Ahh, pregnancy. That beautiful time in a woman’s life where she has the opportunity to grow a human being right inside her body.
It’s magical, it’s wonderful…it’s a little bit weird.
While the ability to have a child is truly extraordinary, women tend to forget about the strange things our bodies will go through during the process. It’s not just swollen stomachs and baby kicks.
It’s a full-body experience that can lead to some pretty unusual early pregnancy signs, and that ultimately gets us to a point where most of our organs are squished together in places where they seemingly never belong.
While your gestational period will obviously involve things like the purchase of some inexpensive maternity clothes, there’s a wide variety of other pregnancy essentials you should be thinking about.
From morning sickness treatments to pregnancy pillows, we’ve put our heads (and experiences) together to choose some of the most important things a pregnant woman needs for each trimester for all the crazy things our bodies go through as we build a baby!
Pregnancy Essentials: First Trimester
Here’s the thing about the first trimester of pregnancy – it’s a pretty bittersweet experience.
Sure, for the most part, it’s a total lovefest. If this is something you have been dreaming of, your days are likely sprinkled with more joy than you can stand. And chances are that you’re living on a high from the surprising announcement that you’re about to have a baby.
On the other hand, though, first trimester side effects can be wicked.
By investing in the right pregnancy essentials for the first trimester, you can not only combat some of these issues but also set yourself up for a more enjoyable pregnancy. Here are our top picks to help you get through the first trimester!
When it comes to pregnancy essentials for the first trimester, prenatal vitamins are the bread and butter of the experience.
Why methylated folate? So glad you asked! We know, we know, all the ad campaigns rave about folic acid. But did you know that some women cannot properly process folic acid, while they can process methylated folate, with the same beneficial effects?
Some estimates suggest that nearly half of the population has a form of the MTHFR genetic variant, and certain types of that variant inhibit the proper absorption of folic acid. So when we recommend prenatal vitamins, they will always use methylated folate as the primary folate source!
(2) Download a Pregnancy App
These fun apps will cover everything under the sun. Whether you need help naming your baby or want to know what size fruit your little one is month-to-month, you’ll be covered!
Here are a few of our favorite app options:
- WebMD Pregnancy App
- BabyCenter Pregnancy & Baby App
- What to Expect’s Pregnancy Tracker
- The Bump Pregnancy Tracker
(3) Morning Sickness Solutions
Oh, morning sickness – or as I like to call it, the bane of most expectant mothers’ first trimester experience.
While it’s one of the most common first trimester symptoms, scientists still aren’t entirely sure why morning sickness occurs so much.
The most likely theory is that it stems from the ever-increasing levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), the pregnancy hormone.
I, for one, was pretty stereotypical and had near-constant nausea during the first few months of my pregnancy with our first daughter. I searched the internet high and low for the most beneficial treatment options available.
Aside from carrying around bulk-sized bags of ginger chews everywhere I went, I discovered a few other pregnancy essentials that helped settle my stomach, including:
- Nibbling on crackers first thing in the morning. To keep morning sickness at bay, never let your stomach be empty!
- Using peppermint everything, such as drinking peppermint tea (our favorite is this blend from Earth Mama Organics that has both ginger and peppermint), diffusing peppermint essential oils, and sucking on peppermint candies
- Drinking ginger ale or sucking on Gin Gins hard candies
- Sucking on Preggie Pop Drops
- Wearing sea bands on your wrists
If your morning sickness is so severe that you can’t keep down food or water, or if it persists well past the first trimester, have a serious conversation with your doctor about the possibility of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).
This disease is far worse than typical morning sickness, and it often requires mom to advocate for herself with her healthcare team in order to get quality care for a beyond-miserable condition.
(4) Cute Pregnancy Water Bottle
If you’re someone who’s looking for the perfect things to buy a pregnant woman, why not consider an adorable pregnancy water bottle?
