Liesl's Pregnancy Favorites | Beauty, Tech, Books, Clothing, and More
Although I didn't have any misconceptions about the challenges (physically and mentally) that comes with growing a whole new human in your body, these past seven months of pregnancy has been a wild rollercoaster ride of both the most exciting and uncomfortable moments of my life so far. NOTHING could have prepared me for it! I wanted to share some of the things I've been using, and consuming, that have made this crazy journey much more manageable and, dare I say, even enjoyable. Here are some of the books, apps, podcasts, websites, clothing, food (and drinks), skincare, and other pregnancy-related items that I've been enjoying over the past seven months.
When I first found out I was expecting, I couldn't wait to buy ALL the pregnancy books; I quickly realized that there are A LOT out there and that I really shouldn't overwhelm myself like that. So, after perusing numerous lists of "the best pregnancy books", I eventually decided on Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy (informative and to-the-point), and How to Grow a Baby and Push It Out (educational and entertaining; hey, if you're not going to find the humor in all this, how will you survive it!?). I've loved both of these as my main pregnancy literature and highly recommend them!
One of my favorite things during pregnancy has been keeping track of my baby's weekly growth and development. I downloaded a few pregnancy tracking apps in the first few weeks, and played around with all of them to see which one I liked best; my personal favorite has been What To Expect. On this app you can track your baby's weekly development, access informative videos and articles, and also join and read the community forums. The app is free, too!
Pregnancy can be mentally overwhelming, and I've found that daily meditation has really helped me to calm my mind and focus on my breathing; my favorite app for meditation is CALM. I've been using this app for a couple of years, and like the daily 10-minute guided meditation sessions, and you can also play some calming music and sounds. This app is not free, but worth the annual subscription cost.
I'm a big fan of podcasts, and absolutely love the PregnancyPodcast for in-depth and concise, thoroughly researched, information on every single pregnancy-related topic you can think of. The 40 Weeks PregnancyPodcast is also great, with a quick 5-minute weekly pregnancy overview and update on the baby's growth and development. Another one I've been enjoying is Hello, Bump, hosted by a humorous, and absolutely no-filter, gaggle of Australian mammas discussing pregnancy topics.
Tieneke introduced me to the 15Minute Beauty website even before I got pregnant. This blog, created by a doctor (and self-professed beauty addict) has been really helpful in knowing which beauty and skincare products are pregnancy-friendly, and I frequently visit it to make sure that lotions and potions I'm putting on my skin does not pose a risk to my baby.
For keeping track of which baby items we need (and want), I created a registry on Babylist; this registry stood out to me, because you can add products from any website to your list, and it's so easy to navigate and share with family and friends. It's been very useful in staying organized on what we already have, or still need to get for baby.
CLOTHING & SHOES
I was so surprised at how quickly my body changed after getting pregnant; within the first 8 weeks I already had trouble zipping up most of my jeans, and don't even get me started on fitting into any of my regular bras; the ladies wanted OUT! Tieneke recommended getting these comfy bras with no wiring and adjustable straps that can stretch with your ever-growing chest, and I have to say they've been the best purchase.
Even though I naively thought I could avoid it, maternity wear had to be bought. (There really is no good reason not to get a few items in which you'll feel waaaay more comfortable!). For Taiwan's hot and humid summer months, I got these comfy under-the-bump lounge shorts (similar here) for wearing around the house, and have been living in these "roomy" overalls. Other than that, over-the-bump leggings and jeans, and maxi dresses have been on rotation in my closet.
I walk a lot and wanted to make sure I have a pair of comfortable and supportive sneakers that I can wear with basically all my outfits; many people recommended these white sneakers, and I've been wearing them to work almost every day.
FOOD & DRINKS
The first trimester was ROUGH; even though I never actually got sick, I was nauseous 24/7 from week 6 to 14. My saving grace was cold (or iced) foods and drinks like fruit popsicles; shoutout to the pineapple-flavored one from my local supermarket (it's possible that I've consumed their entire stock by now!). Iced rooibos tea and this lemon and ginger tea also got me through some of the worst bouts of nausea.
BEAUTY, SKINCARE & HAIR CARE
I had to make quite a few changes in my beauty, skincare and hair care routines after finding out I was pregnant. Like I mentioned earlier, I used 15Minute Beauty to check which of my regular products contained harmful ingredients for the baby and made a few substitutions accordingly. I've been loving all of the pregnancy safe skincare from this vegan and cruelty-free skincare line, and also swapped out my not-safe-for-pregnancy foundation for this light-weight one by Bare Minerals (which also conveniently includes sunscreen).
I've been loving this natural lip balm for the past few months and for a pregnancy-safe body lotion I switched to this one. To make sure my skin stays moisturized, nourished and hydrated I've incorporated this 100% jojoba oil and this rich belly butter to my evening routine.
Pregnancy really takes it out of you, and being constantly fatigued and uncomfortable has meant that The Husband and I have spent many Saturday evenings on the couch watching movies instead of going out on dinner dates or meeting up with friends. Some lighthearted pregnancy-themed movies we've really enjoyed so far were What To Expect When You're Expecting, Juno and Knocked Up.
Talking about being uncomfortable; I got a U-shaped pregnancy pillow to help with restless, and sometimes painful, sleep. It takes up most of the space on our bed, and means that sometimes The Husband gets transferred to the couch so that I can attempt to get a good night's sleep.
Seeing that at the moment I still have two months left of pregnancy, I'd love to hear which products really helped you through this rollercoaster of a time! Also, if you're interested, check out more of our pregnancy, baby and motherhood content here.