22 Essentials Every Pregnant Woman Needs

Since announcing my pregnancy online, I’ve been sharing snippets here and there about the products I’ve been loving and using. I’ve gotten some questions on InstaStories lately about specifics, so I thought doing a round-up post would be beneficial. No? That way if you’re interested in purchasing something, you have all the links you need in one place.

Over the past nearly six months, these are the products that have gotten me through the craziness that is pregnancy – the aches and pains, the ups and downs, the long nights, the frantic researching, etc. I’ve broken down the products by category: wellness, food, beauty, clothing, apps & books. Since I bought most of these products using Amazon Prime because I’m the most impatient person in the world, I found Prime links for you so you can get them ASAP too. If you have any questions or want a more in-depth review about any of the items listed, leave me a comment or send me a tweet. Also – NONE of this was sponsored or sent to me for free. I spent my own money purchasing these products.

This is going to be a long post, so grab a cup of coffee or tea and get comfy. 

22 pregnancy essentials via simply-nicole.com

Wellness

1. Wondfo pregnancy testsBefore we can really talk about pregnancy essentials, we should touch on trying to conceive (TTC) essentials really quickly. First up, are pregnancy tests. I personally loved these Wondfo ones and bought them in bulk, because they are inexpensive and just as effective as the digital versions. In fact, many OBGYN offices use this brand to test for pregnancy anyway! If it takes you a few months to get pregnant, you’ll be happy to have these on hand. 

2. Clearblue digital pregnancy testsAfter I got my positive pregnancy test using the Wondfo strip, I confirmed it with a digital test. Clearblue is one of the more expensive brands, but they are also one of the most accurate. The one I linked can tell a positive pregnancy up to five days before your missed period. Digital tests are absolutely clear in that they tell you “pregnant” or “not pregnant” in words. There’s no guessing whether you see a second line or not! 

3. Clearblue digital ovulation testsAfter a few months TTC, I started using ovulation tests to track my most fertile days. Ovulation tests measure the amount of luteinising hormone (LH) in your urine. LH is always present, but the levels surge right around ovulation. Because of this, both lines of the ovulation test need to be the same intensity to show a positive result. I used cheap Wondfo tests, but I found them to be really confusing. I was constantly googling “positive ovulation tests” to see if the lines on my test looked similar to others. During the last few months of TTC, I switched to the Clearblue digital ovulation tests and I wish I had done so sooner. When you’re ovulating they show a smiley face, and when you’re not ovulating they show an empty circle. Easy as that. 

4. Garden of Life prenatalI’ve been taking this prenatal for over a year now and I can’t say enough positive things about it. A few years ago, I had a test done that looked at a MTHRF gene mutation {read more here}. MTHFR is an enzyme that makes folic acid usable by the body. The two common mutations are heterozygous and homozygous. I have a heterozygous mutation which means one of my parents passed on a mutation of the gene, while the other parent passed on a normal gene. Basically, what this all means is that my body doesn’t metabolize folic acid properly, so I had to find a prenatal that contain folate, not folic acid. That’s how I came to choose the Garden of Life prenatal. This brand is vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free and contains no binders or fillers. The vitamins come from raw whole foods, and includes probiotics, ginger, vitamin D and zinc for digestive support {I’ve never gotten a stomach ache from taking these!}. 

5. Vitamin D3: Based on blood test results, my doctor recommended that I start taking D3 along with my prenatal. Don’t take this unless you need it, but I wanted to share these with you because it’s what I use. I’m not a huge fan of chalky vitamins {but who is?!}, so I love taking these gummies. It’s like candy. They taste amazing and are made from natural colors and flavors. They contain no wheat gluten, milk, eggs, peanuts or soy. 

6. Contigo water bottle: If you’re pregnant, you know that you’re constantly thirsty, especially in the first trimester. I bought this 20oz. water bottle early on, and I absolutely love it. I keep it at my desk at first and try to fill it up a few times every day. There’s nothing really special about this bottle, but I do like that it has an auto-close feature. If you like to add fruit or natural flavor packets to your water, you can add it to the water bottle, take out the straw and shake it up – without having any spills! 

7. Snoogle pregnancy pillow: Oh the pregnancy pillow – aka the Snoogle. Everyone tells you that you need one, but I was hesitant to buy one at first because this thing is massive and takes over most of the bed. After purchasing it though, I now understand why everyone raves about it. It really supports your back, belly and knees. I can’t live without it. Last night, I realized that my pillow case needed to be washed, so I slept without it for the first time in months and I woke up this morning with terrible back pain. 

8. Expecting You pregnancy journal: Journaling isn’t for everyone, but I knew I wanted a place to track pregnancy milestones and write letters to our little lady. I bought one called Expecting You when I was around 10 weeks pregnant, and I’ve been trying to write in it at least once every two weeks. It has prompts throughout, but there’s also ton of blank pages. Bryan even gets involved and tells me things to write down that he wants to tell the baby. If you’re looking for a pregnancy journal, I highly recommend this one. It’s going to be a great keepsake!

Food

9. Chai latte concentrate: Chai lattes are my jam, but I like to watch the amount of caffeine I’m having. I found this decaf chai latte concentrate and have been buying it in bulk at Target. If your Target doesn’t sell it, here’s an Amazon link. I heat equal parts chai concentrate and vanilla soy or almond milk on the stove. It tastes almost exactly like the soy chai latte from Starbucks – for a FRACTION of the cost! 

10. Dunkin Donuts decafBefore getting pregnant, I would have a cup or two of coffee every single day. The more caffeine the better. Obviously I had to kick that habit once I found out I was pregnant. I know you can have a certain amount of caffeine, but I wanted to be as careful as possible so I made the switch to Dunkin Donuts decaf. If I want to treat myself, I’ll order a grande chai latte from Starbucks, which is still under the daily recommended caffeine amount. 

