What gifts can we send our pregnant friend for herself, not the baby?

Posted by
All photos by Angie Tabaczynski.
All photos by Angie Tabaczynski.
My best friend is pregnant.

Lately the preggo hormones have been making her very depressed and I was thinking about making up a care package for her — one that’s all about her and not so much focused on baby stuff.

I know there are a lot of products that pregnant women can’t use or even come in contact with, so I was wondering if any of you could suggest some things that would be safe and useful for a mama to be.


Here are a few of our favorite ideas:


Maternity clothing can be a real bitch.


If your friend is into accessories, they can be a cool way to say, “Hey! Here’s something you can wear and love whether or not you’re pregnant, because it turns out you’re still YOU.”

Zoya nail polish (lower toxicity than most nail products)
Zoya nail polish (lower toxicity than most nail products)
Modcloth always has an awesome scarf collection.
Modcloth always has an awesome scarf collection.

Scarves are an awesome option — they’re fun and you can wear them whether or not a small human is about to burst out of your body.

Non-baby books, OMG

Sure, a lot of parents-to-be want ALL THE BABY INFO RIGHT NOW… but they also like reading non-baby stuff, too. We have a massive archive of books to choose from — these are especially loved:

Sex, Sin, and Zen, A People’s History of the United States, American Gods, Mrs. Dalloway.

If you’re looking for even more adult-friendly written works, check out the discussion over here.

Comfort items

Superman fuzzy socks, $13; UGG Women’s Ansley Bling Slipper, $130; Plush Multi Color Fun Striped Socks, $20.

Pregnancy can be rough on the body, and anything soft and nice can help. Warm slippers, robes that make you feel snuggly, you name it — if your friend is feeling distinctly uncomfortable, chances are she’ll appreciate any efforts to help her feel differently.

Local ideas

If you want to stick to gifts from your neck of the woods, here are a few ideas you could try out:

  • A voucher or gift card to a local cleaning service (check Groupon!)
  • A gift certificate to a spa for a manicure/pedicure or a massage (we always see tons of deals on Amazon local)
  • Movie tickets, because it may be tough to go to see a flick after the baby comes.
  • Craft supplies, if she’s into that kind of thing (crafts can get out some of those crazy nesting impulses that hit even the non-crafty during their last weeks of pregnancy)
  • Yummy, non-chemically skincare stuff like this.

Pregnant mama, what gifts for yourself have you most enjoyed?

Comments on What gifts can we send our pregnant friend for herself, not the baby?

  1. When I was pregnant, someone sent my mother a bunch of vanilla-scented bath products because they had read that vanilla is appealing to babies. I don’t know if that’s true, but I thought it was a sweet impulse.

    • A nice idea indeed! But i HATE when people buy me scented things. I am very particular about my bath soaps and perfumes. I absolutely cannot stand some scents like coconut and vanilla, or even brown sugar. I know people can’t possibly know this, so i prefer they don’t even try. And some pregnant women (like me) have even harder time with scents. Some

      • I agree with you Dahlia, I have always had trouble with scents giving me migraines (complete with headache, dizziness, nausea)and while pregnant it became worse. Most people don’t know this about me. They do however know about my asthma attacks caused by deodorant.

        Scents aren’t for everyone but some people do love them… never hurts to ask before making a purchase though 🙂

      • Totally agree. During my first trimester of pregnancy, I was super sensitive to smells. Our woman’s health centre asks people not to put on scented products for that reason.

        I also HATED the smell of garlic powder (which my husband uses often and in large quantities when he’s BBQing). It was so bad I had to go outside, or I would’ve barfed.

  2. I’m pregnant right now and I’d love to get some nice accessories like scarves, earrings, handbags, etc. Buying clothes is just depressing now, but something to make me feel a bit prettier would be nice.
    Also, Maybe a voucher for a manicure/pedicure or a massage, as long as it’s for a place who works regularly with pregnant women and is aware of their needs.

