1. Coconut, coconut, coconut.
Coconuts have a zillion beneficial properties, and some of those are really handy when you’re pregnant. Coconut water has tons of potassium, prevents dehydration, and is loaded with electrolytes. All things you’ll need while pregnant. And coconut oil can help with stretch marks and boost your baby’s immune system.
2. Invest in lots of ginger Altoids.
Ginger anything will help with morning sickness, which wins the award for Most Misleading Name since it can come on whenever it damn well feels like it. Buying ginger-flavored Altoids was the best advice I was given. They are insanely strong, and sometimes even just the smell when I opened the tin was enough to curb the nausea. Buy a case and keep them in your car, your purse, your nightstand, your work desk, on the coffee table… You get the idea.
3. Learn how to dress.
Pregnancy dressing is a whole other art form, especially in the first trimester. Your body will start changing, but you’ll be too small for “bump” clothes. You might not want the pressure of tight clothes against your body, though, and you may just not be ready for the world to know what’s up.
You’ll want to fill your wardrobe with slouchy tops, sweaters, and empire-waist dresses. And DON’T waste your money on maternity jeans. Ain’t No Mom Jeans has great tips for how to style this first phase.
4. Get a Bellaband.
You may not grow a belly until the second trimester. But at some point you are going to want to unbutton those pants. Bellaband lets you keep your current jeans while also keeping you comfortable.
5. Find creative ways to stay hydrated.
You will get sick and tired of hearing people tell you to drink plenty of water while pregnant. Dehydration is no joke, especially during the first trimester. But it can also be really hard to get excited about H2O for nine months straight, especially when morning sickness can leave your mouth tasting gross.
6. Check your skin care.
Most doctors will tell you to avoid putting salicylic acid and retinoids on your skin while pregnant: It can be absorbed right into the bloodstream, which is so annoying because one of the first visible signs of all those hormonal changes will be breaking out like a 15-year-old. Ask what ingredients are safe, and start reading labels.
7. Buy this pillow.
It’s not cheap, but the Comfort-U Maternity Pillow will help save your sanity during those inevitable sleepless nights. It takes up more than half the bed, though, so be warned that your spouse/significant other will not be happy about its arrival. But you are two people now, and the majority wins. Sleep tight!
8. Keep a dream journal.
Fact: You will have the weirdest dreams of your life while pregnant. There’s definitely some science behind it. Curb your nighttime anxiety and vivid subconscious by writing it all down. You might just make yourself a hilarious memento of these nine months to enjoy for years to come.
9. Get prenatal massages — as many as you can afford.
Prenatal massage was a lifesaver for me. I went once a month to a local spa, and once in the third trimester I just asked her to work on my feet the entire time. Check with your doctor about your individual risks, and if she gives you the all-clear, go as frequently as you can handle/afford.
10. Always be prepared to barf.
If you’re going to be queasy for 12 weeks, you might as well be cute about it. The Barf Boutique makes these sealable, waterproof bags in five colors. Keep them everywhere.
11. Try Tai Chi.
It’s important to exercise during pregnancy, but even more important to do it safely. Lots of expectant moms talk about walking for exercise, but Tai Chi has a surprising number of pregnancy benefits.
12. Get the Baby Bargains book.
There will be a lot racing through your mind during these early stages, and it can be overwhelming. So many decisions, so many options for baby gear you didn’t even know existed. Baby Bargains will help you identify all the gear and track it down without bankrupting you.
13. Take a hard look at your shoes.
Your feet will get bigger while pregnant, there is no point in denial. And it might be permanent. While the need for comfy flats might not be urgent for a few more months, you may feel your feet changing already. Be prepared to invest in some flats that will support your new body and give you some flex room while your feet expand.
Cole Haan makes tons of styles with Nike AIR technology, and they were lifesavers for me.
14. Consider Acupuncture
If your morning sickness symptoms are especially devastating, you might want to try acupuncture. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that acupuncture can really help with first trimester symptoms.
15. Think about your bras.
Your boobs could definitely start to feel sore and achy in the first trimester. You might even need something comfortable to sleep in. Whip out that coconut oil for sore nipples, but also think about shopping for some comfy maternity bras. Many nursing styles are also great for pregnancy.
16. Look into grocery delivery.
Parenting.com shared the genius tip of getting your groceries delivered while pregnant through a service like yourgrocer.com. You might also have delivery options through local stores or other companies. Grocery shopping is the last thing you’ll feel like doing in those early months, but a girl’s gotta eat (and so does that baby!). And later on in your pregnancy, you really shouldn’t be carrying all that stuff.
17. Rent a fetal doppler.
No matter how many times your doctor or significant other reassures you that everything is fine, until that baby starts kicking, you might just be really nervous. If you need that extra peace of mind, consider renting a fetal doppler to use at home. A lot expectant moms swear by them.
18. Don’t give up those manicures.
When you’re pregnant, suddenly your medicine cabinet, nail salon, spa, and refrigerator can feel like death traps. Don’t panic! Zoya makes pregnancy-safe nail polishes so your fingers can still look good. And if you take them to your local salon, think about wearing a mask (my manicurist always insisted).
19. Watch out for pregnancy books and websites.
Abbey over at Design Scouting points out how many pregnancy books and websites push a specific agenda, and she is so right on (she also suggests a few that worked for her). The temptation to buy and read every book out there is huge, but pregnancy is stressful enough without bombarding yourself with conflicting (and often pretty judgmental) information. Obviously you’ll want to learn, but don’t overdo it.