11. Nature’s Bakery Honey and Oat barsSomething I’ve noticed since becoming pregnant is that I’m hungry all the time. However, if I eat too much all at once… the heartburn and indigestion kicks in. I’ve gotten around that by making sure I eat something small every couple of hours. I carry a small grocery store around with me at all times, because I get HANGRY. These Nature’s Bakery bars have been my recent obsession. I have one almost every single day for a mid-morning snack. I really like the strawberry and blueberry flavors, but they have a bunch to choose from. 

12. Dried Mango: Another snack favorite has been dried mango, which I guess isn’t the worst craving in the world to have. It’s super easy to throw in my bag and go. Mangoes are rich in iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, potassium and folic acid, which are all vital nutrients for pregnancy. They also help improve digestion and maintain a healthy heart.

Clothing & Beauty

13. Target tank tops: One thing I learned about dressing a growing bump is the importance of a good base layer. If you have a good cami or tank, you can throw on pretty much anything on top and look pulled together – a long cardigan, slouchy pullover sweater, a zip-up sweatshirt, whatever. I have these maternity tanks from Target in maroon, dark green and black, and plan on buying them in white and gray this weekend. They wash really well and don’t shrink! For reference, I like them EXTRA long so I got a size small. The extra small fit too, but I felt more comfortable going up a size. 

14. Target Bellaband: I feel like people either love or hate belly bands. I personally loved them. They look like the bottom half of a cami, and they have an sticky elastic band on the inside which help keep it in place. I bought two belly bands, one in black and one in white, and used them non-stop in the beginning months. They were great for when I was able to fit into my normal jeans, but wanted to keep the pants unzipped for comfort. You’ll eventually have to switch to full panel maternity jeans, but in the early weeks this product is a lifesaver. 

15. Mother’s Special Blend skin toning oil: I know stretch marks can be hereditary but as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to take all precautions. I forget where I first heard about this belly oil, but I’m so glad that I did. I use it every single night after my shower on my belly and legs. So far, so good. It’s very affordable (under $15) for a large bottle and I’m only about halfway done it. It’s got only four ingredients: almond oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter and vitamin E. There’s no chemicals, preservatives, artificial colors or perfumes, so it’s right up my alley. 

16. Motherhood Maternity jeggings: I’ve never been a jeggings girl. They remind me too much of college when everyone would wear leggings or jeggings with short tops and it was basically the most unflattering thing in the world. However, things have changed in the jeggings department since the last time I tried them on. This maternity version has been the only pair of jeans I’ve been wearing {I actually have them on now!}, and I need to buy a pair in black ASAP. I pair them with longer tops and they look great! Very slimming and super comfy all day long. They also wash really well without fading. 

Apps & Books

17. Ovia Fertility: When we were TTC, I tried a few different period trackers, but Ovia Fertility was by far my favorite. Based on your unique cycle, it gives you a fertility score each day which tells you how likely you are to get pregnant. I personally liked how I was able to track everything in one place: mood, symptoms, flow, sleep, sexual activity, ovulation and pregnancy test results, medications, exercise, and much more. If you’re handy with Excel, you can even export the data and analyze it to your heart’s content. 

18. Ovia Pregnancy: After getting the positive pregnancy test, I switched from the Ovia Fertility app to the Ovia Pregnancy app. Similar to the fertility app, you can track all your symptoms, but I use the app mainly to read weekly updates. It’s the highlight of my week for sure. On Monday nights, I tell Bryan all the details, including baby’s size in comparison to a fruit {so funny!}, likely symptoms I’ll have for that week, and what’s going on with baby’s development. In the early weeks when I was still learning all about being pregnant, I used the app’s food safety and medication safety databases. They are really helpful and easy to use and understand. 

19. Baby Center: You can use the Baby Center app to track baby’s growth, just like Ovia, but I use it only to creep on the forums. You plug in your due date and you’re automatically assigned a forum for your “birth club” aka a group of women who are also due the same month as you. Forums are useful, but it’s important to remember that what you read is just one woman’s point of view. I used the forums a lot in the early weeks to see if other women were having similar symptoms. I stopped reading for a few weeks because it started to cause a bit of unnecessary anxiety, but I’m back to checking them at least a few times a week. It’s nice to know that you’re not alone and that there are tons of women out there going through the same thing. 

20. What to Expect: You’re probably thinking, “Nicole why are you using ANOTHER pregnancy app?!” Well my friends, this one I use strictly for reading articles. I don’t open this app as often as the others, but when I do, I find a plethora of great information. I hear that the What to Expect book is very similar, so if you don’t have time to read that I suggest downloading the app instead.

21. Baby Story: This is a photography app that I use to take my weekly bump photos. There’s not much to say about it, other than it’s easy to use and I love the sticker options. I use the fruit comparison stickers, but they have a bunch of other fun ones to choose from too. When baby gets here, you can continue using the app for your milestone photos, because there’s a ton of cute filters and sticker options for that as well. 

22. The Happiest Baby on the Block: I recently finished reading this book and give it two thumbs up! It’s written by a pediatrician and is backed by a lot of research, so I trust what’s presented. Once baby gets here, I’m excited to implement Dr. Karp’s techniques for soothing her and increasing sleep. The book discusses info on breastfeeding, swaddling, lowering SIDS risk, the fourth trimester, the calming reflex, the five s’s, and the cuddle cure. If you read only one book while pregnant, I highly suggest this one!

// What are some of your pregnancy essentials?!

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