Healthy Food & Femibion: Nutritious foods, like fruits and vegetables, and also a prenatal supplement containing folic-acid, such as Femibion, should definitely be number one on your list. A recent study suggests that just 25% of a baby’s health is pre-determined purely by genetics; up to 75% can be influenced by the interaction of the genes with the mother’s lifestyle choices (including nutrition, weight of mother and baby, avoidance of stress or smoking). In other words, the foods you eat during pregnancy won’t just influence your baby’s development in the womb, but your child’s future health, too. That’s why it’s so important to lead a healthy lifestyle and eat a varied and balanced diet.
An eye mask: Just the job when you need to have a snooze during the day. Sleep is incredibly important for your health at the best of times, but even more so during pregnancy. The baby places extra demands on your body, so you may feel shattered to begin with – particularly during the first trimester. Aim to get at least 8 hours a night, with a daytime nap if need be.
Fresh fruit and vegetables: These are packed with important vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre. Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and cabbage are also good sources of folate. Aim to eat at least five portions of fruits and vegetables a day.
A water bottle: It’s important to stay well hydrated when you’re pregnant. As a rule of thumb, your urine should be a pale straw colour. Any darker suggests you’re not drinking enough.
A good book: Yes, there’s a wealth of information on the internet, but there’s a lot to be said for having a reliable pregnancy manual to hand when you need it. What To Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel (Simon & Schuster UK) is a classic.
A V cushion: If you’re struggling to get comfy at night, a V-shaped pillow can help. Designed to support your bump when lying on your side, it will also double as a breastfeeding cushion once your baby’s born.
Maternity jeans: Perfectly designed to accommodate and support your bump, a good pair should be in every pregnant woman’s top 10 buys!
Comfy shoes: With up to 40% more blood circulating your body during pregnancy, you may notice your feet go up at least half a size, making new shoes a must. High heels get trickier to wear as your centre of gravity shifts, so are best saved for special occasions. A pair of flat or mid-heel shoes will put less pressure on your knees and lower back.
Maternity fit kit: Give yourself an extra incentive to exercise with some new gym wear. A well-fitting sports bra is an absolute must to protect breasts from sagging, while maternity leggings that pull up over your bump, can help support your lower back. Most high street fashion stores include maternity activewear in their ranges now, but for specialist stockists check out http://www.fittamamma.com, and www.lornajane.com.au.
Stretch-mark cream:: As your bump swells, you may notice red lines develop across your tummy, thighs and breasts. These striae or stretchmarks, are common during pregnancy, and will eventually fade. While there’s no evidence that stretch mark creams can make any difference, the mere act of massaging the cream into the skin can stimulate circulation, and help keep skin more supple. There’s no need to spend a fortune on fancy creams, though – any moisturiser will do, including good old-fashioned olive oil.
Ice cream: So many women we spoke to mention their cravings for this sweet treat, we couldn’t not include it on the list! The good news is ice-cream is a source of calcium. To get enough of this important mineral, it is recommended pregnant women eat 4 servings of dairy products a day. Unfortunately, ice-cream is pretty high in sugar, so is best saved for a treat and opt for cheese, milk and yoghurt which are also sources of calcium.
Be happy: When you’re expecting, there’s plenty of stuff to worry about: Is that cheese pasteurized? Will my baby be healthy? What if I’m not a good mom? While fretting is normal during such an important time in your life, try to accentuate the positive – avoiding too many negative thoughts—I can’t do this, I’m afraid of that—and adopt a glass-half-full attitude, it can help to empower you to have a happy and successful pregnancy.
Shampoo and conditioner: Here’s one definite benefit of pregnancy – your hair will seem more lustrous! That’s because high levels of oestrogen prolong the growing phase of each follicle, so you shed less hair. That said, some women find their hair can become greasier during pregnancy, so you may find you need to buy a different shampoo.
