2021 · parenting · pregnancy and post-partum

my must-haves for surviving pregnancy

When I was pregnant with my first – more than ten years ago – I was in my fertility prime. I was in my early twenties and, ironically, I was definitely in worse shape then than I am now but pregnancy was a bit of a walk in the park. Backache? Nope! Heartburn? What’s that? Heck, even my labour and delivery were easy. So it’s not that surprising to know I went into this pregnancy expecting everything to be sunshine and roses again but I forgot one thing: I’m old now.

(Well, older, anyway.)

At 27 weeks pregnant, I’ve reached a stage where I can’t forget that I’m pregnant anymore. I’ve been in maternity pants for two months, my belly button is itchy (I did remember that part!), I have heartburn if I think about eating, and I get breathless walking up the hill to our house as my lung capacity is impacted by my rapidly-growing uterus and its inhabitant (a phenomenon that baffles me, given that I can make it through a 100-minute spin class or do burpees). In short: I feel pregnant and uncomfortable now.

Now that I’m coming to the final leg with just days to go to my third trimester, I’ve identified a number of “can’t-live-without” items, services, and practices that I know will get me through the remaining months.

(PS, nothing in this post is sponsored. Nothing.)

A Belly Support Band

Image: Kea Babies

When I first ordered a belly support band, I was pretty convinced I was being dramatic but as my body changes and my abdominal wall stretches further, I’m really glad I did. A belly support band basically wraps around your bump and secures at your lower back and hips to provide additional support. The key is to only wear it in bursts – like if you’re going for a longer walk and want some extra support – otherwise you risk weakened back muscles.

I got mine from Kea Babies. Bonus: It helps keep my maternity jeans up like a real belt!

The only bummer about the belly support band is that it does create a little extra volume and it’s visible under anything remotely fitted.

My Gym

If not for R Studios, I don’t know what. From the mental benefits to the physical, getting into the gym on a regular basis is keeping me strong in every sense of the word. I am incredibly privileged to afford a membership and have access to the instructors for 1:1 consultation on modifications etc. and I know this. It’s why I’m so grateful to the studios and the community.

But, if a gym membership is out of the realm of financial possibility for you, or if you just don’t love going out right now, know there are lots of great options for prenatal workouts on YouTube and you can use whatcha got for weight (bottle of water, can of soup, laundry detergent). Focus on strengthening the big muscles in your posterior chain to help support your growing tummy and don’t forget to add upper body resistance training so you can lug your newborn around once they arrive!

I’m on a mission to hit 400 classes completed before Baby B arrives. As of publish, I’ve got 39 to go!

Comfortable Shoes

Look, real talk: I miss heels. I do. But my feet, legs, hips, and back thank me daily when I slip my feet into comfortable shoes. As my belly gets bigger, easy-to-slide-on shoes are definitely becoming more and more important to my daily routine. My favourites right now are a pair of Sperry’s, Naturalizer slip-on sneakers, and my Blundstones (though not exactly a true slide-on/slide-off option).

Around the house, I’m wearing my Kyrgies slippers (get your’s with coupon AM10) or my Birkenstocks – with socks, obviously, it’s frickin’ cold – for a little added back and hip support.

Blanqi Leggings

H’ok. I was NOT convinced these were worth the hype but I kept getting ads and hearing reviews from friends so I decided at 25 weeks to order a pair. The day after they arrived, I ordered another pair plus two pairs of the post-partum shorts for next spring/summer.

Blanqis have incredible compression support – and I do mean incredible – to keep your back and hips happy and your round ligaments and growing bump supported. They’re a bra for your bump. Seriously.

BONUS: at the time of publish, these babies are 50% off!

Non-Alcoholic Options

Okay, so. As someone who enjoys a drink from time to time, I won’t lie: I miss having a glass of wine with dinner or going to a patio to try a new craft beer. While I sure as heck don’t miss how alcohol makes me feel, I do sometimes feel left out when I’m with friends and the only option is water or pop.

Enter: amazing non-alcoholic options from brands like Acid League Wine Proxies, Partake, Benjamin Bridge PiquetteZero (local!), and Gruvi.

The Acid League Wine Proxies subscription box brings me three full bottles of complex, flavourful Wine Proxies made from teas, juices, and herbs – complete with suggested pairings for each. It’s not exactly wine-like, but it is a lovely treat.

Partake non-alcoholic beers are among my favourites. They’re available from Well.ca or the grocery store and are the most craft beer-like NAs I’ve found to consistently enjoy.

Benjamin Bridge’s Piquette Zero is the NA twin of their regular piquette; perfect for sipping out of your favourite glass!

Gruvi NA beers and wine alternatives are bomb. I love that the Dry Secco and Bubbly Rose come in small bottles instead of 750mL options, meaning I can crack a bottle without worrying about losing the fizz when I couldn’t get a full-sized wine bottle down.

Better still, many of these options are low in sugars and unnecessary calories and non-alcoholic beer just so happens to be a great recovery drink if you worked out that day!

Acupuncture

Sleep was eluding me. My friends at Yinstill Reproductive Wellness strongly recommended both Magnesium Bisglycinate and acupuncture and d’ya know what? L I F E C H A N G I N G. The 20-30 minutes of strict me-time in the treatment room is a perfect chance for me to quiet my mind and focus on how my body feels, and the long-lasting effects have resulted in better sleep and fewer general aches and pains.

For my in-person acupuncture appointments, I see Amanda Conrad at Dartmouth Wellness Collective and I cannot say enough good things about her.

Quality Supplements

Vitamins and supplements are key, especially in pregnancy, to ensure you’re getting everything your body needs to be healthy and strong. Although I’m eating a varied diet with lots of delicious and nutritious food, I know how important nutrition is for the wellness of my baby (and me) so I gladly take a handful of supplements and vitamins every day.

Prenatal, DHA, Magnesium Bisgylcinate, Vitamin D, Iron, and B12 – it’s a handful, I know, but I really notice a difference in how I feel since amping them all up and since I switched from generic brands to high-quality, Canadian-made products.

Good Friends

Real talk: sometimes life is just hard. Work, relationships, general emotions, the weight of our many responsibilities – it adds up. Then you throw pregnancy with all its hormones and rapidly changing body bits and it’s a bit of a miracle you hold it together at all. Good friends – the ones who let you let it all out without judgment – are always important but especially in the throes of pregnancy.

If I couldn’t text a friend to vent or ask for advice, I’d feel lost and isolated. Plus, a good friend can make you feel amazing about yourself when you feel like a frumpy, sweaty, hairy mess.


What was your must-have pregnancy item? Tell me in the comments!

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