    I’d also LOVE to receive a voucher for a cleaning service to come clean my house so I can have a day off to sit with my feet up and read a book non-parenting related. Ahhh I remember those…

    Maybe something related to her hobbies… is she into crafts? Whatever makes her spend some time like her “old” self can remind her that life doesn’t end here.

    • When it got down to the last few weeks and I was waiting and waiting, I really enjoyed scrapbooking and making wreaths for my friends. I needed to do something to get my mind off feeling so uncomfortable.

  3. When I was on bedrest in the hospital my friends would deliver me a care package every few days. My favorites included fancy chocolates/ treats and home mani/ pedi/ facial kits. Indulgent stuff I wouldn’t normally eat or buy.

  4. I second anything “spa” related — mani/pedi stuff (DIY or otherwise), a massage (again, either a gift certificate or something she or a partner can use for her).

    Also, maybe a fun movie or book, some magazines, some fancy decaf coffee, hot cocoa, or tea (but not herbal tea, which can be shady for pregnant ladies). And chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

  5. I agree with things that make her feel pretty – Zoya is a great brand of nail polish that doesn’t have the yucky chemicals in it. It’s safe for pregnant mamas (and little ones). So maybe put together a gift basket with some nail polish, some nice lotion, some fun jewelry, a book?

  6. If she’s feeling low, a funny movie would probably be great. Other ideas- Belly is a line of skincare products that is specifically for pregnant and nursing mothers, and it’s a great line. These are nice gifts, and of course a prenatal massage gift certificate would be extra nice also.

    • When I’m feeling low, I’m not really in the mood for a funny movie. Oftentimes they just highlight how depressed I am, rather than cheering me up. I’ve actually found that finding intense movies with funny lines is better than comedies, and often when life if throwing lots of curve balls a movie or TV show that focuses on non-real-life problems can be very relaxing. I have about 6 weeks of Glee to catch up on because Real Life has been dramatic enough for me, but Buffy the Vampire Slayer is totally Out There enough to be relaxing even if it’s not any less “drama.”

    • It doesn’t matter how shitty my day is, there are certain things I can watch that will make me giddy like a 4 year old girl. Mostly nostalgic stuff. Like Lois & Clark <3

  7. -A good book, or a few magazines.
    -Lotion or body care products,but be careful with strong scents, in case of nausea or allergy
    -Fuzzy socks, they are always nice for swollen hurting feet and great to take to the hospital too.
    -Snacks, sweet and salty were my thing.
    -Gift voucher’s I love the idea of a cleaning service. I would avoid a Target gift card because that will likely go to the baby, and what woman in late pregnant wants to go on a shopping spree?
    One other thing- When Our Daughter was born we were given a small potted Rose plant that had not bloomed yet. We were able to plant it at home, so it is a constant reminder, ans something that will be with us for a while.

  8. If she’s having trouble sleeping (like I did my entire God Damn pregnancy) get her lavender scented things. Definitely try to make her feel pretty. Buy maternity clothes can be horribly depressing so it would be nice if you could buy her some. If she doesn’t already have it I’d reccomend getting her the Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy. It certainly made me feel better when I was preggers and there are some laughs. I hope your friend feels better!

    • Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy is, however, distinctly negative on the subject of unmedicated birth (it has one line on it, and it’s something to the effect of, “you’d have to be crazy!”), so I don’t recommend it as a gift to anyone who is strongly against getting an epidural, because, as we all know, that is how wars start.

  9. Massage, massage, massage. Pregnant women have all sorts of aches and pains and a free 30 mins or hour to get those addressed will help so much.

    I agree with a good book or movie too, but here’s the tricky thing with that. Without being cliche’ the hormones are raging and can quickly turn on her so choose carefully. For example, my husband and I decided to watch Up one night in my 3rd trimester. We were both a wibbling pool of goo and to this day, while we can acknowledge the greatness of the animation and story, we can’t stand the movie because of the emotional turmoil it had on us at that time. Sadly, it’s hard to predict what book or movie will do that to you. I will say that Away We Go is an awesome and funny movie with Maya Rudolph about a couple who is expecting.

