Wellington is going to be a big brother! There is a little bean on the way for our family and we couldn’t be more excited (and a little overwhelmed!) I’ve been following a number of mom’s-to-be on Instagram and I love hearing how other mom’s are feeling, what they’ve been doing and how pregnancy has been for them – and it is so true what they say, EVERY woman is different and everyone will have a different story to tell. I decided that since I’ve had pregnancy on the brain for a while now, it only seemed right that I do a post about it and so I’ve put together my favourite products and must-haves that have gotten me through the last 20 weeks. 20 WEEKS!!! I’m exactly halfway!!! And while the first trimester dragged by – between feeling nauseous and exhausted as well as incredibly anxious – I found waiting for that 13 week scan to be so stressful – the second trimester flown by super fast and I’m wishing time would slow down just a little so I can savour the moments of having our little bean part of me (although I cannot wait to meet our little human!)
What I have learnt while being pregnant is that there is a wealth of information out there from what you should and shouldn’t be doing while pregnant, to how to raise your baby and for a first-time mom, it does get a little overwhelming and it’s definitely information overload! So that being said, this is what’s worked for me and as everyone is different, do what feels right for you and most importantly, listen to your body.
1. Bio Oil: From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I stocked up on this and have been using it religiously every evening after my shower to keep those stretch marks at bay! I massage it on my belly, boobs, lower back and thighs – basically everywhere that is likely to expand! It does say to apply twice a day but I don’t like getting the oil on my clothes or feeling oily before heading off to work so a good layer at night will have to do and so far, so good 😊 For an oil, it actually absorbs into your skin quite quickly and my skin has felt incredibly soft and hydrated. I also haven’t found my tummy itching at all which can be a side-effect from your skin stretching, so it’s definitely helping to keep my skin supple. Keep an eye out at Dischem or Clicks for specials – I stocked up on the bigger 200ml bottle when it was on special at Dischem for R135 (normal price is around R180).
2. Stellar Mama/Prego-Omega Plus: Pre-pregnancy I was taking just taking a Folic Acid supplement and continued until about 10 weeks and then I went on to a prenatal vitamin complex. I’ve used both Stellar Mama and Preg-Omega Plus which are at the higher end of the price range for pregnancy vitamins at between R230 and R250 a box of 90 tablets (this will last a month) but they come as a pack of three daily vitamins – a morning multivitamin and two evening ones, an omega tablet and calcium tablet – so you are getting a three-in-one pack. I haven’t tried any others but as long as you are taking a supplement recommended by your doctor, you’re all good. I have found that the morning multivitamin can make me feel a bit queasy especially if I take it before food so I’d definitely suggest you take it with or after a meal. I also have very low iron as I am a vegetarian so I am also taking an additional iron supplement, Ferrous Forte (R109 for 30 tablets) or Cherliron Forte (R95 for 30 tablets).
3. The Body Shop Vitamin E Body Butter: I have done a post of this body butter previously (check it out here) and I am absolutely addicted to it! I really feel like it nourishes my skin and keeps it feeling silky smooth and hydrated for at least 24 hours. I’m definitely not as good about applying it as I am the Bio Oil but the combination of pregnancy and winter is not an easy battle to win so this is definitely giving me the upper hand! Another Body Butter I’m loving at the moment is Woolworths Vanilla and Brown Sugar butter and the smell alone keeps me applying it routinely despite the cold weather (which is no easy feat)!
4. Ordinary Skincare Exfoliator: I really battled with break-outs in my first trimester and it was not pretty! My forehead looked like a join-the-dots project and since so many acne products are off limits, I was getting exceptionally frustrated. My go-to exfoliator is Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant but as this contains Salicylic Acid (one of the big no-no’s while pregnant), it’s been moved to the back of my cupboard. I did a post of Ordinary Skincare products after I was invited to an event (read about that here) and was lucky enough to win a hamper of their products and their exfoliator has been a lifesaver! It is a completely natural product with no nasties and the creamy texture kept my skin hydrated but the fine granules have worked wonders on my rather angry spots. I noticed a huge improvement after a couple of days and now use it every three days or so just to keep my skin in check. When I feel like my skin needs an extra boost of hydration, I use their Moisturising Balm which is really fantastic for dry skin and also relieves any skin irritation (and a little goes a LONG way) I’m a lot more conscious of the products that I’m using now that I am pregnant and I really love their natural approach to beauty and keeping things simple – and their products are 100% cruelty free! Their prices are also very reasonable (the exfoliator is R285 for a 50ml jar) and you can buy their products online (www.ordinaryskincare.com) or at Amazi’s Salons.
