I'll be honest with you, a lot of the "pregnancy essentials" on the market are really not necessary. There are a few things that truly matter, and the rest is preference. As a mom of three, here's what I think matters the most:
Safe skincare (if you're into that)
That's really all there is to it. You can get extras like a fancy pillow if it helps you sleep, but really we don't need a ton of fancy stuff.
ESPECIALLY not fancy pregnancy subscription boxes, read my review on those here.
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Shop for COMFORT not STYLE: Don't go hog wild on fancy expensive maternity clothes. Buy things that stretch and things that fit, don't overthink it or overspend.
During my first pregnancy, I ordered a bunch of maternity jeans and t shirts in my pre pregnancy size, and then I gained an unbelievable amount of weight and could not wear anything! It was so disappointing because I spent so much money, and the websites tell you "buy your pre-pregnancy size" but don't say "unless you've gained a bunch of weight!" I found after buying a few expensive brands of pants, that you can really get by with something cheap like these Amazon leggings which come out to a little over $5 a pair. I wore these my entire third pregnancy. They're by no means fancy, but they are surely pants.
Comfortable shoes are so important: I sure don't run, but the "cloud foam" in these shoes is unbelievable. I have 3 different pairs, and I'll likely be buying two more because I see they're on a very good sale right now and looking like they might be going out of stock. I walked a lot with my toddler in the stroller during my second pregnancy, and these bad boys carried me comfortably for miles. A huge difference from my other shoes that don't have the "cloud foam". I have bought a new pair of these with every pregnancy.
UPDATE: the laceless ones are a bit easier to get on and off, and the mesh allows for wider feet to stay comfortable! You can find those here on Amazon.
Compression socks: These socks were so awesome at the end of the third trimester. My legs and feet were so swollen all the time, and it was nearly impossible to sit down long enough to make a difference (thank you, toddler!). I bought these from Amazon for a very excellent price because the ones I got from my insurance were actually impossible to put on! These were stretchy enough to get on easy, but tight enough to get the job done. I wore them until the day I went into labor.
Motherhood Maternity Side Ruched Scoop Neck Maternity Tank Top: I wrote that out completely because it's pretty fun to say the whole thing. They're a great price and I have about six of them in different colors, they're extremely comfortable. I found that after my first pregnancy I just couldn't wear sleeves anymore without getting super hot. I still wear these from time to time. I did not buy much else in the way of special maternity shirts.
I have come to love Amelia Cami's as entire shirts, and for the times I don't want all my bump/flump hanging out I like their tanks as well. I have every color of both of them. There's also Swim Camis which are more sports bra-like if that's something you need- and decent maternity swimwear is hard to come by! I have continued to wear these all through my pumping journey with my second baby, my third pregnancy, and now currently in my pumping/nursing journey with third baby. When I say I love these, it's an understatement.
You can use the code TEACHINGMOTHERHOOD for 10% off site wide.
Comfortable, STRETCHY Underpants: I recently decided to boycott my previous favorite panty brand, and I've literally got some basic ones from Costco. They get the job done and they're comfortable- if I recall correctly the big multi pack was around $5. Costco is seriously the best!
I did score a couple of pairs of the new Mia Boxers from Davin and Adley as well. These are AWESOME for pregnancy and postpartum, they're similar to bike shorts so you can continue to wear them long afterwards. I did find sizing up was necessary due to how much weight I'd gained with my third pregnancy, I double checked my measurements with the brand owner (small business, very great customer service) to be sure before ordering more!
A big, loose sweater if your third trimester is in the fall: I think the whole "special maternity sweaters"thing is a money grab, so I just bought a plain old large zipper hoodie from Amazon for cheap. I still wear it now! You don't really need a fancy sweater with built in room for a bump. I did get one as a birthday gift from amazon that's a maternity nursing and pumping sweater with a fleece interior, which I have really come to enjoy. It's not as expensive as other brands maternity lines are, so I'm happy to share it at the decent price point of $36.
Vitamins & Supplements:
Pill Organizer: This thing was a huge help, I can't even tell you how many days I would forget if I took my prenatals or not. It was easy to check if that day's little box was empty and then I would know! This one is very large compared to others, so it fit all of my various vitamins.
I currently am still using it postpartum, because I still cannot remember if I've taken my vitamins yet. Every day.
New Chapter Prenatal Multivitamin: I used this brand with my first pregnancy and had almost no morning sickness, I think the ginger and peppermint that's in here helps a bit. This brand isn't very cheap, but it's got a ton of great stuff in there and can be taken on an empty stomach with no issue. ALWAYS ask your doctor about supplements.
Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA: During my first pregnancy, my OBGYN recommended I take a DHA supplement in addition to my prenatal vitamin. I followed the same exact regimen with the second and third pregnancy. I like this brand because it didn't give me any trouble, and had the best reviews at the time I purchased. ALWAYS ask your doctor about supplements.
Skin & Self Care:
Palmers Cocoa Butter Stretch Mark Lotion: I love this stuff. Not only is it super cheap, it actually helps! My first pregnancy I got very lazy and didn't lotion every day. Tons of stretch marks. Itchy skin. Yikes! Second pregnancy, I applied this stuff morning and night as much as I could remember! I didn't have any itching and I had minimal stretch marks. That could also be due to having previously stretched so much, but who knows. I still liked the lotion!
Extras & Accessories:
What to Expect Pregnancy Journal: I have nothing written down for my first pregnancy, no memories of bump size, weight, what was sore, how I slept, nothing! I was so lazy. I made sure for the second round to write at least a little something every day. I only used that portion of the journal though, I didn't track any prenatal testing or use the labor journal (is anyone really journaling during labor?) or pregnancy organizer. I suppose I could have used a regular notebook, but I liked that it was laid out already in the weeks/months format. Note I did not complete the journal with second baby or even try with the third. I wish I did some days, but it's okay. I should focus more on journals to the kids and writing down funny things they do to look back on later.
Pregnancy Pillow: This is not a 100% essential item, but it can make a world of difference in comfort in the end of the third trimester. I always slept better with crying newborns than I did at the end of pregnancy, I'm not even joking.
Straw bottle or jug: I love a big one that will seemingly always have water in it, even if I've only filled it once or twice in the day! I recently got this very big one from Amazon that holds a lot of water and stays cold for a long time. I have a very beautiful light purple color that I like a lot!
Say it with me- YOU. DON'T. NEED. THE. STANLEY. Grab a dupe, nobody will know.
If you're here on this post about prenatal goodies, you must be expecting! Congratulations :) Check out my other posts on choosing a baby registry, free baby registry boxes, hospital bag checklist, diaper bag checklist, and a whooole slew of pumping related posts!