what is actually tested and trustworthy.  Any advice, from those of you who've done this before?



post #2 of 21

You're talking just stuff pregnant women "need", not baby stuff right?  Cause that's a whole 'nother ball of wax lol.gif


I never had a bella band, but I know some women really like them.


You'll definitely want a good moisturizer for your belly, especially during the 3rd trimester, but it does not have to be one specifically for pregnant women.  I know a lot of people swear by just getting some Vitamin E capsules, and breaking them and rubbing the oil over your belly just after you get out of the shower.


A comprehensive guide to pregnancy is a good book to own.  "What to Expect When You're Expecting" is the mainstream pregnancy bible, but a lot of people around these parts aren't fans.  I had a free copy and I didn't mind it too much.  If I had to buy by own I'd probably have gone with The Pregnancy Book by Dr. Sears.  Any other books on pregnancy/childbirth I would just borrow from a library.  What to read depends on what interests you.  One thing I would suggest is to read up on how to soothe and comfort a newborn.  I had no idea it would be as challenging as it was!  The Happiest Baby On the Block by Harvey Karp is a great read.


As far as what else you need - really, just clothes.  Last time around (I was due in late July that time, too) my maternity wardrobe consisted of:

-2 pairs of maternity jeans (one size for the 2nd trimester and then a different size for the 3rd trimester)

-4 pairs of maternity work pants (2 were actually not maternity but had an elastic waist - they were great because I could wear them post partum)

-1 maternity skirt

-2 maternity dresses

-1 pair maternity shorts

-5 long sleeved maternity shirts

-4 short sleeved maternity shirts

-2 maternity tanks

-1 maternity bathing suit


I probably could have got by with less but I live in a place with cold winters and hot summers.  Consignment shops are a great place to shop for maternity clothes - no one's pregnant long enough for them to really wear out.


Oh, and a body pillow helps.  Other than that (clothes, a book, moisturizer and a body pillow I can't think of a single thing I bought specifically for pregnancy).



post #3 of 21

I didn't like What to Expect, but I did like Your Pregnancy Week by Week for general info on what's going in there each week.


I never used a Bella Band or anything like it, I just wore yoga pants under my belly. I plan on doing the same thing this time. I liked having a lot of maternity tees and tanks (mostly from Target and Old Navy). I had a few dresses, but this time around I would love to have more lightweight maternity dresses.


I never got special lotion either, I just used the same ol' lotion I always use.


I did buy a comma pillow and a wedge pillow and used both a TON. I need to get them back from my SIL to use again when my belly starts to grow!

post #4 of 21

I loved The Pregnancy Book with Dr Sears, but some people feel it's too geared towards middle class SAHM.  

Body pillows!

At least one pair of pants that don't make you feel fat.

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

Ha!  Yes, just stuff for me - the baby stuff can wait for now.  I can feel myself wanting to get a bunch of crap in order to feel more in control of things, so your advice is greatly appreciated!  I need to remember that the library is my friend smile.gif

post #6 of 21

Definitely borrow pregnancy books rather than buying.  Then if you find one you really like, you can invest the money in it.  "What to Expect" is alarmist and very mainstream.  I like "Week by Week" a lot better, but my favorite week by week book is the one by Sheila Kitzinger.  I think it's called the "Complete Book of Pregnancy" or something similar.  Better pictures, less mainstream, and more positive tone over all.


A good body pillow is a must.  I got the Boppy brand one, and kept using it even after birth, until I wore it out.  I'm planning to buy another one this time.  I don't think the plain straight ones give enough space for a growing belly, but that's individual choice.


Clothes - buy as you go, and don't be afraid to try WalMart or Target rather than the specialty stores.  Some of my favorite "maternity" clothes last time were just XL tops from the juniors section at Walmart - long enough to cover the bump, and form fitting, which I prefer.  Definitely get some cute outfits to help yourself feel good about your bump, but don't feel like you have to be hot like a celebrity.  Comfort is key.  I did use a Bella band late in my pregnancy, but it rolled up and down and felt weird sometimes, so I'm not sure I'll use one again.


TED stockings (also called anti-embolism stockings)!  Go to a medical supply store of small pharmacy, and look for the white, knee length support stockings.  They feel awesome, and help prevent varicose veins.


I never got any kind of special lotion.  My belly didn't get terribly itchy, and I never got stretch marks.  They're completely genetic (no matter what your girlfriends of the lotion ads say) so use whatever lotion you like, it won't make any difference in whether you get stretch marks or not.


At some point late in your pregnancy, splurge for a spa day.  Get a massage, mani/pedi (if you like those), get your hair done, etc.  if you can afford it, get portraits done, too.  I went to a new photographer who was just starting out and needing work, and got beautiful photos for $300.

post #7 of 21

Body Pillow.

