What doesn't my pregnant wife know she needs?
July 20, 2009 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Just found out that wifey is pregnant! I'd like to get her some small present(s), but it's too early for cravings, and she already has all of the books....what are some things that "all" pregnant wives need?

Sorry if this is a dupe, but my searches kept on bringing up general pregnancy advice threads. We just found out that my wife is pregnant with our first. We're still at the very, very early stages, and while I'm aware that things can go wrong at this point, we're very excited. I'd like to pick up some things to help my wife, or generally just try to be a good husband. She has just about every "what to expect" as well as "funny pregnancy story" book printed. She's not craving anything yet, and has no outward body changes at this point, so new clothes/etc aren't going to work. She has been nauseous throughout the day (so much for "morning" sickness), but that's about it. Is there something that neither she nor I know yet that she's going to need? Should I just wait and address issues as they pop up?

posted by um_maverick to Human Relations (46 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Gift certificates for back massage.
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 10:00 AM on July 20, 2009

And the best parenting book ever
The Poo Bomb
posted by BrodieShadeTree at 10:01 AM on July 20, 2009

I'd tackle the morning sickness/nausea for now, maybe...peppermint and ginger are good for settling stomachs, and should be also okay for a pregnant woman to ingest in conservative quantities (i.e., a cup of peppermint tea a couple times a day is probably okay, but drinking ten gallons may be funky). A little "morning sickness care package" of some peppermint tea bags and some peppermint hard candies and a couple pieces of candied ginger, wrapped up in a cute mug, would be kind of sweet. If you know what her mom did for comfort food when she was little (i.e., a lot of moms made Jell-o for their kids when they had tummy trouble), you could tuck a little of that in their too (in this case, a package of Jello mix -- I'm not suggesting you make it and drop a scoop in there).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:01 AM on July 20, 2009

Oh, and congrats and good luck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:01 AM on July 20, 2009

I'm no expert at 11 weeks pregnant myself, but I do have a few ideas. You can find these little candies to relieve nausea at most maternity stores and places like Babies R Us. They have been helping me a bit. You might also get her some sort of lotion or a kit like this one. Otherwise, offering to do a little extra around the house so she can rest is fantastic; for me, as my nausea and sense of smell has escalated, grocery shopping and food prep have become almost unbearable, so my husband has really picked up the slack in those areas and I couldn't be more grateful. By the way, congratulations!
posted by katie at 10:03 AM on July 20, 2009

A baby book? You can start documenting baby um_maverick's life from the very beginning. Or maybe an empty scrap book for capturing pregnancy memories? Jewelry is always nice too. Congrats!
posted by booksandwine at 10:03 AM on July 20, 2009

Maybe a little keepsake, like a piece of jewelry or something? Personally I'm not big on stuff like this, but I think a lot of women would love something to remember the beginning of such a life altering experience.

As a pregnant lady, in the early stages myself, I can tell you that the most invaluable thing you can give to her is a positive attitude. Sympathy and enthusiasm are awesome too, so maybe you should pick yourself up a 'pregnancy for dads' type book to show her you're trying your darndest to understand what she's going through.

I have to admit, I was a little heartbroken when my hubby asked me "what the hell is an ultrasound?".
posted by sunshinesky at 10:10 AM on July 20, 2009

Make her a coupon book. Give her a TON of coupons for back massages, foot massages, dinner out, dinner in, you'll do the errands/chores, you'll happily go baby equiptment shopping, and a few that are tailored to her interests and not so baby related.

Then when the baby's born buy her jewellery. Nice jewellery. :D
posted by Abbril at 10:21 AM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

OK, never having been pregnant, I feel like a fun cute thing might be a gift certificate for "anything ridiculous." Tell her to save it for anything weird or wonky she wants later in the pregnancy.

- Homemade pickle and peanut butter ice cream? Cash that certificate in!
- An entire night of pregnancy farts endured with no comments/jokes? Cash that certificate in!
- Please for the love of God stop talking, your voice is making me nauseous? Cash that certificate in!

