The day I found out I was pregnant — February 15, 2018, to be exact — was as exciting and life-changing as it was overwhelming. Yes, my life was about to change in a massive way, but six months later, it’s still as exciting as it is overwhelming.
I’m fortunate to have a really wonderful network of people to turn to with my never-ending list of questions, and I’m even more fortunate that those people continue answering everything from, “Did this happen to you?” to “Wait no, just tell me your birth story one more time.”
I’ve tried to go with my well-informed but sometimes leaky gut on most of my pregnancy-related decisions, purchases, and lifestyle adjustments. With that, here’s what I’ve loved and relied on throughout the first 30 weeks of my first pregnancy — plus a few things that didn’t really work for me.
I work from home, so I’m fortunate to be able to work in sweatpants or a bathrobe most days. That has eliminated my need to make many maternity clothes purchases, which I appreciate. But here are a few things I’ve been wearing daily throughout my pregnancy.
Lululemon Align Pant: I lived in these long before I got pregnant, and they’re the only leggings I’ve continued to wear throughout my pregnancy. They’re soft, they’re stretchy, and they come in lots of colors and lengths. They aren’t see-through, but I do wear them to Orangetheory and you can definitely see where I sweat by the end of class. I don’t really care, though. I live in these pants.
Lululemon Enlite Bra: Again, this was my favorite sports bra before I got pregnant, and as my boobs have become increasingly massive and heavy, this bra has held strong. I’ve sized up twice already, but it’s my favorite comfortable, soft, and super supportive sports bra.
PIYOGA Pants: I am living in these pants. I have them in the “My Heart Is In Havana” and “Nights in Encinitas” prints, and am trying to refrain from getting a third pair. These aren’t maternity pants, they’re just super comfortable and very stretchy.
Birkenstocks: My stomach isn’t even that huge yet, but I’m already struggling to bend down and tie my shoes. I finally bought a pair of Birkenstocks this spring, and I wear them constantly. I have the Arizona style in white.
Athleta Stripe Mesh High Neck Chi Tank: This tank is long enough that it still covers my growing belly, and the neckline is high enough that I’m not putting on a boob show every time I work out.
Bae.: I love this Australian-based brand. The Step By Step Pinafore is so cute and comfy, and lately I’ve been wearing the Shadow Sounds Dress as my go-to for anything that involves leaving the house and looking somewhat presentable.
Pink Blush Magenta Floral Ruffle Open Shoulder Dress: So many maternity dresses are off-the-shoulder dresses. I don’t understand this. Am I the only one whose boobs immediately gained 14 pounds within a day of being pregnant? How do people wear off-the-shoulder dresses? Do strapless bras actually work for some people? They don’t work for me, so that eliminates so many cute pregnancy dress options!
Isabella Oliver Jenna Maternity T-Shirt Dress: I wore this dress when I was in Florida around Week 17. I thought I had a “huge” bump and loved showing it off in this dress. Now, of course, I look at those photos and I don’t think I even look pregnant. But this dress made me feel great!
Sarah Marie Design Studio “Live Easy Run Hard” Tank: This still covers my belly! And even though a more accurate phrase for me these days would be “Try to Live Easy, Also Run Easy & Walk Sometimes,” this is still my #1 tank. (And Sarah was on the Ali on the Run Show a few months ago, and she’s amazing, so support her! Buy her stuff!)
For most of my pregnancy, I’ve preferred wearing over-belly stuff — high-waisted leggings, etc. — but lately, I’ve been digging under-belly stuff. That might have less to do with pregnancy, though, and more to do with the fact that I hate feeling constricted during a Crohn’s flare.
Another note: I very quickly learned that most stores don’t carry maternity stuff in-store. I wanted to be able to try stuff on, but department stores, in particular, don’t tend to carry maternity lines. The Gap and Old Navy near me also don’t carry any maternity stuff — it’s all online only. A little frustrating, and I definitely ordered some stuff that didn’t fit or didn’t really work.
The Shit No One Tells You About Pregnancy: A few days after we found out I was pregnant, Brian went out “to buy himself some clothes.” He came back with a bunch of baby books, including this one, which was funny and a nice, light read.
Expecting Better: My friend Sarah sent me this book, and I loved it because it made me feel much more at ease about pregnancy than many of the other books out there, which are basically fear-mongering black holes. But this book was written by a research-driven woman — not a gynecologist or women’s health specialist — who wanted to learn whether eating sushi during pregnancy is really so bad, and other things pregnant women are told to do or not do without much explanation. This book also made me terrified of episiotomies and constant monitoring during labor, which I then discussed with my midwife, who basically laughed, said no one really does either of those things anymore unless absolutely urgently necessary, and that she hates this book. “It tells you what you want to hear,” she said. And I was like, “YES EXACTLY, THAT’S WHY I LOVE IT.” (My midwife was also fine with me eating sushi, as long as it was from somewhere wonderful, and was cool with runny eggs.)
Bringing Up Bebe: My favorite! I loved this book, which my midwife recommended. I’m also now very interested in free childcare, a la France. This was a fun read. (Brian read it, too, and also loved it.)
The Pregnant Athlete: My midwife suggested this one, too, and it’s a great, very thorough book filled with pregnancy-safe workouts and modification options. I made the mistake of reading the whole thing in one sitting. What I should have done (and could still do) is read a chapter of the book each week to correspond with my pregnancy. Instead, I didn’t really absorb the information and just find myself Googling exercise modifications every few weeks.
