Pregnancy Self-Care Essentials

April 28, 2022

I hit 20 weeks yesterday which means I’m officially halfway through my pregnancy! I feel very grateful that I actually love being pregnant, but I also can’t wait to meet our little boy. And while I never want to wish time away, I am just happy to be at the halfway point.

Part of my experience with pregnancy has been feeling overwhelmed and overloaded with opinions and ideas and information, while at the same time feeling like I have no idea what to do or which opinion/idea/info I should rely on and trust. I think what it comes down to is there is no “right way” for everyone – there are in fact many right ways, and you kind of just have to pick the one that feels the “most right” for you.

All that being said, I think the biggest area of support I’ve found is through friends and family that have gone through pregnancy or are currently going through pregnancy, and have shared their own experiences and what has worked best for them, without any preachiness or judgment. So I wanted to put together this post and be that friend for you, and share what has worked best for me in supporting my body and caring for myself throughout my pregnancy thus far. I will link any products that I discuss below at the bottom of this post and explain how each has helped me. Consider this a friend-to-friend chat, sharing my own experience and what has helped me, and maybe some of it will speak to you and help you, too. xx

Dr. Dennis Gross FaceWare Pro. I know this mask is expensive, but I purchased it over a year ago and it is still one of my favorite skincare tools and one that I use all the time – it has been a very worthwhile investment for me. It especially came in handy during my first trimester, when I experienced a lot of hormonal acne. Since becoming pregnant I’ve been very wary of what I use on my skin, and this mask was very helpful in combatting my hormonal acne in a natural way without any harsh chemicals. There is a red light setting and a blue light setting, which target different areas of concern, but you can also turn on the red and blue lights at the same time (which is what I do) to target both. I’ve been consistently happy with the results I see from this mask, but never more so than during pregnancy when other skincare products I would use have been shelved for the time being. It’s such a winner in my books!

Gua Sha. This tool is really great for de-puffing in the morning and sculpting your face. I love the kind with the notches to use along my jawline and eyebrows. Gua Sha is a natural way to help lift and smooth your skin, so it’s a must during pregnancy for me! It’s also like a mini face massage and feels really good. Make sure to use it with a face oil, and watch a tutorial on how to properly do this.

Vintner’s Daughter Serum. As I said, I shelved a lot of my skincare products – even my clean skincare products – just for that extra peace of mind for myself during pregnancy, and so I really only stick to truly natural products. This botanical serum passes that test and is one I have been using for years. It’s super nourishing and hydrating and just makes my skin glow. I only wish it came in a bigger bottle because I rely on it so much right now.

Bala Ankle Weights. I was used to exercising a lot pre-pregnancy, but with the extreme fatigue I experienced in my first trimester, and now adjusting to a different body in my second trimester that requires more modifications and less intense workouts, these ankle weights have been a saving grace. On days when I have low energy but still want to get some movement in, I’ll strap these on and go for an hour or so walk with my dog. And on days when I have more energy, I’ll strap these on for a more sculpting yoga or pilates class. I put off getting these for so long and finally pulled the trigger when I got pregnant, and now I don’t know why I waited so long – I love these weights! They also come in so many different colors.

Goop “The Martini” & Agent Nateur Holi(Bath). Ok, so you know how obsessed I am with baths, and this duo is one I can’t live without. I love the minerals and scents in Goop’s “The Martini” bath soak – I feel like it replenishes my body and is very restorative after a long or tiring day. I mix in 3 scoops of Agent Nateur’s Holi(Bath) because I love how softening and hydrating it is. Especially now in my second trimester with my growing body, I want to keep my skin as moisturized and hydrated as I can to support it throughout these changes, and the Holi(Bath) is one of my favorite products to do this.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Body Brush. I’ve been dry brushing for a couple of years and love it, but since becoming pregnant I’m a lot more consistent with it now (which for me means at least 3x a week) in order to support my skin throughout all the changes. I go for the medium bristle brush and brush 5x in an upwards motion towards my heart, starting at the bottom of my legs and working my way up, always before a bath or shower. I definitely recommend watching a youtube video on how to do this properly. It’s really great for removing dead skin cells, keeping skin smooth and stimulating circulation.

