Reader Julie sent us this question:
I just found out I will be an aunt in January! I was wondering if there’s anything I could get for the future mama as a congratulations gift? What are some pregnancy items that made your pregnancy easier or more comfortable?
I was very eager to dive into all kinds of possible answers for this–there are SO many items I bought, or gifts I received, while pregnant that were amazing lifesavers. This list covers a fair bit, but is by no means exhaustive, so feel free to chime in with other suggestions!
I think books are HUGE during pregnancy–there’s nothing quite as great as attaining a vast amount of information about what is one of the most gigantic stages of your life. The Sears books are wonderful because they really help empower you as a pregnant woman to be strong enough to make choices that are best for yourself and your unborn baby. The Birth Partner is a must-have for the partner of a pregnant woman–so many partner books are filled with inconsiderate jokes and “Babies=end of your life” language, and this book is definitely not one of those.
- The Birth Partner, Third Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions: $11.53
The Belly Band I received as a gift was AMAZING towards the end of my pregnancy, and my pregnancy didn’t even go to term! I am also a huge fan of basically anything Liz Lange makes for Target, maternity-wise.
If I had known purple and pink plush ovaries were available, I would have already stocked up on three dozen of 'em and given them... Read more
- Liz Lange for Target: Maternity Long & Lean Scoop-Neck Tank Top : $9.99 (You can also get this in black (with a tie waist), striped, and pink)
These are two films that really explore both the birthing industry and a variety of birth styles–hospital, birthing center, etc. The overall message of both? With knowledge and support, birth can be an empowering experience for every woman who experiences it.
- Orgasmic Birth: $32.49
- The Business of Being Born: $10.49
The jury is still out when it comes to whether or not products work for stretch marks, but a lot of women swear by them! The Earth Mama Angel Baby products are all toxin-free, phthalate-free, animal cruelty-free, and vegan–plus, they’re natural and herbal.
I think a bit of exercise is so important to having a healthy pregnancy, and both of these DVDs would give any pregnant woman a great workout! The belly dancing one is killing me, because I would have loved to try it when I was pregnant! Also, check out the Wise Woman book–perfect for anyone curious about herbal remedies for pregnancy and lactation.
I saw these and couldn’t resist–I had the best time painting my belly while pregnant.
All three of these pillows came super recommended to me, so it may just come down to price and/or what you think would be best! I loved my body pillow, and would definitely recommend one.
- Boppy Total Body Pillow: $49.99
PREGGIE POPS! A friend suggested these to me, and they totally worked. I loved every single flavor, and ate them religiously. I never tried an acupressure wrist band, but multiple people have suggested them, so I figured–why not?
- Three Lollies Preggie Pops: $5.37
- As a photographer, I cannot stress ENOUGH how wonderful it can be to have professional photos taken of you while pregnant. I’d research all the great photographers in your city , and inquire about gift certificates!
- A friend said she LOVED putting three tennis balls in an old tube sock and rolling it around on her lower back–something I totally never thought of.
- Back massages will NEVER be refused by any pregnant woman. You can find a local masseuse or training school, or just enlist family members to help!
- Another thing no one would refuse–free meals and/or laundry help! You’d be surprised at how difficult it can be to bend over for many women, even in the first or second trimester. Usually, cooking and/or cleaning are the last things any pregnant woman I’ve ever known wanted to do (unless she was nesting!).
Comments on Gift ideas for the pregnant woman in your life
Ok, I really want to try that belly dancing and yoga video and the henna!
We were going to do henna anyway, but it would be nice to get some good designs.
That belly dancing video is fantastic!!! 😀 My husband got it for me because I love yoga and happen to have another set of belly dancing fitness DVDs. Amira is super cute, her accent makes everything she says adorable (“Your baby is safe in her little fish tank…”) and it’s probably the best fitness DVD I’ve ever seen in regards to explaining how to make sure you’re doing everything effectively/correctly and making sure you don’t push yourself further than you should be. I’d recommend it to everyone!! 😀
I completely agree with getting a Bella Band! I am thinner and have trouble finding maternity pants that fit. I struggled all the way through my first pregnancy, constantly yanking my pants up. Thankfully with my second I discovered Bella Band, my pants always stayed exactly where they were supposed to with them on! Another great gift I gave myself with my second pregnancy was buying a belly casting kit. It was only about $30.00 on Amazon, and it was the best thing I did! My mom and I had a great time making it, we were laughing so hard we had tears in our eyes through most of it! Then my best friend and I painted it. The belly cast ended up creating several amazing bonding experiences for me with some of the most special women in my life! I highly recommend it.
Belly casting! Such a great idea! Interested parties: I found one here.
That is the one that I used. VERY easy and everything is included! The only tips I have are buy an organic lubricant for underneath because the one that comes with it is not, and make sure that you are in a slightly reclined position while doing it otherwise it starts to slide once it begins to harden(which will happen before you finish).
My cast came out more amazing than I ever expected! http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4752670585/
To add to the book list: Anything by Ina May Gaskin. She’s one of the mothers of midwifery in this country, and her books about birth include lots of wonderful wonderful stories by women about their experiences giving birth. I love Spiritual Midwifery, which was her first book, but there’s another, more recent version which is slightly less 1960s-ish, maybe better for those who didn’t grow up with hippie parents? In any case, the stories in her books were my favorite pregnancy reading material, and very helpful in preparing for childbirth.
