My intentional pregnancy saviours and labour preparation
During pregnancy I have bought or gained items because they have a purpose to help me. They are intentional. It’s not things I’ve bought on a whim, because another mum recommended it to me, or I read an article with the top things you need in pregnancy. As pregnancy progressed I slowly made some changes and waited until they were really necessary (being the frugal freddie that I am) like bigger/stretchier clothes, bodycare, extra pillows to sleep etc. I also began to put more thought into labour and the care I needed to recover.
Here is a list of material items and tools I personally have found useful during my pregnancy and to prepare for baby or after labour. This could help you, if you really need it - this is not a must have list! I can also use this list again if I have another baby in the future!
My bump started to show around 20 weeks but it wasn't until 25ish weeks that I needed to look outside of my own wadrobe to dress myself comfortably. As my growing stage was at the end of winter, towards spring time I was able to mostly wear dresses and skirts I already owned. I found most of the clothes I needed to purchase at recycle and secondhand shops. Baggy dresses will also double as postnatal clothes for me to stay comfortable and cool in summer.
Extra pillows for sleeping
I have only needed one extra soft/thin pillow that I pop between my legs while I sleep on my side. As long as I go to sleep comfortably on one side, I will usually stay in this position for quite a long time in the night, until I notice my back aching. I was given a pregnancy pillow from a friend which I haven't found too helpful, it's a little too hard and high for me. It doubles as a feeding pillow so I will see if this beefits me when breastfeeding baby. If not, I'll give it away!
Hot water bottle & tennis ball for back and sciatic pains
One of the worst symptons in pregnancy has been back and sciatic nerve pains that run down my right leg. I can't ever get super comfortable on a sofa or in bed, however I have found that a hot water bottle can ease the pain, so I have one each night before bed and it makes getting to sleep easier.
A massuese recommended I get a tennis ball to massage my back and bum against a wall to help with my sciatic pains. It instantly worked wonders and I do it most mornings and nights.
The Leto Belt is designed by local kiwi Women’s Health Physiotherapists who have worked for over a decade treating women suffering from low back pain (LBP) and pelvic pain in pregnancy. The Leto Belt back support is designed specifically for pregnant women to reduce back and pelvic pain and to allow women to remain active throughout their pregnancy. After a week using the belt I could walk twice daily more comfortably and felt really well supported. I love that the belt comes with a secondary smaller strip to help compress parts of your back that are a little worse for wear.
I have never been too keen on exercising. By that I mean going to classes or the gym regualarly to keep fit. In the last year I have found short walks (3km around the neighbourhood) useful not only for getting my body moving in the morning or evening, but for my mental health. As soon as I start feeling a little hormonal, anxious or fed up I'll try my best to just get out into the fresh air. Exercise produces endorphens and endorphens makes you feel good - it's a no brainer!
Just wow! I cannot recommend hypnobirthing enough. We bought the Positive Birth digital pack, because most face to face classes were going online due to covid. This course has taken away all of the fear I have been exposed to from social or media influences about pregnancy. We are now equipped with great knowledge (the science behind how the body labours, the lead up to going to hospital etc.) and techniques (breathing, language, surroundings etc.) for labour, whether it be naturally or by cesarian section. I feel comfortable and weirdly excited with preparing for labour. I also feel very informed and know how to be by own health advocate, knowing I can make decisions and do not need to take the lead of the hospital staff or midwife. Sam has hugely benefited from the course, he feels much more involved and has an imaginary bag filled with techniques to help us both during the whole process.
Shea Nurture postnatal care
I 'met' Rachel (speaking over the phone) through my antenatal class midwife, who recommended her products to us all in preparation for birth and postpartum. Shea Nurture focuses on preparing your body (and mind) to recover down below after a natural birth, as well as breastfeeding. Women generally do not consider what they will need post birth and will rely on the advice given to them at hospital by midwives. They supply good information but maybe nowadays its a little out of date, or might not be the option your body needs.
Being a Mum herself Rachel created her Shea Nurture products for us Mum's-to-be to help us heal and sooth ourselves after birth with natural ingredients. Rachel not only makes gentle products to 'soothe your bits' and 'calm your nips' (two fantastic products I have ready in my hospital bag), she educates Mum's-to-be like myself on preparing yourself for after birth, because we are very quick to forget about ourselves and focus solely on baby. I feel much more confident since speaking with Rachel for after labour and how I can benefit from simple solutions she has created.
The 'soothe your bits' serum can be sprayed onto a reusable maternity pad and popped into the freezer being used to cool me down. I can then use these to relieve the pain and swelling, whilst the natural ingredients works it magic. 'Calm your nips' serum can also be placed on reusable breastpads to pop into the freezer and do exactly what it says on the bottle once you start breastfeeding and get a little bit sore whilst being a milk machine! These serums can also be used for all kinds of skin healing like thrush, cuts and grazes, dry skin and eczema, sun burn, windburn, oven burns.
This is a no bullsh*t book written by a midwife and mother who gets down to the point, covers so much for both Mum & Dad and includes very honest examples for parenthood. This book goes into so much detail on every possible birth scenario, the 4th trimester when baby arrives and further down the line!
Oils for bump
I am now 36 weeks pregnant and have no uncomfortable tight or dry skin, as well as no stretch marks so far (they could still appear later on). I have been using a combination of argon oil mixed with coconut oil or wheatgerm oil. They are natural and pure with no ingredients I can't pronounce. Don't waste your money on not so cheap plastic bottled products claiming to prevent stretch marks. Although I haven't had any stretch marks so far, we're all different and carry babies in our own ways. Some women will have small bumps and some big, needing their skin to stretch some more. If you really want to try and prevent stretch marks I would definitely recommend a natural carrier oil!
Oils for my diffuser
Ooh la la, our oil diffuser has been great every evening to relax us! We mostly use:
Peppermint - good for headaches
Lavender - promotes calmess
Bergamot - alleviates stress
Tea tree oil - purifies the air
Make sure you buy pure, natural oils from a healthstore. They'll cost a little more, but I did actually get a $2 bottle from Kmart once and I couldn't smell anything after a few minutes. I usually pop in 6 drops to my diffuser and the room will be smelling nicely for a few hours. A small 10ml bottle will usually last us one or two months, when alternating oils.