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What to Buy for Pregnancy and Pregnant Moms (from an OBGYN)

Updated: Jul 2

Rachelle Keng, MD

Pregnant mom shopping for essential pregnancy products
What to Buy for Pregnancy and Pregnant Moms

What to Buy for Pregnancy and Pregnant Moms (from an OBGYN)

As an OBGYN, I often get asked about "over the counter" items that can be helpful in pregnancy.

The following is a list of items that can help with the literal aches and pains of pregnancy.

Baby showers give baby presents.

We need to give MAMA some presents too! It's time for MAMA showers! What are the essential products that help women through pregnancy?

DISCLAIMER: Please talk to your provider before trying these over the counter products. I am not paid to advertise any of these products and I wanted to offer this page as a resource so that you have more direction than just google searching for products. There may be recommendations specific to your situation, and these items listed are general recommendations.

So let's go! Practical ideas for Mamas-to-be:


First Trimester:

"What helps my queasiness?"`

What I like about this candy for nauseated mamas: Tastes good, has both ginger and Vitamin B6 which can decrease nausea between meals. Nausea is the worst around 6-9 weeks.

What I don't like: For women who have severe nausea and vomiting, this is usually not enough.

"What if my doctor suggests me to be on Vitamin B6?"

What I like: Women use Vitamin B6 25-50 mg three times a day (one gummy with each meal) to help with nausea. Non-drowsy when there's other kids to chase and work to be done.

What I don't like: For severe nausea and vomiting, it is usually not enough. Talk with your doctor about prescriptions for nausea that are safe in pregnancy.

"What is the best prenatal vitamin?"

What I like about these vitamins: I've reviewed a lot of prenatal vitamins and while most of them are similar, I like this brand. These vitamins have everything you need in first trimester and beyond. If you aren't dealing with nausea and and swallow vitamins, this is a well-rounded prenatal vitamin. I like how there is adequate Vitamin D in this prenatal vitamin unlike many others on the market. The iron is great for pregnancy-related anemia, although many women often need an iron supplement in addition to a prenatal vitamin.

What I don't like about these vitamins: Iron can worsen constipation so if dealing with constipation, be aware of how this prenatal vitamin can affect your bowels..

"What if I can only tolerate gummy vitamins because I'm so nauseous?"

What I like about these vitamins: Has omega fatty acids to support brain and neural development. Folic acid prevents neural tube defects like spina bifida. Many prenatal vitamins have folic acid and omega fatty acids but many of them do not taste good because of the fish oil that is used to support them.

What I don't like about these vitamins: Gummy vitamins do not have iron in them, so check with your doctor if he or she wants you to be on an iron supplement. If you are not nauseated or constipated, getting a prenatal vitamin with iron may be better.

"How much water should I be drinking a day?"

What I like about this water bottle: Takes the guessing out of how many water bottles to drink in a day. 64-96 ounces of water per day. (At least one of these bottles per day!)

What I don't like about this water bottle: Stay close to a bathroom. Whatever goes in must come out! This is irrespective of whatever receptacle you use!

Second and Third Trimesters:

"How do I help this back pain?"

What I like about heating pads in pregnancy: Women usually love heating pads for lower back pain. With all of the sacroiliac joint pain of pregnancy, a heating pad can be really good idea for a sore lower back.

What I don't like: Can cause skin burns if not careful. Many hospitals no longer carry heating pads for this reason. Please follow instructions with manual.

"Which iron supplement is easiest on my stomach if I'm already constipated?"

What I like about this iron supplement: Third trimester pregnant women get tested for diabetes and anemia. What I like about SlowFe is that it is does not cause the same stomach upset as the standard ferrous sulfate will.

What I don't like about this iron supplement: It is more expensive than ferrous sulfate.

"My doctor has recommended a Magnesium Supplement. Which one do I buy?"

What I like about this magnesium supplement: This one is well tolerated and helps women with headaches, muscle cramps, and sleeplessness. Talk with your doctor or healthcare provider if this supplement could be helpful for you.

"How can I deal with all of this pressure?"

What I like about this belly band: Support under the belly, compression against sacroiliac joints, optional upper belly support. Best for women who are experiencing pelvic relaxation in their pregnancy.

