Pregnancy Gear 101: Guide to Essential Pregnancy Gear

If you are pregnant or planning on getting pregnant, make sure you are equipped with the right pregnancy gear.

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on October 17, 2008
3 min read

Everyone's pregnancy experience is unique, but certain types of pregnancy gear can help smooth the way no matter what type of pregnancy you have. Here's WebMD trimester-by-trimester guide to essential pregnancy gear.

Preparing for pregnancy should begin before you even conceive, says Pamela Bertens, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.

"Folic acid prevents neural tube defects, so you need to start taking a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid even before you conceive and continue taking it throughout your pregnancy," Bertens tells WebMD. According to the March of Dimes, all women should take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid every day before pregnancy and during early pregnancy.

And when you do become pregnant, you'll need "a good commonsense resource about what is normal and what's not normal, whether a book or a close girlfriend's phone number," Bertens tells WebMD." A supportive spouse helps too."

Finally, add skin moisturizer to your pregnancy gear list, Bertens says. "A good moisturizer also helps as many pregnant women complain of dry, itchy skin."

Comfort is key as your body starts to expand, experts agree, so your pregnancy gear must-have list should include items that pamper you and your changing body. Bertens recommends that you try a maternity belt. Maternity belts are thick elastic straps that go under the stomach for extra support.

Comfortable shoes are also on WebMD's list of essential pregnancy gear. "Spiky heels may be fashionable, but they are not good for pregnancy," says Bertens. The main problem with high heels is that you are more likely to fall, and that can have devastating consequences during pregnancy.

You will also need to do some bra shopping as breasts typically increase by at least one cup size during pregnancy. "If you go to a specialized bra shop that is good at this, the saleswoman can help you get one bra for pregnancy and one for after if you decide to nurse that that will be the right size," says Bertens. Breastfeeding will increase your cup size still more.

Comfortable, loose-fitting maternity clothes are also important during pregnancy, says Nagaraj Gabbur, MD, the director of medical education and an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.

Many women find that extra pillows for the bed can make a big difference at night, Gabbur says. Consider buying a body or maternity pillow. Many women find that cuddling up with one of these large, soft pillows can help you sleep comfortably as your belly grows.

Heartburn is common during pregnancy, so Gabbur recommends putting Tums or Mylanta on your pregnancy gear list. Make sure you talk to your doctor before you take any medication during pregnancy.

Many future moms are superstitious and don't believe in buying anything for baby until they give birth. Still, Bertens recommends that you make an exception and purchase a car seat well before your due date. By law, you can't leave the hospital with your baby unless you have an infant car seat.

You will also need a crib, bassinet, pack-and-play, or some other designated place for the baby to sleep, even if that's in bed with you. If you are superstitious, have a crib picked out and paid for in advance and call the store to have it delivered once you do.

Finally, your pregnancy gear should include a few essential items to have when you come home from the hospital with your newborn:

  • Diapers. If you plan to use a diaper service, make arrangements ahead of time, or purchase disposable newborn diapers. You will also need diaper wipes and a safe, comfortable place to change your baby's diapers.
  • Baby clothing. Purchase and launder some newborn clothes and other items including blankets, booties, hats, towels, and washcloths.
  • A feeding plan: breast or bottle? If you plan to breastfeed your baby, you don't need any equipment. If you plan to bottle feed, you will need to purchase formula and bottles, which should be sterilized.