Congratulations mama, you’re pregnant! Since finding out the big news you may be feeling a bit anxious, excited, terrified, a little like you’re dreaming, and confused. It’s normal to feel all the things, and once you settle back down to reality, you may be wondering “what do I do now?”.
Here’s a list of 20 best pregnancy must haves for every stage of your pregnancy.
(Seriously, pregnancy is incredible – but some days it’s not. It’s best to be prepared for every stage that you’re about to face.)
If you’re still in the first trimester, there’s a good chance you’re feeling all the emotions right now. And throwing up.
You may feel like the end of this 9 month journey is years away, but trust me – 9 months pregnant seems to fly by faster than 9 months not pregnant. In no time you’re going to be holding that little squishy baby in your arms.
If you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing now, chances are you’re going to feel the exact same way once that baby comes – but don’t stress over it, you’ll get the hang of things. Just like you’ll get the hang of being pregnant.
When I got pregnant, I felt every emotion from absolutely terrified to I JUST WANT TO SNUGGLE THIS BABY NOW. I also wanted to cry. I always wanted to cry.
My husband and I weren’t necessarily trying to have a baby… and we also weren’t not trying, but we certainly weren’t expecting to get pregnant. We were just kinda there. Then one day I was just kinda pregnant.
Funny how that happens.
Needless to say, this pregnancy came as a surprise to us and it took a while for us to realize this was actually happening. It went something like “hey, this is real – we’re going to be parents… um, how do you parent?!?”
We still don’t know.
But we’re going to wing it.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
When I got pregnant we didn’t even think of the things we would need throughout the pregnancy – we just took it a day at a time. If I could go back and change one thing, I would have been a bit more prepared – done a bit more research at the beginning and learned a few things earlier on.
You may be in the same boat, completely shocked by your pregnancy, or your pregnancy may not have come as a surprise. Either way – I want to help you be as prepared and equipped as possible for your pregnancy, so I’ve put together a short list of pregnancy must haves.
Since each and every pregnancy is different, you likely won’t need everything on this list, but I am confident there will be a handful of things that will come in more than handy for you throughout your pregnancy.
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20 top pregnancy must haves
I learned this nifty trick for settling morning sickness from a friend of mine who happened to be going through her very own pregnancy just a couple months ahead of me, so she paved the way and passed all her pregnancy tricks down to me – and now they’re being passed on to you.
Before you do anything else, even if you haven’t been hit with morning sickness yet, go out and buy a BIG BOX of freezies.
There’s a good chance that you’re going to have days where you can’t stomach any food. The very thought of food may even make you feel like you’re going to be sick.
Those are the days you will be glad you have a freezer stocked full of freezies.
On the days when I couldn’t eat anything, I was still able to munch on a freezie. I usually couldn’t down the whole thing in one go, but I would take my time eating it, and it worked wonders to help settle my stomach.
Freezies are going to be one of your best pregnancy friends – trust me!
You might be thinking this is just a long list of extremely unhealthy foods – but hear me out.
I wasn’t much of a pop drinker before becoming pregnant. Even now I will avoid pop if there is another option, but in the early months of pregnancy, on the days when my stomach was doing somersaults, a can of coca cola helped me get through the day.
I’m sure you’ve heard of drinking ginger ale to help settle an upset stomach, but a secret I learned many years ago is that drinking coke (flattened, of course) can actually work better to help settle stomachs – and it has always been the case for me.
If you’re concerned about drinking coke in pregnancy because of the caffeine, research says that it is safe to have up to 200 mg of caffeine a day while pregnant (Source).
So, how much caffeine is in a can of coca cola?
In a 12 oz can of coke, there is only 29.4 mg of caffeine – so if you’re having a coke every several days to settle your stomach, you should be safe.
Of course, you won’t want to go overboard with the amount of pop you drink while pregnant since it is loaded with sugar, but if you’re drinking a can here and there to help settle your stomach, you should be just fine.
When drinking coke to settle your stomach, pour it into a glass and take a spoon to stir all (or most of) the fizz out of the pop – fizz is NOT an upset stomach’s friend. Keep that in mind.
Like I mentioned earlier, each person and each pregnancy is different from the next, so coke may not work for you, but if you haven’t been able to find anything to settle your upset stomach, give some coca cola a try and see if it helps.
There were some days when I would be sipping on a glass of coke before 8 am. Don’t judge me – it worked wonders!
Another method for easing morning sickness is to suck on a piece of crystallized ginger. Though I didn’t try this, I have heard it works from many other pregnant mamas.
You could eat the sugared ginger like it’s candy, but I’ve heard that even though it’s sugared it still has an incredibly strong ginger-y taste, so if your stomach is already upset, it’s probably safer to suck on a piece rather than gobble it all up.