The possibilities are endless. Congratulations!
posted by harperpitt at 10:23 AM on July 20, 2009 [3 favorites]

sorry abbril perhaps i should cash my gift certificate in for hitting preview
posted by harperpitt at 10:25 AM on July 20, 2009

I'll second some of sunshinesky; Some evidence that you, too, are going into 'nesting' mode. This could be the laying in of things you'll need when the baby arrives and squaring away things you'll be too distracted or cash-strapped to do in a few months.

You'll want to balance some of these practical things with some impractical impulses, too. Take her someplace you've been wanting to go that you don't think would be easy to tour with children in tow. Seems like a perfect time for a romantic getaway to me.

Mostly because this became a popular activity after our children were born, but we came across so many really well-written blogs of people documenting their pregnancy and early-parenting adventures that it might be fun to populate a bookmark folder on her browser with a compilation of these.

Congratulations and good luck!
posted by yamel at 10:28 AM on July 20, 2009

I'm gonna have to go with a formal "contract" with sweet language telling her that you'll be there for her and the baby no matter what because you know how hard it is going to be on her. I think this goes much farther than a traditional "gift" would go.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:28 AM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding the back massage. In fact, I would try to get her to (and spring for) regular massages, with someone who also knows about baby massage, so both of you can learn how to massage your newborn (they usually like it at lot).
posted by Danf at 10:37 AM on July 20, 2009

Buy a Snoogle (body pillow) and some tummy honey butter (YMMV but of my pals and myself, no stretch marks).

Go on vacation now if you can.

Start watching your local Craigslist to see what standard prices are for baby stuff.

I had a super easy pregnancy and talk of PB and pickles irked me.
posted by k8t at 10:39 AM on July 20, 2009 [2 favorites]

Congrats! My wife and I are six months into our first pregnancy, and what my wife (and I suspect all wives) really wants is a pair of very comfortable shoes that don't look totally dumb. I recommend Keens, Merrels and Earth Shoes. Also—and I know it's early so there's no way to tell how things will go—consider buying them a half-size bigger than normal; there's gonna be some swelling in the hand and feel department soon.
Another nice thing, echoing somewhat some above comments, would be to try your very best to know at least as much as she does about the way in which you've chosen to give birth, the intermediate steps on the way to doing it, and the terminology involved.
posted by littlerobothead at 10:48 AM on July 20, 2009

ginger are good for settling stomachs
Ooh! Ooh! Candied ginger! And Bundaberg Ginger Beer, which is non-alcoholic and tastes amazing!

An oversized terry robe and some soft, fluffy, large, cushioned slippers for when her ankles are swelling and her feet hurt

A long necklace with charms with her birthstone and your birthstone, and you can get her a charm with the baby's stone once it is born
posted by Night_owl at 10:48 AM on July 20, 2009

Congrats! Lots of good advice above. My wife had lots of nausea throughout the day during the first trimester and ginger ale really helped. To keep things interesting, I went to some specialized soda stores and got her various kinds of natural ginger ale to try out.

Also, she was just really tired and not up to what had been her share of household chores, so, it is less glamorous, but stepping up and more cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping than you normally do, will likely be very helpful and deeply appreciated.

Enjoy! Our kiddo is now 4 months hold and the best thing that ever happened to us.
posted by krudiger at 10:54 AM on July 20, 2009

Reed's Ginger Chews for nausea and some shea butter lotion are good choices. If you include massage certificates, purchase them from a spa that offers pre-natal massages. Maybe include a quality small baby toy just for the fun of it, like a Haba rattle or toy.
posted by buttercup at 10:55 AM on July 20, 2009

My wife would not have slept at all the 3rd trimetser without her Snoogle Pillow (not that she really did the 2nd time around though...)
posted by doorsfan at 10:58 AM on July 20, 2009

I love pregnancy massage. A gift certificate for that would be great.

