25 must-haves for moms-to-be
Everything you need to navigate your nine months with a baby on board.
The cruel irony of pregnancy is that even before your bundle of sleep deprivation arrives, catching those precious Zs gets tricky. Eliminate one major issue—finding a comfortable position—by making friends with a pregnancy pillow. Your bump, pelvis, lower back, hips and knees will welcome the support. Plus, this double-duty design can be reconfigured for use as a nursing pillow postpartum.
A lesser-touted side effect of pregnancy, vision issues sometimes crop up among the expectant crowd. Physical and hormonal shifts can lead to dry eyes, and fluid retention can alter the shape of the cornea, making for blurry vision. Using bump-safe eye drops or switching from contact lenses to glasses can help solve your moisture woes. But if your prescription changes significantly (which is pretty rare), a new pair of spectacles might be in order.
Warby Parker prescription eyeglasses, from $95
A relaxed esophageal sphincter (blame it on the hormones!) means stomach acid can sneak back up into your esophagus and result in the uncomfortable burning sensation known as heartburn. Consuming small meals; avoiding spicy, greasy foods and caffeinated beverages; and remaining upright for a while after eating can thwart the scorch. But when proactive measures fall short, these minty, calcium-rich tablets can cool things down.
Taking time to recharge is essential when you have a bun in the oven, so make yourself a cup of tea to enjoy in peace and quiet. These made-for-mama tea bags boast a naturally caffeine-free herbal blend of raspberry leaf, nettles, alfalfa, parsley and more to tone uterine muscles, strengthen bones and fight water retention.
Ginger is a go-to remedy for nausea relief, so find a form that appeals to you —fresh ginger, ginger ale, ginger gum, ginger candies, the list goes on—and fend off the morning sickness that plagues you well into the evening.
Simply Gum chewing gum, $16 for six packs
A lot of what you already own can stay in rotation throughout pregnancy—open-front cardigans, maxi dresses, roomy tunics. But you’re going to need some solid foundation pieces to make them work. This starter kit has you covered with an extra-long tank, leggings, a short-sleeved dress and pencil skirt, all made with Lenzing Modal and a pinch of spandex for a soft, stretchy fit.
Storq basics bundle, $250
Your breasts start changing long before your milk comes in—in fact, many women go up one or two (or more!) cup and band sizes over the course of pregnancy. Support the girls with a stretchy bra, and consider switching to a nursing style while you’re at it. (You’ll need it eventually anyway.)
Coobie nursing bra, $22
Good jeans are almost as important as good genes. (Hey, we said almost!) Elastic insets on this flattering pair mean the pull-on pants expand right along with you. They’re cut low in front to leave room for your bump and high in the back to cover your rump (which will look A+ in this no-sag denim).
Madewell maternity jeans, $138
Move over, decade-old sweats and oversized T-shirt. This modern-day housedress is roomy enough to accommodate your curves, cozy enough to nap in and completely nursing-friendly for when you need easy access postpartum. Oh, and it’s totally Instagram-appropriate.
A belly band keeps your britches up when they’re too tight to button, provides extra coverage when your shirt is suddenly a little short and supports your tummy as it gets bigger (and bigger). Our favorite thing about this one: Its innovative WonderWeave material locks in moisture, so your stretch mark cream gets absorbed by your belly instead of your blouse.
There’s little research to prove hair-dyeing is either safe or harmful during pregnancy, so what’s a mom-to-be to do? Options include using natural dyes, asking your stylist to use a technique where the color doesn’t touch the scalp, or opting out entirely just in case. (Of course, getting your doc’s opinion should be step No. 1.) If you’re mostly OK with going au naturel but want to hide those grays for an important meeting or big event, a temporary cover-up can get to the root of the problem.
Wary of the chemicals wafting around the nail salon? The odor alone is enough to make any morning-sick mama run for the nearest trash bin. Skip the professional mani-pedi, and do it yourself instead (or recruit a friend or partner if you can no longer reach your toes). Just be sure to choose a 5-free polish, which means there’s no formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, camphor or formaldehyde resin to fret over.
