Monday, 28 October 2013

The Pregnancy Essentials edition

I went and bought a nursing bra at the weekend. It was the third best thing I have ever done* and I am absolutely kicking myself that I didn't do it WEEKS ago as I am now comfortable and have normal looking boobs again. It got me thinking that whilst I have read lots of blog posts about stuff for the baby you definitely need/don't need/why do all these things contradict each other?! I didn't see many about pregnancy. So here is my very personal list of 'essentials'** with a rough idea of when I needed them.

At the start-
'What to expect when you are expecting' (or equivalent)- Apparently this book is awful and really negative about pregnancy and birth (I didn't notice...) but in the first trimester I LOVED pouring over a pregnancy book. It seemed like a really sensible way to channel my nervous excitement, and didn't have a comments section. It also had lots of answers to questions I had that didn't involve Google, which I have tried to avoid at all possible costs- ESPECIALLY anything that involved a comments section (have I mentioned that you should avoid the comments section enough yet?). I know NHS Choices is also really good for that, but there were things I didn't know I'd need to know which is why I liked reading the chapter of the book. (My friend recommended the Mayo Clinic book instead, which is meant to be much better but I haven't actually read it so can't confirm or deny.) Incidentally, I have not so much as glanced at that book since about week 20, so if you can you should get it from the library...

About week 15-
Maternity jeans/shorts/trousers of some description- I could have totally survived in my own clothes another few weeks but OH MY WORD the difference was incredible. I was so much more comfortable in them. I only bought one pair of jeans, a pair of denim shorts (the LA equivalent of more jeans, I think) and then a load of dresses, which I basically lived in. I also ordered some lazing-around-the-house cotton shorts from ASOS but they stopped fitting pretty early. I think I'll use them once the baby is here, before I'm ready to return to my old shorts, but I'm not sure I would buy them again.

A body pillow- So I looked at these big fancy maternity pillows that seem to be available everywhere (queue the account of Just Me's Big White Vagina Pillow) but we have a plain old double bed, that once both of us, the cat and the duvet (that ends up in the middle of the bed every damn night) are safely in, has NO SPACE for Vagina pillows- enormous or otherwise. Then I found a normal, straight and skinny body pillow in Target for $9.99 and the world sleep has been better ever since. Ikea sell them as well, I think. Basically I just needed something to lean on, as a very sad and disgruntled front-sleeper. It's not fancy, it has next to no actual support in it, but it works and if you can't afford to spend fifty quid on a pillow, I highly recommend it. I SHOULD have bought it about 4 weeks before I actually did. Also, get some pillow cases for it. I did this a LONG time after I had the (patterned) pillow by which time it was caked in drool, leaking colostrum and cat hair. Staggeringly gross.

I bought a few maternity T-Shirts. They lasted about 8 weeks, I think, and I'm really glad I bought them in Ross for five bucks each (a sort of TK Maxx equivalent- I highly recommend buying Maternity clothes in there!) I probably wouldn't bother doing that again. I found the H&M Mama basic tank tops so much better, and just put normal t-shirts and tops over them. My biggest regret is that I didn't by more of them. Layering worked so much better for me, and I'm sure I had heard other people mention this but didn't listen to them. 

About week 25-
I'm putting this at week 25 even though I bought it at week 30, as yet again it was insane that I held off that long, but an exercise ball is the kindest thing you can do for yourself. I'll use it as a birth ball when I'm in labour (sorry Mummy, it'll be in the back of the car with you and the Car Seat base...) But at the moment I use it as a seat for when I am sore and uncomfortable. Kick has always enjoyed hanging out nice and low on my bladder and cervix, which is as comfortable as it sounds. Before she flipped over to a head down position she would really go to town down there when I sat up at the dining table. The magic exercise ball saved my life. I can sit up and be comfortable. I head towards it any time she is squashing my bladder or I have a sore lower back, and within minutes I feel better. I got mine in Ross (again) for $8.99, but I think they were $20 on Amazon and I would have paid a million pounds for one.***