Coconut oil or Pure Shea butter moisturizer- but I use these any time, pregnant or not. :)

Prenatal yoga dvd


There is a book recommendation thread and good books have already been suggested, so I would definitely check that out.


I can't think of anything I really *need* for pregnancy.

post #8 of 21

I guess for me the biggest thing was looking at alternatives to maternity clothes when I could.  Pants I had to get maternity because I liked the full coverage tummy panel, but I ended up with a lot of big t-shirts I got on clearance various places.  That was great when I was just hanging out at home and didn't feel like wearing my nicer shirts.


I didn't use a band until the postpartum period when my pants were too loose but the smaller ones gave me muffin top.  I still use it now because I have a floppy belly and it pushes down my pants too far, and the band keeps me from showing belly or buttcrack.


Some kind of lotion was nice because it felt good but don't count on anything really preventing stretch marks.  They're something you get or you don't.


Shoes you can slip on.  It's lucky that we'll be at our biggest during the flip flop season.

post #9 of 21

I second the body pillow, though I just bought a cheapo one a target and not a specific maternity pillow. I never used any sort of belly band or anything and most of my clothes were secondhand or passed down from friends and my sister. I used a body oil on my belly everyday and have no stretch marks, but a previous poster was correct about stretch marks being familial. 


I think that having some prenatal massage appointments are super important and splurging on yourself in terms of food/nutrition is the most important. Remember, you're growing a baby in there and giving him/her it's first start in life! 


This time around I'm doing acupuncture and maybe some chiropractic work. I'm also going to try to do a belly cast (which I wanted to do last time). Oooh, and prenatal yoga is awesome. So, I guess I'm pretty anti-stuff when it comes to pregnancy, but very pro-experiences that make your pregnancy easier on you!

post #10 of 21

Great advice, ladies! Useful to us first timers.

post #11 of 21

I did do a belly cast last time, and want to do one this time too, but I haven't really done anything with it. I plan to sand and paint it someday...yanno, before my kids are adults...

post #12 of 21

I definitely have maternity clothes - but one other thing I did you might find useful - I also just bought a bunch of things in a couple sizes up (not things with defined waists, but like cute stretchy skirts or tops with flowier A-line kind of belly areas) and I loved them because they also transitioned to post-partum use really nicely, and I wore them all the way through my pregnancy.  It really stinks to continue to wear anything maternity post birth (at least for me - it's psychological).  Also, if you work - make sure to buy a really mix/match kind of wardrobe - maternity wear gets really boring because you can't buy an entire big wardrobe, so at least being able to mix it up for work helps.  Also, see if you can borrow maternity clothes!  I did and LOVED the added variety!  Last, save some of your maternity clothes budget for the last trimester - you'll be surprised that what fit in your 2nd trimester suddenly seems too tight or uncomfortable as your belly expands.  


I liked splurging on a pregnancy belly oil - I used Mama Mio and I LOVE it.  I haven't gotten stretch marks yet - and I mostly just attribute that to genetics/baby size - but I liked the oil nonetheless.  This time, I got a less expensive, Weleda brand, because, well, finances are tighter with 2 other little ones around! ;)


I also like the Organic Pregnancy Tea - I can't stomach it in my first trimester - but I've got a stock ready for when I hit 12-14 weeks or so.  It has proven benefits for pregos :).  


As for books, I don't favor "What to Expect..." - I found it a bit condescending in tone and also, plain wrong/misinformed in some areas.  I loved Ina May's Spiritual Midwifery and still read it as a reference.  I loved "So THAT's What They're For!" for breastfeeding prep - I also like "The Art of Breastfeeding" by La Leche League - but the former was very practical and not quite as ethereal-pie in the sky about breastfeeding as the La Leche book.  The two together make a great resource.  I also like "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" (minus the cry-it-out advice - I'm not a cry-it-out kind of gal, but the book has some really good advice on establishing a routine - you can discount the bad advice and take the good!) for educating new parents about babies and sleep needs.  I read this book only after my first son was born and it was a Game Changer :) - I wished I had read it before he was born so I'd have been more prepared.  


This isn't really a "thing" but I loved pre-natal yoga classes with my first.  Was really relaxing and super good to meet other new moms!

post #13 of 21

If you want a suggestion for the early postpartum period, when you're sleep deprived and crazy, might I suggest the very AP-friendly The Happiest Baby on the Block? This book saved my life. Cecilia wasn't colicky, but she had a "witching hour" every evening, for about 3 hours, where none of the usual things that soothed her worked. I read the book and implemented the 5 S's (well, 4 in my case because she didn't take a paci and didn't want to be latched during her crying time) and OMG IT WAS LIKE AN ANGELIC CHOIR! I always suggest first time moms read it before the baby comes, when you still have time to do such things, and then it becomes a good reference book after the baby.

post #14 of 21
For after baby:

1) A baby carrier (sling, Mei Tai, or just a simple piece of cloth)

2) clothes

3) car seat

4) somewhere for baby to sleep (mine sleep in my bed)

5) supportive help as you ajust and heal
post #15 of 21

I'd add a nursing pillow to that list. I certainly don't ever want to be without mine. I like the Boppy better than My Brest Friend, but that's personal choice.

post #16 of 21

This is the third time around the pregnancy block for me and these are my must haves:


1. Maternity jeans. Shop the thrift stores for these, where I've had decent luck. But, I did splurge on some ones from Gap that I really loooove. They actually have great sales fairly often. I got some shorts for later in the summer for around $10 a few weeks back.


