10 Pregnancy Must-Haves

November 1, 2020

The word is out.. we are expecting a boy!

The 1st trimester of this pregnancy seemed to drag on and on forever, but now at over halfway through the 2nd trimester, time is flying past so quickly. As a result, I want to make sure not to forget what I’ve learned along the way, and document it to share!

For example, I recently compiled a list of my pregnancy must-haves so far.

So, whether you are preparing for a future pregnancy, are experiencing your first pregnancy overseas in Japan, or just a mom veteran looking for ideas, I hope that you find this list helpful!

Please note: this blog post uses affiliate links and may earn a commission from certain links. This does not affect your purchases or the price you may pay.

My 10 Pregnancy Must-Haves

1. Pregnancy Pillow

Rather than waiting until the 2nd trimester, I bought a pregnancy pillow right away in the 1st trimester.

I found that it was already starting to become uncomfortable to sleep on my stomach due to the bloating and discomfort that comes along with pregnancy gastrointestinal issues, and transitioning to sleeping on my side made a big difference in my sleep.

I opted for this Sandeka microbead pillow, available at Amazon.

My husband and I prefer to use a bed vs. a futon in our home, however beds for couples in Japan can be quite small, and ours measures smaller than an American queen-size bed.

As a result, I wanted to find a pregnancy pillow that would not take up much space, but that was still comfortable.

So far I have loved using my pillow!

Another great benefit about this pillow is that it can convert into a baby seat!

2. Saltine Crackers

I basically lived off of saltines, bananas, and blueberries during the first trimester!

My nausea kicked in at around week 5 of this pregnancy, and I lost a total of 14lbs (6.4kg) due to feeling sick.

Some food aversions (onions, meat, seafood) have stuck around in the 2nd trimester, and although the baby is measuring well, I am still below my pre-pregnancy weight.

The brand of crackers that I used is called Levain Classical Crackers. I tried to eat other brands of crackers, but this was the only one that didn’t make me feel sick.

I also found sour gummy candies helpful when I couldn’t stomach anything else.

3. Prenatal Vitamins

In Japan, doctors do not normally ask you to take a prenatal vitamin, so you have to make sure that you are either getting enough nutrition, or taking the right supplements.

My doctor asked me to take a folic acid supplement, but did not make other recommendations. However, since I was unable to eat nutritiously during the first trimester, I made sure to take my vitamins every day!

Leading up to and in the beginning of my pregnancy I used Pink Stork prenatal vitamins. I like the vision of Pink Stork, and that they do not use gluten, dairy, or soy (they also do not use fish, nuts, or GMOs).

However, at certain point in the first trimester, the smell and taste of Pink Stork vitamins made me sick, and I had to switch brands. Thus I recommend Pink Stork vitamins as a supplement for women trying to conceive, but keep in mind that you may not be able to handle the flavor once you get pregnant!

The brand of prenatal vitamins that I switched to is Nature Made.

I have continued to take Nature Made prenatal vitamins throughout my pregnancy, with no problems regarding the smell or taste. The capsules are quite large, but personally this doesn’t bother me.

4. Ginger Tea

I used Pink Stork morning sickness tea, and Masashi also made homemade ginger tea by boiling grated ginger, lemon juice, and honey.

Ginger tea was one of the things that helped calm my stomach in the 1st trimester, especially if I drank it before sleeping.

You can find all kinds of ginger teas available at Japanese grocery stores if you don’t have the time or energy to make homemade tea.

5. Pregnancy Journal

Sometimes the first trimester felt like a never-ending, horrible flu..

Having a place to track my symptoms and the progression of pregnancy made it feel much more bearable!

For this pregnancy, I have been using the What To Expect Pregnancy Journal and Organizer.

It contains pages to take daily notes, record monthly milestones, track exercise, weight gain, and baby movement, as well as to organize your health history, baby registry ideas, and so on.

I’m sure that it will be fun to look back on the progression of this pregnancy later.. even now, I enjoy seeing how far I’ve already come, and how much better my symptoms are than they were in the beginning!

To purchase: (US) (Japan)

6. Massage Oil

While it is debatable whether using massage oils designed for pregnancy truly helps to reduce stretch marks, it is true that for many women, pregnancy can temporarily cause your skin to become more sensitive.

It certainly can’t hurt to take care of it!

I have always had sensitive skin, but during pregnancy it has become a lot more dry, as well as easy to break out or get rashes.

After announcing my pregnancy, a friend purchased a bottle of Frei öl massage oil as a gift, and I love it!!

It smells great (like vanilla?), and makes my skin super-soft.

Frei öl is a German brand marketed as preventing stretch marks, and increasing skin elasticity. Whether it will live up to its promises I have no idea, but I enjoy using it!

7. Peppermint Oil

Throughout the first trimester, I struggled with many smell aversions.

Sometimes just walking into a room made me throw up!

However, I found that carrying a tiny bottle of peppermint oil helped stave off smell-sensitivity, and saved me from becoming sick.

After discovering this, I often left the uncapped bottle near me when working or sleeping, or carried it in my purse if we went outdoors.

I bought a tiny bottle of peppermint oil at Daiso for 100 yen, or you can find one here. If peppermint oil does not work, keeping fresh orange peels in the room with you may have the same effect. I sometimes fell asleep holding an orange for this reason!

8. Hair Mask

I have often heard it said that during pregnancy, your hair becomes shiny and full. This has not been my experience.

Throughout pregnancy, my hair has become brittle, dry, and even fallen out more than usual. My regular treatment and conditioner was making absolutely no difference with the dry texture of my hair.

As a result, I decided to try out a new beauty product, and purchased a Bioliss Botanical hair mask for the very first time.

Using a hair mask has made a HUGE difference in the texture and health of my hair!!

Some hair masks are expensive, but you need just a very small amount of the product with each use, and it does not need to be applied daily.

9. Throat Candies

Throat candies were a must for me during the 1st trimester!!

Due to NVP (nausea and vomiting in pregnancy), my throat became sore.

Sucking on throat candies also helped keep nausea at bay when I was grocery shopping in “smelly” stores.

My favorite flavor of throat candies are “Hachimitsu Kinkan“, or “Honey Kumquat”.

This brand is available at most Japanese grocery stores.

10. Snack Bars

As previously stated, from fairly early on in pregnancy I struggled with many food and smell aversions.

As a result, my 1st trimester nutrition was meager at best, and I often felt hungry. One of the foods that gave me energy at the lowest points of this pregnancy was Balance Power bars, specifically the Cocoa flavor.

Later, I was able to eat more filling foods such as such as nuts and kidney beans.. but Balance Power bars helped when I couldn’t stomach almost anything else.

Important note: many snack and protein bars, including Balance Power bars, contain added vitamins.

If you choose to consume snack or protein bars during pregnancy, please be cautious that you do not overdose on vitamins (especially if you are taking a prenatal or other vitamin supplement!).

I am also not a doctor or nutritionist, so please consume them at your own risk!!

In future posts, I hope to share about maternity clothes and book recommendations.

Do you have any pregnancy must-haves that didn’t make the list above?

Please leave a comment below!

Photo credit for featured cover photo: (c) theharunafamily.com

To read more about pregnancy in Japan, check out these articles: 

We’re Expecting! – Pregnancy in Japan

Japan’s Pregnancy Freebies: A How-To Guide

Maternity Clothes: Best Brands

Preparing For Childbirth 

Pregnancy: What to Read

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