Epsom Salts- This was another recommendation from Just Me, who I think got it from her midwives, but after a day of sitting on the sofa mild exercise like walking or trying to plug my phone charger back in to the socket under the bed, I was so stiff and achey and ready to cry. I went out and spent $20 on bubble bath, but she said the Epsom Salts were better and she was totally right. They seem to soothe my muscles and make me so sleepy that I am usually get a good night's sleep after the bath too. I only got them about 3 weeks ago, but I should have been using them for months and months. Worth it despite husband telling me I smelled like an old lady. (My cat also smells like an old lady as she fell IN the bath last night after I got out. Serves her right for lying on the edge like a creep the whole time I'm...)

About week 32-
So I mentioned the nursing bra of wonder at the start of this post, but I just wanted to reiterate how amazing it is. The place I went and got measured etc recommends going at your eighth month, and they are wise. I had gone from wearing normal bras (a size up from my regular ones) to living in un-supportive, decidedly unflattering sports bras. When I did finally get measured, I had gone from a 32 to a 36 (the lady fitting me looked at my quite strangely when I seemed surprised at this- 'hadn't you noticed your ribs were expanding?!' well, eh, yes. The acceptable time to take my bra off had dropped to somewhere around mid-afternoon and I complained about it ALL DAY (to the cat) apart from that. I tried on a stack of about 10 before I was happy, and so was the fitting lady who had exceptionally high standards. They only had one colour in stock in my size, so I shall order another one after payday this week, but honestly- don't wait. Be kind to your boobs- they are about to face a long and arduous task.

So will I be buying anything else? HELLS NO. I am so over shopping for crap that I need.  I want to do enjoyable shopping only. Yesterday afternoon, husband and I went and sat in Barnes and Noble for about 3 hours reading and choosing baby books. We decided on four- 2 each. Mostly because they entertained us, which is kind of the most important thing since Kick won't even understand them for ages and eventually we're going to have to read them 50,000 times per day. We cleared the booze shelf of our bookcase and moved it elsewhere to start a little collection of books for Kick. This felt Very Grown-Up and Important, almost on a par with the day we realised we had a booze shelf and didn't just finish everything the day we got it... 

So that's my list. Feel free to add to it/tell me I'm wrong/think it's the most boring thing anyone has ever posted. I won't take it personally. Much.

*Best thing- going home with a boy after a night out. I'm married to him now... Second best thing- quitting my insurance job to go back to Uni to be a nurse. THAT is how much I love this bra.
**Absolutely nothing in life is Essential except for air, water and food, and warmth. Everything else is an absolute extra. Important to remember in life, but particularly pregnancy, where people are always trying to make you buy shit.
***I have a surprisingly long history with these exercise balls- they used them in the classrooms of the School I did an exchange with in Germany in 1996. Our lovely host families sent us home with one, so I sat on it to do my homework for my entire high school career. They are awesome.


  1. thing - "going home with a boy after a night out." Love it :)

    I agree about the nursing bras! I bought mine around 30 weeks. I have two kinds, two that are more "real bras" that I can wear to work or out to dinner and two that are more like sports comfy and nice. I got measured and fitted at the Pea in the Pod (splurge), but will have to try out the Pump Station as I didn't buy very many yet.

    Also, I'm so glad the Epsom Salts worked for you! Isn't it kinda funny how much they help you sleep and help with aches and pains? I had a bath with some last night and it really makes a huge difference.

    Finally, damnit. I never bought an exercise ball. I kept meaning this point it just seems silly to rush out and buy one just for one day of labor. But maybe I'll regret that? Hmm...

    1. Buy one! Send b out for it tonight. It will change your life. Every class/tour/appointment I've been to has recommended them too- babies love to be bounced on them too apparently, so it'll last you months and months. Totally recommend the pump station too. Seriously cute baby stuff in the same shop, which makes it less stressful somehow, and really reasonable- couldn't find the bra I got cheaper anywhere online.


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