5. Exercise: This has been a big one for me. I have always been very active and was probably close to my fittest before falling pregnant, so I have managed to continue with my pre-pregnancy exercise routine, with just a couple of tweaks. I have been given the all-clear by my doctor to continue exercising regularly and this is so important before continuing or starting any new exercises. As I get further along, everything does take a little more effort and takes a lot longer but I have found I feel so much better after doing a workout and it really helped in the beginning when I was feeling so nauseous. When it comes to cardio, keep an eye on your heart-rate and don’t let yourself get out of breath (if you have a heart-rate monitor, even better – I find it much easier to monitor my exertion with it) I am spinning and doing incline walking (15% gradient at 4 – 4.5km/hour) and when it comes to strength workouts, I am still sort of following Kayla’s BBG program but have adapted the workouts to suit me. I’ve cut out all high-impact exercises (so no burpees or jumping and no ab exercises that have me on my back) But again, this is what works for me and it is always important to listen to your doctor and your body. I’m definitely not exercising at the same intensity I was before but rather trying to maintain some of my fitness. I’m also very conscious of listening to my body and there are definitely days when a cup of tea and a nap are far more of a priority!
6. H&M maternity jeans: Hands down, the BEST investment I have ever made. Ever. I started showing quite early on and my jeans got very uncomfortable very quickly. I struggled with the idea of letting go of my pants so early on (at about 14 weeks) but after I tried on one pair of maternity jeans, there was absolutely no going back and wondered why I had waited so long! These jeans are beyond comfortable and I felt like a new person. There is nothing worse than being uncomfortable and not feeling your best in clothes that are too tight and I would strongly recommend making the switch sooner rather than later – you will not regret it! So far, I have just bought three pairs of pants – skinny jeans, and two pairs of super skinny jeans which are more like jeggings and work really well with boots (they are basically all I wear now) I love the wide ribbing at the waist which covers my whole belly and adds an extra layer of warmth! I’m wearing my normal jerseys and tops which I can hopefully make work for as long as possible as I really don’t want to buy a whole maternity wardrobe… H&M MAMA Skinny Jeans are R629 (right) and MAMA Super Skinny Jeans are R429 (left). Make sure you go when you have some time to try on as I found the sizing to be quite strange and took a different size in all three pairs.
7. Sleep: There were days when I seriously did not know how I was going to make it through a work day, I was so exhausted. I don’t think you can accurately describe the level of exhaustion that washes over you unless you have been pregnant yourself! But what saved me were power naps – I’d close my office door, turn off the light and set my alarm for 20 minutes later (do not make the mistake of not setting an alarm!) and it helped tremendously. When I got home from work, I’d have another nap before facing the evening and cooking dinner. Even now that my energy levels have picked up, I still love a good afternoon nap (although not at the office anymore!!) so definitely give in and enjoy a little down time – your body will thank you.
8. Pamper yourself: Lastly, as this list became quite long quite quickly, take time to treat yourself to the things that make you feel good. For me, going to have my hair done or getting a pedicure are little indulgences that make a big difference! I waited until I was past 12 weeks before I went to have my hair highlighted (highlights are definitely better than hair dye but I decided to be on the safe side) and I was beyond excited by the time I got my hair cut and coloured – blonde ladies, you’ll understand this one!! Even time out with a good book (in the bath would be amazing but sadly with Cape Town’s water restrictions, that one’s off the table) or watching series in the afternoon with my feet up 😊 After all, growing a human is hard work!
I love hearing how other women’s pregnancies are going and what they’ve been doing so please share what works or worked for you – I hope you’ve found a few useful tips from this post and if not, well I hope you enjoyed reading 😊