Genetics play a big role in whether you’ll be subject to stretch marks, but just because your mom got them doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Minimize the damage with slow, steady weight gain and a moisturizing cream or oil (which will help with itchiness, too). Spoiler alert: Those pinkish streaks can take up residence on your breasts, buttocks and thighs as well, so don’t limit the lotion to your bump.
Sure, most of us are thrilled when pregnancy hormones result in a fuller mane, but when those same hormones lead to stray hairs cropping up in unfortunate places (like chins and nipples)? No thanks. They may be awkward, but they’re not the end of the world. Find them, pluck them, and move on.
Tweezerman tweezers, $16
With hormones raging and go-to fixes like salicylic acid off-limits, keeping acne-prone skin under control is no easy task. But before you pull a paper bag over your head, give this gentle treatment a go. The pregnancy-safe wash relies on lactic acid, lemon peel oil, green tea extract and cucumber to calm breakouts and get you ready to face the day.
From folic acid and omega-3s to a slew of essential vitamins and minerals, a prenatal multivitamin is the best way to ensure your budding babe isn’t missing out on any critical nutrition. If swallowing a pill triggers your gag reflex, try these chewable gummies, which come in citrusy flavors like grapefruit, clementine and lemon.
Eating often is a must when you’ve got a bun in the oven, but there isn’t always time or space to prepare a healthy spread. When you’re in a pinch, these nutrient-packed pouches are just the ticket. Store a few in your desk drawer and a couple in your handbag to slurp when hunger strikes.
Your bladder may disagree, but staying hydrated is key when you’ve got a baby on board. It can prevent constipation, minimize swelling and even help with fatigue. So drink up, mamas! This colorful mix-and-match water bottle keeps beverages cold for up to 24 hours (or hot for six).
Pregnant women are prone to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums that can cause soreness or bleeding), so taking care of that gleaming smile is ultra important. Keep up with dental checkups every six months and be particularly diligent about your brushing and flossing regimen in between. Handy tip: If minty toothpaste suddenly makes you want to hurl, try switching to baking soda for a while instead.
With slowed circulation, it’s no surprise your feet are more likely to swell up like balloons. Prevent the puff by neither sitting nor standing for long periods of time, propping up your feet when you can, and sporting compression socks or stockings, which can also deter varicose veins.
You may be so tired that peeling yourself off the sofa seems impossible, but getting going is actually a great way to increase your energy. So lace up your sneakers—this lightweight pair has a sock-like wool upper for ultimate breathability and comfort—and hit the ground running (or walking—the low-impact exercise is ideal for the expectant crowd).
Prenatal yoga offers a host of benefits, from increasing flexibility to reducing stress to improving sleep. But even if you were an avid yogi prepregnancy, you may find some of your favorite poses become more difficult as your center of gravity shifts. Don’t be shy about using props like blocks, straps and blankets to support you throughout your practice.
Sporting a watch might seem like a thing of the past—doesn’t everyone just look at their phones to get the time?—but wearing one makes checking in throughout your workout a cinch. Besides, it also makes it easier to challenge yourself to three minutes of power-walking before switching to two minutes of slower strides. Bonus: Use this cool clock during labor to time contractions.
Nixon wristwatch, $100
If spending a half-hour on the elliptical sounds even more lackluster than watching grass grow, liven things up with something enticing to listen to. Whether you work it out to your favorite jams or pass the time with an inspiring podcast, a distraction from the din of the gym might make all the difference. (Need a podcast rec? Try The Birth Hour. Each episode invites a mom to share her birth story and makes great company on a stroll through the neighborhood.)
Urbanears headphones, $49
When you’re in the process of putting on 25 to 35 pounds (the recommended weight gain for women with a normal BMI), feeling weightless has never seemed more appealing. So, shimmy into a suit, and wade into the water. Pressure on your back and joints will be instantly alleviated, and swimming laps serves as excellent cardio.