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First Trimester Pregnancy Essentials

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First Trimester Pregnancy Essentials

First Trimester Pregnancy Essentials

Wait, why would I be an expert on first trimester goodies for pregnant women? That’s right: surprise! We’re expecting our first child in early 2018. We’re over the moon!

However, it didn’t matter how prepared I thought I was for pregnancy and all of its symptoms… It still surprised me the severity of some, especially while dealing with autoimmune disease like arthritis and thyroid disorder. Here are some of my favorite tips and items that made things go a little bit smoother those first 13 weeks!

Rest, nap, sleep, breathe… When you need it

The hardest thing for me to cope with during my first trimester was my guilt surrounding my need to nap… every single day. Even when my rheumatoid arthritis was at its worst, I had never felt more exhausted by simply waking up once I was pregnant.

It was a definite shock, but after I came to terms with the fact that is is more than okay to not only need a nap, but schedule one into each day, the easier things became. A sleep mask doesn’t hurt for those mid-day slumbers either.

Keep your doctors in the loop

If you’re like me and have chronic illnesses — most specifically autoimmune diseases — that you are currently on medication for, always make sure your doctors are in the loop. Personally, I have four specialist doctors who communicate between one another and decide the best treatment for my rheumatoid arthritis during my pregnancy.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of the women who goes into remission during pregnancy, so I’ve remained on injections during pregnancy. In fact, my doctors were second to know (outside of my husband and I!) that I was pregnant so we could decide the best course of action. Always make sure your medications are approved by all your doctors, especially your obstetrician(s). And don’t be afraid to do your own research and ask questions. It’s now about you and your baby when it comes to your treatment!

A wedge pillow

You’ll see so many people tout how wonderful maternity pillows are, but if you’re early in your pregnancy, it may be a little too soon to jump into the full body pillow. I’m a lifelong stomach-sleeper, so to get myself prepared to sleep on my sides, I dipped my toe in the water: I bought a pregnancy wedge pillow.

And you guys, the hiccapop wedge has changed my life! Not only is it great for pregnancy, but it is awesome for arthritis, too. It’s primarily marketed mostly for sleeping at night, but I use it when driving as a back support (hello, tailbone pain), when I’m at my desk, on the couch… everywhere! There are so many ways to use it, too: between the legs, elevating your feet, behind your neck to sit up comfortably in bed. This is definitely my favorite first trimester purchase, hands down.

Belly band

I genuinely didn’t think I would need a belly band until well into my pregnancy. You can imagine my surprise when, at 11 weeks, I would pull on a pair of shorts or jeans like usual and when I would attempt to button them… no dice. Ingrid & Isabel belly bands have been my favorite so far and they come in a variety of colors.

Early in pregnancy, you can fold the band down (in half) for a little extra support for your tiny growing bump. As it gets bigger, simply unroll it to cover your whole stomach!

Pregnancy bath salts and thermometer

These two little babies go hand in hand. Experts say no hot tubs during pregnancy due to how hot the water can get, but I absolutely love taking baths, especially for my arthritis. I invested – ha! – in an incredibly affordable bath thermometer I found off Amazon. Works quickly, is accurate and gives me peace of mind when I take a bath.

My other favorite pregnancy bath product is Pink Stork Flakes. I originally picked these up because they claimed they could ease morning sickness… and it helps! Salts are a great way to relax your muscles and ease pain in your joints, whether you’re an arthritis warrior like me or dealing with regular pregnancy pains.

Preggie Pops

I admire and I’m a little jealous of women who go through pregnancy without any sort of morning sickness. Luckily for me, vomiting didn’t come around too often, but the nausea was almost debilitating for the first 10 weeks. While I was given prescription medication, I would still pop a Preggie Pop if I was having a particularly nauseating afternoon or driving somewhere… anywhere (oh yes, I had pregnancy car sickness!).

Now that I’m off the medication, I use these every now and then to combat the errant nausea. They last a long time and are easy to keep in your purse or pocket!


What are your favorite tips on getting through the first trimester of pregnancy?

In Health

It’s World Arthritis Day!

You guys, it’s World Arthritis Day! I’m currently part of the Cure Arthritis Crew, which helps bring awareness to and support research to help fight arthritis diseases. Check out the awesome resources from curearthritis.org to learn more about how you can make a big difference on World Arthritis Day.
 
Last year, I was finally diagnosed with seronegative rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis after several years of mysterious pain and frankly, it has changed my entire life. Since then, I’ve learned a few things:

1) Invisible illness is real, y’all.

You may think the healthy-looking young man or woman taking up a seat on the bus, train or even a bench in the park is being selfish or parking in the handicap spot is wrong, but you may not know the pain they’re in. Someone may be super bubbly and seem totally physically capable out and about, but when they get home, they’re out of commission for an entire week because of pain. We’re good fakers.

2) It’s okay to be a “flake.”

I’ve lost touch with people because I either don’t have the energy to hang out, because of an arthritis flare or the activity is something I can no longer physically do. Some days are great days and some days are no-way-not-happening – you never know until it’s go-time. It’s also really difficult to see people you care about struggle – silence is sometimes how people cope with seeing others change with chronic illness.

3) Girl, you gotta rest.

Before my joint pain started, I used to do yoga, bike, run 5Ks and want to go-go-go on trips. I was even training for a half-marathon! Now, I’ve learned that I need to space out my physical activity (yes, even running errands, traveling, getting dressed up or social activities!). This was the hardest thing to learn and probably the most life-changing. I recommend looking up the spoon theory, if you’re interested in how this works!

