Everything You Need During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman

Being pregnant is wonderful and miraculous, but it comes with quite a few discomforts, aches and pains, a million unanswered questions — and did we mention that suddenly all your clothes don’t fit? Naturally, there are a few essential items you need when you are expecting that will make the experience all the more healthy and comfortable. But sometimes the long-list of pregnancy must-haves can seem a little daunting…and long.

The truth is, besides a healthy diet and regular visits to your healthcare provider, there isn’t much more you need to grow a baby. After all, you are only pregnant for nine months, so you don’t want to go overboard with your spending or stocking up. Still, there are a few items that will help you get through your pregnancy with a little more ease, and without costing you a fortune.

Here are our top picks.

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Watch all episodes of our Stay Calm Mom video series and follow along as our host Tiffany Small talks to a diverse group of women and top doctors to get real answers to the biggest pregnancy questions.


How to Prepare for Baby: What Do You Really Need?

Prenatal Vitamins

Although it’s possible to get through pregnancy without taking prenatals, maternity care providers recommend that all pregnant women take some kind of prenatal vitamin, because it can be difficult to get all the nutrition you need from food alone.

When you are pregnant, you have an increased need for vitamins and minerals such as folic acid, iron, and calcium. Plus, many of us have trouble eating a balanced diet when we are dealing with food aversions and morning sickness.

Your healthcare provider will likely give you a prescription for a prenatal vitamin. Some women tolerate these well, but many find that they are hard to swallow or digest when they are dealing with morning sickness. Most healthcare providers are flexible and will allow you to shop around until you find a prenatal that is more palatable to you.

What You Need

Because your tastes may change, it’s probably best not to buy too many bottles of prenatals at once, especially in the first trimester. However, if you find a prenatal vitamin that you love and want to stock up on, that works too. Keep in mind that if you are planning to breastfeed, you will need to continue to be taking your prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding, so you can plan to add prenatal vitamins to your budget for quite some time!

Morning Sickness and Digestive Remedies

Our appetites and digestive systems can get very wonky during pregnancy. Whether or not you experience full-on vomiting during pregnancy, almost all of us get a little queasy during the first trimester, and even beyond that. Then, as the pregnancy progresses, things like constipation and heartburn start to set in. Fun times.

It’s difficult to predict which of these ailments will strike you and at what time, but you will likely have to purchase an item or two at some point during pregnancy to make yourself more comfortable.

Popular items for morning sickness include anti-nausea wrist bands, morning sickness lollipops and teas, and a nice supply of plain crackers and pretzels. You can ask your healthcare provider what is safe to take for constipation and heartburn, but usually, most OTC medications will work.

What You Need

If you end up dealing with morning sickness or digestive upset, it’s not necessary to purchase every remedy on the market at once. You can try one or two options and then go from there. As annoying as these things are to deal with while they are happening, they often pass on their own just as we are finally getting them under control.

A Good Moisturizer

As your belly stretches and grows, you will be experiencing some skin changes. Itchy, dry skin is common. You also may experience extra dry skin on your face and elsewhere. Many women get stretch marks on their belly as their skin stretches, though the jury is out as to whether remedies or creams for stretch marks actually work (still, they can’t hurt to try!).

Either way, applying moisturizer to your belly and another other dry patches of skin can be very soothing and will help ease any itchiness. Most simple, non-prescription moisturizers are safe for pregnant women, but you can ask your healthcare provider if there are any particular ingredients you should stay away from.

For example, additives like retinoids, retinols, hydroquinone, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid are usually contraindicated for pregnant women. Most women have a preference for a moisturizer that is as natural and chemical-free as possible.

What You Need

Once you’ve gotten doctor approval and found a moisturizer you like, most pregnant women like to keep a bottle of it by their bedside or in their medicine cabinet for daily application. Again, no need to go overboard here. Just one simple moisturizer will reduce itchiness and dryness. And applying it to your growing belly can be comforting and a good time to relax and bond with the baby inside!

Belly Support Band

As your belly grows and your center of gravity shifts, it’s common to experience back pain, sacroilliac (SI) joint pain, as well as hip and abdomen soreness. Many women find relief by wearing a supportive belly band or belt. These soft, stretchy, supportive bands help keep your belly from drooping and provide back support as well.

Belly support bands are usually used once your belly becomes large and prominent, usually at the end of the second trimester or the beginning of the third trimester. They are especially helpful for pregnant women who want to remain active during pregnancy or who may be more prone to pregnancy-related muscle injury.

What You Need

One belly support band is all that’s needed during pregnancy. It’s best to wait to purchase until you are large enough to actually need one, as not all women find them helpful. Many women continue to wear their band during the postpartum period, as their body is healing. Most belly bands are relatively inexpensive and can be reused during a subsequent pregnancy.