A Swiss ball: These are great for exercising when you’re pregnant. Simply sit on it, engage your core and slowly rock from side to side, rotate your hips, or gently bounce up and down. You can even use it to rock back and forth on during labour to help alleviate contractions. Once the baby’s born, it’ll be perfect for helping you get back in shape, too…
Some tweezers: Pregnancy hormones won’t just make the hair on your head thicker, they can cause hair to become coarse in other places, too, like round your nipples and belly button!
Fresh air: It’s not necessary to move to the country-side when finding out you’re having a baby. However, get out of the city and get some fresh air as often as possible, breathe and make sure you get plenty of oxygen – it is good for both mummy and baby.
A pregnancy playlist: Music can transform your mood and trigger physical changes in the body. Classical music has even been shown to lower blood pressure!2 Make a playlist of your favourite chill-out tracks and listen to it on the way to work/in traffic/whenever you’re feeling stressed.
Sun-cream: Thanks to hormonal changes, your skin can become more sensitive to the sun during pregnancy. Some women find they develop dark patches of hyperpigmentation on their face, known as cholasma during this time. Use an SPF50 on your face in bright weather to prevent skin damage or wear a sun hat.
Ear plugs: If you’re a light sleeper, then regular wakes in the night won’t help matters. A pair of ear plugs will help you to drop back to sleep more quickly – especially if your partner snores.
A maternity belt: Some women find these helpful for supporting the lower back during pregnancy, particularly if you’re expecting twins or suffer with pelvic or hip pain.
Button extender: These are perfect during the first trimester when your jeans feel a little tight, but you’re not quite ready for maternity wear. Simply loop over your existing button to add extra inches to the waistline of your trousers or skirt.
New bras: Your breasts will gradually grow in size throughout your pregnancy. It’s common to go up a cup size or two, so you’ll need to buy some new bras. From the second trimester onwards you’ll find non-wired bras most comfortable. A sleep bra is also a good idea to help support your growing breasts at night and help minimise stretchmarks.
Maternity coat: If your bump is going to be at its biggest during the winter months then you’ll probably need to treat yourself to a new coat. If not then a zip extender will allow you to adapt your old one.
Camomile: This flower is renowned for calming the mind and promoting sleep. Sip a cup of camomile tea in the evening to may help you unwind before bed.
A backpack: Your growing bump puts added pressure on your skeleton, so it’s not a good idea to add to this by carrying heavy bags on one shoulder. Have a clear out to lighten the load, and switch to a backpack to help distribute the weight evenly across your body and reduce the risk of strain.
Lip balm: Some women notice their lips become dry during pregnancy. Treat yourself to a luxurious lippy enriched with vitamin E to stave off chapped lips.
Chocolate: So many of you mentioned cravings for this, we’re making it a pregnancy essential! Opt for good quality chocolate with a high-cocoa content (at least 70%). It’s fine to indulge a sweet tooth now and again, but sugary foods are best saved as a treat.
Bath oil: It doesn’t have to be a posh one. A couple of drops of olive oil in your bath will help to keep your skin supple and may even help reduce the appearance of stretchmarks.
A recipe book: Most women find their tastes change during pregnancy. You may find yourself revolted by your favourite foods, for example, or craving things you’ve never fancied before. Opt for nutrient-dense foods like fruit and vegetables, lean meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products and complex carbohydrates such as wholemeal bread, brown rice and quinoa.
Decaff coffee: Limit yourself to two cups of instant coffee a day or one mug of fresh coffee and switch to decaff coffee. You will be surprised, decaff can be tasty, too! Just remember to limit your caffeine intake.
Herbal tea bags: If you are more the tea drinker, have in mind: It’s not just coffee that contains caffeine – tea does too. Limit yourself to around two mugs a day and switch to decaff teabags, or a caffeine-free herbal infusion such as Rooibos after that.
A smart TV: Sure, you won’t be going out as much when the baby arrives, but what better excuse to catch up on all those must-see TV box sets you’ve heard so much about?
