Pregnancy Essentials: Must-Haves for the Expectant Mother

Congratulations! You’re going to be a mother. Now what? Learning that you’re pregnant can be both an exciting and terrifying experience. If you’ve been trying to conceive, then this is the culmination of your hard work. Even if it’s a surprise, it is often a happy one for most women. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the knowledge or tools to deal with your new situation. In fact, you are likely downright unprepared for many of the things you will encounter over the next several months of pregnancy. So if you’re on this journey for the first time, there are a few items you’ll want to have on hand to ensure that the process is as smooth and stress-free as possible. Here are some must-haves for every expectant mother.

  1. A support network. This is absolutely essential. Although you can certainly try to go it alone, you’ll be a lot better off surrounded by people who love you and can offer advice based on their own experience. For this reason, your mother and mother-in-law can be invaluable resources for support. Not only can they sympathize with your condition and all of the associated hassles, they can give you great tips on what’s coming and how to get through. Your partner will also help you to carry this burden (figuratively speaking) and other family and friends may be able to offer wisdom, ice cream, and foot massages throughout your pregnancy.
  2. Books on what to expect. What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel is one of the most popular pregnancy guides on the market, offering a week-by-week guide to fetal development, including the changes your body will undergo, as well as pertinent information on every issue you can think of, from physical and nutritional to emotional and sexual (and more). But it’s not the only resource out there, and you can find an absolute wealth of books, both comprehensive and targeted, on the subject of pregnancy, not to mention a wide variety of websites dedicated to the subject.
  3. Stretchy pants. If you add only one item of clothing to your wardrobe, it must be pants with a stretch waistline. But forget about the elastic-waisted jeans your mother’s generation wore. Instead, opt for the ultra-comfortable jersey knits that permeate the market these days. The soft, stretchy gaucho pants will not only grow with your belly; they also sport a wide leg that will help you to hide inevitable swelling (without squeezing you in like a sausage as most pants would).
  4. Yoga classes. Most women won’t think of this as a must-have, but you simply must have some
    kind of exercise if you want to stay healthy throughout your pregnancy. Since high-impact workouts are out of the question, your options are somewhat limited (walking, swimming, low-impact cardio and light weights, etc.). But pregnancy yoga can offer you a lot more than standard physical fitness. The system not only works around your changing body; it is also geared towards dealing with the aches and pains of pregnancy, helping to reduce swelling and keep your over-taxed systems functioning properly, and preparing you, body and mind, for the rigors of labor. What other exercise offers all of that?
  5. Prenatal vitamins. Taking your daily multivitamin just isn’t going to cut it. Remember that you’re working for two now, and your body is going to have special needs as a result. Prenatal vitamins are formulated to give you extra vitamins that you’re sure to need as well as reduce levels of those that could negatively impact fetal development. So make the switch as soon as you see the pink stripe.
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