10 Hacks to Make Pregnancy Easier
These 10 super simple tips aren't necessarily secrets or anything earth-shattering, but they can make your pregnancy a little easier, and that counts for a lot!
Ginger for Morning Sickness
Ginger is a tried-and-true natural remedy for nausea and upset stomachs. There are a variety of ways to ingest it - ginger ale, ginger tea, ginger gummies, and ginger capsules are the easiest. If you're going to consume ginger supplements, be sure to look for ones that are 100% ginger, without additives or fillers.
Morning sickness last all day, or you don't feel like eating or drinking something every time you're queasy? Consider wearable nausea-remedies like Sea Bands. They're acupressure wrist bands that alleviate nausea by pressing on the Nei Kuan pressure point in your wrist.
Keep Snacks Nearby
Like. Within arms' reach. All the time.
Seriously, though. Snacks like saltine crackers and pretzels are great for easing nausea. Keep them on the nightstand and eat a few when you first wake up - having something in your stomach before you get up and moving can help settle morning sickness.
Anything that's quick and easy is perfect because you can keep them in your purse or car for those out-of-nowhere hunger pains. Hard candies can curb a sweet tooth. Protein bars and granola bars can boost your energy and keep you feeling full.
Your body is working extra hard right now, so fueling it properly is super important. Make sure you're eating enough whole, nutrient-dense foods throughout the day, but don't hesitate to supplement with snacks when you need to!
Baby is going to make you need to pee a lot so it makes sense that you'll be tempted to cut back on liquids to offset all your bathroom breaks. Don't!
Water is super important for just functioning day-to-day, but it also helps combat pregnancy side effects like bloating and constipation. Snacking on water-rich foods like cucumbers and watermelon can also help replenish your fluids without making you feel like you're drowning yourself.
If you're someone who prefers motivation in the form of super cute accessories, consider stylish water bottles that remind you to drink water, like this frosted water bottle with time markers from Amazon.
Sore Feet Remedies
Extra fluid in your body during pregnancy can cause swelling in your feet and ankles. Limiting your sodium intake and increasing your water intake can help with this, but sometimes you're just achy and swollen and want to feel better.
Put your feet up, mama! No, really. Elevating your legs will take some pressure off your feet and help with circulation, reducing swelling.
Wear compression socks during the day. They might not be the prettiest accessory ever, but they do the trick! You don't need to wear them when you're sleeping or when your legs are elevated, but wearing them when your legs are doing a lot of work (you know, standing, or walking, or dangling) will help massage your veins and circulate blood. Compression socks should be snug but not tight.
A foot bath is another wonderfully relaxing option! Soak your feet in warm water and Epsom salt for an easy at-home spa evening. A 15-minute soak will help reduce swelling and just ease general achiness. You can also take a warm bath with Epsom salt to soothe whole-body aches.
Pregnancy pillows aren't a secret, but that's because they work! Sleep is so important, but getting sleep while you're pregnant can seem impossible some nights. A pregnancy pillow supports and cushions your body, helping you fall asleep and stay asleep.
There are a ton of pregnancy pillows out there, in various shapes and sizes. What works best totally depends on your preferences.
Wedge-shaped pillows support your belly when you're sleeping on your side, reducing strain and increasing blood flow to the uterus. You can also put a wedge pillow under your head to reduce heartburn, between your knees to ease lower back pain, or behind you to keep you from rolling onto your back while you sleep.
Full-length pillows are long pillows that fit the length of your body and can be wrapped around you to provide support wherever you need it the most. Some full-length pillows can also be used for support later when you're feeding baby.
There are also pregnancy pillows that look kind of like pool floats, with a cut out for your baby bump that lets you sleep on your stomach again.
You don't have to wait until your last trimester to start using a pregnancy pillow! They're useful the moment you start sleeping poorly or having trouble changing positions.
Itchy Skin Relief
Your skin is expanding, and when skin expands, it loses a lot of moisture. When skin loses moisture, it gets itchy and uncomfortable.
There are easy ways to scratch the itch without, well... scratching the itch.
Vitamin E oil and coconut oil are incredible moisturizers that will offer some temporary relief for dry skin. Any time you're tempted to scratch, rub a moisturizer on your belly instead.
Keeping moisture in the air will also help replenish moisture in your skin. Sleeping with a humidifier on can make a huge difference, especially in the winter when the air is naturally dryer. You might see an improvement in your sinuses, too!
If your itching isn't dry-skin related, or if it's accompanied by a rash, consult with your doctor.
If you're a runner or really any type of athlete, you probably already know about the magic of kinesio tape.
If you're new to kinesiology tape, it's a cotton & spandex adhesive tape that can be applied all over the body in various positions to give more stability and support. The theory is that it helps create space beneath the skin to change the flow of fluids and reduce tissue pressure.
Pregnancy taping can be a safe way to manage lower back pain and support your belly, similar to belly bands - but much cheaper. Taping can also help with neck pain, swollen ankles, carpal tunnel, and various other ailments.
There are a ton of YouTube videos and articles showing different ways to apply the tape for different kinds of support, so there'll be some trial and error with this method. This recent article from Massage Magazine has some great techniques with photos to give you some ideas.
If you have sensitive skin, try a small test patch of tape before you go all the way, just in case you have an adverse reaction to the adhesive. It's not uncommon to develop sensitive skin during pregnancy, so I recommend doing a test strip even if you don't normally react to adhesives.
Reacher and Grabber Tool
It's not the most sophisticated hack, but wow, is it handy... no pun intended. Look, there's going to be times when your baby belly just makes actions like bending over or reaching the higher shelves a little more difficult. That's where the reacher tool comes in.
This mobility tool from Amazon has an adjustable angle arm and a magnetic head, which is really nice when you drop your keys.
Pro-tip: keep one near the shower for those times when you inevitably knock your bottle of shampoo onto the shower floor.
Alexa and Siri are going to be your new best friends. Seriously, though, being able to just say things out loud whenever I think of them and have Alexa keep track of everything for me has made life so much easier.
Pregnancy brain is real. It's not at all uncommon to be super forgetful or find it hard to focus when you're pregnant. There's all sorts of hormones fluctuating, plus pregnancy impacts your sleep, which in turn impacts your cognitive skills.
So let Alexa or Siri be your memory and put it on them to keep things as organized as possible. Just speak and you can add things to shopping lists or set up important reminders that you'll probably immediately forget about until Alexa reminds you.
So here's the thing. A human being is growing in your abdomen, and there's only so much room in there. Bowel complications are inevitable. Couple that with any dietary changes and anti-nausea medications you might be taking, and things can get pretty uncomfortable.
The squatty potty seems... ridiculous. But it works, so no judgment here!
It's basically a step stool that fits around the base of your toilet and lets you prop up your feet. It simulates a squatting position, which alleviates constipation just by creating a more natural line in your body. This posture can also help prepare your body for pushing during birth.