Body Pillow

As your belly expands, it can be difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep in. It is not advised that you sleep on your back as your belly grows because you risk constricting vessels and arteries that supply blood to your baby. Tummy sleeping is an obvious obstacle the bigger your belly gets. Side-sleeping is where it’s at during the second and third trimester, but even that can get uncomfortable.

Enter the pregnancy body pillow. These pillows can be amazing for pregnant women, as they offer extra support for your hips, back, and legs as you find a side-lying position that is most comfortable. They can reduce the pressure off your joints too. Many women will place a pillow between their legs to realign their hips joints and reduce pressure.

What You Need

Pregnancy pillows come in various shapes, sizes, textures, and softness/firmness. It’s best to go to a store to try a few out. You’ll likely only need one during pregnancy. You will probably retire it after pregnancy, but you might become so attached to yours that you’ll keep using it for months after, and you can certainly use it during subsequent pregnancies.

Supportive Bra

During pregnancy, your breasts will grow at least once cup size, and they will become heavy and sore, especially during the first trimester. It is very likely that you will need at least once new bra during pregnancy. You want to pick one that is supportive, soft, and that can be adjusted to different sizes, as your breasts will be continually growing throughout your pregnancy.

If you are planning on breastfeeding, you may consider buying a nursing bra (which has latches on the cups for easy opening) and wearing that during pregnancy. Be warned, however, that breastfeeding will cause your breasts to grow even more, so make sure to buy a roomy nursing bra if you are going to start wearing it during pregnancy.

What You Need

You will likely start needing to wear a bigger bra as early as the first trimester, when your breasts begins to grow in preparation for breastfeeding. Purchasing a bra or two then with room to grow is a wise decision, since your breasts may continue to grow as the months progress. Depending on how often you generally launder your bras and whether you need a sports bras or other specific type, you will probably need to purchase 2-3 new bras.

Maternity Clothing

Buying maternity clothes is a no-brainer for most of us. After all, no matter who you are, you are going to outgrow your regular clothes at some point while you are pregnant. Many of us can’t button our pants as early as just a few days after we get our positive pregnancy test!

Probably the item that you will need to stock up on most is maternity pants, though you may get away with a waist expander or just wearing sweatpants for a while. By the second trimester, you will need a bunch of maternity shirts and pants, as your belly, waistline, rib cage, and breasts expand and grow.

Oh, and don’t forget shoes! You don’t have to buy any special maternity shoes, but as the months progress, your feet may expand and swell, and you are unlikely to want to wear heels regularly.

What You Need

It can be tempting to buy a whole new wardrobe when you are pregnant, but that isn’t necessary. If you are looking to stick to the basics, a week’s worth of pants and tops are all you really need, along with a few new bigger bras. You can get some really nice maternity clothes used or you can ask for donations from friends. As you make your purchases, keep in mind that you will likely wear your maternity pants for quite a while after your baby is born, so it makes sense to invest in a few solid pairs that you like and that are comfortable.

Pregnancy Books

As you move through your pregnancy, each week will be different from the next, and your body and baby will be growing and changing in so many new and exciting ways. But sometimes the whole thing can be confusing and stressful — and it’s common to have seemingly endless questions about what is happening with your body.

A good pregnancy book — especially one with pictures and illustrations — can act as a trusted pregnancy buddy as you move through the months. In addition to discussing fetal development and pregnancy bodily changes, most pregnancy books will help you prepare for your prenatal appointments and will offer tips on what to expect during childbirth and postpartum.

What You Need

Just one or two books that you trust and love are all you need. You can usually find a healthy selection of pregnancy books at the library or second-hand. Asking for recommendations from friends is always a good idea. Choose a book that feels reassuring to you, that isn’t too clinical, and that is thorough and balanced in terms of the information presented.

A Word from Verywell

When you’re expecting a baby, there is a lot of focus on what you will need for your baby — and buying teenie tiny infant clothing and accessories is a whole lot of fun, for sure. But expectant moms have their own set of needs as well, and definitely deserve a bit of pampering too. After all, although being pregnant is a blessing, it can also be very physically and emotionally demanding.

That said, it can be quite easy to go overboard with your pregnancy spending, which is not a great idea if you are on a budget. Knowing what you really need is key here, and there is definitely a way to make sure all your needs are met without spending an arm and a leg.

Perhaps the best gifts you can give yourself don’t have price tags at all: a nap, a long bath, and the chance to put your feet up. Investing in some R & R now is a good idea, since it will be in short supply once the baby arrives.

So stick to the essentials, but don’t skimp. You’re entitled to whatever it is you need to make these next nine months as comfortable and easy as possible.

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