Have you ever heard of pregnancy rhinitis? If you haven’t, there’s a good chance you’ll hear a lot about it throughout your pregnancy. You may even be one of the not-so-lucky ones who gets to experience it.
Pregnancy rhinitis is pretty much a stuffy nose – as if you have a cold. But you don’t. It’s just those crazy pregnancy hormones again.
In a nutshell, pregnancy rhinitis happens from the extra estrogen levels and/or extra blood circulation during pregnancy, which produces more mucus and causes the blood cells inside your nose to swell.
Along with staying hydrated and keeping your head elevated while you sleep, using a humidifier can also help relieve pregnancy rhinitis. (This is similar to the one I used)
You’re probably already taking prenatal vitamins, in the case that you aren’t – you should be on them (unless advised otherwise from your doctor).
It is recommended that you take prenatal vitamins before you get pregnant, but many people don’t have the opportunity to do that, so it’s important to get on them as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.
Horse pills – er, prenatal vitamins – are generally very large, so if you have a hard time swallowing pills, you might want to look into some other options.
Unfortunately, I could swallow my pills just fine – so I stuck with them since they were the cheapest option. BUT I really, really, really wanted these prenatal vitamins. They’re chewy and look a lot like candy, so I’m betting they taste 100 times better than the vitamins I took.
If you can’t stomach the thought of swallowing a big pill, look into these chewable prenatal vitamins as an alternative.
Even if you have never struggled with heartburn before, you have a really good chance of getting it now that you’re pregnant.
I was someone who had had heartburn maybe two or three times before getting pregnant. It was to the point where on one of the occasions that I did have heartburn, I had to describe to my husband what I was feeling before realizing what it was, because I didn’t know what heartburn felt like.
The thought that I might struggle with it in pregnancy didn’t even cross my mind because of this. But struggle with it I did. And went out and got a big container of antacids I did.
The heartburn has let off the past couple of months, but I still have that container of antacids on hand because I know there’s a really good chance it’ll come back before this baby decides to pop out.
So go out now and grab a bottle of antacids so you’re prepared for when it hits you. At 2 am. When you’re trying to sleep.
Thin panty liners
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Just because you won’t be having your period for the next 9 months does not mean there’s nothing going on down there. Don’t kiss your panty liners goodbye just yet.
Hold on to those babies.
You’re going to want them.
No one wants to talk about it, but everyone has questions – so let’s talk about it.
Your body is going to go through a LOT of changes during this pregnancy. One not-so-fun pregnancy symptom is the fact that you’re likely going to be secreting a lot of mucus (from, well, down there), especially early on in your pregnancy. (Source)
It’s just gonna happen.
It’s not something you look forward to, but it’s something I would definitely rather be prepared for than caught totally off guard with.
There will also likely come a time in your pregnancy when you sneeze, cough, or laugh a little too hard and realize you wet yourself. But you’ve been so tired lately, you’re sure you’re just dreaming, so it’s okay.
Until you pinch yourself.
No, you’re not dreaming.
That just happened.
Your downstairs is going through a lot right now – cut yourself a bit of slack and realize that not every stage of pregnancy is going to be sunshine and rainbows, and that’s okay, it’s just better to be prepared for the not-so-fun stuff from the get-go.
Needless to say – stock up on some panty liners now so you’re ready for those moments.
A pregnancy journal
Quick disclaimer: this is by no means a pregnancy must have, but it’s a very unique way to remember your pregnancy.
A pregnancy journal (this one’s my favorite) is a journal that gives you space to track your entire pregnancy. You can write down special notes to your baby, track it’s size and your weight gain, write down weird cravings, and anything else important to you.
I didn’t invest in a pregnancy journal because I didn’t realize they were a thing until many months into my pregnancy, but if I would have known about it earlier I think it would have been a really neat way to document the changes my body was going through.
I love the idea that you can keep this as a keepsake to give to your child when they’re older, and you can also use it with your next pregnancy to compare the different changes you’re going through.
While you can’t necessarily prevent stretch marks (some people are prone to them, while others are not. If your mother or sister got stretch marks, you may be more prone to getting them), keeping your skin moisturized will help keep it supple and stretchy, which may reduce your chances of getting stretch marks.
After realizing there really wasn’t much I could do to prevent stretch marks, I decided to not worry about it so much – but I made a nightly habit of lotioning my belly as a way to relax and get ready for bed.
Even though it doesn’t necessarily help with preventing stretch marks, I enjoy sitting there and feeling my baby kick and move around while I’m lotioning my skin.
A prenatal class
My husband and I have a lot of nieces and nephews, so we didn’t bother taking a prenatal class.
We thought we had it all together.
It wasn’t until recently that I started thinking maybe we should try taking a prenatal class – I’d rather be over-prepared than under-prepared for this baby.