I totally agree about Ina May Gaskin’s books. I’ve read dozens of birth books at this point, and if you want to give a gift book that isn’t full of bias or politics, Ina May’s are just a really nice celebration of birth that everyone can relate to. “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” is a standard must-read.
To the book list:
From the Hips by Morris and Oden. It’s very much a “find your own way” kind of pregnancy, birth and babycare guide.
And I second Ina May! I wish she lived next door to me.
To the band list:
RunSystem63 on Etsy makes a whole bunch in super fabrics. I got a stripy one and a paisley one and I get compliments all the time. Plain white is nice, too, but not very exciting.
Seconding From the Hips! It’s a great book 🙂
This is just my opinion, but I would not give someone a book or workout videos or other videos, not even my sister. I guess its because I am very particular about the literature I choose to read up on when pregnant, and it was not generally what my friends/family thought was the way to go.
I would like to add to the list a pedicure, and I was gifted a massage while pregnant, it was AMAZING!!!
I completely agree!! I was about the write the same thing myself. As shown right here on this site, there are so many differing opinions on natal issues, that this would be a really hands off area for me!
I just had a debate about this with another friends. A mutual friend of ours is pregnant and we were discussing gifts. She was going to by our friend a pack of diapers and I said I wouldn’t do that because we have no idea if our friend plans on using disposables or cloth or what!
Things like massages and onesies are usually safe bets though 🙂
I agree with this!
Everyone has differing philosophies towards pregnancy and childbirth and it’s deeply personal – for instance, I would be very upset if someone gave me a book on orgasmic birth/the birth industry. I guess it depends on your relationship with them
Perhaps a good compromise is a book token? It’s not very personal, but maybe the mother-to-be wants a nice trashy novel? 😉
When friends or family members have been pregnant, I buy little treats for them such as a scarf, purse, a broach etc as they’re usually inundated with bath things, candles etc by then
In addition, I am the hugest supporter of vaginal, at-home birth ever, but I’m also the hugest supporter of people making their own birth choices and feeling empowered doing so, and I found “Orgasmic Birth” to be kind of judgmental towards people who decided something else was better for them.
My sister gave me a big tub of palmers coco butter for my tummy as soon as i told her I was pregnant. It was the best best thing I could have got – my skin was never itchy as I grew and I didn’t get one stretch mark.
What I loved were massages and visits to the chiropractor, as well as epsom salt baths. I have some back problems, and these all helped me manage it.
I am pregnant now and a friend gave me the Baby Bargains book. It’s actually been a HUGE help sorting through all the options for things to buy and what we might need for the baby. It’s not as “sexy” as some of the other suggestions for gifts but honestly, it’s been my go-to book.
I’ve also heard really good things about that book!
the boppy total body pillow is by far the single best item i purchased during my pregnancy! i think every expecting mommy needs one
I would say the body pillow definitely, and i agree with Ina May Gaskin books, they are great material for pregnancy. Another thing that would be awesome is a gift certificate for a cleaning service. That would be sooooo nice to come home to a clean house, especially when in nesting mode! I really don’t know how much that would cost though.
I hesitate to say that having untrained professionals massaging a pregnant woman is a good idea. Especially the feet and ankles. A lotion “rubdown” is nice, but I think its important to leave massaging to professionals trained in prenatal massage. The wrong massage could cause contractions, or damage kidneys.
As a professional massage therapist, I fully agree with not having someone who has no training massage a pregnant woman. It can really be dangerous.
I also agree with Ina May Gaskin’s books. I read IMG’s guide to Childbirth and it made me so secure about going into childbirth. I’m sure the book really contributed to my amazing birthing experience.
I second the warning about massage and pedicure during pregnancy; both can cause pre-term labour if not done by someone specifically trained in prenatal massage and acupressure points.
I completed a 720 hour massage therapy training program last fall, and want to pipe in on this too in agreement- If it were me, after having been a massage student, I would not want a pre-natal massage from a student UNLESS they had already completed their basic training and were currently being trained in pre-natal massage. That being said, we did have a pregnant woman in the student clinic from time to time, and at least at our school, the supervising teachers are always on hand to help the student. It is not the sort of field where one ever stops being a student, so to speak, but I’d stick with a CMT who has had special training in this modality… Pregnancy does have some contraindications in massage, there are positioning techniques for different trimesters, you have to be conscious of the extra flexibility in the connective tissues later in the pregnancy, etc so it’s best to have someone who can skillfully navigate these issues so you feel nurtured, relaxed, rested and all that good stuff. If you’re just out for a relaxing, cheap massage in a non-pregnant state, give a student clinic a try.
Yay, I just found out I’m going to be an aunt, too, so this is perfect timing for me, too!
I’m a doula, so I know a lot about pregnancy, but it’s good to know what REALLY helps pregnant women. Yay!
A gift certificate for a massage!!! I’m pregnant right now and I would highly appreciate such a gift. 🙂
To add to the book list: Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?: The Surprising Science of Pregnancy
It is a nerdy account on research done on pregnancy and genetics, but still a light read. I really enjoyed it.
One thing I wish I had done when I was pregnant was read more books about babies and less about pregnancy. If I was giving a present now it would be three books on parenting with a note that says “These are only three of the many ways to parent, but they’ll start you thinking about what happens after the baby comes” and include The Attachment Parenting Book by Sears, The Baby Whisperer by Hogg, and Solve Your Children’s Sleep Problems by Ferber.
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