We all know drinking enough water is important on a regular basis. When you’re pregnant, however, it’s even more critical.
Not only does it help produce more blood and amniotic fluid needed to care for your baby, but it can also help with pregnancy symptoms, such as:
- Low Energy
It can also help reduce a mother’s risk of preterm labor and birth.
Pregnancy is an experience unlike anything else. You will go through so many different sensations mentally and physically – why not find a pregnancy journal to jot your memories down in?
This beautiful keepsake is something you will treasure, not only for yourself but also to share with your little one down the road.
While your belly might not be growing too much during the first trimester, it’s still important to get ahead of the game.
Your body is going to be doing a lot of stretching during pregnancy, which can lead to stretch marks.
By applying a high-quality cream, like Earth Mama Organics Belly Butter, early on, you can help prepare your skin for what’s to come.
You can even turn a routine of using belly lotion into a bonding experience with your partner.
My husband used to rub my belly with lotion every night before bed. It was a quiet moment where we would reflect on the day and talk about the amazing things yet to come.
As your belly starts growing, or if you start itching, add in a good belly oil! Skincare is key to prevent itching, major stretch marks, and even acne during pregnancy!
(7) Sleeping Bra
Didn’t know this was a thing? Most people don’t until some angel of a friend mentions it as a fix for excessively sore boobs during pregnancy.
Once your chest gets sore during pregnancy (often one of the earliest signs women experience), you’ll want to invest in a good sleeping bra because you’ll wear it the rest of your pregnancy, and it can double as a nursing bra (if you go that route!)
Pregnancy Essentials: Second Trimester
Compared to the first trimester of your pregnancy, the second trimester can often feel like a breeze!
Usually, your morning sickness will start to subside, and you’ll begin to get some of your energy back. At least that’s how it was for me – I hit the second trimester and suddenly felt like taking a two-hour nap after work was no longer necessary.
Despite the simpler months you have to look forward to, this doesn’t mean there aren’t still lots of things a pregnant woman needs to help her through.
When it comes to pregnancy essentials in the second trimester, these are some of the top picks in our community.
Truth time: towards the end of my first trimester, I suddenly realized my pants weren’t fitting quite as nicely as before.
I was in denial that I could already need maternity clothes and decided to try a handy dandy hair tie trick I learned online.
This worked for a while, but suddenly I discovered something I liked even more: belly bands.
This simple piece of material slips right over the top of your jeans and keeps everything in place and pulled up just the way it should be.
I also discovered that rather than fight with a hair tie all three million times a day that I needed to pee, a belly band was a more practical option for using the bathroom.
(2) Pregnancy Pillow
If you slip into my bedroom on any given night, you’ll catch me sleeping with no less than three pillows. (But please don’t, because that would be creepy!)
What can I say, I’m a pillow girl!
WhenI was pregnant, I really upped the pillow ante. I was constantly looking for ways to burrow myself more comfortably into my bed.
Enter the most exquisite thing I’d ever seen: my pregnancy pillow!
This full-body pillow’s snake-like design is soft, fluffy, and can be wound around your body to support all the nooks and crannies that feel so uncomfortable when you’re growing a kid.
What’s even better, is that they still work just as well for supporting your postpartum body!
These pillows are truly an investment in your bedtime routine!
And if you just can’t handle the snake idea, it’s probably at least time to invest in a small belly wedge.
As your belly begins to grow during the second trimester, the phrase “pregnancy essentials” takes on a whole new meaning.
With a growing baby getting bigger each day of your pregnancy progression, you’ll suddenly be looking for any way to alleviate the stress on your body and reduce the amount of pain you’re experiencing.
When it comes to maternity essentials, a high-quality belly support band should be at the top of your list.
These devices offer a variety of benefits, as they:
- Prevent poor posture
- Prevent back, hip, and pelvic pain
- Support the weight of your growing belly
- Reduce bladder pressure
You can find support bands in all brands and styles, but in terms of quality, we think Belly Bandit has completely cornered the market here. Theirs are unrivaled, in our experience.
