15 pregnancy hacks you can’t live without

Want to keep wearing your skinny jeans? Longing for a good night’s sleep? Take note of our top pregnancy pointers!

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Pregnancy can be rough. You have to deal with the morning (or whole day) sickness, backache, swollen feet, and then you have sleepless nights that start even before bubba arrives.

Most of the time, you’ll need to figure your way around before you discover what’s best for you. Other times, you might just chance upon a gem of advice that will make your nine-month-long pregnancy journey that much smoother.

To ease your way, we’ve rounded up several top tips shared by experienced mums, so that you’ll keep cool, stay sane, and pass this pregnancy period with flying colours!

1. Improvise a waist band extender
Got old hair ties or a simple rubber band? Loop the band through your trouser button hole, then secure it around the button on the other side. Ta-da, your brand-new waistband extender has just given your belly a little more breathing room. Says Chiam, “This is especially useful in the first trimester when your regular jeans are getting just a little snug.”

2. Get a pregnancy pillow
Have you seen those strange looking, unusually shaped, floppy cushions in maternity stores? Scoff at them now, but once you hit the third trimester, they’ll be a godsend. Says Therese Chew, who has two kids and is expecting a third, “I went through my first pregnancy without it and my sleep really suffered. Now, even when I’m not pregnant, I love using it ― it just hugs your body in the right places, supports your backs and thighs. My quality of sleep has improved.”

This lifesaver, besides holding a few plastic bags for you to contain the nasties, should also have a toothbrush, toothpaste and an extra set clothes.

3. You already own maternity wear
With a new baby coming, you know you’ll have a lot of new expenses to cater for. Before you rush out to buy maternity wear (which you might soon outgrow), take a look at what’s in your closet. Bump-friendly pieces you may have in there include knit dresses, stretchy skirts and babydoll tops. When you’ve outgrown these, invest in a few classic maternity pieces that’ll grow with your bump and which you’ll be able to use when you’re breastfeeding your baby.

4. Prepare a puke pack
Nausea can come on quite suddenly and intensely, especially during the first trimester. This lifesaver, besides holding a few plastic bags for you to contain the nasties, should also have a toothbrush, toothpaste and an extra set clothes. “I also packed some sachets of ginger tea, and some super lemon sweets ― these helped me feel better right away,” says Yvonne Chiam, mum to 3-week-old Noel.

5. Keep a spray bottle with you
The heat and humidity can be quite overwhelming, especially when you’re preggers. Fill a little spray bottle (you can get it from Daiso) with cool water, then spritz some on your face whenever the heat gets too much for you to bear. You’ll get instant relief.

Do you feel you have mummy brain? We have a solution for you ― next!

 

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6. Keep a notebook
Lunch meeting at noon, pick up some groceries after work and give your sister-in-law a call in the evening as it’s her birthday. Tasks that you’ll normally remember easily aren’t as clear right now, since your mind became all fuzzy now that you’re pregnant. Mummy brain is real! Jotting down your thoughts and tasks in a little notebook or on post-it notes will help you get your life back on track.

7. Sleep on your left
Another top tip to get a restful night? Sleep on your left. This position is the most ideal for blood circulation and also keeps your body weight from pushing down too hard on your liver. Sleeping on your back isn’t a good idea as this position puts pressure on your aorta and blood vessels, which can slow blood circulation in your body. Lying on your stomach puts pressure on your uterus.

8. Get a night light
As your bump grows, your baby starts to push down on your bladder. This can mean endless trips to the bathroom in the wee hours of the night. Get a night light, recommends Fang Li Ming, who is 8 months pregnant with her first child. “I used to stumble around in the dark. As I needed to access my walk-in wardrobe to get to my bathroom, I sometimes tripped over a pair of shoes. It’s safer now ― I get to the bathroom before any accidents happen!”

Jotting down your thoughts and tasks in a little notebook or on post-it notes will help you get your life back on track.

9. Join a support group but choose wisely
A support group for mums-to-be can be helpful, since you’ll be able to share the ups and downs of pregnancy with women who are going through similar experiences. Plus, your peewee will likely have pals his age later when the babies grow up. But choose your tribe well as not all groups are good for you. Says Fang, “I was in a mummy’s group for a while. There were a few mums who suffered miscarriages and left the group ― this made me feel very sad.”

10. Use sanitary pads
Think it’s so long to feminine products once you’re preggers? Think again. It’s common to spot while you’re pregnant, especially during the first trimester and it’s usually no cause for alarm (but do see a doctor if you think something is wrong). Also, you may have more-than-usual discharge during your pregnancy (though you should check with your gynae if it’s yellow, green and smelly; or if there’s a lot and it’s thin and colourless ― your amniotic fluid may be leaking). This is because of an increase in oestrogen production during pregnancy. So, wearing a sanitary pad or a panty liner can help you keep dry and feeling fresh.

Your legs and fingers may swell during pregnancy because of oedema ― we have tips on how to deal, up next!

 

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11. Take milk and bananas
Another way to ease leg cramps ― boost your intake of essential vitamins and minerals including calcium and potassium. Bananas are packed with potassium, so having one a day might help. Drink milk to up your calcium intake. Kelly Ong, mum to Xavier, 2, says she was suffering from calf cramps almost every night till she went on her babymoon to Australia, where “we were having ice cream all the time! It was probably the calcium in it ― I didn’t have cramps at all when I was there.” Also, cut your caffeine intake ― it dehydrates your muscles, causing them to strain.

12. Wear compression stockings
If you’re prone to calf cramps or water retention in your legs, a pair of compression stockings will ease the discomfort. It’ll help to increase the blood circulation in your legs and stop the blood from pooling at certain points in your veins (which can cause varicose veins). It also gives you added support, especially if you are on your feet for long periods of time.

Bananas are packed with potassium so having one a day might help.

13. Wear your ring ― on a chain
If your digits are swelling, thanks to oedema, you’ll find it a chore putting your rings on and taking them off. Slip them off and put them on a chain to wear around your neck ― you’ve got a brand-new necklace and a way to keep your wedding band close to you.

14. Disposable waterproof sheets
As you head towards your final trimester, you’ll probably have had the thought, “What if my water breaks?” Well, save your fabric couch, your brand-new mattress and even your car from possible stains by getting disposable waterproof sheets. They’re very affordable, compared to any dry cleaning charges. Says Chiam, “I had them everywhere, especially since I would sometimes embarrassingly leak urine when I coughed or sneezed too hard!” Yup, that happens, too, because of the pressure your growing baby puts on your bladder.

15. Plan your birth announcement and baby’s first month
It’s a good idea to plan your baby’s birth announcement and first-month party even before he arrives. You don’t want to get caught up with things like invitations, venues and door gifts, while trying to juggle breastfeeding and diaper changing. If you don’t want to do it yourself, get a close friend or sister to take charge of this task ― doing it early gives her sufficient prep time! “I used Photoshop to create a little card image of my newborn, along with her time of birth, date, length and weight,” says Celine Chua, mum to Natalie, 4 months. “When she was born, my husband put in her picture and filled in her details so we could send it out on Whatsapp to all our friends and family.”

Photos: iStock

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