With all the ginger recommendations, I just had to pop in to warn your wife through you: If her nausea ramps up into full-blown vomiting, ginger is one of the worst things in the world to puke up. If her experience with morning sickness is like mine, it will not settle her stomach; it will just come back up like everything else, and it. will. burn.
posted by palliser at 11:28 AM on July 20, 2009


- Cleaning (especially the bathroom) & cooking.
- Body pillow.
- Do everything you can and more during the first trimester. My wife was either sleeping, working or tossing her cookies during those first weeks, sometimes two at a time.
posted by cdmwebs at 11:34 AM on July 20, 2009

A lot of people are recommending the Snoogle, but I had this one, that I loved oh-so-very-much.

Nthing candied ginger and anything else she may think helps with her morning sickness when it kicks in. The Poland Spring lime flavored carbonated water was equally as good as the candied ginger for me.

And I know this post is more about what things you can buy her, but when it comes right down to it, the best thing for a pregnant woman is a very engaged support person or two. Take some of the money you want to spend on her and put into a doula fund --- a good doula is worth every penny, and especially if something doesn't go as planned during labor (I was so thankful to have my doula with me during the stitching up process of the c-section while my husband was with the baby in the nursery --- I would have been alone otherwise, and that would not have been good). Learn about birth on your own. Learn about labor on your own. Learn about interventions and when they're used and when they should be used. Go to her prenatal appointments (or as many as you can). Ask the doc or midwife your own questions. Listen to your wife about what she wants from this pregnancy and this birth, and be her advocate for those things during both the pregnancy and the labor.
posted by zizzle at 11:34 AM on July 20, 2009

I didn't need too much when I was in my first or second trimester...I was thankfully spared morning sickness and fatigue of the 1st trimester and was the same size (and in my regular clothes) through the first half of my pregnancy.

But now that I am well into my 3rd trimester (34 weeks), things have changed and Mr. Murray has been an incredible gift to me. He rubs my feet that ache, even though I am rarely on them for long these days. He does all of the grocery shopping and cooking and calls every night on the way home from work to see if I need anything. He does a lot of the cleaning that I have no energy to perform.

But the best gift? He makes me feel beautiful and sexy and loved all of the time. I have always been thin and I have had a hard time looking at my previously flat belly and feeling like anyone could find me attractive...Mr Murray let's me know that he does. He doesn't cringe or act repulsed when I groan and moan and roll around like a manatee trying to get off the sofa or out of bed. And although he laughs when my previously-controlled and discreet flatulence is....well... no longer under my control and far from discreet, the kindness and love in his eyes shows me that the laughter is good-natured and non-shaming.

In short, love her and appreciate her and show her every opportunity you get.
posted by murrey at 11:44 AM on July 20, 2009 [3 favorites]

A BellaBand! It will let her wear normal pants for a little longer once her shape starts changing.
posted by chiababe at 11:46 AM on July 20, 2009 [6 favorites]

I have a 5-month-old at home right now, and agree with many of the suggestions above! Anything that can help tame morning sickness is fantastic, as well as those little things that make you feel comfy and relaxed (love the terry robe and slippers idea). Something that might interest her in the coming months would be gift certificates for pedicures. From my experience, nothing beats a good foot rub and some pretty looking toes when your feet are tired and swollen and you can't reach your toes to paint them. I was overjoyed when someone gave me a gift certificate for a foot/leg massage and pedicure.

Anyway, congrats!!!
posted by I_love_the_rain at 11:50 AM on July 20, 2009

Depending on your wife's preferences and overall temperament - and I hesitate to write this, but I'm serious - you should consider being more proactive than normal in making her feel sexy and loved, particularly between the second and third trimester. Again, this varies by woman, but my wife enjoyed oral sex more than normal during the last trimester - partly because she felt fat, partly because her clothes didn't fit and so she didn't feel sexy, and partly because she was uncomfortable all the time. So towards the end of her pregnancy, it seemed like I was giving her oral sex 4 times a week. I doubt that you'll find that in "What to Expect When You're Expecting" but there you go.
posted by scunning at 12:02 PM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

EXPENSIVE (not canfields) ginger ale. Taking over all pet duties, and some nice sparkling grape juices in nice bottles...since she can't drink anymore.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:07 PM on July 20, 2009

