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Saturday Randoms + Pregnancy Must-Haves

March 3, 2012

Hi friends! How’s it going?

Yesterday was kind of crazy for us on the weather front—maybe you saw it on the news?  We had strong tornado watches and warnings in the area from about 8 am to 9 pm, and forecasts showed the tornadoes headed right for us.  Super-scary, especially after what the area went through around this same time last year. 

Luckily, the tornadoes seemed to go north of us for the most part.  We didn’t lose power or even really get hit by storms too badly, but I know that some of our close neighbors to the north did—if you were hit yesterday, we’re definitely thinking about you and sending positive vibes your way.

We’ve had the movie Take Shelter in our Netflix pile for a few weeks now, and after yesterday’s crazy weather, it seemed like appropriate viewing material:


We both really liked it.

Today looks like it’s going to be beautiful—clear skies and sun.  Spring is definitely on the way…blossoms are popping up in the backyard:



…and next week calls for temps in the 70’s!

The prospect of spring has us extra excited this year, because…well, spring = baby!  Now that we’re in the final month, I think we’re both getting anxious to be done with pregnancy and to move on to the whole parenting thing…although I’m sure we might be tempted to try to shove her back in after the first couple of weeks.  I hear they’re pretty rough. 😉

Since the pregnancy part of this journey is inching towards a close, I thought I’d do a post I’ve been wanting to do for a while now—my pregnancy must-haves! These are some of the things that have really helped to get me through the past nine months smoothly and (relatively) painlessly.  I’m lucky—I’ve had a very easy pregnancy, and I know some of that is just luck of the draw.  But I also think that there are things that you can do to create an easier nine months.  Here are some products, people and actions that have helped me out in my own pregnancy:


When you first find out that you’re pregnant, it’s really tempting to let the workouts slide.  You’re exhausted, you’re queasy, and the thought of going to the gym sounds about as appealing as the thought of squeezing something the size of a watermelon out of your lady bits (you can worry about that later).  The third trimester is even worse—you’re exhausted, you’re queasy, you’re HUGE, and that watermelon that you stuck a mental pin in eight months ago is pretty much right around the corner.


Forcing myself to workout regularly through this pregnancy has been one of the best things I could have done for myself (and for the baby).  In a nutshell, it has kept me sane.  It has also kept me from putting on 60+ pounds of pregnancy weight, for which I am very grateful.  My workouts have provided much-needed stress relief throughout the pregnancy.  And, more than that, I think they’re great at giving you a mental boost—they help you to develop and maintain physical and mental stamina throughout the pregnancy.  And you know when that might come in handy?  That’s right—back to the watermelon.

Now, I’m not saying I was hitting up body pump and spin class, or running 7 miles every day. My workouts have been pretty mild for the most part.  I dropped running at about 20 weeks and never looked back.  I’ve been power-walking, lifting light weights at the gym, and attending pre-natal yoga classes—that’s about it.  But you know what? That’s enough.  Your body is under a lot of stress during pregnancy, so there’s no need to push it extra hard in your workouts.  Simply the fact that you’re getting exercise at all is, really, enough.

…and speaking of pre-natal yoga…


Pre-Natal Yoga

This is kind of a sub-category of exercise, but I really can’t stress enough how much I’ve LOVED my pre-natal yoga class here in Huntsville.  My teacher is awesome, the girls I’ve met through the class are wonderful, and the stress release that comes from an extra-long savasana at the end of class really just can’t be replicated in any other way.  I think the yoga is really helpful in prepping you for birth, too—all that focus on the breath has to be good for something, right?  Think about it—yoga oftentimes gets you into slightly uncomfortable positions and asks you to hold that position for longer than you’d want, using your breath to work through the pain.  Sound familiar?

My goal for March is to do yoga every day leading up to Lila’s arrival.  So far, I’m 3 for 3.  In addition to my Huntsville class, there are pre-natal yoga classes available for download on i-tunes and  I also have this yoga dvd:


…which is no joke.  

Another pregnancy must-have?  The pregtastic podcasts. 

