Now that I'm only a week-ish away from my due date I thought it might be fun to share some of my 'essentials' when it comes to pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Obviously this is just my opinion and what I found helped me and not a definitive list but I hope you might find it useful!Pregnancy Essentials
1, Bravado - Body Silk seamless nursing bra - When I was pregnant with Wilf I tended to just choose the cheapest options for nursing bras and not really do much research. I figured I wouldn't need them for 'that' long. In fact I ended up breastfeeding for two and a half years so I really should have just gone for the best quality to begin with, after all you're wearing them everyday! This time round I've tried a few bras from both Medela and Bravado, I have to say I prefer the Bravado ones but of the three styles I've tried I also much prefer the Body Silk seamless nursing bra. Towards the end of my pregnancy my diaphragm is much bigger so I've had to add a bra extender but I've been told after birth it should go down a little and fit perfectly again.
2, Pregnancy pillow - I didn't buy one of these until my third trimester but I wish I'd got my act together a bit sooner to be honest. It's definitely improved my sleep and whats more it acts as a barricade for a certain little 'almost four year olds' legs against my tummy when he climbs into our bed at night. I ended up buying the Theraline after hearing good things from friends, I imagine there isn't much between them but I have no complaints!
3, Gap maternity tops - Gap is the only place I've found that does long enough maternity tops. I have a longer torso and so with every other company I've found that tops are almost immediately not long enough, even in the early stages of pregnancy. I'd really recommend stocking up with a few of these, they are nice and stretchy too!
4, Slip on flats - These ones are from Toms but basically any easy to put on flats will do. If you're pregnant in the winter months you might need to go for some Ugg type boots to keep out the wet. I wasn't able to put my shoes on with ease from about 6 months. My feet have also swelled a little so shoes made of fabric that can stretch are a winner!
5, Gaviscon - not very glamorous but something I glug on daily, get the Peppermint flavour its the only one that's bearable!
6, A pregnancy bath soak. For when you feel like a bit of relaxing in the bath with a magazine. I love this one from Natalia
7, Headache Strips - I suffered from really bad migraine in my first trimester (along with all day sickness, oh the joy!) and the only thing that helped were these strips, you can get them from pretty much any pharmacy.
OK so clearly this is going to differ from person to person so I can only say what really helped me!
1, A stool - random one I know but I accidentally discovered in my labour with Wilf how much I LOVED being in the shower. We have a stand alone shower and so I able to just close the door bring in a stool and direct the shower head onto my contractions. It helped so much I was able to sit on the stool and have little naps. You can pick up a cheap one like this one from IKEA
2, A heat pack - I had lower back ache for a while during my previous labour and this was a brilliant relief from that sort of ache.
3, Hypnobirthing - I had this book by Marie Mongan and I also listening to the 'rainbow relaxation' CD. You can read more about my hypnobirthing experience here but I really do credit it for helping me having a super chilled and pain free labour.
4, Birth pool - even if you're not planning a home birth I still think it would be great to have a birth pool at home as labouring at home for as long as possible is recommended with most births. We bought the pool and full kit from La Bassine here which comes with everything you need
5, Isotonic drinks - This is literally all I had in labour as well as water. I did try to eat some toast at one point but it didn't agree with me and I found swigging from these drinks really brilliant at keeping my energy levels up!
6, Aromatherapy oils - I chose to differentiate between Clary Sage for speeding up contractions and Lavender to Calm. You can burn them using an oil burner (although you can't do this in a hospital I imagine you could probably put some on a flannel?).
Additionally I'd also say a good calming play list to listen to. A darkened room, maybe some fairy lights or candles and some mats of cushions to kneel and lie on in-between contractions.
1, Arnica Cream - Arnica is such amazing stuff, it's really useful to just have around the house but it's amazing for bruising 'down there' after giving birth!
2, Cabbage leaves - Whether you breastfeed or not your milk will come in after a couple of days and your boobs will probably feel massive and hot. The best thing I found for this was cold cabbage leaves!
3, Nursing Pads - I've recently stocked up on these in bulk, it all depends on how much milk you produce I suppose but I still needed to wear them 18 months on due to a very full milk supply! I found some brands quite itchy and uncomfortable and really got on with the Lansinoh brand.
4, On that note, Lansinoh Lanolin Cream - essential for cracked or sore nipples (I'm really selling this whole after birth to you aren't I!).
5, Nice PJ's - You'll be recovering in bed and around the home for the first few days and there is nothing nicer than clean sheets and new PJ's!
6, Maternity Pads - very unglamorous but very necessary (sorry!)
So that's it off the top of my head!
What would you add?