2. Yoga pants. It feels a little less dumpy than just wearing sweats on those days you just aren't feeling up to the challenge of dressing cute. 


3. Pillows! I pretty much sleep in a nest from 20 weeks on. My poor partner is gonna get wedged in the corner of the bed again. 


4. I use my regular old lotion for the belly. I have splurged for the fancy oils before, but really it does the same job as any lotion.


5. Good teas. If you can source herbs yourself and make your own loose leaf blends you will get the most medicinal value from them. I buy bulk red raspberry leaf and then mix it with nettles, rose hips, alfalfa, and chamomile. Yummy. This is a great all around pregnancy blend. It can be made iced too with a little agave for sweetness- Summer is gonna be hot! 


6. A few prenatal massages are amazing if you can afford it. I am aiming for one or two a trimester starting at 12 weeks. 


7. Best books for me with my first were: Spiritual Midwifery, The Complete Guide to Pregnancy, and Anne Lamott's memoir Operating Instructions. I loved her book and have read a few times over. I also like Dr. Sear's books. 

post #17 of 21

I just want to chime in with books - Henci Goer's - The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth was lifechanging for me.  Also you MUST watch The Business of Being Born.  As far as purchases - buy maternity clothing as you go - I overbought and ended up with stuff that never fit or I never had a real use for. Special cream isn't necessary, herbal teas are nice, special pillows are nice.  Both pregnancies for me (at least so far) have left me with SEVERELY chapped lips no matter how much water I drink, and I prefer using lanolin for cracked nipples, it seems to work much better to relieve the pain than chapstick.

post #18 of 21

Don't forget Mothering has a weekly letter they send out with your baby's in utero development.  Does that make sense?


I agree with the pillow.

I like Mama pads, but just having something on hand is good.  Towards the end things tend to get really slippery and sneezing isnt your friend. :)

I need breath right strips because I start snoring as my nasal passages widen and I dont sleep as good.


I go to the chiro about every 3 weeks and a massage about once a month starting at about 5 months or so.


Nipple cream like lansinoh.  I remember my nipples got so sore before the baby came and that helps...and it's great for after.


If you scrapbook, use this time to prepare stuff ahead. (I know you didnt ask about crafts.)


That's reallly all I can think of.  There just wasnt a whole lot I needed to be comfortable.

post #19 of 21

Well I'd say if you are on a tight budget, you don't really need anything except nutritious food to eat.


If you're due sometime in August, and it gets hot where you live in the summer, it's probably going to be way too hot for a bella band.  I had one last pregnancy and I wore it when it was cold, but as summer started it was just way too hot to have thick cotton around my stomach.  You could definitely go without it.


I think books might be nice, but you don't need them- there is so much information available online. I'd say check some books out from the library if you want, but no need to spend money on them : )


You also don't have to buy maternity clothes, there are a lot of regular clothes that work just fine and are probably already in your closet or way cheaper than maternity clothes.  Any shirts or tank tops or dresses with an empire waist, any skirt with a stretchy waist band, stretchy pants, etc. I don't think I had a single piece of clothes during my last pregnancy that was labelled maternity. It seems to me that you pay a price just for that word. 


You can also put 2 regular pillows next you and use that instead of a body pillow.  One between your knees and hug the other one. Also worked fine for me last time.


I did use lotion, my skin was very itchy and it often hurt from it stretching, but lotion helped a lot. 


I think I'd rather spend money on seeing a chiropractor and getting massages, and high quality food.  I'm not saying these things aren't nice, I was just trying to say there are alternatives to spending a lot of money :)


I second watching the business of being born, if you haven't already.  Ina May's book is great too.



post #20 of 21

I just want to add that I lived in flowy dresses with my last pregnancy.  Sun dresses and maxi dresses are perfect for a late summer due date.  Most of mine were not even maternity.  I also own yoga pants, 1 pair of maternity jeans, 1 pair of maternity shorts, 1 pair of black maternity dress slacks and several tanks, cotton shirts and 2 nice blouses.  Old Navy and Target have some very cute styles and they are affordable.  The rest of the time I slouch around in oversize tshirts and soffie shorts. 

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