My Maternity Must-Haves

I’m in the final countdown of this pregnancy with less than four weeks to go before my due date. I’m feeling well, but just like with Joey, I’m having fake contractions pretty much all the time, no matter how well-rested, well-hydrated, and well-relaxed I am. So I’m on doctor’s order to watch a ton of Netflix with my feet up (Father Brown, Doctor Blake, and Murder in Paradise are my go-tos — I love my BBC mysteries … and have the TV-watching habits of a 75-year-old woman, clearly! How embarrassing.) … when I’m not chasing after an 18-month-old, that is.

A second pregnancy is interesting because you know what you’re doing, but there’s also so many differences… from what you crave — ice cream and chocolate milk, pretty much exclusively — to how the baby feels — this guy has always been way lower than Joey who sat way up by my ribcage. The nice thing is the second time around you know what products to turn to and also have the opportunity to discover some new ones. Here’s a roundup of my favorite things so far.

Slip-on shoes: comfy slip-on tennies are a must when you just can’t possibly tie your shoes anymore, and these look super cute with jeans, shorts or even dresses (they also come in a grey color that would be great for fall!).

Honest Belly Balm: I’ve never gotten stretch marks (knock on wood), but the skin on my belly sometimes get very tight, dry and uncomfortable as it’s stretched to the max, especially in these last few weeks. This balm is a little sticky but feels soothing on my skin, so I put it on before bed a couple of times a week.

Curel itch defense — I tend to get dry, itchy skin and it definitely gets worse when I’m pregnant, especially when my ankles and feet swell. This lotion eliminates that itchy feeling that sometimes keeps me up at night while moisturizing my dry skin at the same time.

A good book is essential to my pregnancy survival. Since I have a hard time falling asleep when I’m pregnant, no matter how tired I get (and probably because I am overtired), I love to have a good mystery novel to read for a few minutes before bed to calm my mind. I like mysteries that aren’t super scary or violent or psychological, but just a good old fashioned whodunnit, sometimes called “cozy mysteries.” Two of the very best, which I have devoured over the last few months are the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny, about a likable Montreal-based police inspector, and the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley, about an eccentric 11-year-old British girl who solves crimes. Both are really well written, with exceptionally well-developed and interesting characters, and have good stories that don’t keep me up at night.

Maternity shaper — I didn’t have one of these with my first pregnancy and it’s a game-changer. I wear it whenever I wear dresses. It smooths my belly (no sticky-outty bellybutton), hides pantylines, and lets me avoid flashing everyone when I clumsily sit down, which is critical.

Maternity leggings — I took Pure Barre classes twice a week through my 30th week of pregnancy, and it made a HUGE difference in making me feel stronger and healthier than my first pregnancy, when I didn’t really work out at all. These over-the-bump compression leggings are awesome and are my favorite I’ve ever had (maternity or not!). They suck you in without being overly tight and move really well with you for workouts or just hang outs. I already packed these in my hospital bag for the ride home and know I’ll be wearing them a lot post-partum.

Maternity layering tank — these tanks are perfect to wear under non-maternity t-shirts that aren’t long enough to cover my giant bump. I like that they don’t have a ton of shirring on the sides, so I can wear them post-pregnancy without looking like I’m obviously wearing maternity.

Boyfriend tees — I bought several drapey, oversized, non-maternity, boyfriend-fit t-shirts at Old Navy early in my pregnancy, and they still fit with a tank underneath… even in my pre-pregnancy size!

Lace Bralette: I have a couple of these that I like to wear to bed. They’re so comfortable I can barely notice they’re on, but they provide just enough support/coverage.

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