May 28, 2011

5 Must Haves for a Healthy Happy Pregnancy

It was always a challenge for me to to remember to stay hydrated even before I was pregnant. And since staying hydrated is the number one reason for pre-term labor, it was even more important for me to stay on top of my water in-take. It took effort to remember to drink water periodically during the hussle and bussle of the work day, and it was a pain to carry around a heavy water bottle everywhere I go. This double-wall insulated cup keep my water cool and looks cool too. The best part is that I can take little sips without having to unscrew a lid and lift up the bottle to my mouth to take a gulp. I know it sounds really lazy, but I was amazed at how much more water I was drinking without even trying with this cup. I also like to flavor my water with a fresh slice of lemon. With this cup, I didn't have to worry about it clunking on my face if I had used a stainless steel bottle instead.

I would fill up 16 oz of filtered water and add a slice of lemon before work. On most days, I would finish my first cup by noon time, and refill right after lunch. On average I would down at least 32 oz by 5pm, then I'm half way to my 64 oz goal (eight 8 oz. glasses per day). I supplement with juice for breakfast and a glass of warm milk at night. This cup came in handy during labor as well when Paul would give me a sip in between contractions. Plus it's eco-friendly! The cup and the straw are washable so there's nothing to throw away. The only thing to be careful about is diligently washing out the straw every night to prevent mold from growing. We found the most effective way is to use a Q-tip to clean the inside of the straw. Now I'm using it daily as it's also important to hydrate during breastfeeding. Overall, it's well worth the $7.99 from

If staying hydrated is tough, then keeping good posture with a pregnant body is even harder. As my belly grew into the third trimester, I started to develop pain in my back and sciatica (shooting pain) in my hip. While going to pregnancy exercise classes and physical therapy sessions did help, it was still tough to get through the day at work in front of the computer however ergonomic the setup may be. Bringing my fitness ball into work was one of the best decisions I ever made. (Thanks to Paul's suggestion!) I sat on the ball instead of my office chair and it helped me maintain good posture all day long. I also found that I took more breaks to do exercises on the ball just because it was there. Periodically, colleagues passing by would stop in their tracks and poke their head in to say "Hi" and comment or joke about the ball. That also gave me some welcomed breaks during the work day.

On the day of labor, we brought our ball to the hospital with us and I had it with me in the backseat of the car so I could lean on it if I wanted to. It was also nice to know that we would have our own ball in case the other ones were occupied at St. Mary's. This TKO one costs less than $15 (free shipping!) and includes a hand pump and wall chart with exercise positions. Pregnant or not, it's a great fitness tool. Just make sure you pick the right size for your stature.

User’s Height and Ball Diameter
under 4′10″             16″ or 42cm
4′11″ – 5′4″            21″ or 55cm
5′5″ – 5′11′             25″ or 65cm
6′ and taller            29″ or 75cm

Ask any expectant mom, sleep during pregnancy is difficult. Midnight bathroom runs and baby kicking make it hard enough to get some good quality rest, finding a good sleeping position with a protruding belly makes it even more challenging. Lying flat on your back can feel like having a bowling ball on top of you during the later months, it's also not good for circulation. Stomach sleeping is also pretty much out of the question. I preferred side-lying the best, but I needed extra back support and something between my legs to release tension. I did try using a pillow behind my back and one or two between my legs for a while, but Paul finally convinced me to get the Snoogle. The pillow hugged my body beautifully, like it was made for me. The back support was excellent and my knees felt really good too. My only complaint was that the one I got came with only a polyester cover, which was kind of scratchy and didn't have a zipper so it was hard to put on after washing. I ended up getting the 100% cotton Chic Jersey cover separately which solved that problem. If I had known earlier, I would have gotten this one that includes the Chic Jersey cover, and it's cheaper when bought together like this anyway.

After Micah was born, I also used it for when I breastfed him in bed. I would recommend it for any expectant moms out there. Trust me, don't spend another night twisting and turning. I hope this pillow will help you as much as it helped me.

 As my body changed, my regular underwear started to feel tight. It made such a difference to switch to these cotton  (93%) and spandex (7%) undies which makes them breathable and stretchy. The fold-over part can go over the tummy, or can be folded under depending on how you feel that day. These panties are also seamless, (say goodbye to panty lines), and hug the hips for a snug feel like a second skin. In terms of sizing, I'd recommend one size larger than the regular panty size for the most comfortable fit.

Like many women, I was disappointed that my body didn't go back to its original shape immediately after the baby was born. Until I lose the belly fat, these underwear are still earning their keep.

I love these pants and would wear them everyday even when I'm not pregnant. They are so versatile and can be paired with so many types of outfits, they are a great staple for your closet, starting as early as the second trimester. The belly part is stretchy and fits super comfortably without bulk. I own two pairs, one black and one grey, which goes with pretty much anything. For work, I can throw on a roomy dress over these, and pair with shiny flats. For weekend, I put on a cotton tunic for a more relaxed look.  Just like the underwear, they are great for postpartum months when I found that my "regular" clothes won't fit after the baby was born, extending their value.

The belly part of the pants is 85% nylon, 15% spandex. The body portion is 92% cotton, 8% spandex.  A Pea in a Pod makes almost exactly the same pants as these Motherhood Maternity ones, but are almost twice as expensive. I own both, my black one is Motherhood Maternity, my grey one is A Pea in a Pod. I can tell you that I put them pretty much to equal use, going through about the same number of wash cycles. My Pea in a Pod one already started to fray at the edges near the belly, but my Motherhood Maternity one is still going strong, looking as new as the first day I got them. Get them from for $19.98 + $6 shipping, or make a trip to Macy's to get them for the same low price minus shipping.

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