What are the must haves during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a hot mess. Excitement. Exhaustion. Hunger. Discomfort. Joy.

There are a lot of different pregnancy products you could get to help make the experience comfortable. On a tight budget, you have to be selective.

These pregnancy must haves – they’re the ones I absolutely needed in my first, second and third trimesters! The maternity must haves I couldn’t survive without!

Best pregnancy items 2020

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11 Pregnancy Essentials

1. Pregnancy book

My co-worker lent me this Pregnancy Day by Day book and I loved it. If she didn’t lend it to me, I could see myself getting it anyways. It’s a useful resource we’ve spent a lot of time with!

When you’re pregnant, you have so many questions and concerns. This book offers a day by day look at what your baby, you and your family are experiencing. It offers that peace of mind. It’s very informative!

There are great photos of what the baby looks like throughout. It offers lots of tips and advice during pregnancy and questions to ask your doctor.

My husband and I used to read this every day. It was a fun way to count down to when our baby was born!

pregnancy must haves first trimester

 

2. Maternity Leggings

Maternity clothing seems like such a waste. You only wear the clothes for less than a year.

In my 2nd trimester, I just didn’t have any pants that would fit my growing belly. That’s when I discovered maternity leggings!

pregnancy must haves second trimester

Leggings will be your best friend during pregnancy. They’re soft, comfortable, flexible and look great on! When you’re postpartum, you’ll still be able to use them. Yes – you’ll still look 6 months pregnant after you give birth! It takes several weeks for your uterus to shrink.

When I was looking for maternity leggings, I wanted to buy as few pairs as possible – ideally 1-2 pairs that work for both casual and work environments.

These maternity leggings worked for me! They look like skinny pants so you might be able to use them at work depending on how formal your work environment is. They’re thick and have fake back pockets.

They also stay up (you don’t have to constantly pull them up like other maternity leggings), but they’re not tight around your belly (the material seems to be thinner around the waistline to accommodate a growing belly).

maternity leggings

3. Maternity shorts

If you’ll be experiencing hot weather or just prefer to sleep or lounge in shorts, you’ll want to get maternity shorts.

These Motherhood maternity shorts are designed to fit comfortably, especially when you sleep. There’s no tight waistband. They’re light and soft.

best pregnancy products

4. Prenatal Vitamins

You probably know that prenatal vitamins are important for the development of your baby.

What you might not know is – according to my doctor, you need to start taking these vitamins before trying to conceive.

Here are a few other things I learned when selecting prenatal vitamins.

1) There are tasty gummy prenatal vitamins, but they often seem to lack nutritional value. Many gummy prenatal vitamins don’t contain iron.

If you have blood sugar issues like gestational diabetes, these are not the best choice.

pregnancy products must haves

2) This prenatal vitamin is less yummy, but it has over 25 essential vitamins and minerals including iron, folate, and vitamins A, C, D, and B.

It’s vegetarian and gluten-free and contains no wheat, soy, milk, or artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

As this prenatal vitamin contains iron, it might make you nauseous so take note of the nausea relief products above.

must haves when pregnant

3) If you’re in Canada and you have extended health insurance with your employer, you can possibly get your prenatal vitamins covered completely or partially.

Just ask your doctor to write you a prescription for prenatal vitamins. You’ll likely get Pregvit.

 

4) There are some prenatal vitamins with DHA like this one, but they usually contain much less DHA than a separate DHA supplement.

If your prenatal vitamin doesn’t have a DHA supplement, you might want to get a separate prenatal DHA supplement.

Just to clarify, this is not a prenatal multivitamin. It’s a DHA supplement in addition to your prenatal vitamins.

pregnancy shopping list first trimester

5. Pregnancy Pillow

I REALLY didn’t want to buy a pregnancy pillow. It’s ridiculously expensive for what seems like a few pillows connected together, but…

I’m a back sleeper and around my 2nd trimester, I had to start sleeping on my side.

The growing weight was just too uncomfortable on my back. Then I read that experts actually recommend not sleeping on your back in your 2nd and 3rd trimesters as it can interfere with circulation, which can reduce blood flow and nutrients to the fetus. That was not something I was willing to risk!

But I just couldn’t adjust to side sleeping! I put a pillow between my legs and one on my back, and I was still uncomfortable.