(4) Nasal Strips
Nasal strips might seem like an unlikely pick for a list of pregnancy essentials, but hear me out.
Pregnancy hormones can be a leading cause of annoying side effects like nasal congestion and clogged sinuses during the second and third trimesters.
Since many cold medicines are out-of-the-question, nasal strips can be a safe alternative to help you breathe better during the night.
(5) Bump Support Leggings or Tank Top
Will you get more support from a belly band? Yes! But sometimes you’ll want a break from it, or need to wear an outfit that it shows through. Form fitting outfits don’t look awesome with belly bands underneath!
That’s why we love support leggings for pregnancy. That said, we know not everyone can live in leggings. If you’re one of those people, a support tank that goes under your shirt can be a total gamechanger.
Pregnancy Essentials: Third Trimester
By the time your third trimester arrives, you might be feeling a little bit over the whole pregnancy process.
There’s also a good chance you could start experiencing some less than spectacular side effects.
Thankfully, though, there are some great pregnancy and maternity essentials for the third trimester to help you towards the finish line.
With every week of your pregnancy, the likelihood of swollen feet will begin to rise.
By the end of my pregnancies, the very idea of putting on shoes caused a small spike of anxiety. Regretfully, public places aren’t the best for bare feet.
Find yourself a comfortable pair of shoes that will make that whole walking thing more bearable. And if your feet are really swollen, you might even want to consider going up a size.
By the time you reach 40 weeks, and your baby is approximately the size of a small pumpkin, the rest of your organs might feel like they’re being pushed up into your throat.
With everything running out of space, your digestive tract can’t function the way it needs to, which can lead to awful heartburn.
You might want to consider taking a bottle of Tums with you anywhere you go!
You’re to the point of pregnancy where swelling is a serious, legit issue. Wearing compression socks is a great way to reduce foot swelling and increase comfort by supporting good circulation in your legs!
While many of your family and friends might surprise you with meals after the baby is born, it’s always best to plan ahead.
Consider making up some casseroles and other dishes that can be safely stored in freezer containers.
When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I would make two to three large dinners a week and freeze the leftovers for later. It was a lifesaver when the meals stopped coming after we had been home for a few weeks.
(5) Birthing Ball
A birthing ball, otherwise known as an exercise ball, is a valuable commodity during pregnancy and labor.
It’s best known for helping manage labor pains if you’re hoping for a natural childbirth or to dilate to a certain point before an epidural. But it can also help with your labor progression, preparing your cervix for labor.
As someone whose body was slow to jump on the dilation train before labor, I was fully committed to my birthing ball.
I would park in front of the tv and bounce nonstop while I watched!
Pregnancy Things To Buy List
As you can see, being pregnant is about more than just showing up to doctor’s appointments and watching your belly grow.
It’s important to find all the right things a pregnant woman needs to make the experience more enjoyable.
If you’re confused about where to start, we’ve created a handy printable “Pregnancy Essentials Checklist: Everything You Need to Thrive through 40 Weeks” to help you out!
Pregnancy and Maternity Essentials You’re Sure to Love
Making a baby is not an easy thing to accomplish. Why not spoil yourself a little during the process? All of these pregnancy essentials are highly beneficial to any woman experiencing pregnancy.
If you’re trying to figure out what things a pregnant woman needs, this is a great place to start!
Have you been pregnant before? Were there any must-have pregnancy or maternity essentials you couldn’t live without?
Kristen Bergeron is a freelance writer from Florida. In addition to writing, she is a wife, mother of two beautiful girls, Hadley and Scarlett, and a part-time photographer. After overcoming infertility and having two successful IVF cycles, she’s made it a personal goal to help educate men and women on the realities of fertility struggles. She is passionate about supporting fellow women who are trying to navigate the complicated world of conception, pregnancy, and learning to be the best mothers we can be.