Pregnant mother shopping

Pregnancy Supplies for the Mum-to-be – Your Guide

From maternity bras to stretch mark oil – useful pregnancy purchases

Your pregnancy is likely to last between 37 and 42 weeks and it’s a time in your life that is so very special. After all, this relatively short period ends with the greatest achievement of all: bringing a new baby into the world.

So, why not make sure you have some of the items that will help to make this wonderful, and sometimes difficult, time as comfortable and healthy as possible.

In the article below we take a look at some of the pregnancy supplies that you might not instantly think about the moment you find out you’re pregnant, but they are the items that many mothers and healthcare professionals agree can help to smooth your pregnancy journey:

Pregnancy journal

Pregnancy is such a precious and special time. Keeping a pregnancy journal is a great way to ensure that you, and eventually your unborn child and all its descendants, have a record of the experience. If you start keeping a journal now, you will be in the habit when your child is born and ready to record all the milestones of those first few days and early years.

When to buy

As soon as you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

Pregnancy supplements

In the UK it is recommended that you take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day from your pre-pregnancy period until you’re 12 weeks pregnant. Furthermore, the Department of Health and Social Care advises that pregnant women consider the possibility of taking a vitamin D supplement.

When to buy

Either from the pre-pregnancy planning period or, if you are already past this stage, from the first weeks of your pregnancy. Speak to your GP or midwife if you have any concerns about your pre-pregnancy diet or early pregnancy nutrition.

Skin care products

Pregnancy ‘glow’ is a thing, but so too unfortunately is pregnancy acne, particularly during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy. This is because an increase in your levels of androgen hormones leads to increased production of an oily substance called sebum, which in turn can lead to blocked pores, inflammation, and acne.

When to buy

You may wish to begin using safe, pregnancy-approved skin care products during your first trimester.

A new toothbrush

Half of all pregnant women will experience swollen and/or bleeding gums during pregnancy. You should brush your teeth along the gum line twice a day and should ensure that you have a soft-bristled toothbrush to do this. Soft-bristled toothbrushes are gentler and can guard against receding gums.

When to buy

You should buy a soft toothbrush as soon as you find out you are pregnant.

Heat pads, hot water bottles and microwaveable wheat bags

Period-type pains and pelvic discomfort can be quite common, even from the early stages of pregnancy. These sensations are likely to be attributable to the fact that your womb is stretching and growing. A hot water bottle or other type of gentle heat application may be your best friend when it comes to easing these symptoms and may also help to ease any back, neck or foot pain you are experiencing. However, remember to use any heat applicator safely and always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. Avoid applying a heat source to your abdomen and if the pain becomes unmanageable or is continuous, always consult your GP, midwife or healthcare team.

When to buy

A heating pad, hot water bottle or microwaveable wheat bag is a good idea from the first trimester but should be considered as indispensable from the second.

Comfortable Shoes

Pregnancy is not the time for stilettos or indeed any kind of heel at all. Pregnancy is all about sensible shoes! This is because you will require extra support to help you manage the extra weight and stresses your body is experiencing.

During pregnancy your feet may get bigger, both permanently (pregnancy-related growth) and non-permanently (swelling). The best thing you can do is to ensure that you have comfortable, flat and orthopaedically sound shoes. But don’t despair if you have fashion-conscious feet; trendy trainers make great pregnancy footwear and there is so much elegant leisure footwear out there that you shouldn’t have to compromise on flat style – just kick the heels!

When to buy

We recommend good comfortable shoes from day one of your pregnancy, but if you somehow make it to the middle of your second trimester still wearing stilettos, you will almost certainly find changes and discomfort in your feet impossible to ignore.

Pregnancy eye mask

A good night’s sleep is essential to your wellbeing at any time but the importance of sleep becomes even more acute during pregnancy when you are likely to be tired, full of bodily aches and perhaps a little anxious. An eye mask aids your sleep hygiene and is particularly important at a time when pregnancy hormones will make your eyes more sensitive to light while also potentially creating some disturbance in your vision.