Out of desperation to get a good night’s sleep, I finally caved in and got the Snoogle pregnancy pillow. I loved it so much, I still use it today and I have a toddler!

I actually lent it to my mother-in-law one night because she was complaining of back pain. She ended up getting one for her and her sister!

This pillow has been 100% worth it! The first few weeks postpartum were tough! I’m so glad I got the quality sleep I needed (thanks to this pregnancy pillow) before my daughter was born.

Now I can’t go without it. I realized you just can’t put a price tag on good sleep.

total body pregnancy pillow

6. Prenatal Class

In my 3rd trimester, I took a prenatal class offered by the local nursing staff. It was 2 days of intensive learning. It was excellent.

However, one thing I didn’t like was that I had to frantically take notes throughout. I’m sure I missed a bunch of key points, especially as I wasn’t feeling the best in my third trimester.

If this aspect bothers you or you don’t have access to a local prenatal class, I highly recommend doing one online.

pregnancy must haves second trimester

This online prenatal class for couples goes through everything from your third trimester to your first few months of being postpartum. Hilary is an experienced labor and delivery nurse.

There’s a lot of content on the labor and delivery part. Things like what legitimate contractions are, what to expect from your labor and delivery nurse and c-sections.

She talks about the embarrassing stuff that didn’t once come up in my in-person class like the possibility of pooping during delivery! At the end of each section, Hilary asks important, thought-provoking questions for you and your partner to consider e.g.:

  • What you’d like your partner to do when you’re in pain e.g. heat, massage, essential oils, music?
  • Who could come help you when the baby is born?

I love that you can watch the videos and read the course materials at anytime and as many times as you’d like. You can take your time absorbing the material and discussing the topics with your partner.

breastfeeding class online

I should mention that Hilary touches on postpartum care and breastfeeding, but it’s not in-depth…

 

7. Breastfeeding Class

If you’re looking for a class that’s laser-focused on breastfeeding, there’s this online breastfeeding class, which is created by Cindy and Jana – registered nurses and lactation consultants.

This class offers extensive tips on how to breastfeed successfully. Some of the topics they discuss include how to get that deep latch, what to do when breastfeeding is not going well, and how to know if the baby’s getting enough.

If you want to check out their style and content, they offer a FREE course – The Top 6 Pregnancy Mistakes Shared With Us in Secret.

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, this online breastfeeding class is a good option.

It’s created by Stacey who is a Certified Lactation Educator. Her course does a great job of explaining the basics of breastfeeding.

There is even a 30 day money back guarantee if you don’t feel completely prepared for breastfeeding after taking the class.

8. Crackers

In my first trimester, I had serious nausea. I didn’t want to take any nausea pills.

I found crackers helped tremendously! It gave me exactly what I needed to ease my queasy stomach. I basically had a box of crackers with me everywhere in my first trimester, especially in the morning.

top 10 pregnancy essentials products

9. Snacks

In your second and third trimesters particularly, having snacks in your purse is essential!

There have been many times when I’ve been starving while stuck in traffic on the highway with no grocery store or restaurant in sight. It felt like I was being eaten alive. I’ve never felt that kind of hunger in my life!

If you’re like me, you’re binging on candy from your pantry if you don’t have healthy snacks accessible, which is not good for you or your baby.

I highly recommend having healthy energy bars available.

pregnancy snacks

Another must have pregnancy snack is almonds.

If you have gestational diabetes like I did, almonds help you stay full while not going over your carbohydrate count.

pregnancy grocery shopping list third trimester

10. Water bottle

Early on in my pregnancy, I started getting very thirsty. I was so thirsty – I had to get up in the middle of the night to drink water.

I realized I wasn’t drinking NEARLY ENOUGH water each day.

According to the National Institute of Health, your body needs even more fluids than normal to support your baby’s blood circulation and amniotic fluid during pregnancy. You should have at least 10 glasses of water a day.

10 glasses of water is a lot! I found it difficult to remember to drink that much water every day, but I found that carrying a water bottle with you everywhere helps tremendously!

drinking water while pregnant

I use this Voss water bottle that I’ve had for years. I love that it’s extra large and made of glass so there’s no unwanted flavoring from the material.

If I didn’t have this bottle, I would probably get the Lifefactory water bottle. My mommy friends swear by this! They have multiple and place them all over the house!