    The best thing to help cheer her up though is hang out with her. Being pregnant can throw you into such a lonely spot especially if you haven’t been around a pregnant person really or don’t know any parent types. Hang out with her and try to steer conversations to things you’d talk about before she got pregnant so she can feel a bit normal. I got bad at initiating contact with my friends during pregnancy, but if they contacted me, I’d always answer or return their calls. It wasn’t that I was trying or wanted to ignore them but it seemed if something didn’t smack me in the face to pay attention to it I just had no awareness of it at all. If that makes sense at all.

    • Definitely. Visits. I dropped off the face of the planet while pregnant. Then everyone dropped off the face of the planet after the baby was born. God I miss seeing another adult besides my husband…

    • When I was pregnant, the freaking grocery store had a TV that was playing Cars, of all things, and watching the scene where Lightning goes back and pushes the other car over the finish line made me break down in tears right there!

      So I guess my point is: NO PIXAR FOR PREGGOES.

      • I watched that movie totally not pregnant or a parent. It made me cry from the fear that I’ll wind up like them – never traveling to all the wonderful places I dream of visiting with my husband.

      • I totally agree about the movie Up. I suggested it should be called Down, Way, Way Down. I watched it when I was about 19 weeks pregnant AND my beloved cat was dying of cancer AND it was just before Christmas AND my partner’s sister had called drunk to b**** me out about not coming to their place for Christmas because of the dying cat. The movie just about put me over the edge.

    • If you’re buying a gift certificate for massage, shop around and make sure the massage therapist you’re purchasing it from is A.) properly licensed and B.) trained in prenatal massage. Some who aren’t trained in working with pregnant women won’t do so (because of liability issues) and it would be such a bummer if you friend weren’t able to use her gift until postpartum!

      (Although I think postpartum massage is a PERFECT and frequently overlooked gift as well!)

  10. I was really lucky when I was pregnant and a lot of people gave me some great stuff for me to enjoy.

    A pregnancy massage (especially in the third trimester) is a godsend. Everything aches all the time. I was given pregnancy massages a few times (my husband is an RMT), and I loved those more than anything else.

    I totally agree with mani/pedi as well, it was always a nice way to relax and just enjoy some time alone with someone else pampering you.

  11. When I was pregnant, I wanted to still feel feminine and beautiful (which sometimes felt impossible). I wanted pretty smelling soaps and lotions and I would have LOVED if someone would have paid for a trip to the hair salon!
    Also, my mom used to make us (my husband and I) dinners (which was a lifesaver because I didn’t feel like cooking in the 100 degree heat and my husband’s speciality in cooking is black toast).
    Movie tickets would also be nice, maybe a gift certificate to a good place to eat too.

  12. What would be awesome right now (@ 7 1/2 months and crazy with dissertation proposal):
    – Pedicure, because I of course haven’t had a chance to find a good place.
    – Take me out to dinner, because the hubby and I are watching our budget and dinners out are fairly rare.
    – Some type of planned activity. I’m not taking time for myself right now, and I know I need to. If someone gave me craft supplies, they’d go in the craft closet. If someone would set up a craft afternoon, I’d be in hog heaven.

  13. If you could either send food or a gift card for a place that delivers, that would be awesome! I’m 7 months pregnant and in NO MOOD to prepare a meal. If you live nearby, bring food and see if there’s anything you can do for her around the house (if she lets you). I wouldn’t want my best friend doing my laundry or cleaning my bathroom, but walk my dog please! Amazon.com gift cards are also fairly awesome because you can buy ANYTHING with those. And, you know, flowers would be nice (as long as she’s not allergic).

