my favorite pregnancy essentials

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hey all you cool cats and kittens (if you know, you know)! i hope you’re all staying safe and healthy amidst this quarantine. we’re sheltering in place at casa de rivera and i’m doing my best to stay busy with daily studio barre workouts, loads of laundry, and plenty of bravo tv.

if you follow me on instagram (@shawnaleeann), you know that i’ve pledged to get dressed everyday this month in an effort to not only utilize the last weeks of my maternity wardrobe, but more importantly, give my morale a little boost in a season that literally feels like groundhog day. each week i plan on rounding up the looks and posting them here for future reference and for ease of shopability (if that’s your sort of thing!).

but to kick-off my return from an unintentional blogging hiatus, i wanted to do a little round-up of some of my favorite products that have become staples over the course of the last 29 weeks of this pregnancy. there are so many “must-have” lists scattered about the interwebs, i feared my list may be redundant, but in chatting with a friend who is just entering her second trimester, i realized that perhaps my recommendations could be of some use. so here we go! a few of my favorite things that have made my pregnancy pretty lovely (all things considered):

compression socks || one of the things i have learned over the course of this pregnancy is that as much as people are quick to tell you about how lovely this stage of life is, they are also careful to warn you of the horrors it can bring as well. stretch marks (more on those in a minute), varicose veins, hemorrhoids (yikes!), oh my! at first it can be a little scary keeping up with the changes your body is undergoing on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis. but in my case at least, i’ve learned to give myself grace and embrace this finite period of time (which on a grander scale is truly so fleeting) the best i can. with that said, it doesn’t mean i haven’t tried to combat a few common side-effects the best i can –namely swollen feet/ankles, DVT, and the dreaded varicose veins. to fight the aforementioned symptoms, i purchased two pairs of compression socks (one pink pair and one blue -naturally) from amazon and began wearing them religiously at week 11. the fact that my doctor recently complimented me on my ankles at my 28 week check-up makes me feel as though my OCD tendencies have been quite fruitful, ha! i wear the socks right out of the shower up until bedtime every. single. night. it usually equates to a good four to five hours. this may be a bit excessive, but it’s all personal preference, i suppose!

bio oil || if there’s a ritual that goes hand-in-hand with my compression sock-wearing, it’s my daily application of a little magical product called bio oil. aside from the weight gain itself, i’d say the top fear of a post-pregnancy body are the stretch marks (or tiger stripes as i like to refer to them) it (can) leave(s) behind. of the research i’ve done, stretch marks are mostly genetic, but there are certainly products one can use to assist in their prevention. i will say that prior to finding bio oil, i ordered a handful of natural products boasting similar results but in sifting through many fellow momma and mommas-to-be’s blogs and instagram stories (especially those who had delivered twins), i found that across the board, bio oil was recommended the most. so i stock-piled a few bottles and started daily application at around the 12-week mark (they recommend starting in your second trimester). i apply the oil to the three B’s -booty, bump, and boobs. momma beware -you’re basically an oil slick right out of the shower, so i like to a few minutes before throwing on my pajamas to limit the amount of transfer onto my clean clothes.

target leggings + old navy sports bras || as a barre instructor and fitness junkie, i knew i wanted to stay as active as possible throughout my pregnancy (within reason of course, there are a lot of modifications i’ve had to adopt as time has progressed). considering how expensive workout wear can be, and the fact that this pregnancy will be my one and only (two for one special!), i didn’t want to spend too much money on maternity-specific pieces. instead i decided to simply size up in styles from some of my favorite affordable retailers. while i’ve been pretty lucky to fit into my pre-pregnancy sized lululemon align leggings, i also turned to target for some alternative designs. hands down my favorite purchase has been these joylab ribbed 7/8 high-waisted leggings. i sized up two sizes and they have been amazing in terms of accommodating my growing bump. i own them in four colors! they also offer a matching sports bra. speaking of sports bras, one thing that has been a crazy experience throughout this pregnancy (for me, at least) has been embracing my growing chest. i have never had boobs in my life so it has certainly been an adjustment, haha! fairly early on it was apparent that my barely there sports bras were not going to cut it. i happened to catch old navy during one of their crazy online sales and nabbed four of these sports bras in a variety of colors in one size up. places like old navy, gap, and even aerie (love these as well) are always good places to look for both activewear and intimates pregnant or not. they also run promotions almost daily!

pregnancy pillow || i wouldn’t say i was a great sleeper pre-pregnancy (i probably logged 4-5 hours a night) but growing these two babies has certainly taught me how vital sleep truly is (especially since i know it’ll be quite the commodity once they arrive). i never experienced the extreme exhaustion many people talk about in your first trimester, but i have learned the importance of a good afternoon nap and now, at 29 weeks pregnant, just how important your body position is in ensuring a semi-decent stretch of zzz’s. by the time you’ve reached your second trimester, sleeping (or simply lying) on your back for long spans of time can be harmful for the fact that it can cut off blood flow to the baby/babies (among other things). i tend to be a side sleeper myself, so i haven’t been so bothered by the restrictions, however, as my bump has grown, there has definitely been increased pressure in my lower joints and hips. enter the pregnancy pillow. first of all, there a zillion on the market and everyone seems to have their own opinion of which is best. ultimately i ordered this one from amazon (i named her judy) based on reviews and price (i wasn’t about to spend $100!) and have been pretty pleased with it overall. i will say i used it more during the tail end of my first trimester into my second and instead just sleep with a large pillow between my legs at this point, but if you’re considering whether or not to purchase one for your pregnancy, i’d say if you find an affordable one, go for it. the more support you can give that precious body (that is no doubt working overtime), the better!

beautycounter skincare || having suffered from both adolescent and adult acne, i was pretty nervous that the surge in pregnancy hormones would bring back the bad skin of my youth (and not so youth). i will say i’ve been pleasantly surprised by–and more importantly –grateful for how well my skin has fared (aside from a brief stint with blackheads along my jawline and behind my ears -so weird! during my first trimester) throughout this pregnancy. i credit my glowing skin to regular facials (which i miss terribly in the middle of quarantine) and most importantly –quality skincare. as i’ve mentioned before, about two years ago, i did a complete overhaul of my skin and makeup products. a dear friend introduced me to beautycounter, a clean skincare and beauty line and i haven’t looked back since. i am not a consultant nor do i desire to be at this juncture, but i would be remiss if i didn’t mention how much their products have revolutionized my skin. the best thing is that i didn’t have to adjust my routine one bit once i found out i was pregnant. all of the products are pregnancy and breast-feeding safe! they even have a baby line that i plan on using on the twins 🙂 my favorite products include their cleansing balm, brightening & balancing oils, moisture serum, and sheer lipsticks.

high-waisted underwear || last but not least, undies! i will say, i’m still able to wear my favorite hankie pankie thongs, but as we approach the end of pregnancy and the postpartum season, i know i’ll be reaching for pieces with a bit more coverage. i’ve ordered a pair of c-section recovery panties but also have a few pairs of these gap high rise breathe bikini underwear on hand, too. i’ve found gap intimates to be the best -pregnant or not. i wear their bras, undies, and lounge wear, too! and they are never not having a sale.

with just a handful of weeks left before showtime, i’m currently working on building my hospital bag. i plan on putting together a post of what’s inside in the coming weeks so stay tuned!

i get a small commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post. thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog up and running.

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