Aug 13, 2021 (Last updated Sep 15, 2021) by Hannah Sunderani
Hi Friends! I am just a couple of weeks away from welcoming our little bubba into this world, and thought it’s about time to share my pregnancy must haves. (Let’s just say, I’ve had a full 3 trimesters to really know what items I used most during my pregnancy!).
Turns out, there’s a LOT of items that are marketed towards pregnant women as “must-haves,” and not all of them are essential. In fact, when I was first pregnant I spent a lot of time researching what to get, to prepare for a comfortable and healthy pregnancy (I’ll admit – this included sneaking in some cute outfits too!).
The list below are things that I found incredibly helpful for a comfortable pregnancy. Some things I used right from the get-go in the first trimester, and other things I waited until my second or third trimester when they were more essential to my growing belly and uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms.
I hope you find this list useful!! And that it helps guide you too in what to get for your pregnancy. It can be hard to navigate what you might need when it’s your first time and I could have really used this list. (Hopefully, you wont waste time and money on things you don’t need, like I did!).
So, let me share my Top 13 Pregnancy Must Haves!
This first recommendation is pretty standard. When you’re pregnant it’s beneficial to take a prenatal vitamin. But you may be wondering which pre-natal vitamin to take. There are so many on the market and it’s hard to know which to choose.
This prenatal vitamin by NFH: Prenatal SAP came highly recommended by my midwives, Chinese medicine and acupuncturist, and ranked well in online searches. It’s a fab prenatal vitamin!
You have to take it 3x a day, but actually that’s one of the benefits, since you’re always supplying your body with the nutrients it needs during pregnancy. Instead of taking one pill and having the affect wear off later in the day. (At least, this is how it was explained to me).
I’m very very happy with this prenatal vitamin! I purchase mine on Fullscript.
One side effects of pregnancy that I suffered from was leg cramps! It got to the point where I was getting them nightly.
In addition, I started to get terrible eye twitches in my second trimester. Turns out, it was a lack of magnesium.
I found this surprising because I was already taking magnesium for sleep, but when I got pregnant I had to double my dosage. My preferred magnesium supplement is magnesium bisglycinate, because it helps aid with sleep, and it doesn’t loosen your bowels like other magnesium supplements.
I doubled my dosage from one capsule to two and my nightly leg cramps and eye twitch went away entirely!
It’s likely that you’ll experience nausea in the first trimester! Welcome to pregnancy! I have to say, I was one of the luckier pregnant women that experienced nausea for a few weeks before it settled down, unlike some women who experience nausea their ENTIRE pregnancy. Oomfph!
Nausea is never fun, And I tried many things to reduce it with little success (including ginger tea, anti-nausea wrists-bands, and even acupuncture). What worked best was the Chimes Ginger Chews.
I’ve also been told that these chews are really great to eat during labour, so I’ve got a stash ready and waiting. All-in-all they’re an essential item of my pregnancy must haves list.
Another item that I purchased early on was stretch mark oil. Some women say that you can wait to do this, but I wanted to get started right away to prepare my skin for the stretching to come.
The product I bought was more on the pricier side, by a company called Pai; their Gemini Stretch Mark Stystem. I really liked the quality of the ingredients in this product, it’s fragrance-free and vegan. It also comes as a combo pack – with a thick cream to use on the belly during the day, and the oil rub at night. So, it’s a 2-in-1.
All-in-all I’m SO happy with this stretch mark system! I’m 38 weeks pregnant and so far so good!
I also understand that stretch marks have a genetic component too, but I will say that our family is not exempt from them. My mum and brother both have stretch marks, and I have a few on my boobs from puberty. So, I was really happy that this product seemed to work so well on my skin.
I have to say, this was one of the BEST investments I made during my pregnancy! As my belly began to grow, it started to get more difficult to sleep comfortably. This pregnancy pillow by PharMeDoc has been a saviour!
Yes, it may seem a bit excessive. But I promise it’s not! I have been getting THE BEST sleeps with this pillow. It keeps you so cocooned and the support of the pillows on both sides keeps you sleeping on your side instead of rolling to your back. It’s really supportive for your hips too.
This pillow is so comfortable, in fact, that my husband steals it when I leave the bed! haha. I honestly think everyone should get this pillow for sleeping – pregnant or not.
And definitely, it’s top of the list for my pregnancy must haves.
So obviously you’re going to need to buy maternity clothing as your body changes and your belly grows. No surprise there. But I wasted so much money purchasing clothes that I never wore or needed.
My recommendation is to buy a 3 or 4 quality maternity outfits and forgo trying to get a whole new wardrobe. I found a couple of dresses, a romper, and a pair of pregnancy jeans to be what I wore most. (Summer pregnancy if you might be wondering).
I highly recommend the company Boob Design for good quality maternity clothes. If you’re in Canada, you can order this from Belliesinbloom.ca. Everything I received from Boob was SO flattering and comfortable. (One of them being this black dress in the photo above).
I also ended up purchasing a bunch of cheaper maternity clothes, that I never ended up wearing because they didn’t fall properly, or fell apart after a couple of washes…
Apart from that, it’s likely you’ll be living in yoga pants and oversized tees. More on that below…
When I was first pregnant, I decided to get myself a pair of maternity yoga pants (and they weren’t cheap!). But in fact, I’ve been wearing my Lululemon Align Yoga Pants this entire pregnancy! I already had them in my closet and they are so stretchy and comfortable (much more comfortable than the maternity pair that I bought).