What I don't like: Pregnancy is already hot! Adding this belly band underneath the panel of maternity pants can get really bulky quickly.

"My lower back hurts. What can I buy?"

What I like about the Serola SI Belt: Recommended by physical therapists, is as small and non-obstructive as possible. This is great for sacroiliac pain. Ask your provider if your back pain could be related to sacroiliac pain.

What I don't like about the Serola SI Belt: It's expensive. Make sure you pay attention to which size to buy as the larger sizes are more expensive.

"My doctor talked to me about K-tape. How does this work?"

What I like about K-Tape in Pregnancy: Gives great support to women who have less muscle support. Especially women who have already had a baby before. For women who are experiencing "pelvic pressure," I recommend that they talk with their physician or physical therapist to help them understand how to support their core muscles in pregnancy.

What I don't like about K-Tape: Can cause a skin irritation and also be painful to take off. Should be applied properly under medical guidance to be most effective.

"I'm having trouble staying asleep on my side. My hips are also killing me!"

What I like about pregnancy pillows in pregnancy: Birth providers recommend pregnant women to sleep on their side to maximize blood flow to their baby during sleep. It is important to have support in the lower back, hips, and between the knees - all pressure points that if supported during sleep means an easier daytime experience!

What I don't like about pregnancy pillows in pregnancy: You may need a king-sized bed to accommodate the extra "body." Your partner will need to be proficient at Tetris to fit in the same bed.

"My doctor told me I have carpal tunnel. How can I help the numbness and tingling?"

What I like about Spica Wrist Splints: Carpal Tunnel does not affect everyone but when it does affect women, usually women experience tingling in their fingers at nighttime. A Carpal tunnel wrist splint keeps the wrist in alignment so that there is less pressure on the ulnar nerve.

What I don't like about Spica Wrist Splints: I've heard time and time again that they are uncomfortable and hot.

"I am constipated and my doctor told me I should get a stool softener."

What I like about stool softeners: Can prevent constipation and also prevent formation of hemorrhoids.

What I don't like about stool softeners: They work better as daily maintenance rather than when the "plug" has already occurred.

"These hemorrhoids are so painful! My doctor told me to try some over the counter medications for hemorrhoids." - Check out Tucks Witch Hazel Pads

What I like about Tucks Pads: Helpful for external hemorrhoids! Soothing!

What I don't like about Tuck's Pads: They don't fix the problem of hemorrhoids; they only make them feel better. Won't help with internal hemorrhoids (inside the rectum).

"My doctor told me to wear compression stockings because of my varicose veins."

What I like about compression socks: They help with swelling and can also help with varicose veins.

What I don't like about compression socks: They can be really difficult to put on especially if you are already swollen.

"It hurts to sit."

What I like about donut pillows: Great for women who are dealing with hemorrhoids. Also can be used for those who have vaginal deliveries and are healing from any tears.

What I don't like about donut pillows: They are best on a hard-surfaced chair and are harder to get up from a soft chair.

"Pregnancy is so hot!" (The summer pregos)

What I like about the Portable Neck Fan: If you're going to be pregnant during the summer, this could make the difference for your survival!

What I don't like about the Portable Neck Fan: Not many people know what this is, so you will get a lot of questions if they are speakers or headphones.

"What should I buy to get ready for labor?"

What I like about Exercise Balls: Exercise balls are good for birth prep. Many women love to use them in early labor at home. There are usually exercise balls on every Labor and Delivery Unit.

What I don't like about Exercise Balls: Make sure that you have someone to help support you. The center of gravity and core support is different with each week of pregnancy. It is much easier to slip and fall when there is a baby affecting your balance!

And lastly, my book! I wrote this book, "Woven in the Womb: Peace for the Pregnant and Postpartum Soul" for anxious pregnant mamas who are looking for peace. Pregnancy is tough physically and emotionally. If you're looking for inner strength, find rest for your soul when you lean into what the Bible says about God's tender care for mothers.

Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list of items that works for every single mama. But perhaps some of these items may be useful to you or your dragging pregnant friend. I hope that you find ways to keep comfortable on your way to Labor and Delivery. You got this!!


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