But, with my husband’s work schedule and our tight budget a prenatal class wasn’t an option for us.
A prenatal class wasn’t an option for us UNTIL I realized there is actually a class that you can take ONLINE, taught by a labor and delivery nurse. We could go through this class at whatever pace we wanted, and we could ask as many questions as we wanted.
Even though at the start of this pregnancy I didn’t think we needed a prenatal class, I figured we had a pretty good idea of what we were in for, watching our siblings go through the childbearing years, but now that we have started taking this online course, I am SO glad we decided to take a prenatal class.
Even if you think you have it all together and wouldn’t benefit from a prenatal class, YOU WILL. Trust me. There is a LOT of goodness in these classes.
This is the prenatal class we are taking (and finding extremely helpful).
Or just stretchy everything. Stretchy bras, stretchy underwear, stretchy pants, stretchy shirts – you name it, then go get it in a stretch version.
Even if you didn’t grow too big through your pregnancy and could wear your normal clothes, it doesn’t mean you should OR that you have to.
I told everyone I was just going to wear my normal clothes and my husband’s shirts through my pregnancy. I was too cheap to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe for just a few months of wear.
Boy, was I wrong.
I wasn’t even half way through my first trimester when I was getting extremely uncomfortable in my clothes. Even though I wasn’t showing yet, I was so bloated and constantly uncomfortable that my regular jeans just weren’t doing the trick anymore.
Since I didn’t want to wear leggings and sweatpants for the next 9 months, I ended up going out and buying a couple pairs of maternity jeans and shirts.
And I’ve been living in them ever since.
Like I said earlier about being too cheap to buy a new wardrobe, that didn’t change. I couldn’t stomach the thought of paying $45 for a pair of maternity jeans, so I went to a thrift store and bought THREE pairs of maternity jeans and two maternity tops for less than that. That’s more like it.
Trust me – even if you’re convinced you’re going to wear your normal clothes throughout your whole pregnancy, you don’t have to.
Your body is going through a whole lot right now. You deserve to be in comfy clothes.
I’m sure you’ve heard of that pregnancy trick by now where you put a hair elastic over your jean button and loop it through the buttonhole to make your jeans bigger… it sounds genius!
IT’S NOT GENIUS.
It hurts. It pinches. And it’s just not comfortable.
Go out and get some maternity jeans, you’ll be so glad you did.
If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford to buy maternity clothes, put an add on a local buy and sell group asking if any mamas have any maternity clothes they are willing to part with for cheap or free.
Reusable water bottle
I have always been terrible for drinking water, so when I got pregnant I was determined to be better with it. I always find I drink more water if I have a glass or bottle of water beside me.
If I have to get up to grab a glass of water, I’m probably not going to do it.
I use a reusable water bottle and carry it around with me and it has helped keep me drinking water throughout my pregnancy.
Even if you’re not thirsty, drink that water. You don’t want to get dehydrated.
I have to admit that I didn’t drink very much water at all in my first trimester. I remember I tried taking my prenatal vitamins with a sip of water and that vitamin, water, and anything else that was in my stomach came flying back up faster than it went down.
There were many other times throughout that first trimester that I threw up due to drinking even a sip of water, so it’s safe to say I wasn’t drinking a good amount of water those first few months, but since my morning sickness has finally decided to leave, I’ve been able to drink more water.
A birthing ball (this what I use) is a really good investment to make when you get pregnant.
A birthing (or exercising) ball has a lot of different benefits through all the stages of your pregnancy.
If you spend a lot of your day sitting, swap your chair out for your birthing ball. Sitting on a birthing ball helps you sit with good posture, keeping your pelvis slightly forward. Make sure your knees are not higher than your hips, though.
You can also use your birthing ball for different exercises throughout pregnancy, and you can use it as a way to naturally induce labor when you’re ready to give birth by rolling your hips in circles while sitting on the ball.
Since I work from home and spend a majority of my day sitting, my husband and I decided that a birthing ball would be a smart investment for this pregnancy to help me to keep good posture and avoid slouching while I work.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Before you get all up in arms over this, let me explain something. There is a very common misconception about RRLT (red raspberry leaf tea).
Many people believe that RRLT induces labor – but here are the real facts.
Red raspberry leaf tea comes from the leaves of a raspberry plant (as I’m sure you could have guessed), and helps strengthen the uterus and pelvic area.
Read that again.
It helps strengthen the uterus and pelvic area.
“Studies have shown that red raspberry leaf tea can help to make labor faster and reduce complications and interventions during birth. One study found that women who consumed RRL tea regularly are less likely to go overdue or give birth prematurely. These women may also be less likely to receive an artificial rupture of their membranes or require a cesarean section, forceps, or vacuum birth than the women in the control group.” (Source)
RRLT helps by toning your uterus – not by sending you into labor – so that when you do go into labor, your contractions are more effective, thus some people believe it also shortens labor time, along with many other benefits.