New tights: Thanks to the increased volume of blood circulating your body, your legs may feel a little heavier during pregnancy. Swollen ankles are also fairly common. Support tights encourage blood to flow back up the legs, preventing swelling and varicose veins. Just make sure you buy maternity ones to fit over your bump!
Maternity dress: A stylish maternity dress will see you throughout your whole pregnancy and beyond. Simply add a blazer to smarten the look for the office.
A big bag: Towards the end of your pregnancy, it’s a good idea to have your hospital bag packed and ready to save faffing about on the day. Toiletries, pyjamas, underwear, maternity pads, and a good book are all essentials. You might want to add a few home comforts too, like slippers, snacks, drinks, and magazines. Don’t forget loose change for the hospital car park, too.
Maternity tops: You can get away with your normal clothes to begin with, but by the second trimester you’ll definitely need to invest in some maternity tops. Look for ones that will double as breastfeeding tops once the baby’s born, to save money.
A night light: Pregnancy hormones, plus the pressure of the baby on your bladder, mean you may need to go to the toilet multiple times in the night. A dim light by your bedside will stop you crashing about in the dark, not to mention waking up your partner with every trip to the loo…
Cinema tickets: Fun nights out with your partner are an important way to connect as a couple. Trips to the movies will be a bit tricky when the baby first arrives, so enjoy them now while you can!
Maternity swimming costume: Swimming is an ideal form of exercise during pregnancy as the water helps support your bump, takes pressure off your joints and stops you from overheating. Treat yourself to a maternity cossie or tankini and take regular dips.
Sneakers: If you’re fit and well, there’s no reason why you can’t continue to exercise throughout your pregnancy. Just avoid dangerous or contact sports and make sure you’re feet are well supported by a pair of good quality trainers.
A yoga mat: Yoga is particularly beneficial during pregnancy as it’s low impact, so there’s minimal risk of injury. What’s more, studies have shown it can help to reduce stress levels in expectant mothers3. Make sure you tell your instructor you’re pregnant, so he or she can advise you on which poses are safe to perform.
Lingerie: Whether you prefer hipster briefs that sit under your bump or maternity briefs that pull up over it, you’re definitely going to need some bigger knickers by the second trimester! Thankfully a number of brands such as HotMilk (http://uk.hotmilklingerie.com/) and http://www.amoralia.com/ make really pretty maternity underwear.
Skin products: You may find your complexion changes completely during pregnancy, thanks to pregnancy hormones. Some women find they have the best skin of their life, others are unlucky enough to develop sensitive skin and spots – either way, you’ll need to adapt your skincare routine accordingly.
Make-Up: Ditto cosmetics. Skin can become oilier during pregnancy, in which case you may need to switch from a liquid foundation to a powder. Experiment with what works best for your skin.
New pyjamas: Seeing as you’ll probably be spending more time in bed, you may as well look the part. Treat yourself to some cosy new pyjamas. If you’re planning to breastfeed, ones with buttons down the front are ideal for easy access once the baby’s born.
Wifi connection: So many of you told us you get your pregnancy information online that internet is clearly a must-have. For everything you need to know in the next nine months, including foods to avoid, bump-friendly wardrobe buys, and navigating maternity leave, visit our website xxxx.
A cosy blanket: Even the most active women find themselves hibernating when they’re pregnant. Let’s face it, night’s out can lose their appeal when you can’t even enjoy a drink. Treat yourself to a luxurious fleece blanket, for cosy nights at home on the sofa.
A foot stool: It’s a good idea to put your feet up whenever you sit down. This helps prevent swollen ankles (a common niggle during pregnancy), as it prevents blood pooling in your feet.
Snack pots: Eating little and often throughout the day will help stabilise your blood sugar and keep nausea at bay. Almonds, Brazil nuts, dried apricots, mixed seeds, oatcakes and raw veggies all make handy snacks.
A good camera: Pregnancy is a precious time. Even if it doesn’t feel like it right now, you’ll look back in a few years and marvel at how special the whole experience was! Take plenty of pictures of you and your bump – they’ll make a wonderful keepsake for your child one day.