When to buy

From the first trimester or at least from the first moment you feel the need for a little help in getting a proper night of restorative sleep.

Maternity bras

You will notice changes to your breast size as early as week 6 of pregnancy. In fact, you could grow by as much as two, three or even four cup sizes. It is little wonder then that your old, pre-pregnancy bras just won’t do. This is why purchasing a well-fitted and comfortable maternity bra will make a world of difference.

When to buy

Some women buy a bra extender before investing in maternity bras, but for most women, it is not possible to get beyond the second trimester without buying at least a couple of maternity bras.

Pregnancy pillow

U-shaped pregnancy pillows are not popular by accident. Their size and shape will help you stay comfortable during your sleep, will help to alleviate some of the many aches and pains you will experience as your body changes, and will help your bump stay supported as it grows. An excellent investment.

When to buy

Given how comfortable they are, any time is a good time, but consider it essential once you reach week 20 of your pregnancy.

Massage Oil

Massage during pregnancy can help relieve aches and pains while also increasing the circulation of blood to your hands and feet – many oils will also help to combat pregnancy-related dry skin. However, be aware that not all massage oils will be safe to use during pregnancy, particularly during the first trimester. This is because there is evidence that some ingredients – for example, cinnamon, clove, rosemary, clary sage, and jasmine, may induce uterine contractions, thereby risking your pregnancy. Always check the product to make sure that it is safe to use during your stage of pregnancy.

When to buy

As long as the oil is safe to use for your particular stage of pregnancy, any time is a good time, but it is likely that your body will start crying out for regular massage around the time you reach the second trimester.

Stretch mark oil

Your rapidly expanding belly grows at a faster rate than your skin is able to regenerate. This can cause itching, feelings of tightness and, ultimately, stretch marks. However, by using an anti-stretch mark oil – examples include sweet almond oil, wheatgerm oil, rose oil and cocoa butter – you may be able to reduce the incidence and appearance of stretch marks.

When to buy

You should start using the oil during the second trimester but it is a good idea to have some in reserve beforehand just in case.

Pregnancy belt

A pregnancy belt can help reduce stress and strain on your back and joints as your belly expands to make way for baby. Furthermore, some women report that such belts help to reduce the incidence of pelvic girdle pain, sacroiliac joint pain and round ligament pain. They can also encourage good posture while freeing you to perform a greater range of exercises and everyday tasks in comfort – a pregnancy belt is effectively a bra for your baby bump!

However, be aware that you should not use a pregnancy belt for too long (no more than two or three hours at a time) and you should ensure that it is not too tight. Doing either of theses may result in discomfort and, potentially, overcompression.

When to buy

A pregnancy belt will come into its own during the second or third trimester or from whenever you develop the first signs of back pain.

Maternity jeans

You are likely to need and/or want, at the very least, one pair of maternity jeans or trousers. They are comfortable, versatile, stretchable and can be worn on pretty much any occasion – they are also a lot more ‘fashion-conscious’ than they were a decade or two ago.

When to buy

It is a good idea to buy a pair once you reach the second trimester. Many women will have bought a pair by the time they reach six months.

Emergency snacks

Although the old-fashioned idea of eating for two has long been disproven as an unhealthy myth, you will undoubtedly be hungrier than usual during your pregnancy. This is why it is important to have a good range of healthy snacks in your store cupboard. This will help you, hopefully, to get through any periods of morning sickness as well as the inevitable hunger pangs that accompany every pregnancy ever experienced in human history.

When to buy

There is no harm in investigating the types of healthy snacks you might like as soon as you know you are pregnant and to regularly replenish your store.

Pregnancy shopping for you

During pregnancy many of your budgeting thoughts will be focused on what you are going to need for your baby, but don’t forget that you are doing an indispensible job right now in carrying and nurturing your unborn child.

Pregnancy is hard work, so giving yourself a treat and making sure you’ve got the things you need shouldn’t be overlooked.