1. Bio Oil | 2. Palmers Cocoa Butter Tummy Butter | 3. Belli Elasticity Belly Oil | 4. BellaBand | 5. Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow | 6. Lululemon Wunder Under Crop III | 7. Prenatal Vitamins | 8. Swell water bottle | 9. What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Belly Creams: Whether or not you get stretch marks is mainly dependent upon genetics, but that doesn’t mean you have to go through pregnancy with itchy skin as your belly grows. I notice that I go through phases where sometimes my skin is more easily irritated than others thanks to hormones and two little growing girls. You don’t want to use your fingernails to scratch your already dry, stretched skin as this will make it worse, but you can use your fingertips to try to massage your skin. However, what I found best is to keep my skin as moisturized as possible. Every morning after I get out of the shower I cover my entire torso, booty and thighs (the main problem areas) with Bio Oil. Sometimes I mix it with Belli Elasticity Belly Oil, which has a nice lavender scent, but most the time I just use Bio Oil. Since it takes about 15 minutes to fully absorb, I make sure to finish doing my hair and make-up before putting my clothes on. Before bed, I lather up with Palmers Cocoa Butter Tummy Butter, which is thicker in consistency and keeps your skin hydrated throughout the night. When my skin gets itchy throughout the day, I use Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter, which is not as greasy or thick.

BellaBand: While it may not be until the second trimester that you can truly see your “baby bump”, the waistband of your jeans will get tighter as your body starts to change to prepare for your baby or babies. The BellaBand is essentially a stretchy tube of fabric that fits around your waist and belly, which allows you to still wear your normal jeans, just unbuttoned and even unzipped. There are similar models made by other companies, but the quality of the fabric on the BellaBand with its stay-put silicone strap makes it worth the few extra dollars. The BellaBand is the one maternity product I wish I had purchased as soon as I found out I was pregnant. By the time I purchased it, I could only use it with my normal pants for a few weeks before I could only wear maternity pants. However if I was only pregnant with one baby, I think I could have worn it much longer. I also can still layer it under shirts that are a little short plus it provides some additional support. Plus you can always wear it those first few weeks postpartum when you can’t quite fit into your old pants yet. 🙂

Body Pillow: As you progress in your pregnancy, sleeping on your stomach is clearly not an option, and it is not recommended that you sleep on your back as it can cause a decrease in circulation to your heart and baby. Because of this, sleeping on your side – preferably the left side as it can increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach your placenta and baby/babies – is your best option. Sleeping on your side may not be the most natural sleeping position, so thankfully a body pillow can help support your back, hips, neck and belly. I chose the C-shaped Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow and have been pleased with it. I recommend discussing sleeping positions with your doctor at one of your first appointments, so he/she can advise you as to when you should make changes and discuss what is best for your pregnancy.

Leggings: Leggings are truly a lifesaver with an ever-changing body. Plus, they encourage you to stay active, as you are always “gym ready”. I personally prefer low-rise, non-maternity leggings as you can simply adjust where the waistband sits on your belly. The Lululemon Wunder Under Crop III leggings that I had before getting pregnant still work great. They hold their shape well, so I do not have to worry about stretching them out and can still wear them post babies. While I do like my high-rise maternity leggings from Gap (full-length and cropped), I find that I end up rolling down the waistband since it starts to bother my belly after awhile.

Prenatal Vitamins: It is critical that you take prenatal vitamins while pregnant to ensure you and your baby/babies get the nutrients that you need. Your nutritional needs change while you are pregnant so prenatal vitamins help address those needs. I recommend asking your doctor if he/she has samples of prenatal vitamins. Most do and I did not end up needing to actually buy any vitamins until 23 weeks because of all the samples I received. Upon my doctor’s recommendation, I chose the CitraNatal 90 DHA Prenatal Vitamin, but your doctor can help you determine the best option for you.

Water Bottle: It is always important to make sure you are properly hydrated, but especially when pregnant. Dehydration during pregnancy can have a number of negative side effects including nausea, headaches, swelling, constipation, dry skin and even preterm labor. If you are working out during pregnancy, you should drink even more water. Initially I set a goal of drinking 10 cups of water a day, but as my pregnancy has progressed, I now have a goal of drinking 16 cups. While this does not always happen, I find that by drinking a bottle right when I wake up, one throughout the morning, one with lunch, one throughout the afternoon, one while driving home from work/working out and the final one with dinner and throughout the rest of the night, I can usually fit them in. I found it helpful to get a larger water bottle (~24 oz.), so that it is easy to keep track of how many cups of water I have had. This Swell water bottle is perfect at 25 oz. As with everything else, consult your doctor on what your fluid intake should be and then treat yourself to a fun water bottle to help you reach whatever that goal is.

Pregnancy Book: There are literally thousands of pregnancy and parenting books out there. I personally find it a little overwhelming. However, from talking with friends, the one book that always came up as a favorite during pregnancy is What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff. My mom even read it 27 years ago when she was pregnant with me (note – there have been updates to it since then). I decided to purchase it and was not disappointed. The book walks you through each week of your pregnancy and each of the stages of labor. It has multiple Q&A sections, which have covered every question I have had and walks you through all potential complications. It also has helped me know what to ask my OB-GYN at appointments. Lastly, the book is great because you can either skim it or read it cover-to-cover depending on what you are looking for.