If you have a pair of these lulu’s, I recommend to just wear them throughout your pregnancy and forgo buying a maternity pair. Okay, so maybe I have stretched them out a tad, but I’ve worn them almost daily for 9 months. It’s been worth it!
I’ve also heard that the TNA yoga pants from Aritzia are great for maternity as well – and are said to be even stretchier than the Lulu Align pants. They’re cheaper than the Lululemon yoga pants too, so perhaps a good alternative if you don’t already own a pair. However, I don’t have the TNA ones so I can’t vouch from experience.
Every woman needs a copy of The Positive Birth Book in their pregnancy must haves! I read this book in my second trimester as I started to think about the type of birth I want to have. What I love about this book is how Mili Hill really speaks to our rights as women in the birth room. We should know our rights and stand up for what we want.
No matter how you want to birth – be it hospital or home birth, unmedicated birth or cesarean birth, Mili walks through evidence-based research when it comes to birthing, and how to create your birth plan to have the best possible experience.
I found this book SO helpful in removing the fear that’s often associated with birth (thanks mainstream media for that!). It’s helped me to feel prepared, confident and excited for my birth. I hope you find it helpful too.
And, if you want another book, that takes a stance on a more holistic approach to birthing – I also found Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childcare book very good!
I have had THE MOST baths during my pregnancy. Especially in my third trimester. It feels so good to get the weight off your belly for a bit! Especially at the end of a long day.
Taking a bath also really helps me get into a relaxed state for sleep.
While you’re taking a bath, why not make use of epsom salts. They are full of magnesium, which you can see from above is one of my recommendations to take during pregnancy. An epsom salt bath will help relieve sore muscles and leg cramps. Which means better sleeps!
Perhaps you won’t need these, but I sure did! As I approached late 2nd trimester my tail bone/butt bone started to get SO sore. My midwives said it’s the relaxin hormone opening up to prepare for birth, and boy has it been tender!
There isn’t much you can do for that tenderness, but a comfortable seat definitely helps with the discomfort. I bought a large yoga ball to sit on at my desk (which I’m also planning to use during labour). There is something about the air-filled cushioning that is a lot less heavy than sitting on a traditional cushion.
To find the right size, I suggest measuring your work chair and purchasing one that’s sized to the height of your chair, or even a little bit higher, as it does drop a little when you sit on it.
As for a donut pillow – I also ended up getting one of these to help sit on hard surfaces or chairs at dining tables, stools etc. You might feel a little funny walking around with a donut pillow, I know I did! But, it really helped with the tenderness in my tailbone/butt bone and I highly recommend it if you’re experiencing discomfort there too.
I bought the Duro-Med MDI Donut Pillow, which is a little more discreet since it doesn’t have the hole in the middle. I’ve also heard that donut pillows are really helpful post-pregnancy! Especially if you have hemorrhoids. So it’s very possible I’ll be using it after bubba is born too!
I would definitely recommend both of these on my list of pregnancy must haves, but this is one recommendation that might be specific to your pregnancy. It’s dependent on whether or not you experience tenderness in your tailbone/butt bone.
I’ve been drinking a ton of Raspberry Leaf Tea to prepare for labour in my third trimester! Red raspberry leaf tea is said to help shorten labour by strengthening the muscles in your uterus to help with contractions. Here’s an article from What to Expect on Red Raspberry Leaf Tea.
Now, when to start drinking red raspberry leaf tea is a little controversial, so I recommend you speak with your health care provider to see their recommendation. Many women avoid using it in the first trimester.
Another labour prep tip is to eat a ton of dates!! If you haven’t heard about this before, there is a famous study where researchers discovered that the women who ate six dates a day for 4 weeks had a shorter first stage of labor, a higher mean cervical dilatation, and more had intact membranes upon arrival at the hospital. (In other words, their cervix was more ripe for giving birth.) Here’s an article about dates during pregnancy by Healthline. So, it’s no surprise that dates are part of my pregnancy must haves!
I’ve been eating dates throughout my pregnancy, and it was recently recommended by my midwives to up it to 6 a day for cervical ripening at my 36 week appointment.
If you’re looking for ways to incorporate dates into your diet then I highly recommend trying my Chocolate Covered Stuffed Dates with Peanut Butter. They’re SO addictive and an easy way to eat a bunch of dates!
Finally, in the very late stage of my pregnancy I have been taking evening primrose oil. This was recommended to me by my midwives for cervical ripening. I’ve been taking it orally and vaginally. Some studies suggest that the oil helps to soften the cervix and shorten labour. Here is an article about evening primrose oil in Healthline.
Again, this supplement is a little controversial – especially when it comes to when to start using it. So it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider if you are interested in learning about it.
So there we have it! My pregnancy must haves that helped me through all stages of my pregnancy! I hope you find them useful, and that it helps you filter out what you need and don’t need for your pregnancy. I sure could have used this list when I was first navigating my pregnancy.
And most importantly, congratulations on your pregnancy! It’s an exciting time and I hope you have the very best experience being pregnant.
Wishing you a safe, healthy and comfortable pregnancy and birth.