Apart from having a supportive partner, family environment and a professional gynaecologist that you can trust, what other pregnancy essentials does a mum-to-be need? I break things down for you today in a comprehensive list, complete with recommendations of products I personally use and love.
As pregnancy differs from women to women, and each pregnancy is also different for each baby (even if it’s the same mum), some things I’ve intentionally left out include stuff like oral medication, health care, vaccines and supplements.
1. SOFT BRISTLE TOOTHBRUSH + MOUTHWASH
Pregnancy tends to make your gums bleed more often, so using a toothbrush with a soft bristle is highly recommended to keep it in check. Invest in a mouthwash too, if you don’t have one already.
2. PALMER’S COCOA BUTTER MASSAGE CREAM FOR STRETCH MARKS
I swear by this cream! It was first recommended to me by my best friend, who got to know if it from her other mum friends.
I’m currently 37 weeks pregnant and am on my 4th tube (I’m quite petite by American standards). I started using this 1-2 times daily during the end of my first trimester when my tummy started feeling tight. Applying this cream helped the tightness go away, as it made my skin more elastic – which is how it prevents the formation of stretch marks.
I’m all about prevention being better than cure, so once you know you’re pregnant, you need this in your bathroom right away.
3. SOL DE JANEIRO BRAZILIAN BUM BUM CREAM
I don’t understand how it took me this long to find a product this good. Meant to tone your flabby areas to reduce the appearance of cellulite, this best-selling cream is a pregnant lady’s (or any lady’s) best friend at the beach or for the summer.
It absorbs quickly, smells AMAZING and leaves behind a very subtle shimmer. It also works!
4. DRY SHAMPOO + WASH MORE FREQUENTLY
Pregnancy brings about crazy hormonal changes and one of them is extra sebum production. Although you will experience less hair fall, your scalp will also produce more oil. So, either stock up on dry shampoo or wash your hair more frequently, otherwise you might end up with dandruff. I – and many others – swear by Batiste.
5. Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup
Continuing on the topic of excess sebum production, your face will also become oilier throughout the day. If you need to look good for most part of the day due to work, I suggest using a foundation that is heavier duty and won’t let you down.
I fell in love with the Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup liquid foundation during my first trimester and have not looked back since. This foundation is long-lasting, transfer-resistant, sweat-resistant, water-resistant, has medium to high coverage and blends well with a damp sponge. I apply a light dusting of compact foundation to set it, and it lasts me from morning till late in the evening with only at most one slight touch up in the middle. It’s given me a confidence boost when meeting clients, and sometimes in the most unexpected places of all.
Read my detailed review in this blog post.
6. CONTOUR POWDER/PALETTE
With every pregnancy comes the dreaded weight gain. Not only because our bodies change within such a short period of time – and we can’t really do anything about it – but because it adds extra pressure on our feet and spine.
I started noticing my double chin during my second trimester, which is why I found having a contour palette handy for a professional photoshoot that I had to get done.
I currently like the one from Makeup Revolution because it also comes with a full mirror on the underside of the lid.
7. MOSQUITO REPELLANT
One of the worst things that can happen to a pregnant lady is contracting dengue fever. Especially in a warm and humid place like Singapore, dengue is prevalent. Ask your gynae for a safe mosquito repellant to use – and use it liberally.
8. PRE-NATAL PILATES CLASSES
Getting enough exercise is important throughout a pregnancy term. I love Pilates and have been practising it religiously for the past 10 years. Not only does pre-natal Pilates help to strengthen the core muscles and prepare you to deal with the weight gain, it also preps you for childbirth by teaching you how to breathe and control your muscles.
And in the crazy hot weather of Singapore (plus the hot flushes pregnant mums get all the time), exercising indoors under ideal air conditioning is really one of the most comfortable ways to get that workout going.
9. Loose, Oversized/Maternity Clothing (Including Active Wear)
You know how when you order a meal at MacDonalds, the cashier asks if you’d like to upsize?
When it comes to clothing, UPSIZE. And then hold on to those pieces which you feel are still too loose, because trust me, they will fit just fine once the 3rd trimester comes along.
I’ve gotten quite a few pieces from ASOS Maternity and Uniqlo.
Any active wear and sports bras should also be larger than your normal size. I mean, I’m now wearing leggings and sports bras in XL when I’m normally a S/M.
10. Cute Jewellery/Accessories
Pregnant mums know this: that you feel less than sexy when you look like a giant peanut and move like a walrus. I’ve indulged in a few cute earrings just to make myself happy and retain a sense of who I was before I got pregnant. Even new lipstick helps.
Check out my own brand of gemstone and drusy silver jewellery suitable for sensitive skin, Trouvée.Co (free international shipping). I like dropping by Lovisa now and then as well to stake out their sales racks.
11. FLAT SANDALS
Your ankles will swell. Sometimes more than others, and sometimes they make walking a terrible experience. Your feet will also get bigger.
To help with this, invest in a pair of flat sandals, which will very likely be 1-2 sizes larger than your normal size. Open-toed sandals are the best because they give some minimal allowance for your toes. I love a good St. Tropez pair, slip-ons or basic flip flops.
12. MATERNITY UNDERGARMENTS
You’ll grow out of your normal undergarments, so invest in comfy, wireless maternity undergarments. Some affordable brands you might like to check out include Happy Maternity and Our Bralette Club. While you’re at it, make sure to score some bra extenders as well – these are super underrated.
13. PREGNANCY PILLOW
This might seem like a no-brainer, or you might have never heard of it. I normally sleep with a bolster anyway, so I didn’t get one. But if you don’t, you’ll need some sort of support towards the 2nd trimester onwards, especially when you start sleeping on your side. Trust me, it helps a lot, even though turning from one side to the other can be a torture sometimes.