Monday, October 5, 2015

Abby's List of 10 Pregnancy Essentials

Hey guys! I'm on maternity leave now, which has been a great mental break. I've been able to finish some last-minute tasks and spend a lot of good time with Wilder... as well as try to get a little more sleep and actually watch some TV for the first time in many months.

With that little break, I feel like I've got lots of blog posts bubbling up in me. New baby permitting, check out for posts sharing articles I've written and recent photo shoots, this blog for some home and child updates, and I've turned my original blog, into *just* travel updates. I'm hoping to blog about our last few trips--I have some beautiful photos and I really want to share them!

OK, so on to the topic of this post. As a near graduate of two pregnancies, I feel like I'm an expert on the things that have made my own gestation a little bit easier. I thought I would list them out, in case any of you are pregnant or thinking about it. :-) So, in no particular order, may I present:

Blanqi support tank

I'll admit, I was skeptical about this tank at first. It's pricey, and it looks weird. DEFINITELY have to wear a shirt over it! But let me tell you how great it is. The Blanqi tank kind of feels like soft Spanx, but better. It supports your belly and helps reduce back pain. I've found it really helpful for photo shoots, where I'm on my feet carrying many pounds of equipment for hours at a time. You can use it in place of a belly band to hold up your non-maternity pants. It's also really good for exercising. The website shows pregnant women running in it... yeah that is not me. I do wear it for walking. ;-) I notice a huge difference in my comfort overall when I wear it walking, vs. not. I've worn it through both pregnancies and I'm glad I have it.

Hydro Flask water bottle

Pregnant ladies know the importance of hydration. I spent most of this pregnancy also breastfeeding, so needless to say, I really needed to drink water. I found Hydro Flask sometime this year, and I'm loving it. It's stainless steel and insulated, which means ice cubes hang out for like 24 hours! Even in a hot car! I like it because it's sturdy... I bet I could use it to club an assailant. ;-) And the mouth is just the right width to easily add ice cubes and drink from it, without being Nalgene bottle humongous. It comes in a bunch of styles, sizes, mouth types and colors.

Snoogle pillow
So... apparently I've been using this wrong all this time. Whatever, it still works. Go look at the link if you want to see how to sleep using this giant pillow. It basically replaces four pillows. We're supposed to sleep on our left side with a pillow between our knees during pregnancy. It can be hard to arrange. But this pillow does help. It's just hard to get out of bed when you have it. But. It really helps with a good night's sleep!


I got some Gizeh Birkenstocks last year, and they really made a difference during pregnancy this year. Definitely more supportive, and my feet were a lot more comfortable overall this time around!

Destination maternity clothes

I know lots of people that never need maternity clothes and they're proud of it. I am not one of those people. Even though you only wear maternity clothes while you're pregnant (and maybe some for a bit afterward), depending on how many children you have, those clothes really get worn. When you have like five shirts, and that's all you can fit in, those clothes are worth it! I love Destination Maternity. I did get a few items from Target and workout tanks from Old Navy, but the rest were from Destination Maternity. If you can get to the store in San Antonio, I highly recommend them--the customer service experience was really good. For both pregnancies, I invested in a pair of nice jeans, work jeans, everyday tops, a few nice tops, 2 pairs of shorts, a few dresses and leggings (MANDATORY for the last trimester). Plus some hand-me-down jeans, it's been a good thing. Being comfortable while pregnant is really, really important. I learned this second time, when I had to break out maternity pants at 11 weeks that comfort was the difference between being miserable and functional!

Maternity Spanx
While the thought of Spanx sounds SO uncomfortable while pregnant... in actuality, maternity spanx are brilliant. No more worrying about panty lines, and they're really comfortable. I probably don't have to tell you ladies why Spanx are necessary... but I just wanted to tell you that the maternity ones are equally great, and way more comfortable!

Prenatal yoga
Probably the most important thing I did pre-pregnancy was prenatal yoga. I am a huge huge fan. The techniques I've learned and the time spent practicing was immeasurable helpful for actual labor. If you've done yoga, you might be wondering why PRENATAL yoga versus just modifying in a regular class. First, not all yoga poses are safe for pregnancy, and what is safe changes throughout each trimester. I tried researching safe/unsafe poses online and got overwhelmed trying to remember what not to do. That's not meditative, worrying about if you're going to possibly do something unsafe. Second, one of the goals of regular yoga is to further your practice, so you always are trying to push just a little bit further. While pregnant, the hormones in your body make you more flexible, so it can be easy to overdo things and hurt yourself if you push the same way. You want to maintain your practice while pregnant, not progress. Different mindset. If you go to a prenatal class expecting to sweat and contort and leave exhausted, you'll be surprised. It's much more like restorative yoga. There's a lot of focus on bringing your mind inward, slow poses that unlock sore pregnant bodies, opening up to breathe and breath work. We often work on poses that can double as positions for surviving contractions. The biggest part of prenatal that helps me is the focus on breathing. You learn different ways to breathe, and you become practiced at them, so that when labor came, I found that I was naturally using breathing techniques from yoga, which helped with pain at the very least. Finally, prenatal yoga is a great way to connect with other moms that might be like-minded. Last pregnancy, I found my prenatal chiropractor, doula and lactation consultant from my fellow yoga mamas.  My link above is to the studio I go to now, but I highly recommend finding a prenatal yoga class!

Prenatal chiropractic work
I've been blessed both pregnancies to not suffer from a lot of pain. I don't know if it's just how I carry babies, but it's more likely getting adjusted helped. Dr, Terry Garcia says that the relaxin hormone helps you get looser for delivery, but it also allows you to get out of alignment easily. Pair that with your body being pulled over by a big belly, and you are just waiting for pain. Dr. Terry helped me a lot these pregnancies. Supposedly chiropractic work can help shorten labors. I can't really say because Wilder took forever, but I do believe adjustments can help baby get into proper position. Dr. Terry also does newborn adjustments (I talked about that HERE) and that was very helpful.

Birth Boot Camp
Zach and I took one 10-week birth class with Wilder. Birth Boot Camp is a natural childbirth class. We learned a lot about pain and birthing positions and techniques, nutrition, mental preparation, exercise, breastfeeding and a lot of information about interventions and pain relief methods. It helped us feel prepared and informed, and our first class was with our doula for Wilder. This time around, we took a refresher one-day class, and it was a good reminder of the most important parts. I was reminded of just how much happens to your body during labor. Having those facts and mental pictures helps me visualize what is happening during labor. It helps me know that every contraction and all of the pain are moving my body toward delivering that baby. There is a point!

Finally, I found a doula really helpful. With Wilder, I worked with Ashleigh Trimble. She was wonderful and I loved her! Unfortunately, she's moved to Georgia. This time we are working with Maria Pokluda and I'm excited. :-) But in any case, I loved having a doula. The support Ashleigh gave us made such a difference. She reminded us of pain techniques, was a calming and helpful ally and just made the whole process a little bit less nerve-wracking, knowing she was walking alongside us. Highly recommend!

That's all I can think of right now! :-)

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