  14. Weleda is a skincare company from Germany that is all natural and safe for pregnancy. I got a few of their products as a gift when I was newly pregnant and LOVE their stuff! Careful when buying scented products as some preggers can’t stand certain smells. Weleda has a line for sensitive skin that is fragrance free (it says Almond on the packaging) and so awesome! You’re so sweet to do this for your friend, she’ll really appreciate it.

  15. Earth Mama Angel Baby also has lotions and teas that are safe for pregnancy. I practically lived on their heartburn tea during third trimester. Ditto all the mani/pedi/massage suggestions, although do doublecheck that they work with pregnancy women–I got a gift certificate for a hot stone massage, which sounded fantastic but I couldn’t do it while pregnant. Light essential oils are PROBABLY okay, especially lavender and citrus. When my sense of smell was the worst, I sprayed down my entire house with lavender every day. I also love the suggestion of pretty accessories like necklaces, scarves, hats etc.

    • I highly second this company and comment. Earth Mama Angel Baby makes amazing pregnant mamma stuff including their teas for third trimester etc etc.

      Also- Try really fun drinks. We are a social couple and always have people over for drinks and I am stuck with tea or juice. My friend brought over sparkling grape juice to the last party we had (I am 7 months pregnant) and I just about cried I was so happy to have something fancy in a wine glass (My husband felt really bad that he hadn’t though of it). So- fancy hot chocolates (instant!), sparking juices, virgin mojito etc. mixes so she can switch it up a little.

      • OMG this. I can’t even imagine how sad I’m going to be when I have to stop drinking when the IUD comes out. I love cocktails, but actually I love a lot of virgin cocktails too. Something to make a former cocktail lover not feel left out would be awesome.

  16. Bedroom slippers are always nice. Comfy before baby and especially nice for the hospital visit.

    Bringing over lunch and eating at home with her is always awesome- I was so swollen that walking far was a hardship and someone bringing me home a meal from my favorite restaurant was the best present I got (good food and great company).

  17. Lots of great ideas already! I second beauty stuff (especially the kind of indulgent things one typically doesn’t buy for oneself, like scrubs or bath salts or something fancy) and snacky foods. I got obsessed with Pad Thai noodles in my last month of pregnancy, so I might also recommending finding out if there is one magical food that the lady in question craves, and get it to her! I was so grateful to the friend who showed up out of the blue one night with a bag of take-out Thai.

  18. if I had to pick one thing I have recieved as a gift that I would give to pregnant women everywhere it is a glamourmom nursing tank. I loved that it was long enough to fit while I was pregnant but I LIVE in them now that she is here. They are about 40$ which is a lot of cash for me right now but if I could, I would buy 10 more. I also recieved a bunch of amazon gift cards which may seem like a cop out of a gift but let me tell you, at 2am when I was awake and miserable with swelling and peeing and hugeness I could shop for baby things and that made me happy. Ok, I will put together my ideal care package for you…
    1.Glamourmom nursing tank
    2.Large yummy scented candle
    3.Bag of epsomsalts for the bath tub
    4.Pretty earrings (I always feel better with some ear bling)
    5.Bottle of http://ananeoskincare.com/Skin_Body_Apothecary.php the winter balancing oil was the only thing I didn’t develop an allergy to in my 3rd trimester INCLUDING my Wedding ring 🙁
    6.Bar of really great chocolate
    7.Letter of support/admiration The letters I got from a few friends really meant a lot. Sometimes being pregnant and feeling sad and tired made me feel very isolated.

    You’re a good friend. Good luck and have fun!

    • Lots of good ideas here i wish I’d had a belly band earlier in pregnancy, but I didn’t know about it. They let you wear your regular pants longer and help with the transition into and out of maternity pants. I found it really frustrating to have to replace all my clothes.

      Definitely keep on touch with your friend. I had nausea for a long time, and rarely felt well enough to go out. I really missed my friends. Old fashioned letters might be nice.

    • What GREAT ideas! I have been serching for a perfect gift for my pregnant best friend and your ideas are by far the best Ive found, I think a personalised letter to her would totaly make her happy! Thanks for sharing!

