Coming into this pregnancy, I was pretty clueless about what to expect over the course of these last 8.5 months. I did no pre-reading, no research and had very few close friends who had walked the pregnant walk before me so I was really flying blind.
And when I started to realize all the *stuff* that goes along with pregnancy and babies, I became somewhat indignant about needing to (seemingly) spend gobs of money on specific maternity clothes/things and refused to give into (what I perceived to be) the ‘traditional’ maternity mentality for as long as possible.
However, now, at 38 weeks pregnant, there are some things that I’ve bought recently out of necessity that I wish I would have invested in much earlier on for my own comfort. There are also some things I wish I would have done much sooner in my pregnancy. So this post is a note to Future Me, should we try for another kiddo, to have a more enjoyable experience – and, maybe it can help Future You, too, if you’re newly expecting or hoping to be expecting.
- Invest in maternity jeans that fit well and make you feel great. I did not do this and really wish I would have. I squeezed into my non-pregnancy jeans for as long as possible, using a Bellaband and the rubber band extender trick and when my belly (and booty) got too big for those pants, I hunted for maternity jeans at Goodwill. The thought of spending $60-100+ on a pair of jeans that would only be used for a few months seemed outrageous! But now… I know better. The maternity jeans I found at Goodwill fit, but don’t look or make me feel great (but, hey, they cost less than $10 total). Since I’m able to wear jeans to work, I should have invested in 1-2 pairs of maternity jeans that I really felt great in – I would have been physically more comfortable (vs. squeezing into pants that don’t really fit) and would have felt much better about myself.
- Same goes for exercise clothes. And PSA: Old Navy has some really affordable activewear options that look cute and fit great.
- Exercise – but specifically, keep up with strength training as long as possible! The first half of this pregnancy was constant nausea and puking so exercising regularly (or at all) was really difficult; I often opted out of my 1x a week Orangetheory class in favor of a nap on the couch. While I’m glad I listened to my body, I also wish I would have mustered up some energy early on to keep up with a semi-regular routine that included strength because after the nausea faded, my back and hips started to hurt in ways that I think could have been alleviated if my quads, hamstrings, IT band and back were stronger as my belly grew. I’ve kept as active as possible but once that belly starts to get bigger, it’s harder to stay limber and strong in the same ways.
- If possible, swim for exercise. I am not a swimmer. I know how to swim but I am terrible at it. But I tell you what, getting into a lap pool to swim laps is 1) a full body workout and 2) weightless and amazing. I didn’t start swimming until about 30 weeks and will definitely do so much sooner next time (though, I’m not sure I’ll stop, post-pregnancy!). In the same vein as #1, I recommend investing in a larger swimsuit as you feel the old one getting too small. I waited as long as possible which was uncomfortable (<– understatement) for everyone involved.
- Prenatal massage (or a prenatal chiropractor) is WORTH IT. My friend, Nancy, gifted me a certificate for a prenatal massage early in my pregnancy and I held off cashing in until just a few weeks ago. HOLY. COW. It changed my world. My hips and back have been sore/tight/painful since about week 25ish and no amount of at-home stretching or prenatal yoga had seemed to help. When I asked my midwife what to do about it, she suggested seeing a chiro who specializes in prenatal techniques, specifically the Webster Method. Of course, I changed jobs soon after and did not prioritize this. But during my prenatal massage, some of the chiro techniques were used and I walked out of the massage feeling like a new woman. I was pain free for multiple days! So next time, I’m either going to the chiro regularly or booking regular prenatal massages, starting on/around 20 weeks. (Also, being able to lay on my stomach…HEAVEN).