Pregnancy is all about excitement, anticipation, gender reveals, showers, babymoons, and following your child's growth. But there's also plenty of nausea, backaches, swelling, itching, and restless nights that go along with all that bliss. That's why every woman who's either pregnant or planning to be should become familiar with the many products that make pregnancy more comfortable. Go ahead and buy them now, drop hints to your family, or at least bookmark them on Amazon so they'll be only a few clicks away when you need relief.
Depending on your pre-baby size, you should expect to gain between 15 and 35 pounds during pregnancy, per WebMD. That's a lot of extra weight in just a few months, and it can take a toll on your legs and back, making it difficult to get around or even lie down without pain. Plus, there are the added joys of morning sickness, hemorrhoids, dry skin and stretch marks, not to mention the challenges of getting dressed when your belly is straining against the waistband of your pants and your favorite heels are now devices of torture.
Luckily, moms-to-be have a plethora of options online or in retail stores that can help them sail through the nine months a little more smoothly. From clothing to candy to high- and low-tech devices, there's something for every need. The sooner you deal with the aches and discomforts, the sooner you can get back to getting psyched about becoming a mom.
1. Body Pillow
As your belly grows, it becomes harder and harder to get a good night's sleep (or even a quick nap) because of the extra strain on your body. A good full-body pregnancy pillow is a mom's best friend for the support it provides. This one is particularly handy because it can be arranged into a number of positions, depending on whether you're sitting up or lying down. It also does double duty as a nursing pillow once the baby arrives.
2. Belly Support
It's hard to enjoy the Miraculous Journey To Motherhood, much less a walk to the supermarket, when your back and legs are in agony. An elastic belt like this one helps support your stomach and take the strain off your pelvis and lumbar area. This breathable and adjustable band gets top marks on Amazon from moms who say it relieved their pain and helped them become active again.
3. Maternity Underwear
Once you pass the first trimester, clothes start to become more of a tricky issue. Some items may carry you through the next few months (like baggy shirts and loose sundresses), but other things, like underwear...not so much. These undies are designed to fit and stay under your bump, and are generously cut enough to let you wear a pad if necessary. The price is for the largest size; smaller sizes run from $11 up.
4. Stomach-Soothing Candy
If there's anything that can make you uncomfortable during the early weeks of pregnancy, it's morning sickness. For some moms, it's not a big deal; for others, it can be utter misery. These lozenges are designed to help relieve nausea, thanks to the organic ginger inside.
5. Pregnancy-Safe Lube
Although many moms-to-be are lucky enough to experience an increase in personal lubrication during their pregnancy, others find that just the opposite is true. If dryness is making sex uncomfortable or painful, you'll want to stock up on a good water-based lube like this one. It has no glycerin or parabens, which can be irritating to sensitive skin. Since water-based products absorb quickly, you may need to apply it more than once for maximum comfort.
6. Pretty Flats
Between the added weight and the swelling of feet and legs that are common during pregnancy, expectant moms usually give up their heels along with the alcohol and caffeine. You'll want a few pairs of supportive flats, like these slip-ons (also available in three solid colors) with flexible soles and cushioned interiors. Use code CLOUDS for the discount.
7. Skin Softener
Stretch marks and itchy skin are a small price to pay for the reward that comes at the end, but that doesn't mean you have to put up with it. A soothing rub like this one, which contains cocoa, shea, and jojoba butters, will leave your skin nourished, itch-free, and smelling great.
8. Sleep Bras
9. Waist Extenders
If you're like me, you want to put off switching to maternity pants as long as possible. But what to do when your favorite jeans start to feel tight around the middle? Attach one of these babies, that's what. The sturdy elastic extenders let out the waist of your pants up to 2 1/2 inches, allowing you at least a few more weeks before you start shopping for the belly-band jeans.
10. Stretch-Waist Pants
Once you do start shopping for maternity wear, you'll want pieces that offer both versatility and comfort. These pants are by Seraphine, the maternity designer favored by Duchess Kate through all three of her pregnancies. They go with any top, and the soft band at the waist lets you move with ease.
11. Back-Saving Mattress
When you're pregnant, the activities you take for granted can become a challenge — especially anything involving lying on your stomach. This genius inflatable bed/raft, designed by a veteran and his wife, supports your stomach and back, relieving pain and increasing blood flow to your baby. Use it for yoga workouts (with your doctor's okay), naptime when you travel, or even lounging in the pool.
12. Swelling Reducer
Carrying another human in your body can take its toll on your legs; swelling and varicose veins are common as your body retains more fluid. Wearing medical-grade compression socks like these can help keep the swelling down and make it more comfortable to stand and walk (although your doctor may still advise you to rest often with your legs elevated).
13. Portable Comfort
Another less-than-delightful side effect of pregnancy is hemorrhoids. They're especially common in the third trimester, as the baby presses down on the veins behind the uterus. (They can also occur from straining if you're constipated.) To relieve the pain and itch both at home and away, pick up a box of these disposable sitz bath inserts, which fit over the toilet bowl. Add warm water and a packet of Epsom salts (included), and sit down for quick relief.
14. Milk Helpers
True, these are meant for the post-baby months, but they're such a great idea that you'll want to buy and try them as soon as possible. Designed to increase milk flow and prevent painful clogged ducts, they fit into your bra and provide a gentle warm massage that stimulates letdown. The company also sells a hands-free pumping bra that can be used with the massagers for full convenience.