The Body Tool. This is a new tool I just started using during pregnancy and I seriously cannot live without it. It’s designed to give yourself a lymphatic massage in order to increase circulation, stimulate lymphatic drainage, and reduce swelling. There are also claims it can reduce the appearance of cellulite and varicose veins, although these superficial claims are not why I personally use it. As I said, I’m really focused on supporting my skin throughout all these changes pregnancy brings, and I think this tool does a great job in getting your blood moving throughout your body to increase circulation and remove toxins through lymphatic drainage. I notice a difference whenever I use it – it definitely reduces swelling immediately, particularly on my legs, but also makes my skin more glowy and just overall look healthier. I really love it and will be using this throughout my entire pregnancy and beyond. I aim to do this 5x a week.

Organic Jojoba Oil. When you use The Body Tool, you need to use a body oil with it so that the paddle glides over your skin. I bought this organic jojoba oil to use with The Body Tool and I’m obsessed with it. Again it’s all-natural (just 100% organic jojoba oil) and I’m really happy with how the oil works on my skin. It leaves my skin looking dewy and feeling hydrated long afterward, doesn’t have a strong scent, and has that perfect balance of sitting on your skin and also being absorbed – meaning it doesn’t sit on your skin so much that it ruins your clothes, but also doesn’t absorb immediately so it feels like there isn’t anything there. I’m glad I got this product first to test the oil, but since I use so much of it I am looking for a place I can buy organic jojoba oil in bulk, but also in a glass container (I don’t love the idea of oil sitting in plastic and then applying that to my skin). I haven’t found one yet but I’ll keep you posted – and in the meantime, this oil is fantastic!

Phillips Sonicare Diamond Electric Toothbrush. Pre-pregnancy I was all about the manual bamboo toothbrush, and that suited me just fine. What I was surprised to find out during pregnancy is how the surge in hormones affects your oral health, and brushing, flossing, and general oral care need to be taken up another whole notch. When I went in for my annual cleaning, my dentist recommend that I invest in a Phillips Sonicare electric toothbrush – she said that this is the best toothbrush on the market, and especially during pregnancy I want the strongest cleaning power I can get (but that’s also gentle on the gums – I realized I was brushing too hard with my manual toothbrush and it was causing my gums to recede a little). I picked up the Phillips Sonicare Diamond because it was on sale at my local pharmacy, and it really has been a game-changer. At the time I couldn’t believe I was spending that much on a toothbrush, but it really is worth it. My gums don’t hurt or bleed from brushing anymore (bleeding gums is another fun pregnancy symptom) and my teeth get a superior clean, I’m no longer stressing over them or plaque build-up. Taking care of and investing in your oral health is important in general, but especially during pregnancy, and this is the best tool I use for it.

Headspace App. My meditation practice has been instrumental in my pregnancy. It has helped keep me calm in some uncertain situations that arose with our baby, and also makes my life in general easier and happier. It’s well known that stress and anxiety can affect the baby and a consistent meditation practice is my best method for combatting that. I’ve tried a variety of different apps throughout the years and this one is my favorite because of the huge library of meditations. I’m working through the “Pro-level” courses at the moment but I started with the beginner courses years ago and they really helped make meditation accessible and doable for me. They also have a selection of pregnancy-specific meditation courses as well!

Yoga Mamas. This is for you if you’re pregnant and live in Toronto. I stumbled upon Yoga Mamas when I was looking for acupuncture to help relieve what I thought were some really tough pregnancy symptoms (turned out it was just Covid! haha…). Yoga Mamas offers everything to guide you through your pregnancy and afterwards, too. They offer acupuncture, pregnancy-safe facials, massages, pelvic floor physiotherapy, hypnobirthing classes, pre- and post-natal yoga, newborn massages, and so much more – I encourage you to check out their website and see everything they offer, it’s extensive! I’ve started seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist there to help prepare me for birth, and I’m also starting their hypnobirthing course next week. It’s such a safe space where you can get answers to any questions you have and help with whatever you’re struggling with or concerned about. I love that a place like this exists, that is so dedicated to helping pregnant women and new mothers, and I look forward to using their services throughout the rest of my pregnancy and post-natal period as well (the newborn yoga class really piques my interest!).