Wow! Thanks for all of the advice. It sounds like the general ideas are: something to ease the nausea, something to help her sleep, something memorable, something to make her laugh, something to make her feel loved/attractive, and, most importantly, someone (me!) to be there for everything along the way. I'm probably going to put together a basket with the items above and wrap it all up. Thanks for all your help, and if you have any other ideas, by all means fire them in!

posted by um_maverick at 12:16 PM on July 20, 2009

Sleep. She needs sleep. Since you can't actually give her sleep, take over some of the house stuff that she normally does so she can nap at will.
posted by 8dot3 at 12:17 PM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

DATES. With you. Nice dates. Romantic dates. Long dates. Short dates. And I'm not talking about fruits, however those are pretty tastey.

Not saying you didn't already go out on dates before she became pregnant, but you have to ramp these up now because as the months wear on it's going to be more difficult and then baby's there and what are you bringing home for take out (or cooking).
posted by cavalier at 12:20 PM on July 20, 2009

So towards the end of her pregnancy, it seemed like I was giving her oral sex 4 times a week. I doubt that you'll find that in "What to Expect When You're Expecting" but there you go.

Tangent: I swear I've actually read somewhere that this NOT a good idea, because it could cause an air embolism somewhere and potentially be FATAL (I know this sounds bizarre, and its very bizarre-ness is why I remember this because I read it in passing and boggled, and went back and said, "wait, did I read that right?....I did indeed. Wow"). So you may want to double-check on that.

Of course, if anyone has heard otherwise from any pregnancy book, your "but it says on page 54 of 'The Pregnant Girl's Guide to nookie' that it's okay" trumps my "I read it somewhere once and it freaked me out".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:20 PM on July 20, 2009

And it's obvious and cliche, but flowers. Doesn't have to be a huge FTD bonanza with stuffed bears. It's extra woo'ing now so she knows you are there and totally committed with her so she can feel better when her heart and head start doing flipflops in a few weeks.
posted by cavalier at 12:21 PM on July 20, 2009

EmpressCallioygos you probably read that in What to expect ... (the book of doom) and it has been debunked.
posted by saucysault at 12:40 PM on July 20, 2009 [2 favorites]

saucysault, I think I actually read it elsewhere - and it more specifically said that they were talking about during the last 2 months. ...But it sounds more like this is a really rare and remote thing, on the other hand.

But seeing as I not only am not pregnant, I also have no impending plans to become so, I maybe shouldn't be speaking with any sort of claim to the veracity of this anyway. :-)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:48 PM on July 20, 2009

From saucysault's link:

"He and other doctors also say that although the book offers generally sound advice, there are a few notable exceptions: for example, the warning that performing oral sex on a pregnant woman can create an embolism that could kill both mother and fetus. ''That is utter, utter rubbish,'' Dr. Anthopoulos said."
posted by scunning at 12:49 PM on July 20, 2009

No, I read the link, scunning, I was more clarifying for myself that the article itself was saying that it was about oral sex during pregnancy PERIOD, but I was only talking about during the last two months, and that maybe that was where my confusion came in -- that during MOST of your pregnancy it's okay -- but then I said skip it because it's not anything I actually need to worry about anyway.

Let's have pie.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:09 PM on July 20, 2009

As a pregnant lady, in the early stages myself, I can tell you that the most invaluable thing you can give to her is a positive attitude. Sympathy and enthusiasm are awesome too, so maybe you should pick yourself up a 'pregnancy for dads' type book to show her you're trying your darndest to understand what she's going through.

This is your best answer right here. This is a long term proposition you're embarking on here, it's overwhelming and life changing, and even more so for her than for you. Show her that you are right there with her starting now, and continuing for the next 18 years. Go to her OB visits, sign up for the child birth classes, go together and pick out baby furniture, go buy her Saltines, prenatal vitamins, and ginger candy. Don't smother her, but show her every day that you are participating.

I, too, thought I should get her some kind of trinket to show my excitement and make her happy but nothing ever really seemed appropriate or wanted other than a lifetime of unconditional love and support.

