Whew! It honestly felt like this pregnancy went on for about 5 years. Maybe that’s the reality of being pregnant during a pandemic? Orrrr being pregnant with a toddler, who is sweet and hilarious but also has an uncanny ability to zap every ounce of your energy.
But, throughout it all I tried hard to keep a positive outlook on the whole experience, something that helped *most* of the time. I’ve had a fair few questions about things that helped me through pregnancy, and kept me sane, so I thought I would do a little round up of some of my favourites. I guess this should be prefaced with the fact that over the course of 9 months you have so many different states of being, sick, happy, elated, exhausted. And so various things work at various times, but the whole process is personal and what works for one person may not work for another. Something I definitely learnt through my two pregnancies is to try to go with your gut as much as you can!
As soon as you get pregnant your breasts tend to change so much (at least that’s what happened to me), meaning pretty much overnight all your bras don’t fit! Gah! I’m a big fan of buying adaptable bras that work for pregnancy as well as for feeding. I think comfort is the number one thing here, so I like to opt for soft fabrics and a looser fit. I like this Boob Design one (they also have a swim version, various colours and a bigger bust option), and this style from Bonds. Juem also have absolutely lovely styles that are nice for both pregnancy and feeding (although I struggled to get the right size for me), and H&M do a V style bra but I can’t find them online.
Last pregnancy I didn’t use a pregnancy pillow, but this time around sleep was uncomfortable for me from early on so I took the advice of one of my followers and got the Bbhugme pillow! Now, let me say that it’s an investment, and it’s not that easy to get online (I got it from their online store and it was sent from Denmark). BUT so so worth it. As soon as I got it I noticed how much better my body felt and my sleep was – the filling and length means it supports your whole body from ankles to neck so it made a huge difference for me. I also took it to the hospital for comfort post birth, and am now using it for feeding, so it has a number of uses. There are a bunch of other on the market including the wedge and the butterfly, which I haven’t used but people have also recommended.
Finding good activewear for pregnancy was key to both working out and feeling comfy around the house as the bump got bigger. The Align range from Lululemon is so fantastic, I wore it all the way through and sized up a few sizes for the last few months. I wore the 8 inch tights a lot at the end (non pregnancy I wear the 6 inch) but the ankle length tights would be great if you’re going into the colder months. I also really like the Aim’n line and their maternity tights are a more supportive option. Boob Design also have leggings and bike pants which are more of a loungewear fabric rather than true workout gear, I wore these practically every day around the house!
Comfortable & Cute Outfits
This time around I didn’t buy any maternity clothes! Last pregnancy I bought some and they just had such limited wears that this time I opted to buy a few things in larger sizes instead. I figured I would be happy to wear things oversized after pregnancy, but getting back into maternity items probably wasn’t going to happen. I opted for all natural fabrics like linen, muslin and cotton, and found that shirred waist styles were the perfect way to feel more elegant and pulled together. I also found that loose waisted overalls and overall dresses were great options. A few things I liked: this Girl & The Sun Dress, these Rip Curl white denim overalls, this Spell dress (my favourite piece ever!), this RVCA denim pinafore, and this dress (I didn’t buy it but have something similar). When I was shopping for maternity styles I just sized up, and used search terms like ‘shirred waist’, ‘stretch waist’ etc.
I’m quite risk adverse when it comes to what I put on and in my body during pregnancy, so I’m always keen to use products that are non toxic and as natural as possible. I kept up using my Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, and then also started using some of the pregnancy safe range by Emma Lewisham. I love the Skin Reset serum which targets hyper pigmentation, and the Oil Cleanser. For body, I used Jojoba Oil for dealing with skin itching and stretch marks, and I used it throughout both my pregnancies. Memo does a luxe body oil, which I loved using and it also makes a really nice gift. Towards the end of my pregnancy I liked having Epsom salts baths and using body scrubs with Epsom salts. For SPF, I’ve been using physical sunscreens for a while, and change between a few. This Josh Rosebrook one is fantastic but quite expensive, I also like the Go To one. I also kept using my A’kin natural deodorant!
Hydration is key all the time but especially when you’re pregnant, which I found so hard! My morning sickness (which didn’t abate until week 20 or so) made it so that I felt sick whenever I drank water from the tap, which made it impossible to stay hydrated. In the end I had to get really logistical about drinking enough water, I bought a Brita water filter for the fridge, and also got a couple of those stainless steel tumblers with straws that I left filled around the house. I use them constantly now that I’m breastfeeding too.
For my second pregnancy, I have to say that I didn’t read as much about pregnancy and childbirth as last time. I guess that’s what happens when you’re busy with a toddler, and when you’re not at clueless as you are with the first. I dabbled back into my reading list from last pregnancy to help remind myself of what newborn life would look like. Specifically I reread Nurture, Save Our Sleep and also The New Basics.
Yoga Mat & Birth Ball
When I got into the third trimester, I started an evening birth prep routine, using a yoga mat and a birth ball. The routine was pretty simple and just involved stretching for about 15 minutes a night while watching TV. The yoga ball was such a nice way to relieve the tension from the day, doing circles of my hips, while things like hip tilts were the perfect yoga mat activities.
A few other things that helped:
Honestly, I can’t understate how valuable moving my body everyday was to staying healthy and sane throughout my pregnancy. I also think it helped a lot in the birth to have been active the whole way through. Yes, at times it was really hard to get up and get moving when I was feeling my worst, but as soon as I was finished I would feel so much better. For the first trimester, I opted for daily walks of about an hour, trying to clock 5 or 6 km’s in each walk. At around 16 weeks I decided to go back to the gym. I considered going back to my usual barre pilates gym, but in the end decided to start doing reformer pilates at a physio led pilates studio. I’m so lucky that we were not in lockdown at this time and I got to go to the gym! In the end I did 2 or 3 reformer pilates classes a week, all the way up to the week before my due date. I honestly think it made a big difference to my birth. The studio I went to is run by physio therapists so they looked after me and made sure that I was doing things safely. I also did a 5 or 6km walk on days when I wasn’t doing pilates.
To Manage Anxiety
Half of the struggle when you are pregnant, at least for me, is finding balance mentally. That means balancing raging hormones, trying to reduce anxiety and just generally stay smiling when it feels like things are so so hard. I did have a few epic meltdowns! But generally I managed to stay positive. A few things that helped me were moving my body everyday (sorry to sound like a broken record!), whether it be a walk or a class. I’ve also enjoyed the Headspace pregnancy series. Finally, just sharing more with the people around me including Ben and my friends was good for relieving tension.
For Morning Sickness
I had pretty epic morning sickness, which seemed to drag on much longer than for most people. I think part of that was down to just being tired, but also as soon as I got pregnant I noticed my digestion changed and eating anything more than a very small portion would cause me to be sick. Fun times! I tried a lot of things for my morning sickness but I noticed that only a few things helped. One was eating very small regular meals, the other was acupuncture and finally I took a B6 supplement (specifically for pregnancy) which seemed to reduce the nausea a bit. Going for a walk every day also helped so much! Nothing completely resolved my morning sickness, so in the end if really was about looking after myself and trying to rest. And putting one foot in front of the other!
You may also like: My Breastfeeding Capsule Wardrobe.