  19. I’m still miserable 7 months into my pregnancy- thanks to hyperemesis- I’d LOVE to get some none baby related things! Nice chocolates, a gift card to my favourite place for a treat ( a local bakery, or a smoothie/ice cream shop), movie tickets, anything to get out for a day. I hate being confined at home because I’m always sickly. It makes the depression worse. If you live close by, could you maybe take her out for the day? Fresh air and a great friend really go a long way!

  20. I agree on the massage. In fact generally I give a gift certificate for a prenatal massage as a baby shower gift…it doesn’t have to be ALL about the baby! I would do as was suggested above and research a place that is well-versed in working with pregnant women and has great reviews. I will also say that the pedicure that I gifted myself two weeks before delivery was a GREAT idea. Looking at my pretty toes actually made me feel much better!

    I would stay *far* away from anything scented since you may not know what she is sensitive to these days–hell SHE may not know until she smells it that she can’t stand it. Soft slipper socks are always great. I bought some of my favorite prego clothes at Target…I think it was the Be Maternity stuff that I really liked.

    Otherwise…anything to make her feel non-frumpy and comfortable. Watch a movie with her or make her some dinner. It’s really nice how thoughtful you are too…the friends who “get it” are priceless!

  21. I’m not sure if this will help but all I wanted for myself when I was pregnant was a back massage and a cute pair of shoes that was comfortable and that would actually fit my huge feet. When I’m not pregnant I’m a size US womens 11 so I really had a hard time with this.

  22. I might be one of the few, but I HATE receiving bath/body products as gifts… I’m really picky with what I use, so I’d rather buy them myself. But a mani/pedi/massage would be wonderful.
    Also love the idea of food/gift cards for delivery places. Frozen meals that only need to be thrown into the oven/microwave are AWESOME – not just when I’m too pregnant to stand for long, but also when the baby comes and I’m dead tired. Gift cards for grocery delivery sites are also awesome – especially for fresh fruits and veggies.

    • definitely – I’ve lost count of the number of well-meaning “indulge yourself” gifts I’ve had to give to someone else or throw away because I have super sensitive skin.

  23. I’m 9 months pregnant. I would like: Food, a pedicure, massage (I have finally started to swell and it’s TERRIBLE), a trip to a swimming pool (pregnant swimming is the BEST, I only wish I didn’t have to go to the public pool), gift cards for clothes(for after), more food, a cleaning service voucher (I DON’T want to clean my house and i know I need to), chocolate.

    I would hate getting bath products and scented things unless they were things I already like/had. So if you go that route, try to see what she already has/likes.

  24. If you’re close enough to her, find out what’s actually making her depressed and try to address it. A lot gets blamed on hormones, but there is generally a very valid explanation (or trigger) for depression during pregnancy. Does she feel isolated from her pre-pregnancy friends? Is being pregnant messing with her self image? Is she having trouble dealing with the transition to motherhood (which can completely suck, and I don’t just mean in a physical, crazy hormone kind of way)? There’s really not a good blanket answer to this. Find her need and fill it.

    • I totally agree. All preggos are not created equal! There are a lot of great suggestions here but it really depends on your friend’s individual situation and needs. I would add general fatigue, physical complaints or pregnancy/impending parenting-related struggles at work or with her partner or family to the list to things that could be part of what’s bringing her down.

      For example, in my case I got really bummed out by failing to make healthy eating choices, so indulgent sweet treats would have just been another temptation but a fancy fruit/nut basket would have been nice. Some mamas might be isolated and stir-crazy and want to get out, but my back pain was so bad I didn’t enjoy anything in a chair for a couple months, so restaurant gift cards or movie tickets wouldn’t have helped.

      I’d just call and say, “Hey, pregnancy is hard/ How is it going for you?/ I’d like to do something nice for you / What do you think of these ideas or is there anything else you’d like?”

Read more comments

Join the Conversation