I will seriously recommend these to every pregnant friend I have in the future.  I discovered them early on in my pregnancy, and have listened to just about every podcast over the past nine months—and there are HUNDREDS!  They cover everything from labor and delivery to nursery must-haves to pre-natal health and fitness…and just about every topic you could want to know about in between.  They usually bring in experts to discuss the topic at hand—I’ve learned so much through listening to these podcasts.  I download one or two, head out on a walk, and come back an hour later feeling like I know everything there is to know about baby carriers.  Pregtastic rocks.


As much as I love listening to podcasts to get information, you know that as an English teacher, I’m all about getting knowledge the old-fashioned way as well—books.  We’ve gone through a large amount of pregnancy, birthing, and baby books in the past nine months.  Some of them I loved, some of them weren’t quite my cup of tea, but all of them did a great job in helping me feel like I at least have some grasp on what’s going to go down in labor, delivery, and afterwards.  Some of the books that we’ve read and enjoyed:

What To Expect When You’re Expecting (the old stand-by)

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

Birthing From Within

Husband-Coached Childbirth (the Bradley method)

The Happiest Baby on the Block

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child


The Expectant Father

It seems like a lot of reading material, but it really has helped us to feel as prepared as possible.  Plus, I think it’s really interesting to read about a variety of methods when it comes to things like labor and child-rearing—why not get as much information from as many sources as possible?  That way, YOU can pick and choose what you think will work best for your body and your child.

Maternity Clothes

Maternity clothes are tricky.  I think many women are so excited when they find out they’re pregnant that they go out and buy a bunch of maternity clothes and start wearing them right away.

Don’t do that.

If you do, by the time the ninth month rolls around, you’re going to want to set your right arm on fire rather than wear that stupid Liz Lange maternity dress one. More. Time.

My advice would be to hold off on maternity-wear for as long as possible—for me, it was about 20 weeks with pants, and 25-27 weeks with everything else (tops, dresses, etc.). 

Another word of advice: splurge in a few areas.  These Hudson maternity jeans were very pricey:

DSC_0001 (2) 

…but I have worn them, literally, almost every single day of this pregnancy.  I’m lucky because I can wear jeans to teach in—and therefore I do.  The price has been totally worth it.  I love these jeans—they’re comfortable, they wash well, and they’re easy to dress up or down.  They’ve carried me through this pregnancy, and I know they’ll carry me through any other future ones as well.

Of course, not every piece of clothing has to cost major dollars.  I LOVE these Be Maternity tank tops from Target:

DSC_0005 (2) 

I’ve worn them under just about everything I’ve worn for the past 9 months.  They cover the stretchy band on jeans and pants, smooth everything out, and offer a nice amount of belly and boob support.  They’re also great for the gym under t-shirts or regular workout tanks.

Lotions and Oils


I don’t think that these have helped to prevent stretch marks on my belly or hips—I think that’s purely genetic.  But, even if they aren’t preventing stretch marks, they’re GREAT at preventing a dry, itchy belly and boobs.  And there’s something wonderful about rubbing oil into your belly every night—it helps you tap into your inner-Venus or something.  🙂

And finally:


This guy.  Having a supportive partner has been, hands-down, my number one pregnancy must-have.   I can’t say enough about how much Ryan has stepped up to the plate over the past nine months, from nightly foot and back massages, to cooking dinner when I couldn’t stand the thought of being in the kitchen, to commiserating about pregnancy weight gain (see above picture), to reading all of the baby books right along with me (and listening to pregtastic episodes too!)—he’s been the epitome of involved.  Pregnancy is fun, but it can also be super-scary and stressful, and any time I’ve felt overwhelmed or anxious, Ryan has been right there beside me to calm my nerves.   Everyone needs a Ryan…but you’ll have to get your own.

I know I’m probably forgetting a lot, but again, these are just some of the things that have helped me in a major way over the past nine months.  If you’re expecting, or might be pregnant one day, I hope this list was helpful!


16 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2012 6:56 pm

    I love this post! I wish I had blogging and those pod casts when I was pregnant. I did read a ton and searched stuff on the web as much as I could. Knowledge is really powerful when you’re expecting and definitely helps you make the right decisions for you. I kinda wish I could do it all over again from the beginning being a little wiser now (I think), but they are my memories and my mistakes, so I take pride in them. Lila is such a lucky little girl! She has the best parents!