Another article says, “Fragrine – a component of red raspberry leaf – is thought to strengthen and tone the uterus so that contractions are very effective. Many midwives believe that it helps to shorten labor time, reduce the pain of labor and postpartum recovery, minimize the risk of postpartum hemorrhaging, decrease postpartum discomfort, and increase milk supply.” (Source)
I do recommend that you talk to your doctor or midwife before starting RRLT. I talked to both my doctor and a doula who both gave me the go-ahead, and I’ve been drinking RRLT since 18 weeks. (This is the tea I use and recommend)
*Please note that though studies can’t confirm RRLT to be bad in the first trimester, many people suggest waiting until the second trimester to start drinking it.
(Many people wait a couple days or just a few weeks before going into labor to start drinking the tea, thinking it will send them into labor. When you start drinking the tea this late along in your pregnancy, it won’t be doing much benefit to you since it won’t have sufficient time to work on strengthening your uterus.)
There are many different opinions on RRLT, including people telling me that I’m crazy to be drinking it, but I chose to listen to the opinion of my doctor and a doula I had a good chat with over the opinion of bystanders, and I suggest you do the same – if your doctor does not give you the go ahead for some reason, it is better to listen to them.
Even though you may not have gained any weight and you’re feeling great this far into your pregnancy, get.comfy.shoes.
You’re going to want them.
Not only will good, supportive shoes help your feet feel better in pregnancy, if you struggle with back pain, it will help with that too.
I struggled with intense back pain around my 4th and 5th months of pregnancy, and it made such a difference when I would wear my good runners rather than some cute booties.
Your back is supporting a lot right now, and your feet are taking on all that extra pregnancy weight, so getting a good pair of shoes will pay off over and over again through your pregnancy.
If you find you can’t get a good night’s sleep these days, a pregnancy pillow may be what you’re missing.
I didn’t bother getting a pregnancy pillow for my pregnancy because I like to roll from side to side while I sleep, so instead I just stuffed a regular old pillow between my knees for comfort.
But some pregnant mamas couldn’t do it without their pregnancy pillows. (If you want to get a pregnancy pillow now, but are trying to stay on a budget, grab a free pregnancy pillow here using the code deliberatelyhere50 )
To avoid getting those pregnancy hanger – or, hunger – pangs, always pack a couple snacks around in your purse with you.
This is a good way to get used to packing snacks around once your kid is at the snack-eating age.
Until then, you’ll be packing snacks for yourself, mama!
If I let myself get too hungry, besides the unpleasant side of myself that comes out, I tend to get light headed and that’s just not safe, especially in pregnancy.
To avoid situations like that, carry a couple granola bars, apples, or bananas around with you wherever you go.
Hunger can hit you at the randomest times – even right after you stuffed your face with a big meal, so it’s a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected.
Some days you’re going to feel so gross and tired you aren’t even going to have the energy to get dressed.
My bathrobe has come in so handy for those days.
Grab yourself a soft, comfy bathrobe (maybe not a fuzzy bathrobe if you find this pregnancy is giving you hot flashes) for those days when lazing around is required.
Cravings happen. My cravings are ice cream and chocolate, and while you don’t want to feed your cravings all the time if you’re craving unhealthy foods allthetime, you do deserve to indulge every once in a while.
Keep a little stash of chocolates on hand for when those cravings are just too much.
You’re going through a lot. You can eat the chocolate.
An exercise routine
Exercise is an important part of pregnancy, whether that be going for walks or doing a light exercise routine at home.
I’ve been trying to stay active through this pregnancy, and I’ve found it easiest if I mix walking with an exercise routine, so I don’t grow bored of one or the other.
I try to go for a couple walks a week, and on the days when I don’t go for a walk I try to do a short exercise routine at home.
(I just made myself sound like a super-mama who exercises every day. I don’t. I’m not that super. The keyword in that sentance was: TRY.)
You’ll want to be sure to find exercise routines that are safe for pregnancy, since some things, like laying on your back from your second trimester on or twisting your abdomen, aren’t safe.
I found an awesome, simple pregnancy workout video that included pregnancy workouts for each trimester of pregnancy (plus the lady teaching the workout was pregnant herself – so that’s nice).
There’s your longer-than-I-planned list of pregnancy must haves, for every stage of pregnancy.
Keep in mind, mama, though you may have a lot of days in your pregnancy that are downright terrible – it’s going to all be worth it, and I’ll bet as soon as you’re holding your little babe you’ll forget about all those time you sat on the couch sucking on a freezie with a bucket beside you.