Does she have a nice camera? You're going to be taking lots of pictures, that might be a good idea.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:51 PM on July 20, 2009

Nice camera is a check - we picked up an SLR back in January. I'm doing my darndest for enthusiasm, too...it's actually kinda hard to hold it all in check :) I got a couple of being-a-good-dad books from paperbackswap, but they all seem to be a bit tongue in cheek, which is kind of upsetting...seems like the assumptions are that dads are just in it for the lulz. Are there any go-to books for dads to be (besides the poo bomb, of course?)
posted by um_maverick at 2:42 PM on July 20, 2009

The Expectant Father series are really good straight forward books. The sequels are The New Father and Fathering Your Toddler seem pretty good. Personally, I think the reason why so many new dad books are so tongue in cheek is that reading about this stuff is so god awful boring to most male sensibilities. I actually liked (and used the advice of) Be Prepared the most -- very practical and easy to hold my millisecond-long attention span.

Congratulations by the way. Baby Bartfast is 3 months old today and it's been an amazing, surprising thing.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:59 PM on July 20, 2009

seems like the assumptions are that dads are just in it for the lulz

Ugh, this annoyed me to no end (and made me realize what a market there might be for SERIOUS men's "What to Expect" type books). I recommend this one, if you're looking for something more serious and informational.

It doesn't read like a manual for your stereo, and avoids the insulting "Duh, I got 'er knocked up! My boys can shure swim!" stereotypes.

posted by pkphy39 at 3:26 PM on July 20, 2009

DANGIT, defeated by Slarty Bartfast and my lack of "Preview". 2nd the Expectant Father
posted by pkphy39 at 3:28 PM on July 20, 2009

Lots of hot sex if she's into it...always a good gift
posted by kathrineg at 4:39 PM on July 20, 2009

Say this: "I love you and you are beautiful."

Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. The "be supportive" advice and reading a few books should be givens. But saying "I love you and you are beautiful" goes beyond mere support, and it seems to help me at any point in my pregnancies.

Oh, and don't buy just one massage/facial/pedicure gift certificate -- buy a slew of them. At first you just want to feel nice during some rough weeks. But in that third trimester, you can't reach your toes, etc -- you need help to get pretty. :-) Ask your wife's friends where she'd like to go rather than just guessing.

And welcome to the best of the rest of your life (we're expecting #3 just around the corner)...

Afterwards? Anything that helps her sleep or get rest is perfect for about the first 3 months. Don't forget to keep saying "I love you and you're beautiful."
posted by mdiskin at 6:03 PM on July 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Spoil her with lots of tangible goodies, but don't forget the intangible ones as well. I just painted my preggie wife's toes. It wasn't a magnificent job, but I think she liked that I tried. She also likes an unprompted deep back rub (lower back) and foot rub before bed. Not a fancy present, but she seems satisfied with the mere idea of "trying" on my part.
posted by boots77 at 6:12 AM on July 21, 2009

Definitely the Bella Band: that one little tube saved me lots of money on pants during my first 1.5 trimesters.

And on preview, mdiskin has it nailed. Ask her how she is feeling, and listen to what she says. You might be able to find a massage therapist who specializes in pregnancy massage. Those blissful hours saved my sanity and my body. I advise women to schedule a pedicure for their due dates. That way, if the baby comes, the appointment can be cancelled. If the baby doesn't come, it can be a hard day for mum, so at least she'll have something fun to do, and pretty toes for the birth. I would have found this very thoughtful if it had come from my husband.

Oh, a special piece of jewellry would be nice too.
posted by ms.v. at 9:44 AM on July 21, 2009

Take care of her, plain and simple. She'll need your support. To that end reach out to your friends and family and get some support for yourself. It'll be a trip for both of you.

Movies will be hard with the new family member. Go out to the theater now. Consider signing up for NetFlix.

Do a trip if you can. 2nd trimester she may feel better but there are travel restrictions after a point.

A charm bracelet partly filled out can be fun and thoughtful.
posted by deanj at 8:20 PM on July 21, 2009

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