This is not my first rodeo. The first time I was pregnant I was in total bliss. Don't get me wrong, there was the morning sickness, the sore hips and pressure in my back, the bladder accidents (TMI) and the hopping on the Swiss ball. But I was happy, content, calm and positive.
This time around I find myself in a mist of a global pandemic and lockdown, in the middle of winter (my least favourite season) and I haven't hugged my parents for over a year! I felt lost… lonely… without motivation or determination. To top it off, I haven’t felt more stressed and anxious in my life and I had no reason as to why. Something had a change. And I had to bring that change into my (everyones) new “normal” life.
So here are the things that have made my pregnancy experience more comfy during lockdown.
Anna by Natal Comfort
Of course I am going to recommend you invest in an Anna!! It was a game changer during my first pregnancy, and even more so the second time around. Here is how I use it:
- Morning meditation, sitting raised cross-legged on Anna without feeling pressure or discomfort in my legs (no more pins-and-needles).
- Midday breaks by laying bump-down, stretching my spine and relieving all the pressure in my hips from sitting in front of the laptop all morning.
- Pilates (3 to 4 times a week), continuing with those essential back and core strengthening exercises while stretching my much stiffer body due to the lack of community into work, grabbing a coffee with a colleague or the much longer distance I have to walk to the bathroom one thousand times a day.
- Bedtime massages, the highlight of my every day. After a long, warm soak in the bath I pop myself onto Anna and my husband begins his magic: with gentle pressure, using two tennis balls, he massages my lower back, upper back, love handles and glutes. This is especially welcoming given we cannot go for luxurious massages during this lockdown!
If, like me, you spend 80% of your working day sitting down then I will highly recommend you get a swiss ball. Make sure you get a big enough one and an electrical pump! Now it is a little bit more tricky (impossible) to try out different sizes but there are a lot of useful information and guidelines on how to establish the best size based on your height. What you are aiming for is when you are sitting on a swiss ball your knees must be lower than your hips with your feet flat on the ground. This will promote you to be in an upright, forward and open position which promotes spine health and could assist with the optimal fetal position. If you do travel into work during the pandemic I would highly recommend that you ask whether you can exchange your desk chair with a swiss ball. And at home, make sure that you sit on a swiss ball while working, watching Netflix or having a meal.
On days where I do not use my swiss ball, I feel a lot more discomfort as the day progresses, and the baby pushes up into my ribs which makes me cranky. And I am sure you will notice the difference immediately too!
A Very Large Cushion
I have tried all the pregnancy pillows on the market to get comfortable lying on my sides at night: long ones, short ones, adjustable ones, ones with weird looking attachments - none of them work. The only thing that worked was popping a very large cushion between my legs and a soft toy (I know, I know - sounds crazy) under my bump. I preferred the IKEA 65 x 65cm cushions. We use these as scatter cushions on our bed for years before we started a family. And it was out of desperation in the middle of the night that I tried this trick and I've never turned back. And for just over a tenner, you can get the same opulent solution.
A soft toy under the bump supports it just enough so it the weight does not pull your spine into a twist, providing cushioning too. Such a simple solution and it works!
A good quality body oil
… and I cannot recommend the By Sarah London body oil highly enough. It is the perfect luxury for your bump, thighs and breasts after a nice long soak in the bath. Inhaling the combination of almond, apricot, jojoba, evening primrose and vitamin E oils transports me to the most lavish of spa days with girlfriends, sipping Prosecco and not needing to say a word to know we are in the company of care. Five pumps are the perfect amount to spread across all the areas for a lovely TLC treatment at home.
Another game changer! It is no secret that the struggle is real when trying to keep your bladder under control during pregnancy (dare I mention incontinence). And I've founds this especially hard the second time around. These pants are super soft, discreet and not bulky at all. You won't even notice the difference when wearing them, apart from no more embarrassing moments!
If I could get a penny for every time I have been part of a conversation about the absolute struggle it is to find comfortable, affordable and adjustable maternity bras, I'll be a millionaire. There are so many of these things on the market: if they don't cut into your sides, the clips are not secure enough, the bra almost always end up being too small or too big, or the fancy materials makes your breast pads slip out and on display for the world to see. I am sure we can all write the most wonderful stories about maternity bra experiences.
Long story short, don't waste your time or money on this subject anymore and just get yourself a Mumba Bra or three. Honestly, these bras are soft (and stays soft), stays in place, grows and reduces with your body (ribs, breasts, shoulders) and it has a very fancy breastfeeding "assistant" build in. I bought mine within the first trimester and wear them every day. They are even comfortable enough to sleep in!
When you are home, the last thing you can relax in (pregnant or not) is jeans. I've got quite a few pairs of maternity tights and the most comfortable ones I find is the H&M MAMA Leggings. What I love about these is that there is no elastic band at the top of the leggings that presses into the top of your abdomen, yet they stay up and never slip down. They have a silky feeling to them, they are easy to keep clean and are safe to throw into a tumble dryer. Plus they are as cheap as chips!
Money cannot buy happiness, but it did buy some pregnancy must-haves (more like essentials if you ask me!) to create a more comfortable experience during not only our third lockdown but also a very strange, scary and emotionally challenging time. Above all, be kind to yourself, ask for help (people love helping and feeling needed, especially now) and create your own luxury at home.