1. Mama Bee Belly Butter
When I first learned that I was pregnant, the main thing I was worried about was changes I would be going through appearance-wise. So many times have I heard, "I used to be _____, but 'ever since I had kids,' I am now _____. Oh.. you'll see when you have kids yourself." type of complaints from so many older women and I just did NOT want to be like that. Shallow? Perhaps. But it was important to me to feel like myself even though I am becoming a mother.
I wanted something natural and fragrance-free, and this product had very good feedback on Amazon's review page. I ended up going through the entire tub and got a second tub just a few weeks ago. I started using the product at Week 10 (I know, a bit too early), and yes, my belly never really grew that big -- at the end of 37th week as of now, I'm still measuring 30th week -- but I never had to deal with itchy skin or stretch marks. I used this in the morning and sweet almond oil at night, put on the Flawless Belly wrap to keep the moisture in, and my skin was indeed flawless all throughout this pregnancy.
2. Aura Cacia Organic Sweet Almond Oil
This one wasn't a new addition to my skincare routine. Since I was in high school, I used this Sweet Almond Oil with rosemary, tea tree, or lavender essential oil, depending on my needs. I use rosemary oil as anti-wrinkle blend on my neck area.
There are a lot of people who stay away from essential oils during pregnancy, I've since learned. The decision has to be yours, but I used essential oils throughout my pregnancy. There are almost no research showing any dangerous effects of topical use of essential oils during pregnancy; the popular tonic oil from Clarins that many pregnant women swear by also contains herbal essential oils, including rosemary. For the first 35 weeks of my pregnancy, I didn't even know that some people are cautious with herbs like rosemary during pregnancy (rosemary, in medicinal quantity, is said to cause contractions; the quantity used in cooking, like rosemary chicken, is perfectly safe), so I used rosemary oil and sweet almond oil on my stomach almost every night with no problem. I am taking it with me in my hospital bag, along with the lavender oil.
Whenever I use oils on my body, I try to stick to the organic oils, to be on the safe side. Because it's definitely more oily than the Belly Butter, I put it on before bed.
3. Belly Bandit Flawless Belly
This one was absolutely the most frequently used item during this pregnancy. From about Week 15, I wore it EVERYDAY. I didn't show much until Week 30, so I didn't need it to "lift" or "support" my belly, but I could definitely tell the difference when I wore it with Belly Butter or the oil. My stomach felt so much more moisturized and soft.
It even came with 1 oz Mama Mio stretch mark butter, but unfortunately it contained wheat germ oil, and I'm Celiac, so I had to give that away.
Now at 38th week, the Flawless Belly also serves as a belly band for those shirts that became too short for me to wear alone. I wear this and then wear my regular tops like shirts or tshirts, so that my belly won't show. :D
4. Maeband Maternity Band
Did I mention that I was super worried about my appearance in the beginning? (I still am) I bought this Maternity Band on Etsy in Week 8 or something. I just assumed that my belly will start growing exponentially and that I won't be able to wear any of my clothes very soon.
Well at Week 38, I am still wearing my regular jeans with the button closed and fit into some of my dresses with zippers as well. But sometimes when I have to sit for a long time and Logan starts hiccuping, the skin around the jeans button feel very very weird. So starting around 36th week, when I know I'll be sitting in the car for a while or something, I zip up but leave the button undone, and use this band instead. It's easily covered with the Flawless Belly wrap or long cami tops I wear under t-shirts.
On a side note, this is why I want to tell you if you're a expecting mom for the first time, don't go buying maternity clothes too soon. You might not need to buy any, because nobody knows how big you'll get, and when. If you buy maternity clothes too early, they may never be worn before the weather changes. I still have not bought any maternity clothes. I still wear my regular jeans, and I can still find some dresses to wear in my closet for more formal functions. I am small, but I was always the one to gain weight very easily, so I just assumed I would gain a ton of weight on this pregnancy too. I never knew I would only be gaining 16 lbs by 38th week.
So definitely, wait till you really need maternity clothes before you go shopping. You may be able to just get through with some modification.
5. Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment
Last week, I noticed my nails were peeling. I've always had brittle nails before finding out about my Celiac disease, and they have gotten much better since I found out and changed my diet. But I needed something for my nails and the bottle of Nailtique Formula was too old to use (I hadn't needed to use it since the dietary changes).
I just joined Julep Maven club in the beginning of this year, so I added this Nail Treatment to my box in the February box. I started using it last week, and I really think this is as good as the Nailtique Formula one that I swore by before, but I like this one better because it has pink shade and makes my nails look very well manicured.
6. Organic Peppermint Tea