    As for the weather, to say is scared the crap out of me is an understatement. Being piled into the half bathroom with the boys, Tony and two cats for an hour listening to tornado sirens had me on the freaked out side. I’ve never had to do that with the boys before and I hated them being so frightened. I have never felt more helpless when it came to saving them from something like this. Parenthood definitely makes you realize how vulnerable you are…my world would end without them.

    I hope you have a great weekend Anna and enjoy the weather!

  2. March 3, 2012 7:01 pm

    Glad yall are safe!! And i agree-exercise kept me sane

    • June 10, 2012 9:09 pm

      AWESOME!! you guys are so cute! Its so awesome that you are hanvig a home birth!!! What an amazing experience that will be! Pure and natural! You look amazing!!! LOVE THESE! Cant wait to see sweet Asher!

  3. March 3, 2012 8:37 pm

    The *only* jeans I have worn for the last 5 years that I end up wearing more than once and decide I hate them and want to return them or put them in the corner of my closet and never take them out…are my Hudson. Love them. They are pricey but they just fit and are the bomb!

  4. March 3, 2012 10:34 pm

    LOL – he’s too cute! Love it. And I have to say kuddos to you for working out throughout the pregnancy. I really really think that’s so important (not that I’ve been there done that, but based on what I’ve read & friends’ experiences). Can’t believe she’s going to be here so soon! And so glad you guys weren’t hit by the storms. So sad what’s happened to so many communities this past week

  5. March 4, 2012 1:25 am

    Woohoo! Good luck with your pre-natal yoga goal, and thanks for sharing all the info!

  6. March 4, 2012 3:35 pm

    Great info! I’ll keep those jeans in mind some day 🙂

  7. March 4, 2012 4:07 pm

    So scary on the weather, glad you’re okay! That takes me back to riding out hurricanes at home while living in Florida and waiting for the roof to just open up – no fun! 😛 Great info here, can’t believe your pregnancy is almost over! Time flies!

  8. March 5, 2012 1:26 am

    Seems like just yesterday that I was sharing my pregnancy must-haves list, and now I’m getting ready to post my favorite products for 3-6 month olds. Yikes! I wholeheartedly agree with every item on your list, and I’m so happy that you’ve also been blessed with an easy pregnancy. Also, Nick shares in Ryan’s pregnancy weight gain woes. He’s still trying to lose those last five pesky pounds 🙂 Miss you guys!

  9. March 5, 2012 2:36 am

    So glad you guys are okay! How scary.

    I agree with all the items on your list! Well, except for the podcasts- I did not know about them but they sound super helpful. Next time! 🙂

    I was pretty active throughout my pregnancy and walked a TON towards the end. I’m convinced that’s what helped me have a short (water broke at 930 am, A was here at 530 pm), easy labor.

    Love those maternity jeans! I lived in my gap ones but I definitely think I need to splurge next time. I don’t know why I keep referring to next time, since that is waay far off. Anyway.

  10. patti permalink
    March 5, 2012 2:45 am

    We are glad you didn’t get hit by the tornados but it must be scary to be under the warning. Your comments about Ryan are very sweet – makes a mother proud 🙂
    Have a good week

  11. Emo permalink
    March 5, 2012 12:51 pm

    I love the cattle dog nose peeking out from the side in the yoga photo. 🙂

    • March 5, 2012 2:25 pm

      Haha…I wondered if anyone would catch that 🙂

  12. March 5, 2012 6:50 pm

    Congratulations on your incoming bundle of joy, Anna! This is a great amount of insight for me, as my husband and I are considering starting a family. Thanks for sharing!

  13. March 5, 2012 9:19 pm

    Glad the storms missed you. I’m getting pumped for spring too! Can’t believe your baby is almost here!!!!! Good job keeping up with your workouts, I’m sure they’ll definitely help with that watermelon 😉 Love the pic of Ryan hehe.

  14. ginger permalink
    March 8, 2012 12:00 am

    Such great information – I wish I had had your advice when I was pregnant so many years ago! And, you’re right, one of the most important things is a supportive partner – You are very lucky to have Ryan to go through this with you. I know you both have enjoyed the experience! Glad the storm missed y’all!!

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