Pregnancy Products

I've had a secret career obsession for years: I always thought it would be fun to test new products on the market and then give my opinion on their efficacy, value and whether or not it was worth the money. Seeing as though that job is more elusive than attainable, I thought I would parlay that consumer-research passion by testing pregnancy products and then sharing my findings here!

When I first found out I was pregnant, I decided I would exclusively use 'pregnancy-safe products' on my face and skin. (There is debate - naturally - that using products containing salicylic acid could be dangerous to the growing fetus. And someone like me who has battled oily skin since puberty, salicylic acid is an imperative ingredient in facial products.) I came across the Belli product line, which touts itself as being 'all natural' and using ingredients safe for the baby. I purchased their face wash made with lactic acid and cucumber extract and all-day body lotion.

The products aren't terrible - but perhaps the timing of their purchase was ill-fated. I started using them at the onset of my morning sickness, so between my oversensitive sense of smell coupled with everything-I-came-into-contact-with-made-me-nauseated phase, I hated both of them. The cucumber extract had a malodorous smell and the actual cleanser didn't seem like it was actually cleansing. After I washed my face, I still felt like there was soap residue on my skin. And as far as the lotion, I let Joe use it (he loves his body products lol). I didn't feel like my skin was getting the hydration and 'nourishment' the label had promised. I was really disappointed with their two marquee products.

Bottom line: I wouldn't waste your money on this line.

FACE WASH: Basq Rebalancing Facial Cleanser
Now onto a fantastic discovery! I LOVE the Basq Rebalancing Facial Cleanser. It duals as a cleanser and exfoliator in one. Don't worry if you think you might be overexfoliating - the exfoliating properties are gentle and safe to use twice a day on a daily basis. You can find this product at Pea in the Pod - Millenia Mall. While slightly on the pricey side ($34 for a small container that lasts - if you can stretch the amount - for a month), I have noticed a dramatic difference in my skin. The redness and blotchy spots typically associated with pregnancy hormones are diminished. I highly recommend this product and can see myself using it long after Baby Boy G has arrived.

Bottom line: Yes, a worthwhile investment!

MATERNITY WEAR: Target, Old Navy, A Pea in the Pod
I remember before I got pregnant, I vowed that I would not fall into the trap of buying an entirely new wardrobe just for my pregnancy. I couldn't imagine spending money on clothes that would solely be worn for a few months. I was convinced I would be able to get away with only buying a few key pieces and in the famous words of Tim Gunn, "make them work." HA. Did I learn my lesson early on.

It's impossible. Unless you work from home every day and rarely leave the house, you need more than just a few key pieces. I was lucky that Jessica let me borrow a bin-full of her maternity clothes but even then - it wasn't enough.

I started looking for maternity wear at Target. I've always noticed the Liz Lange line but have to say: The choices are limited. I do like their casual T-shirts; those are quite comfortable and you can find them for around $12.

Old Navy (depending on store location) does carry a maternity line, but be sure you go to one of the high-volume locations. The one in Lake Mary is generally nice (for non-maternity wear) BUT the actual selection of clothes for pregnant woman literally comprises of two racks. It's pathetic. I've complained twice to the cashiers and both times, they agreed that their maternity offerings are limited. However, if you go to the Old Navy - Florida Mall, you will find they have triple the amount of maternity wear. Old Navy's prices are also very affordable so that is a definite plus. They have an extensive selection online, but I have yet to make an e-purchase.

I really love A Pea in the Pod clothing line. The clothes are well made and the fabric is high quality; I also think their line is flattering for a growing woman's physique. The problem is they are EXPENSIVE. It's hard to justify spending so much money on clothes that you will only wear for a few months. I did, however, discover that Macy's - Millenia Mall carries a wide selection of A Pea in the Pod merchandise. The trick is to wait until it goes on sale. Granted, you won't leave the store with some of the traditional 'steals' you would find at Macy's, but it is significantly less than what you would pay at A Pea in the Pod boutique.

Bottom line: Shop the sale racks, obviously, wherever you can. If you want high-end maternity wear, try to get it at partnering retailers such as Macy's because Macy's typically will discount them greater than the actual boutique. Old Navy is also a good choice when you can find a decent selection.

UNDERWEAR: Hanky Panky
Here is something I wish I would have known about early on in my pregnancy: One size fits all underwear. Yes, that's right. It's brilliant...the underwear essentially grows with you. That way, you don't have to spend money on new underwear during each phase of your weight gain (because you will have to buy new underwear during pregnancy. What you wore before you were with child will NOT fit you.) I like the Hanky Panky line and typically find it on sale at Nordstrom. For something more affordable, Maidenform at Macy's makes a similar "One size fits all" style; the only difference is quality of fabric.

Bottom line: For pregnant women out there, invest in this practical necessity that's also financially sensible. Stock up on this type of underwear when it's on sale!