Before I got pregnant, I heard some of my friends say how they loved pregnancy. I expected this to be the reality for me too, and it just wasn't, although I've found some things that have really helped me get through it. These are my essentials, must-haves, and favorites for surviving the 9 months.

From top left: AG Jeans, Brooks Launch 3 Running Shoes, Thinksport Water Bottle, Sseko D'Orsay Flats, Bump Nest Pillow, Earth Mama Angel Baby Tea Sampler, Murchison-Hume Plant Based Cleaning Products, Expecting Better, Preggo Leggings, Julep Polish, Belly Band, Jarrow Probiotics.

Jeans: One pair of maternity jeans will take you so far in a maternity wardrobe. These are my favorite and are incredibly well made. Perfect color, distressing, length, and stretch. Get your pre-pregnancy size and be prepared to want to wear everyday.

Running Shoes. My favorite are these by Brooks. I used to be a regular runner, and stopped altogether in my first trimester when I got so horribly sick for four months. I struggled through a my second trimester with a harsh winter that didn't allow for much outside time, and I finally picked it back up again when it started to turn warmer and I entered my third trimester, at a time when most people probably stop running. My first run shocked me in lots of ways; I was much heavier, had a pregnant belly, and hadn't run in 6 months, but for the few minutes when I was running, I felt like myself again. It's been a game changer for me, and even though I'm much slower and larger, I wouldn't trade the endorphins for anything. I hope to continue being active for the rest of my pregnancy.

Water bottle. It's so important to stay hydrated during pregnancy, and I really tried to up my water intake with a pretty (non-plastic) water bottle. I really wanted a white one and found this one, that has a narrow mouth and bottle top attachment, and is vacuum insulated so drinks stay really cold. I think the narrow mouth attachment is so much easier to drink out of than the standard wide mouth that comes with so many steel water bottles, so this was a lucky find.

Leggings. Preggo Leggings makes these that are great for working out or just as a closet staple. (Bonus: they're half the price point of others I've tried (Blanqi) and just as good if not better quality.)

Belly Band. Useful for when you want to squeeze into your pre-pregnancy jeans. I have a generic one in black, similar here.

Pregnancy Pillow. The one I have and love is by Bump Nest. There's not one "right" way to use it so you can mold it to how it best works for you. Helpful for avoiding waking up with sore hips. (Note: Bump Nest is taking a break, but you can find their pillows here.)

Sseko D'Orsay Flats. When nothing else fits, get new shoes. These are comfortable, stylish and contribute to a greater cause, giving employment and college scholarships to women in Uganda. I love wearing fashionable items that make a difference, and it feels especially fitting to support women globally while pregnant.

Probiotics: In addition to taking prenatal vitamins, probiotics can be something your doctor recommends (of course always check anything you take, prenatally or not, with your healthcare provider). Helpful for increasing good bacteria, which is good for the immune system and a variety of other functions. I learned that the type and amount of good bacteria I have in my body is what I will pass onto my baby during the process of birth, so I'm being strategic about upping my intake. I like this one by Jarrow Formulas because it's shelf stable and doesn't require refrigeration. (I've been getting questions on which prenatal vitamins I take, I like food based ones like these along with DHA, similar here.)

Lashes: This is such an indulgence, but for special occasions I really love eyelash extensions. I get mine done by Rachel at Lash On Wax Off. Anything that makes me feel pretty while pregnant is a big win for me, and these last for weeks on me and have saved countless hours of getting ready time. Especially perfect for new mom life where you have little sleep and no time for mascara application.

Polished Nails: It sounds silly, but having my nails done was helpful in feeling more like myself while I was pregnant. My favorite line of polish is Julep for their five-free formula, and my go-to bright red is Tamara.

Natural Skincare Products. I switched to mostly natural makeup and skincare products. For makeup I like Jane Iredale, for face: Tata Harper, for hair/body: Dr. Bronner's, for belly oil: Zoe Organics. See more in-depth posts on that here and here.

Teas. For an afternoon pick me up when you're trying to limit your caffeine intake. Earth Mama Angel Baby makes a Mama to Be Tea Sampler which has an awesome variety specifically formulated for pregnancy.

Safe Cleaning Products. For all that nesting. I like the plant-based line by Murchison-Hume; this Hand Care Set and Tray looks fancy on the counter and the scent is divine.

Books I loved: Expecting Better by Emily Oster, And Baby Makes Three by John and Julie Gottman, Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman.

Books I did not like: What to Expect When You're Expecting (AKA What Could Go Wrong When You're Expecting; I don't need to know every little possibility there) And all the pregnancy apps. I have friends who loved them and wanted to know what size fruit their baby was each week. This probably works great for someone who is less type A than me, but it turned out to be too much information for me to worry about (ie "The lungs are developing this week!") so I deleted them all.

Those are my must-haves! Would love to hear your favorites as well.

Shared in partnership with all companies listed, and links are affiliate. Product choices and opinions are my own.