4) Needles aren’t so scary anymore.

Now, I inject my arthritis medication myself on a weekly basis and have bloodwork done every 3-6 weeks. Even after several months of being on injections, sometimes when it’s time for me to inject, it’s almost impossible to find the courage to do it, but… it gets done. You can, too.

5) People with chronic illnesses of any kind are SO INCREDIBLY STRONG.

And when people reach out to others about how they’re physically feeling, it’s most likely because they can’t do it alone anymore. Finding the strength to reach out and ask for help is difficult, but makes you a total badass. For those of you with loved ones reaching out for help, lift those people up, support them. Everyone is fighting their own battle and we especially can’t compare our battles – physically or emotionally – with someone else’s. We all must speak up and support one another!
 
So, raise a glass to all of those folks battling arthritis diseases today – young and old! They’re some of the strongest people I know.

Sensitive Skin Beauty Products

Best Sensitive Skin Beauty Products

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.


The Best Sensitive Skin Beauty Products by brendadalton.com including The Honest Company, CeraVe, Caudalie and more! Visit brendadalton.com to read more.

 

One of the biggest battles for ladies with autoimmune diseases and sensitive skin is finding the best sensitive skin beauty products that don’t irritate!

As I’ve probably mentioned once or twice or a thousand times here on the blog, I have a gluten allergy. The thing is, for the longest time I didn’t realize that beauty products that had some sort of wheat or gluten had a negative effect on my skin, too.

I was all about the oatmeal scrubs and shampoos for their sweet smell, even if they were approved for sensitive skin, no parabens and other nasty stuff, or even products marketed as safe for babies, yet… I was always breaking out. Soon enough came the epiphany: duh, gluten was in my hair products!

When looking for the best beauty products for sensitive skin, always keep an eye out for sulfates, parabens and gluten (the latter only if you are, in fact, sensitive/allergic to gluten, of course!). Reach for those hypoallergenic brands. Here’s a rundown of my top five favorite sensitive skin beauty products:

TONYMOLY I’m Real Sheet Masks

When I pair these heavenly smelling sheet masks with an epsom salt bath in my jacuzzi tub, everything is right in the world. Sure, you look a little scary when the sheet mask is on, but I use these 1-2 times per week to add a little extra moisture, soothe and rejuvenate my skin.

It also doesn’t hurt that these smell heavenly! My favorites of the TONYMOLY I’m Real Sheet Masks are the red wine, tea tree, and rice. They each have a specific purpose and even the more strange scents like tomato are surprisingly relaxing and lovely to smell.

Caudalie Micellar Water

I wasn’t sure what to think of the Micellar Water trend when it first hit. What happened to soap and water? Why do they call it water? How is it even going to clean my skin? Y’all. This little product is now in my nightly and morning routine. I have combination skin, so I never know when I’m going to wake up oily or dry.

As long as I use this micellar water, I have no issues. It’s gentle on my super sensitive skin, yet is still powerful enough to take off waterproof mascara at the end of the day with two cotton swabs. It has a very light, soothing scent and as a bonus, it boasts toning properties as well.

Baebody Eye Gel

I’ll be real: I have a little bit of a love-hate relationship with the Baebody Eye Gel. I’m 30. I know I need to use some sort of eye moisturizer on a daily basis, but there’s something about putting more things on my face after I cleanse. But, I notice a massive difference on the mornings after I use this Eye Gel. It’s a little sticky when you first put it on, but after about 5-10 minutes, you don’t feel a thing. It is tremendous in clearing up puffiness and under-eye circles.

My eye wrinkles are hardly existent (thanks, Ray Bans), but I do think this eye gel has played a massive part in it over the last year, too! I’ve tried dozens of different brands of eye moisturizers and this is the only one I’ve encountered that doesn’t sting or break me out — and breaking out on the sensitive skin around your eye is the worst!

Honest Company Orange Blossom Shampoo & Body Wash and Orange Blossom Conditioner

Not only did I find a gluten-free shampoo and conditioner duo from The Honest Company, but it’s made without silicones, parabens, synthetic fragrances, dyes, formaldehyde carriers, ethoxylates or PEGs. And it’s vegan! They now have a scent-free version if your skin is sensitive to any type of fragrance, but the orange blossom is my all-time favorite since it leaves a subtle scent in your hair that isn’t overpowering one bit. I just love this stuff.

Pssst, you can get 30% and free shipping on your first bundle from The Honest Company through this link! I set mine up to deliver every 6-8 weeks with shampoo, body wash, and sunscreen!

CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion

This one is a beauty staple for anyone with sensitive skin. It’s mild, no fragrance and doesn’t leave your skin feeling gooey like a lot of lotions. My routine is jump out of the shower, CeraVe it up, and within just a few minutes, my skin is dry and smooth and ready to get dressed. In my opinion, trying to put clothes on when your lotion is still wet and hasn’t soaked in is the absolute worst, especially if they leave streaks on your clothes. None of that with CeraVe lotion. I even keep the travel sizes in my purse!

Sensitive skin beauty products honorable mentions:


Disclaimer: Not all beauty products may be a good fit for your skin, despite claims of hypoallergenic, sensitive-skin safe, etc. These recommendations are an opinion only and brendadalton.com is not liable for any reactions or outcomes by purchasing products listed. Always test on a small portion of skin and check with your doctor for professional advice!