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Ideal for women who want to stay in their pre-pregnancy jeans for as long as possible (even if it's only a couple of extra weeks), wardrobe extenders—we're talking everything from long camisoles, belly bands that fit overtop unbuttoned jeans, bra extenders and even rubber bands to loop through the waist of your pants—are key. They're also super-useful if you end up outgrowing your maternity pants (hey, it happens). "I didn't want to spend too much money on clothes that I would only wear for a few months, so I used elastic bands to extend my jeans and I bought bra extenders, too," says Louise Cottrell, a mom of three in London, ON.
It can be a little startling to realize you can no longer see your feet when you look down. So low-heeled shoes that are supportive but easy to get on and off are a must. "For my pregnancy, I wore cross trainers with a wide width," says Louise. "They were comfortable to do anything in, from going for a walk to doing my shopping. I bought a wide pair because my feet swelled into Fred Flintstone–like feet by my sixth month." Because Louise was pregnant in the winter, she also chose knee-high, flat-heel, pull-on boots. "I could bend over enough to slip my foot in and tug them up. They weren't pretty, but I could get them on and then shake my leg to get them off. I'm sure that must've been a sight!"
Cheryl Lavoie, a mom of two in Halifax, used a body pillow when she was pregnant with both her kids. "I got one when I was about 32 weeks pregnant with my first. I was very uncomfortable near the end of each pregnancy, and the body pillow helped support my abdomen with my eight- and almost-nine-pound babies. I slept on my side and had the pillow under my huge belly and between my knees," says Cheryl. "It made sleeping easier and more comfortable. Everything was better aligned, it seemed."
You've probably heard the old wives' tales—rub a rich cream over your ample baby bump and you'll avoid unsightly stretch marks. Sadly, research suggests genetics do play a role in the likelihood of developing them, as does rapid weight gain and carrying multiples. That said, using a paraben-free lotion does have other benefits, such as relieving itchiness and moisturizing dry skin.
There are more than 27,000 results for "pregnancy books" on Amazon.ca, and for good reason—moms-to-be have inquiring minds and want to know as much as possible about what's happening to our bodies and how our babies are growing. "Pregnancy books were my favourite indulgence when I was expecting both of my kids. I was working as a librarian during both pregnancies and had all sorts of pregnancy-related reading material at my fingertips," says Marcie Sharp, a mom of two in Shetland, ON. Marcie's biggest tip for moms-to-be: "Read all the way through pregnancy books—even the scary stuff. Reading ahead will help you understand a lot of the feelings and symptoms that you might have, so you're not alarmed when they happen."
Discover more great tips for expectant moms in our From bump to baby guide!