Second Pregnancy Must-Haves

Hi Mamas! Now that the cat’s out of the bag, I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to write from a pregnancy standpoint again. I loved sharing my journey towards a natural birth when I was pregnant with Liam, and am thrilled to be able to share some of my experiences as both a toddler mom and an expecting mom for the second time. So much to write about!

With Liam, I went way overboard during my pregnancy . I got that enormous body pregnancy pillow, every possible cream, balm, and lotion for stretch marks, and all the pregnancy books I could get my hands on. However, I did miss some of the essentials – those little things that are easy to miss but make a world of a difference.

With the experience I gained from my first rodeo, here are some of the basics I think all second time moms should plan for, if possible:


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Left: Rumor Has It / Right: Evfalia

Granted, I was pregnant during the winter with Liam, but I didn’t splurge on maternity leggings until I was near the end of the third trimester and literally couldn’t fit into anything I owned. I never bought any jeans, either, and played the whole “I wear leggings as pants” card. No one ever bugs a pregnant woman ūüėČ

This time around, however, I’m already popping! Since it’s nice and warm in New York at the moment, I try to wear loose dresses most of the time, but I did have to buy some maternity pants much earlier than I thought I would. I didn’t remember how uncomfortable pants were during my first pregnancy.

Even my comfortable, workout leggings end up sucking all the air out of me by the end of the day. Not fun. Do yourself a favor and buy all the comfortable clothes before you desperately need them – it will make your first and second trimesters a lot easier.

Two of my favorite maternity legging brands are¬†Rumor Has It and Evfalia, both available on Amazon. They’re super soft, with a wide, comfortable waistband, and can be worn throughout all three trimesters. Check them out!

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With Liam, I started feeling lower back pain near the end of my second trimester and most of my third. This time around, I already get little pangs now and then, especially when I take stroller walks or have overall active days.

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AZMED Maternity Belt

I hated feeling so uncomfortable when I was pregnant with Liam, but never thought to purchase a maternity belt. It really helps ease the discomfort of pregnancy by supporting your baby bump and providing gentle compression in the abdominal, hip, and pelvic areas. It also helps prevent you from straining your back (you know what I’m talking about, toddler moms!) by lessening spinal pressure effectively. As a bonus, it also helps correct poor posture.¬†I got mine (pictured above) at a great price on Amazon!

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When you have long, tiring days with a toddler, it’s so important to get a good night’s sleep. I splurged on a few really, really comfortable cotton PJ sets to last me during my whole pregnancy and beyond, and it’s really helped me relax after those seemingly endless days of play dough and Bubble Guppies.

Same goes for bras – if you’re anything like me, you got rid of all your underwire bras during your first pregnancy (or save them for outings and special occasions, at the very least) and fell in love with padded bralettes and sports bras. Comfortable, practical, supportive, painless… a mom’s best friend! Forever 21 and H&M have a bunch of inexpensive options.

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I know, you only have one kiddo to worry about, so why the hassle? Trust me – I went through maybe five or six diaper bags and they were either too big, too small, too bulky, the zipper broke, the design was awkward… there was always something. Find a bag that you actually like to carry around, one that is designed intelligently, and is easy to care for. I found my dream diaper bag after about two years of bag hunting, and I love how easy it is.

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Washable Diaper Bag by Wild Baby

As you can see above, the bag is made of 100% upcycled denim, a zero waste process that makes premium-quality fabrics sustainable and eco-friendly. Totally my style!

The stroller straps are incredibly sturdy and work on basically any stroller. The bag is cotton lined and machine washable, a huge plus for us considering how much wear it gets. We take it everywhere!

The design is incredibly practical, with four side pockets (including a wipe dispenser and bottle pocket) that can literally fit all of the essentials. I love its casual, easy-going look and honestly have plenty of room to spare for baby #2. Get one here, you won’t regret it!¬†

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One of the best purchases I made this year was a reusable water bottle. Not only do I feel less guilty (I used to go through those Poland Spring bottles like no other!), but I can also track how much I drink throughout the day, something that is essential during pregnancy. I got my 32 oz bottle at TJ Maxx for under seven dollars. Do it!

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This one will be different for everyone. Whether you decide to jump into a swimming routine, morning walks, or Zumba classes, that’s entirely up to you! Follow your gut when you pick your workout, and listen to your body. You’ll know if you’re pushing yourself too hard and if it doesn’t feel right (just like I knew it was time to drop those early morning boot camp classes!)

I chose pilates because the mix of lengthening, toning, and stretching is everything I need right now. Having practiced pilates for about seven years now, I know which exercises involve too much curling up and lower ab work, so I just do what I can without straining. I’ve been loving reformer pilates because the springs and cables really assist my movements and make it a more gentle, fluid workout.

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LUCKAYA Non-Slip, Grip, Sticky Socks

For the reformer, I’ve been wearing these adorable cotton grip socks that help me feel cute during my workouts. They’re super affordable, come in a few different colors (black, pink, and gray), and, as a bonus, you’ll receive a 6 foot long stretching strap¬†to help you hold and extend poses as well as carry your yoga mat.

Grip socks mandatory on the reformer machine, but amazing for yoga, barre, ballet, mat pilates, and other workouts (even for walking down the halls of the hospital during labor!). This is the first brand of socks that truly makes me feel as if I’m working out barefoot. I love them! ¬†Get two pairs and a stretching strap¬†for under fifteen bucks¬†here!

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With my first pregnancy, I dumped all of my skincare and makeup products into the trash and went all organic. Although I must admit that was a little extreme, there is nothing more important that watching what you put in and on your body during pregnancy. There are many, many ingredients that can be harmful to your unborn baby, so it is essential to be informed and careful. For example, avoid all products with parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, retinoids (in prescription acne and anti-aging medications, for example), benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid.

The Australian-born brand¬†Milk & Co¬†stems from a yearning to make quality skincare products as easy and accessible as possible. Their women’s face & body line is 95% naturally derived and covers a wide range of products from sunscreens and body lotions to scrubs and face wash. I love their baby line as well, along with their amazing room sprays (we swear by the Stinky Winky spray!) Their goji fruit extract, ylang ylang oil, and hibiscus flower extract face wash is my absolute go-to during pregnancy. Check out their website here!

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The Cronometer app is my current obsession. I’ve always been a health and nutrition person, but this app really allows me to track what I eat and figure out what I’m lacking daily. I recently went vegan (that’ll be a blog post for another day), and it’s reassuring to see that I’m not deficient in anything, especially during pregnancy. Vegan or not, I think all pregnant moms should be attentive to their diets (especially during the first trimester when you’re surviving off of saltines and watermelon), and this app really helps you look at your diet objectively. There’s always room for improvement, and I love the challenge to be healthier every day!

To find out what else I couldn’t live without during my first pregnancy, check out my¬†“First Trimester Must-Haves”!


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Johanna Riehm teaches in the department of Communication and Media at Manhattanville College and in the department of English at Mercy College. She teaches courses in the history of communication, public speaking, and social media, as well as creative and technical writing workshops. Johanna’s work has been featured in Graffiti Literary Magazine, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Bangalore Review, Cactus Heart Press, and the LaMothe Review. She is working on her first longer work, a creative nonfiction novel called We Carved Our Names in Tamarind Trees.

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