So there are always loads of lists of things you should be doing, or things you simply MUST buy to help you through your pregnancy. A lot of the time, these are spurred on by old wives tales, or just feed off the anxiousness and uncertainty of new mums. Don’t get me wrong, some gadgets and inventions are great and probably work for others, but unless you have a real tough time of it, there are a lot of things that aren’t really necessary but are packaged as so.
As I approach due date, I can honestly count on my hand the few things I’ve been unable to live without. So here are my top 5 pregnancy lifesavers:
Oh my god the heartburn. If, like me, you sailed through trimesters 1 and 2 without really any gripes, then hopefully the heartburn and reflux will be the hardest part. With that in mind, stockpile your Gaviscon in advance of the third trimester. Tablets, liquid, anything will do when you get into the 30-odd week mark and baby has squashed your whole digestive tract, taunting it with kicks after every meal too. I’d recommend the massive bottle to swig from before bed (and often through the night), but as it’s too heavy/clunky to carry around, always have the chewable tablets in your handbag, pocket, other half’s pocket, desk drawer, everywhere!
Never one for taking medicine when I don’t have to, I quickly learned that pregnancy is no time for heroes. When paracetomol is all you’re allowed for pain relief, cold and flu relief, and basically any relief, make sure you have a stash at home at all times. For me, it helped when headaches and migraines struck – both of which were uncommon for me, but occasional in pregnancy. Where paracetomol really helped though was through the night when sciatica was playing up and there was just no way to get comfortable.
Sandals or flip flops
This may partly be due to the timing of my pregnancy, but I could not have gotten by without a pair of emergency sandals or flip flops. Most days were absolutely fine, but sometimes – whether or not due to summer heat or just standing for long periods – my feet would just swell beyond recognition. After having to remove shoes at a party and walk about barefoot for most of the night, I realised that having sore feet whilst sober is no fun, and that emergency sandals should always be available!
Loads of people have different views on stretch marks – some swear by certain creams whilst others put a lack of lines down to good genes. Having accumulated my fair share of tiger stripes on my inner thighs through puberty, I wasn’t keen to repeat the process on my tum with a growing bump, so some form of tummy TLC was needed. Bio Oil famously promotes itself as the cream for stretch marks, but in reality I also chose it because it both smells nice and is oil based, so you can feel like you’re giving bump his or her own wee daily massage too.
Books, apps, guides, rants on Mumsnet – most reading material has been a lifesaver for this first time mum. Ante-natal classes and well-intentioned advice from friends and family is also great, but with baby brain likely to make you forget all of the important stuff by the time you need to put it into practice, written material is a godsend. Of course, there are loads of apps and websites out there which can make things a bit overwhelming, but if you stick to the big guns like your Ready, Steady Baby book, any NHS leaflets or guides given to you, and things like the Emma’s Diary and Bounty apps, you’ll have more than enough information and reassurance for just about anything. I’ve also enjoyed some fun reading material in the form of the Big Fat Activity Book for Pregnant People, and the Unmumsy Mum, both of which were gifted to me by friends. The first is great for taking your mind off things whilst the latter is an honest account of parenthood which will make you realise that, no, it won’t be perfect, but yes, you can do it.