Let’s say your friend or relative just told you that she’s pregnant, and you’d like to give her a congratulatory present. What is the perfect gift?
There are five things that, looking back on the past nine months, were absolutely indispensable to me. Individually they’d make a pretty funny present, but they’d make a kick-butt gift basket!
In increasing order of cost:
Calgon Ultra-Moisturizing Bath Beads: $2-4
Calgon, take me away!
Despite some alarmist advice you may have come across, it is NOT harmful to take a nice bath while pregnant. The thing is that you don’t want to raise your body temperature too much; hanging out in a hot tub or hot springs can be troublesome because the high temperature stays constant. A bath, on the other hand, gets cooler as you sit in it, so you’re safe.
Baths are relaxing, both physically and emotionally, and a pregnant lady’s skin can always use moisturizing. I’m a big fan of a bubble bath, but when you’ve become bulbous, it can be hard to get all those suds off your feet when it’s time to get out. Bath beads are a pretty lovely compromise; they smell lovely, turn the bathwater pretty colors, and don’t get you all bubbly. Calgon beads don’t stain the tub, and they come in waterproof containers so they can hang out in there when you shower.
Potential downsides: A container goes pretty quickly, and they can make the tub slippery. Solution: buy lots (they’re cheap) and be careful. 🙂
Enormous Bottles of Tums: $5ish
I am not sure any pregnant woman can have enough Tums. I’ve had a big bottle on my desk at work, another big one by the bed, a third one downstairs in the living room, and a smaller bottle (but by no means a “travel-sized” — I’d empty that in a day) in my purse.
In my case, the mint flavors were intolerable; it was Assorted Berries all the way. But different people will have vastly different tastes….
Double-walled travel cup with straw: $6-15
I have become so attached to my cups that they may have to surgically remove them at some point. I like the bigger ones that will hold a large quantity of ice and water. They keep the ice from melting very quickly, and you can keep hydrated in style. The ones in the picture are pretty boring; I’ve gotten most of mine at TJ Maxx, and they’re pretty stylish! My current cup has freezable goop between the walls to keep it cold even longer, and an insulated sleeve to keep your hands from getting too cold. The double walls also keep the cups from condensating, which is very nice at work.
The Body Shop Body Butter: $20
(Whoa! They’re on sale for $10-12 on the Body Shop website right now!)
When I first started getting stretch marks, I knew that there wasn’t really anything I could do about it (they’re genetic and, if you’re gonna get ’em, inevitable) but I wanted to keep my skin as elastic as possible just in case it would help. I read somewhere that body butter was the way to go, and ultimately cheaper than all the fancy products especially marketed for stretch marks, so I went to the Body Shop. Got lucky — hit a buy 2, get 1 free sale. 🙂
Each tub of body butter from The Body Shop costs about $20, although I’ve seen their products at other stores (Ulta, Nordstrom Rack, etc.) for about half that. They last quite a while; I’ve gone back and forth between two containers and haven’t emptied either one, although I don’t use it every night either.
At the time that I got mine, I was extremely sensitive to smells. Some of the body butters have very strong fragrances; the “baked good” scents in particular really turned my stomach. I ended up getting two with very light, benign scents: Vitamin E and Olive. I also liked some of the lighter citrus scents.
I don’t know if I can credit the body butter, but I haven’t had any problems with itchy belly skin — and since I always get itchy, that’s pretty miraculous! If nothing else, some luxurious lotion is always a nice gift for someone who isn’t feeling top-notch.
Snoogle Body Pillow: $40-50
Okay, so this might be a funny sort of present, depending on what kind of relationship you have, but it has basically saved my life. You can coil it into several different shapes to support whatever part of yourself needs supporting. The C-shape you see above gives you back support and hip support, and if you can coil it around you tightly enough it also supports your belly when you hug it. But you can do lots of different things with it, and there have been many nights that I don’t think I would have had any sleep at all without it.
Something that is for HER, not for “Pregnant Her” or “Momma Her”
Once someone is pregnant, people want to talk about that a lot. You get lots of baby-related conversation, lots of baby-related gifts. Think how meaningful it would be for her to receive a gift that says, “I am happy for you, the person who is still herself even though she is incubating another human being, and this made me think of you.”
Trust me — she’ll love that.
What do you think? What are the things that made your pregnancy survivable? Share your suggestions in the comments. 🙂