Pregnancy, Childbirth & The Newborn: I’m almost finished with this book, and I have loved it. My midwife also recommended this book, and I can see why. It’s thorough without being scary, the information is current, and it’s conversational without constantly referring to the reader as “mama,” which most apps and websites tend to do. I really enjoyed this book, and it covered a wide range of topics — hence the title — without feeling overwhelming.
Aleavia Facial Cleanser: I didn’t know so many beauty products were off-limits during pregnancy until I was pregnant. My face was a mess for a long time early in my pregnancy (still is sometimes), but this cleanser really helped.
Burt’s Bees Pink Grapefruit Lip Balm: I am addicted to this stuff. I used to love the regular minty Burt’s Bees chapstick, but I bought the pink grapefruit by accident and am obsessed.
OTHER THINGS I SWEAR BY
My midwife: For my first pregnancy appointment, I saw an OB/GYN at Hackensack University Medical Center who came highly recommended in all the local mom groups. She was not for me. Everyone is different, but that appointment was everything I hate about the medical system. We waited two hours to be seen for less than 20 minutes, and just got a terrible vibe. I didn’t know anything about midwives before getting pregnant, but my research led me to a midwife in Jersey City who has been incredible. The entire practice is lovely, and I have felt like I’m in such great, very capable hands this entire time. I’m so grateful for them. (And I’ve never waited more than five minutes for an appointment. Usually they are waiting for me — to get out of the bathroom.)
My doula: Again, something I knew nothing about before getting pregnant! I’ll be able to talk about this more after actually going through childbirth, of course, but we found our doula through the midwife practice. (When she was pregnant, she went to the same doctor I saw and hated at Hackensack, was so dissatisfied that she knew she wasn’t going back, and ultimately found the midwife I’m seeing. She loved her so much, she now works part-time at the office!) Her name is Jessica and she’s incredible. She texts me to ask how I’m doing, and she works in the midwife’s office on Fridays, which is when my appointments always are, so we get to see her and check in then, too. I feel so good knowing she’ll be there with us throughout the labor and delivery. And she told me to make playlists for the day, and that we are going to “rock out to Celine Dion.” My soulmate.
Prenatal massages at Hoboken Women’s Wellness: If you’re in the area, go here! They specialize in prenatal and postnatal treatments, and they’re amazing.
A trained-to-treat-pregnant-women chiropractor: I was having really bad low back pain during the second trimester. I was hoping massages would fix me, but they didn’t. They felt good, but didn’t do anything to keep the pain away. My midwife suggested I see Dr. Helen Zaroff, and after one appointment, I felt amazing.
Watermelon: I haven’t had any truly crazy cravings during pregnancy, but I have been eating a lot of watermelon.
Orangetheory: My favorite workout! It’s all I do anymore. I haven’t run outside since my Crohn’s flare got bad, but at Orangetheory, I can modify everything. Some days I run on the treadmill, other days I walk, some days I feel like pushing myself, and other days I barely break a sweat because I choose to take it easy. My midwife is all about exercising throughout pregnancy, and I’m grateful I’ve been able to keep it up.
Taking weekly photos: I love that I have these to look back on. At first, I felt super silly posing shirtless for these photos. (I actually wanted to wear the same black tank top every week. Brian was the one who said to go bare-bellied. I was against it at first, but now I love having these photos.) Since this is my first pregnancy, I’ve really enjoyed documenting my weekly progress and changes, and seeing how quickly things change.
STUFF I THOUGHT WAS OVERRATED / NOT FOR ME
This pregnancy pillow: I loved it for like two nights. Then I found it was too flat and took up too much space in the bed. I’m much more comfortable making a pillow fort around my body using five different pillows.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting: I still have the app on my phone because it’s fun to read the weekly updates, but I did not love this book.
Seraphine: Kate Middleton wears their stuff, so it must be amazing! I found it to be overpriced and not really my style. I bought this dress, which looked so beautiful online, but it looks so much less beautiful on me, so I haven’t worn it yet.
Hatch Collection: As soon as I got pregnant so many women were like “OMG Hatch has the coolest stuff.” And I think if you’re 6-feet-tall and super thin with just an itty bitty bump, this stuff is great! But it’s really, really expensive, not really my style, and not super boob-accommodating. I do keep checking to see if the one dress I really like will go on major sale, but so far, it’s not free, so…I haven’t bought it.
Brooks Juno Bra: I much prefer the Lululemon Enlite, which is much softer, much easier to get on and off, and much stretchier while still being super supportive. It’s not nursing-friendly, but I’m not worried about that right now. I don’t like the Juno. (It was my favorite years ago, but since finding the Enlite, I’m much happier. The Juno was way too stiff and constricting for my liking.)
Crohn’s disease: Does not mix well with pregnancy! Or life in general. This flare has been super annoying, and I wish I could’ve stayed Crohn’s-free throughout pregnancy, but such is life. It’s making me stronger, right?
That’s it for now! I’m now starting to venture into the world of postpartum purchases, so I’ll have stuff ready to go once the baby is here. I’ve bought a few nursing bras and tank tops, but if you’ve been through this and have favorite postpartum items, let me know!