There are so many things out there marketed to support women during pregnancy. Everything seems to be a “must-have” but when you gather all of the stuff together, how much do you really use? What works and what ends up being a waste? As a maternity and newborn photographer in Houston, TX, I talk with a lot of moms who recently had (or are about to have) babies. I took an informal poll to see what their most favorite and most used items were that supported them and helped them navigate being pregnant. Read on to learn the top self-care items you can purchase that really give you bang for your buck while you are sporting that glowing baby bump. Click the link to go to my homepage to learn about the full-service newborn and maternity photo experiences I offer to support new and practiced parents.

pregnant mama to be in black bodysuit showing off baby bump at in-home maternity photoshoot in Houston, TX. Houston maternity photographer

This list excludes anything that is really a requirement for your and your baby’s health – like a prenatal vitamin, drinking lots of water, a competent medical provider, or morning sickness remedies. I am not a medical professional and do not plan to hand out any such advice. This is about those luxury or extra items that give moms comfort during their maternity season of life. I am not going to include clothing items like leggings or maternity tops as that’s kind of an obvious must-have. Also, any links provided are not affiliate links – I will not receive anything if you purchase any of these items. This is simply a list of suggestions to help moms with a little self-care while pregnant. So let’s get started!

1. A Body Pillow

This was my number one item that I used during both of my pregnancies (and even sometimes still). The C-shaped pillow seems to be the favorite amongst moms. When you are pregnant, it is best to sleep only on your side, so this pillow can go between your knees to help aide that side-laying position while also supporting your back – especially the lower back which is often sore from the extra weight you are carrying while you grow your baby. There are many different sizes and shapes to choose from when it comes to body pillows for pregnancy, but this one takes up the least room in your bed – which your partner might like, and is versatile enough for you to move and flip while you adjust during sleep. Plus, it’s great for tummy time when your little one finally does arrive and can hold up their head a bit. Bonus, my six year old son has taken this pillow, curled it up, and uses it on the floor while he reads in his room. Lots of bang for the buck for this pregnancy item. No matter the size or shape of the body pillow, be sure to get something that works for you to help you sleep better, especially in the later trimesters.

2. Maternity Band for Back and Hip Support

Hip pain! So many moms get this during the third (and sometimes earlier) trimester. If you are still working or on your feet a lot, a band that helps support your back and hips is life-saver. I received a hand-me-down from a colleague (I was teaching at the time, so needed to be on my feet and able to move a lot) and then passed it along to my next friend having these pains, so I do not remember the brand or have a good link for that specific one. I know I wore it on top of my hips and over my pants or skirt, then covered it with a long maternity top, so no one could see it. There were multiple Velcro straps that you could make as tight as you could to ease some of the pain. Please discuss using one of these with your medical provider first, but many moms-to-be who are on the go during their pregnancy raved about how one of these devices helped reduce lower back and hip pain. This link is something similar to what I had, but seems much “fancier.” Maybe the technology has improved that much in seven years?

Couple embraces at outdoor maternity photo session with mom to be in long teal dress with dad looking lovingly at baby bump in Cypress, Texas.

3. Pregnancy Books and/or Apps

All of the moms I talked to tracked their pregnancy through apps. I personally love to hold a book, so I used both a book and the app from What to Expect When You’re Expecting. That seems to be one of the most popular apps, but there are many to choose from. These support pregnant women by showing them roughly the size of your baby during each week of pregnancy and what changes to expect in your body as you move from one trimester to the next. It’s comforting to know that while your body is doing things you may have never expected, it is normal, or maybe not normal and time to contact your doctor. I personally learned so much just by reading the details each week that were provided and felt good knowing that my baby was growing and on the right track.

4. Body Lotion

Body butter, mega lotion, baby bump oil – call it whatever you want. You will want something to help with dry skin and potentially help hide the appearance of stretch marks as your baby bump grows. There is no miracle cure to prevent stretch marks, so don’t let any product marketing convince you. However, as you are growing another human, your body needs more fluids than normal and your belly skin is stretching as that baby grows. Here is list of seven lotions that are recommended along with more information on why pregnant women often have dry skin.

5. A Foot Massager

One of the things I hear the absolute most from the moms I am taking maternity photos of is how much their feet hurt. Your ankles and feet can be swollen and sore. One self-care item to help with swelling is compression socks. Your medical provider might even recommend them for you. This set of ankle length compression socks is a winner for one of the moms I polled. But any kind of light foot massage from your partner, a small home-use foot massage device, or even better – a foot reflexology massage from a professional who knows what they are doing will go a long way to easing your foot pain and even some swelling. Worried about if it’s safe to get a foot massage or pedicure while you are pregnant? I’ve heard things, too. Read this to help you decide if this is something you would like to try.

maternity photo of mama to be in long mermaid style mauve colored dress, Houston maternity photographer

6. A Full Service Maternity Photo Experience

Yeah, yeah. I know, I am biased here because this is what I do, but hear me out. Lots of the moms I have worked with truly believe in documenting the special time they are pregnant. As women, our bodies change so much to grow a life inside them, that we should celebrate it and capture those sweet moments. After all, you will only be pregnant with this baby once. If your photographer does not provide hair and make-up services and the use of beautiful dresses either find one who does (like me!) or splurge on those things yourself. You will not regret looking your most gorgeous for those photos even when you might not quite feel that way. Be sure your photographer edits in a way that fits your style and knows how to pose you to flatter your figure, no matter your size, and show off that baby bump.

Lots of the moms I talked to had only a few items they said were must-haves. So you do not need to go spend a fortune on all kinds gadgets and gizmos to help get you through your pregnancy. Save that money for maternity and newborn photos that will last long after the nine months that baby spends growing in your belly. Reach out when you are ready to start planning your customized photo experiences, and we’ll create something special for you and your growing family!

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