When GS and I decided to have a baby, we talked extensively about the struggles of parenting and whether or not we felt prepared to take that journey together. What we didn’t talk about–or even really consider–were the struggles of pregnancy.

I’m not going to gloss over this: pregnancy has been hellacious.

Let’s be clear. I loved my daughter before we even conceived her, and I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to be her mom. Honestly, I feel guilty talking about how hard pregnancy has been because I know there are women out there who would take all the morning sickness and migraines and fear in the world if it meant they could have a baby. But for all of that, it hasn’t been easy. I was insanely sick the entire first trimester, and for a while, Babyface wasn’t growing on target and we had some serious fears as to whether or not she’d make it to term or be healthy when she got here.

Now that I’ve gotten past the worst of the morning sickness, and Babyface is doing significantly better, I wanted to share some of my must-have pregnancy items. These are items that helped me feel a little more human during the early stages of pregnancy when Babyface felt more parasitic than anything.

For Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is no joke!

It’s also ill-named. Around week 7 or 8 of pregnancy, on my third or fourth trip to the bathroom in the same afternoon, my husband said, “I don’t think this is morning sickness–it’s way past noon. I think you have the flu.” I may have flipped him the bird, not realizing until later that he was being genuine and believed–as many do–that morning sickness was limited to the morning. Fun fact: It’s not. Or at least, it’s not for everyone. My mom’s apparently abated around 10 AM every morning when she was pregnant with me. Not so for my pregnancy. I lost 11 pounds in the first four months of pregnancy because I just couldn’t keep food down.

If you’re one of the unfortunate many who suffers from morning sickness, you’re not alone. Below, I’ve linked the products that helped the most with my morning sickness, but a few tips first. If you do suffer from morning sickness, the last thing you may want to do is eat, but I found–and I’ve since learned that I’m not alone–that I was much more likely to get sick if my stomach was empty than if I’d managed to choke something down. Keep crackers by your bedside to eat first thing in the morning before you get out of bed, and drink lots of water–if you’re getting sick a lot, it can help. In addition to those tips, these products can help:

  • Gin-Gins were a Godsend. They’re not marketed specifically for morning sickness, and I can’t even remember who recommended them to me, but they were a definite game-changer for me during the first trimester. They’re basically just a ginger candy, and help for the same reason ginger ale tends to help with nausea. They have a really sharp, very gingery taste to them, so know that going in–if you don’t like ginger, they’re not going to be the right product for you–but for me, they were one of the few things I could stand to eat because they were so bitter tasting. They come in a couple of different flavors. The originals worked best for my first trimester, but second trimester I switched to preferring the peanut ones, so I recommend maybe grabbing a variety pack to start with and seeing what works. I personally grabbed the chewy variety, and I’ve stuck with those, but I hear a rumor that there’s a hard-candy version as well that’s good if you prefer to suck on something rather than chew it.
  • Pregnancy Pops are a hard candy specifically marketed towards morning sickness. They taste a little like a lemon drop–a sort of sweet/sour taste–and are packed with Vitamin B6 which my doctor kept recommending for my nausea.  I kept a handful in my purse. For me, they worked on days that I was nauseated but not actively throwing up. That sweet taste was a little too powerful for me if I was really sick, but if I was having an okay day with just nausea, they kept that at bay. and are made specifically for morning sickness.
  • Peppermint Tea was recommended to me by my stepmom. It was soothing, especially at night, and would help me get my stomach settled enough that I could fall asleep. Again, this wasn’t one that worked if I was actively sick, but if I was queasy, it could help prevent me from getting there. I really like Celestial brand tea in general, so that was my go-to, but probably any brand would work.

For Acid Reflux

I mentioned in my 25 Week Update the fact that feeling like you’re drowning in stomach acid is apparently normal for pregnancy. For me, acid reflux and heartburn kicked in around week 7 or 8 and have continued throughout pregnancy.

  • Chewable Tums have really been the only thing, other than milk, that’s worked for me. Pre-pregnancy, I took regular tums all the time and they worked fine, but that powdery chalk texture did nothing good for me once my gag reflex kicked in during pregnancy. Our local Hannaford pharmacist told me that his wife had luck with the chewable ones instead, and I’m so grateful that he was there the day I went in, because they ended up being a game changer, especially for acid relief on the go or at work when I was less likely to have plain milk ready.

For Staying Comfortable

  • An Air Conditioner
    • This seems so ridiculous, but I swear I wouldn’t have made it through this pregnancy if Ginger Snaps hadn’t gone out the first warm week in May and purchased, not one, but two, window AC units for our home. I didn’t realize before I got pregnant how hot I would be all the time. We have one unit in the living room and one in our bedroom, and they have been so important to my feeling of well-being. Ours have an energy saving feature, and they don’t seem to have jacked our electric bill too high–your mileage may vary on that.
  • A Maternity Pillow
    • Ginger Snaps surprised me with a pregnancy body pillow for my birthday. The one he got me is hot pink because he knows that bright colors cheer me up, so he spent a little extra to get me a fun zip-on pillowcase. I didn’t use it much the first trimester because I was sleeping pretty comfortably on my own–I mainly used it when watching TV from bed–but now that we’re into the second trimester, I don’t think I could sleep without it. In case you don’t know, you’re not supposed to sleep on your back while pregnant because the uterus puts pressure on your veins and it can mess with your circulation. But when the baby starts getting bigger, sleeping on your side can lead to back pain because it feels like it’s pulling. I use my body pillow to support my neck and my bump, and I sleep so much better with it.
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