Being pregnant for the first time has been such an exhilarating, eye-opening process. The old adage that you don’t know what you don’t know has proven true time and time again over the course of the past nine months, and that was certainly no exception when it came to stocking up on clothing and other maternity supplies. My pregnancy has been truly wonderful and easy, which is something I do not take for granted. I’ve been able to maintain an exercise routine of working out five times per week, which has felt crucial both in terms of making me feel good physically but also emotionally (those endorphins have never felt more real). Exercise has helped me sleep, too, and knowing that I have a workout impending helps me make healthier eating choices (although, let’s be honest, I have been treating myself to a lot more baked goods, pizza, and mint chocolate chip ice cream over the course of the past nine months). While I’ve had several debilitating bouts of tiredness here and there, staying active has allowed me to still engage socially with loved ones, travel (this year alone I went to LA, Pennsylvania, Seattle, Florida [twice!], Palm Springs, Ohio, and Chicago), and feel efficient at work. I have been so thankful for this sweet season.
I really felt my body begin to change around the end of January/beginning of February when I was about 16 – 18 weeks along. I knew I needed to make some adjustments in my wardrobe especially, and I had a tough time figuring out the best staples to purchase without going overboard. Some dear friends lent me some amazing maternity clothing, and while we hope and plan to have more children, I didn’t want to buy too many clothes for myself when so many impending purchases loomed on the horizon (hello, nursery decor!). But I wanted to feel good about myself and I certainly wanted to feel comfortable. Since I’ve only got four and a half weeks to go until my due date (!!!), I thought I’d share some of the staples (clothing and otherwise) that ending up helping me along through my pregnancy.
Ingrid & Isabel Maternity Capri Workout Pants + Lululemon Boogie Shorts
Like I mentioned, exercise has been hugely important and beneficial during my pregnancy. My friend Erin lent me a pair of her Ingrid & Isabel maternity spandex and they are miracle-workers. The crossover panel felt so comfortable as my body grew and changed, and yet the pants looked and fit just like regular spandex crops. As I grew, I found a ton of comfort in my trusty Lululemon shorts, which I already owned from years of practicing Bikram yoga. As the summer temperatures started to rise, I was more interested in wearing shorts than pants, and these staples are so soft and comfortable, getting better with each wash.
Maternity jeans were one of the first items that came to mind when I started scouting for pregnancy staples. My favorite pair is from H&M. I accidentally purchased a pair of Super Skinny jeans, thinking they were the same as the regular Skinny version I had already purchased, and I ended up liking them much more than the Skinny ones themselves. I chose a dark wash that was great for work. I also love the pair I got from ASOS in a lighter wash, making them a little more casual. On the whole, H&M and ASOS became the most reliable spots for finding great maternity wear, jeans and otherwise. My friend Allison lent me the perfect pair of black jeans from Citizens of Humanity that were clutch for work events and presentations when I needed to feel more professional.
Soft, Stretchy Dresses
Especially now that we are in the throes of summer, soft dresses have been my daily uniform. T-shirt dresses are so comfortable (I swear I wear this once a week), but sometimes I want to show off the bump, so stretchy, tighter-fitting dresses have been great, too. I’ve especially loved this Racerback Bodycon dress from Forever 21, which I got in black and navy. The length is great for work (usually I throw a chambray over the dress for the office but go sleeveless when I’m out with friends) and you can’t beat the price. While I have loved my maternity jeans, nothing feels better (or more feminine) than wearing a great little dress.
Speaking of dresses, maxi dresses are another staple that have made me feel so feminine as my body is growing and changing. Between the dresses I already owned and the garments that mama friends lent to me, I was totally set in this department, but there are so many great affordable options out there if you’re looking to stock up. Most of them will work perfectly after baby is born, too.
Essential Oils + Diffuser
I have always appreciated essential oils but I’ve never really taken the time to learn too much about them and really dive into the essential oils culture that’s been taking society by storm. I caught a nasty case of strep in late April and James helped identify some natural ways to keep our house healthy and clean. He bought this super cool diffuser and started using some doTERRA oils we already had on hand. Our favorite quickly became the On Guard blend that helps boost the immune system and purify the air. It made the house smell delicious, and whether it was a placebo effect or not, I really think the aromatics helped me feel better. We got so excited about our oils that I recently joined the doTERRA team as a wholesaler, so if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section!
ASOS Maternity Jean Shorts
These shorts from ASOS are getting so much wear – I absolutely love them! Now that it’s summer, ASOS has several additional options available (I love these) and I highly recommend snagging a pair (or three). They’re so, so comfortable and versatile.
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Lotion
I blessedly haven’t had an issue with stretch marks (knock on wood!) but I still love using this lotion every day. It makes me feel like I’m doing something good for my skin and it smells so lovely.
My mom sent me several pairs of these underwear and I will never wear any other brand for as long as I live – I am a total Commando convert. These underwear are so comfortable and they are forgiving as your body changes and grows.
Gap Pure Body Crewneck Tees
Allison put a gray version of this tee in her stack of loaner maternity clothes and I loved it so much that I promptly went online and bought the shirt in white and black, too. The soft, stretchy material is so comfortable and it’s the perfect thing to wear on its own or with a cardigan, chambray shirt, or blazer.
