First of all, for those of you who haven’t been following me over on social media I have an announcement to make: I am pregnant! It still feels unreal for me to say it, but with every week passing by and seeing my bump grow it is starting to sink more and more in. As I write this I am currently 20 weeks which means I have arrived at the halfway mark, and can reveal that our little baby boy is due to arrive August 2021. We are so excited :)
As a first time expecting mum it can be hard to know what you need. We are all so different with individual needs, challenges and symptoms making it hard to know where to even begin. I wanted to be very conscious with my choices and only purchase the essentials while not spending too much money; helpful items that could make the start of my pregnancy more comfortable and enjoyable. Since I’m still learning as my pregnancy journey progress, I’m sure there will be new things to add to my list as I get closer to my due date. I might do a new post when I am in my third trimester or update this list, but for now scroll down to find my pregnancy essentials and must-haves so far. (And find my growing baby bump photos at the end of this post.)
My pregnancy essentials for the first & second trimester
1. Pregnancy book – The Day-by-Day Pregnancy Book was my very first pregnancy related purchase, the day we found out back in mid December I actually ordered it on Amazon straight away to get delivered the next day. I guess it was a bit of a ‘omg what do we need to know’ moment because this is all so new and can feel a bit overwhelming. The book is a great way to count down every day of your journey. The pregnancy guide it is full of information and in-depth advice from medical experts to make you feel supported and informed during your pregnancy. I like that it walks you through every day of your pregnancy from the moment of conception to the first two weeks of your newborn’s life. Even though it is a thick one, the fact that there is one page to read each day makes it feel more manageable to get through. I find it is a nice routine to read one page before bed each night – and it is something that you and your partner can enjoy together too.
About the book: This week by week pregnancy book will show you how to keep healthy during pregnancy, what foods to avoid, how to exercise safely and how to navigate common concerns and prepare for complications. It includes fully updated medical advice and Q&As with experts and mums that will help put your mind at ease. Day by day, detailed artworks and foetal images will show your baby’s development with remarkable clarity. As you get closer to your due date, the book explores all the options available for your labour and birth so you can make the right choice with confidence. This insightful book also breaks down your delivery and the first 12 hours after childbirth. The day-by-day format continues for the first two weeks of life with your newborn baby.
2. Prenatal vitamins – As you might already know, prenatal vitamins are very important and essential to take throughout your pregnancy, and it was also another thing I ordered straight away after we found out. The best thing to do is to talk to your doctor and check which vitamins are recommended in your country, but if you are also located in Italy I have found that the Multicentrum Mamma DHA has been great. These comes with an omega 3 capsule too, which is handy and if you order it through Amazon like I do, there is a subscription option where they get sent out to you once a month making sure you never forget to buy more.
Tip: if the vitamins make you feel nauseous, try switching to take them in the evening rather than the morning.
3. Underwear – I find that underwear is such an important part of feeling good, and with your new changing body you will quickly realise that your old underwear might not fit as nicely as they used to making you feel uncomfortable. Even before purchasing any sort of maternity clothes I bought a few new underpants, also to make sure I could keep my normal underpants nice without stretching them out. Depending on what you prefer in terms of style, whether that is over the bump or under, it will be smart to look around and find the ones that are best for you. Since we are in lockdown without the possibility to look around in shops I decided to order this 6 pack to test out in black, grey and nude (but you can choose the colour combination you prefer). They are affordable and a good starting point, then once you get further along you can see if you want to also invest in any more. In terms of bras I have been mostly wearing comfortable sports bras, and will get nursing bras when I need them.
4. Pregnancy pillow – A pregnancy pillow is very individual; some people love it and some people don’t see the point. For me insomnia hit hard quite early in my first trimester. I found trouble sleeping because of worrying but also because I simply couldn’t get comfortable. I kept tossing and turning all night and never found a good position to lie in… Then later on came the restless leg pain which made things worse. I ended up getting the Koala Babycare pregnancy pillow (or rather: my dear fiancé gave it to me as a Valentines present), and I couldn’t be more happy about it. Not only is it affordable compared to many other very pricey options, it has multiple uses so you can also use it afterwards when nursing the baby for instance or while sitting in bed. It has a cover you can take off and wash too which to me is ideal and comes in a range of colours. It has truly been my sleep-saver! :)
Tip: If you are thinking about getting a pregnancy pillow do it as soon as possible! You will be so happy that you didn’t wait, everyone I spoke to said they wish they got theirs right in the beginning as it helps you get used to sleeping on your side and get comfy.
5. Skincare body – Around the middle of the first trimester I stared to use Bio-Oil on my bump after every shower. Although I am totally fine with whatever happens to my body and will embrace any stretch mark I get, I figured it was worth to start taking preventive action by helping the skin on my expanding belly to get more soft and elastic for my own comfort. I also find putting on the oil quite a soothing and nice thing to do, it helps me to connect to the little guy who is in there in a way. After putting on the oil I have been using the Caring body lotion from Swedish brand Barnängen on my bump as well as the rest of my body, it is a vegan product made of oat milk with 95% natural ingredients.
