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While everyone's pregnancy experience is unique, certain types of pregnancy gear can help make the nine months easier, no matter what kind of pregnancy you have. Here's the WebMD trimester-by-trimester checklist of essential pregnancy gear:

Pregnancy Gear: Preconception/First Trimester


"Folic acid prevents neural tube defects, so you need to start taking a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid even before you conceive and continue taking it throughout your pregnancy," says Pamela Bertens, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.The March of Dimes states that women should take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid every day, particularly before pregnancy and during early pregnancy, as part of a healthy diet.

You really, really need "a good common sense resource about what is normal and what's not normal -- whether a book or a close girlfriend's phone number," Bertens tells WebMD.

"A good moisturizer also helps, as many pregnant women complain of dry, itchy skin," Bertens says.

Pregnancy Gear: Second Trimester

"These thick elastic straps that go under the stomach for extra support, can help prevent and/or alleviate some pregnancy-related back pain.

"Spiky heels may be fashionable, but they are not good for pregnancy," says Bertens. The main problem with high heels is that you are more likely to fall and that can have devastating consequences during pregnancy.

Pregnant women will also need to do some bra shopping as breasts typically increase at least one cup size during pregnancy. "If you go to a specialized bra shop that is good at this, the saleswoman can help you get one bra for pregnancy and one for after, if you decide to nurse, that that will be right size," says Bertens. Your bra size is likely to increase by an additional cup size if you breastfeed.

Comfortable, loose-fitting maternity clothes are also important during pregnancy, says Nagaraj Gabbur, MD, the director of medical education and an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.

Many women find that adding extra pillows to their bed helps make them more comfortable, Gabbur says.

Heartburn is common during pregnancy, and can cause considerable discomfort, so Gabbur suggests putting Tums or Mylanta on your essential pregnancy gear list. Make sure you talk to your doctor before you take any type of medication.

Pregnancy Gear: Third Trimester

While many future moms are superstitious and don't believe in buying anything until their baby is born, a car seat is a wise investment as you get closer to your due date, Bertens says. "You will definitely need a car seat regardless of where you live. You can't leave the hospital without one. It's regulation."

A crib, bassinet, or pack-and-play crib -- or some place picked out for the baby to sleep (even if that's in bed with you). If you are superstitious, have a crib picked out and paid for in advance and call the store to have it delivered once you do.

A layette is a collection of clothing for a newborn, and it's a good idea to have it on hand ahead of time. A layette typically includes receiving blankets to swaddle the baby, pajamas, onesies, socks, hats, bibs, burp clothes, and towels. It's a good idea to wash everything in advance with a mild detergent, as baby's skin is very sensitive.

Bottles, pumps.
If you are going to breastfeed, you may need a breast pump and extra bottles to freeze and store milk. Pumping will give you more flexibility if you need to leave your baby with a sitter. If you will be using formula, you will need bottles (which must be sterilized) and more formula than you can possibly imagine.

Pregnancy journal
As soon as you know — I’ve done this both ways and I have to say… I wish I had kept a journal of my subsequent pregnancies. During my second I thought I would just keep notes next to the notes I took in my first journal. I thought it might be interesting to have a side by side comparison of pregnancies. But there was really room to take proper notes for a second pregnancy and if I were to give the journal to the child later in life, I can’t split one journal into two. So now that you heard of my pregnancy brain fail (one of many, I assure you) you can make your own decision.

There are many pregnancy journal options available. The one I used for my first — and only real — journaling experience was The Pregnancy Journal: A Day-to-Day Guide to a Healthy and Happy Pregnancy. I liked it because much of it was like filling out a form otherwise I would have completely forgotten to chart some of the details. Plus, it offered what was happening on the inside with the baby that I couldn’t see on a day to day basis.

Safe beauty and skin care products
As soon as you know — You know the saying, “You are what you eat.” Well that definitely goes for what you put on your skin since your skin absorbs what you put on it. And both can affect baby. Most commonly used products are safe but there are a handful of ingredients that pregnant women should avoid.

It seems to be hit or miss when it comes to how your skin handles pregnancy. Some people have that glow and some people break out like they were a teenager. I was a mixture. Plus, I had this strange growth on my back that came when pregnancy was a sure thing and left about two days after giving birth. I won’t go into too much detail about this except that I called the bump my “alien baby”.

Quite frankly way back then I didn’t think about needing special skin care and I didn’t hear anything about it during my pregnancies. It may be because I was already using organic products and no make-up. Nowadays there are several brands like Belli and Mama Miothat cater to pregnant women and their skin care needs. We were just introduced to this natural, homemade skin care by Ola Cré great for new mamas and babies.

One other tip since we’re talking about self care. It is common for pregnant women to deal with frequent bloody noses and bleeding gums. Every time I flossed, I bled. So I recommend using a water flosser instead to keep those pearly whites.

Safe cleaning products
As soon as you know — You might as well start using safer cleaning products now because you’ll probably want to when you have a baby crawling around putting everything in his mouth anyway. Plus some of the chemicals in some cleaners are really not safe for your baby when you inhale them or absorb them through your skin. So for that healthy baby, have your husband do all the cleaning!

OK that’s not likely to happen. So use natural safe products like Seventh Generation or The Honest Company or make your own. I personally have always like Seventh Generation and even used their disposable diapers when I was traveling or for some other reason not using our cloth diapers.

Itch lotion and or belly butter
Not quite ready for maternity clothes yet — It’s probably not bad yet but as your baby bump increases in size, it will likely itch. Sometimes a lot! It’s annoying! Seriously during my third pregnancy I thought I was going to scratch a hole in my tummy and the baby would pop out that way. I didn’t and he didn’t. Thank goodness!

Needless to say… It. Was. Itchy!

I had an organic itch cream for the itch and shea butter for the moisture to to help reduce stretch marks. I don’t know if I can completely thank the shea butter I’d lather on or a combination of shea butter and good genes but through three pregnancies I didn’t get stretch marks. Instead of using two products like I did, now there is DreamBelly Stretch Mark Butter . The company claims no itch and no stretch marks with all natural ingredients. I didn’t try this particular cream but it looks divine.

Tummy Shield
As your belly grows and you get ready for maternity clothes (if not earlier) — “Researchers have also found that a mother’s uterus and bladder are not as protected by the pelvis after 12 weeks gestation and can be more easily injured by blunt trauma,” according to YASA. Going through a compilation of studies about driving during pregnancy, we found that an estimated 3,000 pregnancies are lost every year from car crashes. The U.S. National Library of Medicine says car crashes “are the largest single cause of death for pregnancy women and the leading cause of traumatic fetal injury mortality in the United States.”

That makes safe driving during pregnancy a rather big issue that’s not being discussed.

The Tummy Shield is the only highly engineered pregnancy seat belt positioner that safely redirects the seat belt away from the baby bump. It has been crash tested to prove that the seat belt still works as intended but without the possible intrusion into the belly and while eliminating the potential of the pregnant woman to slide under the seat belt causing the seat belt to move up on her belly. The Tummy Shield has been strength tested to prove it can withstand as high amount crash forces as the seat belt system itself.

The Tummy Shield didn’t exist during my first two pregnancies and existed only in Australia during my third. Otherwise I would have jumped to get it merely for the discomfort I always felt when seat belted in the car. Since learning about all the safety implications, I only recommend it that much more.



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