Sparkling Water + Mocktails
I must admit: I have sorely missed margaritas. And champagne. And wine. But mostly the margaritas. Sparkling water has definitely taken the edge off, especially when I’m drinking a flavorful version like my favorite cherry lime La Croix. I have been relying on Topo Chico, too. I’ve invented a little cocktail of sorts, mixing Topo Chico with limeade, ginger beer, and a few jalapeño slices. It’s super refreshing and it’s reminiscent of my beloved margaritas with a hint of a Moscow mule. I will be ready to enjoy a Mambo Taxi once baby girl is here but for now this does the trick.
Spanx Bra-lellujah Bras
Of all of the clothing-related errands to run in life, bra shopping is the task I loathe the most. I don’t know why, really, since it’s a fairly painless process, but I just hate it. I tend to find a bra that works and stock up on it in several colors. But I had to admit that it was time to find an alternative to my pre-pregnancy bras about halfway through when they started pinching my skin (lovely image, I know). My friend Emily recommended Spanx’s Bra-lellujah Bras because they clasp in the front and, thanks to Spanx’s renowned stretchy material, they grow with you as you change. I snagged one in nude and one in black and have been set ever since.
You already know how much I love my library card, but it has gotten even more use during my pregnancy. Even though this season has been filled with the most sweetness imaginable, there are still, of course, times of stress. We’re entering into a phase of life that is totally unknown, after all, and nothing helps me decompress and escape like a great book. I recently joined Goodreads to track all of the books I’ve read and the titles I want to read, so feel free to follow me there. Some favorites I’ve read over the past few months include Kitchens of the Great Midwest, Bringing Up Bébé, A Window Opens, I Don’t Know How She Does It, Auggie & Me, The Secret Garden, and For the Love.
Liz Lange for Target Maternity Swimsuit Bottoms
This has been one of my very favorite maternity purchases. With several beach trips on the docket (and a July due date), I knew I wanted to invest in some sort of comfortable swimwear but I didn’t want to buy lots of different swim suits. In fact, even though my top size ultimately changed a bit (hence the Bra-lellujah discovery), I really just wanted to focus on finding some great bathing suit bottoms so I could mix and match with the tops I already owned. I learned that there aren’t a lot of great options for maternity bottoms online, so I was stoked when these Liz Lange for Target suit bottoms worked so well. I bought them in a slightly larger size and loved how they curved under the belly to accommodate my ever-growing bump. I immediately bought two pairs in black and rotated them with different tops. It worked perfectly!
Hot Baths + Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salts
I jokingly told my friend Laura that hot baths are the pregnant woman’s equivalent to happy hour. While that might be a stretch, hot baths, even now in June, have been such a comfort to me. They really help me relax, especially when I throw in some yummy-smelling epsom salts.
A Good Blazer (with a little give)
Before I found out I was pregnant, I was in the market for a new blazer, and I wanted something a little less structured/more flowing, which was fortuitous since it ended up being the best way to upgrade my pregnancy style at work. I found a Madewell version that I loved and it has been key when I’m needing to be dressier for events, presentations, and important meetings. Because it’s not super fitted, it has worked with every stage of my pregnancy, and it pairs perfectly with the aforementioned Gap tees, a great statement necklace, black jeans, and booties.
Soft Pajamas (in a larger size)
One of the silliest realizations I had about my nighties (and about some dresses, too) was that as my bump grew, my garments didn’t necessarily get smaller – they got shorter. Nightgowns became night shirts, which is usually fine, but sometimes I want to wear a tank + pants or shorts set. Just last week I went to Target and stocked up on super soft pajama sets (like this and this) in a larger size than I would normally wear. While I’ve mostly tried to stay away from buying non-maternity items that aren’t my size, I am realistic enough to know that my body won’t bounce back right away – and that I’ll be in pajamas a lot during maternity leave. So spending a little money on several cute sets seemed worth it, and I’ve already tucked away a few extras in my hospital bag. As comfy as James’s oversized shirts are, I still want to feel like a lady so these do the trick.
Truth be told, I would get a foot massage every day if I could, so this isn’t something new, but it’s definitely been a treat during pregnancy. Our favorite local spot is just down the street, making it a very convenient temptation to give in to. I’m fascinated by the power of Chinese reflexology, and I always feel so relaxed after an hourlong appointment. The price – $30 for 60 minutes – can’t be beat, either.
Garden of Life Raw Prenatal Vitamins
I started taking prenatal vitamins a couple of months before I got pregnant and it helped me establish a rhythm of taking them consistently once I knew I had a sweet little love growing inside my belly. My OB recommended the Garden of Life variety and I have really loved them. I do make sure to always take them with meals in case they make my tummy ache, but I’ve really noticed a difference in my skin and hair and overall wellbeing (i.e. not getting sick over the winter, when I usually catch a case of bronchitis – though I did succumb to strep) – this could be partially due to hormones and the “pregnancy glow,” but I’ll give credit to the vitamins. I take them in combination with DHA and D3, and I think the trifecta has really worked. I plan to continue taking them after baby girl arrives.
Something Really Pretty (treat yo self!)
I’ve held off from buying non-maternity clothing for the most part, making one splurge-worthy exception for Anthropologie’s Magnolia Lace Dress (in white). I wanted something really special to wear to my baby shower, and I justified the price tag by deciding to wear the same garment for our maternity photos. This dress made me feel so, so pretty and feminine while also being super comfortable. I was able to order the dress in my normal size, so I’m hoping to wear it again and again after baby girl arrives.
Snack Time + Shenanigans with Puppy & Hubs
Because how can you resist these two?!