6. Skincare face – Just as your body gets more sensitive, the skin on your face can also get extra sensitive during pregnancy. Therefore I have been conscious about finding the right natural skincare products to use while avoiding the chemicals that might be harmful to the baby. (The most important ingredients to avoid while pregnant are retinoids (vitamin A), salicylic acid, parabens, phthalates and synthetic fragrances. Numerous studies prove these ingredients to be unsafe.) I have been enjoying using 100% natural products from Scandinavian skincare brand NUORI which has helped leaving my skin feeling soft and revitalised – just what I needed now while pregnant because my face has become extra sensitive and dry. For tackling any impurities, their new product line Clarity, which includes a clay mask and a spot treatment, both are effective while hydrating and protecting. The clay mask has become a part of my weekly self-care routine, because it is important to take care of yourself and feel good during pregnancy. For everyday skincare I have been using their Vital facial cream and Vital eye cream.
If you want to try these or any other products from the NUORI out yourself, use my code SCANDIFEELING10 for a discount at checkout.
7. Maternity clothes – When it comes to maternity clothes this is very individual depending on what you already have, what season you are in and what you prefer to wear. For me, I quickly purchased a plain pair of black maternity leggings and I think it is a great place to start. And don’t feel bad about getting this early, I was probably week 9-10 when I got mine because I was feeling so bloated and nauseous that I needed something soft and comfortable that didn’t press on my stomach. In addition to the leggings, I also purchased a pair of blue maternity denim jeans and a pair of black maternity jeggings (those that looks like jeans but are super soft). I also got one maternity striped jumper as well as a few plain maternity t-shirts and tank tops in black and white because they are great to wear under a cardigan or shirt and goes with everything. For the rest I have been using things I already have in my closet: dresses that have lots of room or jumpsuits, oversized jumpers and tops that have enough room to grow. As we go into Spring now and heading towards summer, which will be very hot here in Italy and the period I will be at my biggest, I will do a few more purchases later on when needed. I am already predicting that I will live in lightweight summer dresses and my Birkenstock sandals for most of the period :) But for now, even just having a pair of leggings and one pair of maternity jeans has been the basic essentials for getting by.
8. Drinks – Before getting pregnant I always heard mums saying that one of the things they miss the most during pregnancy is having a glass of wine or a cocktail. I therefore found it my mission to search for an alternative as I didn’t want to simply just drink normal sodas (which I rarely drink normally anyway). I ended up quite obsessed with the Whole Earth organic sparkling drinks, and luckily my local health store stocks two flavours (I have tried and loved Elderflower and Ginger but they also have Orange & Lemon, Lemonade and Apple.) I treat myself to one of these cans a week, usually on a Saturday accompanied by homemade pizza. They are great as they are made with all natural ingredients and are lightly carbonated so not too fizzy. I think when it comes to drinks (and foods) to avoid during pregnancy, as long as you find a good alternative you enjoy it isn’t that bad.
9. Pregnancy apps – With todays technology, is very handy to have digital apps to help track your pregnancy and the baby’s development alongside books. I have been using a few different ones, first up I have been enjoying checking the weekly updates on the Preglife app. It has a simple design and breaks down all the information nicely into 3 categories: baby, mother & partner. In addition for more info and size comparisons each week, I have been also using the What to Expect app (right now my baby is the size of a mango or a ViewMater which is giving me nostalgic vibes from the 90s!) For any Norwegian readers, I also have to recommend the Babyverden app which gives you a daily little text with tips and info.
10. Mindful app – In addition to these pregnancy apps I have been using on my phone, another app I have been enjoying on the iPad which is not as pregnancy related is the Lake Colouring book app. I discovered it while I was in my first trimester needing a distraction from being nauseous and worried. It has so many beautiful illustrations and it is such a calming and mindful activity when you are in need of zoning out for a bit.
Tip: What about printing out some of your creations and hanging up in the nursery afterwards for your baby to enjoy. That will be extra special since you did them while pregnant with him or her.
This is my basic list of pregnancy essentials. I have been quite conscious about what to buy, and as mentioned we are all different so you might have different needs than me. I would love to hear from you if there are anything you found helpful during your pregnancy that is not mentioned here?
I am now 20 weeks and here are some photos of my growing bump. I have been enjoying taking these every week to see the progress because when you see yourself in the mirror everyday it is hard to notice the change:
>>> Be sure to follow me on Instagram where I share daily stories and updates from my journey. It will be great to connect with any mums or expecting mums out there :)
// Photo credit: Ingrid Opstad