Pregnancy is so life-changing, it’s amazing how your body changes, but it also only lasts 9 months, which is a comparatively short time. If you have two full-term pregnancies, you’ll be pregnant for 0.02% of your life. It’s quite an important 0.02% of your life and obviously there are things that you’ll want, and need, to buy to make those 9 months a wonderful (or less awful) experience! I certainly bought a lot more items for my first pregnancy than my second, and learnt that some are really not worth the expense. So here are five items that you can easily save a load of money on, or avoid buying altogether:
I’m not saying you won’t need a new bra, many women’s cup size will increase by one or two, and your band size will probably get bigger as your rib cage expands. If you also choose to breastfeed, your boobs will get bigger again as your milk comes in, and then change size again as baby starts weaning. I must have bought about 10 new bras throughout my first pregnancy as my boobs kept getting bigger. I never wore any of them for more than a month or so. In my third trimester I went and got fitted for a proper nursing bra, which was £40+ and I only wore a handful of times – I didn’t really like the way it looked but I thought I had to have a ‘proper’ nursing bra. I’ve ended up wearing two stretchy bralettes for the past five years non-stop as they are super easy to feed in, and the fit is a lot more flexible. If you need more support, you can look to buy secondhand, or if you’re buying new make sure you take into account some growing room, ensure that it’s super comfortable, and make sure you feel great in it.
If you’ve already started leaking some colostrum, you might already be using breast pads. Otherwise you may already have them handy (or been given some). For my first baby I had those disposable breast pads that they’re always giving away in packs and have a sticky back to stick to your bra. I always found them a bit scratchy and somehow managed to get them stuck to my boob as well. Being single-use disposable items made out of plastic and covered in plastic wrapping, they’re not great for the environment either. Second time around I used some bamboo breast pads which were so much softer and comfier. They’re also more breathable. It was fine that they didn’t have the sticky bit as they just stay in your bra anyway (no idea why the sticky bit is necessary) and they’re easy to pop in the wash. I bought a pack of 10 for £15. A disposable pack of 60 is £6, but if you use four a day for six months, you’ll need 720, which is 12 packs, adding up to £72, making the bamboo ones £57 cheaper!
Stretch mark cream
Unfortunately, whether or not you get stretch marks is largely down to your genetics. Sorry! But that does mean that there’s not that much you can do about it, so if you do get them, you may as well choose to love them. Stretch marks are just your skin’s natural response to your body growing quickly. Your best way to prevent getting them is to maintain a healthy weight, no fancy expensive creams are going to ensure you won’t get them, or make them disappear. Instead I had some nice moisturizer I used for my belly in my first pregnancy and now when I smell it (yes, it is five years old!) it really takes me back to that time. Note if you are looking at stretch mark creams make sure you definitely avoid any retinoid (often called tretinoin) creams as they may harm your baby. Stick with a lovely smelling (and cheaper) moisturizer instead.
This is one of those items that might be a complete lifesaver, but it’s hard to know what will work for you until you’ve tried it. They’re also quite bulky so not very easy to store for a few years if you’re planning on having another baby. For my first pregnancy I bought one new but it wasn't that great and then somehow it got lost in the intervening two years. You can find plenty of these sorts of pillows locally to you on FB marketplace so you can pick them up cheap and see if they work for you. Most of them have washable covers too if you feel a bit funny about buying it secondhand. Another option is to rent, Baboodle rents baby times like the BBhugme which is a pregnancy pillow a bit like a beanbag. It’s quite expensive to buy new, and even secondhand you’ll pay £50+, whereas you can rent it for £18/month. I must admit this is the one I got for my second pregnancy (secondhand) and I did really love it and use it for breastfeeding as well. If you’re planning to shell out for a new pillow, it’s worth considering if it doubles up as a nursing pillow as well to make sure you get the most out of it.
Although your body is probably a little bit of a different shape to what it was, you might not need a completely new maternity wardrobe. See our blog post about where to find the sustainable and eco-friendly maternity clothes you do need. There are particular items that I bought when I was first pregnant that I really could have avoided:
For my first pregnancy I wanted a swimming costume as I imagined myself keeping fit throughout my pregnancy with long swims (I think I went once). Unless you are a dedicated swimmer, a maternity swimming costume is unlikely to get a lot of wear out of it. Buy secondhand, wear a bikini, or try and find something (non maternity) new that has a bit of give in the stomach, such as something ruched which will accommodate a bump.
That black maternity dress I bought for a friend’s wedding for my first pregnancy 5 years ago is still in a drawer upstairs. It’s on my ‘to-do’ list to sell it at some point… I probably paid over £50 for it and literally wore it once. I didn’t even feel that good in it. With my second pregnancy there were a lot fewer opportunities for going out and it was a different time of year as well. Renting maternity occasionwear is a great option to get something amazing that you feel great in and can save a lot of money.
I bought two pairs of bamboo maternity leggings that quickly bobbled and one went quite see through which I didn’t realise until after I’d been doing downward dog in pregnancy yoga and showing everyone behind me my knickers. As an alternative, buying activewear for pregnancy is great because it stretches really well and works for post-partum as well. Alternatively some loungewear that will comfortably fit under your bump is a great option.