This water bottle is also made of glass, but has this silicone sleeve for easier gripping. It has a handle so it can be carried around. It also has an opening that’s large enough to put ice cubes in if you just need to chomp on cubes.

pregnancy water bottle

11. Nursing Bra

When you’re pregnant and postpartum, your boob size is constantly changing. At one point, I even went up 2 cup sizes.

When I started nursing my baby, that’s when my breast size changed sometimes on a daily basis depending on how much breast milk I had and whether she had fed.

I found a nursing bra essential in the pregnancy and postpartum stages.

Even if you’re not sure whether you’ll breastfeed, it’s a good idea to get a nursing bra when you’re pregnant because they’re designed to comfortably support a changing breast size (regardless of if you’re full or empty of breast milk)

It’s also cheaper than getting multiple bras to fit different cup sizes.

This nursing bra is comfortable and inexpensive. I’ve tried similar nursing bras without underwires from other retailers and this one is the cheapest for relatively good quality.

pregnancy bra

12. Panty liners

I’m a big fan of reusable panty liners because they save money.

What I didn’t anticipate was how panty liners would become a necessary pregnancy product for me.

Particularly in the last trimester of pregnancy, you get more discharge. The growing belly puts more pressure on your bladder and you occasionally don’t reach the toilet before you start peeing.

Reusable panty liners are not just more comfortable than disposables, they’re also more absorbent. There have been many occasions where they’ve saved me from having to change my pants (which is extremely impractical when you’re on the go).

If you have postpartum incontinence (when you accidentally pee because your muscles are weakened after pregnancy) like me, these panty liners will be regularly used for a while!

best pregnancy items

If you’re wondering about how to wash them, I wash them like I do my regular underwear.

I give them a quick rinse and rub off anything that might be difficult to remove in the washer and then I put it in the wash. If I’m not doing the wash that day, I’ll hang dry it and then put it in the wash another day.

 

BONUS: Pregnancy product I will try with my next child!

Belly Cream

With my daughter, I got quite a few stretch marks. I didn’t use a belly cream and I regret it. If I get pregnant again (and I’m hoping I will), I will definitely be using a belly cream to prevent further stretch marks.

I’ve heard great reviews about this belly butter and will be giving it a try! If you’ve tried it before, let me know in the comments how you found it.

pregnancy belly butter

 

Final Thoughts on Pregnancy Essentials

Pregnancy and baby products can add up over time. Here are two ways you can save money for your pregnancy and baby:

1) Amazon Baby Registry

  • Amazon provides you with a one-time 10% discount on select items from your registry, 60 days before your child’s arrival date.
  • If you are an Amazon Prime member, the one-time discount is 15%! Amazon Prime also comes with 20% off diapers and baby food when you have more than 5 subscriptions. The best part about this membership: 2 day FREE shipping and FREE access to movies, TV shows, music and books. You can cancel your other subscriptions!

There are also FREE 90 day returns on baby store purchases. Get the FREE 30 day Amazon Prime trial here, which you can cancel at anytime.

You can also get a welcome gift box if you’re an Amazon Prime member and meet certain requirements like a minimum spend. Here are the specific eligibility requirements in the US. Here are the eligibility requirements in Canada.

 

2) Rakuten (formerly Ebates)

  • Before purchasing items on Amazon, go through Rakuten first!
  • Companies pay a commission to Rakuten for advertising on their site. Rakuten then shares that commission with you. Depending on the rates, you could get up to 40% of your purchase price back!
  • Rakuten is FREE to sign up.

For U.S. residents, Rakuten will give you a welcome bonus of $10 after making your first online purchase of $25 or more.

For Canadians, it’s a $5 welcome bonus for signing up. You can read more about how to use Rakuten here!

 

Summary of Pregnancy Must Haves

  1. Pregnancy Day by Day book
  2. Maternity leggings
  3. Maternity shorts
  4. Prenatal Vitamins and a prenatal DHA supplement
  5. Snoogle pregnancy pillow
  6. Prenatal class 
  7. Breastfeeding class
  8. Crackers
  9. Healthy snacks
  10. Water bottle
  11. Nursing bra
  12. Reusable panty liners

 

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Maternity must haves

 

What are your must haves during pregnancy?

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