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Gift Ideas for Expectant Mothers

By Amalah



So, I am in that point in one’s life where it seems that every time I turn around another friend is pregnant! I LOVE giving gifts. And I especially like to treat the mom-to-be with a little something just for her. I mean, anybody can go out and buy some baby clothes, and by default they’re going to be adored because they are, well, ADORABLE. But, when I learn a friend is pregnant, I want to get just HER something nice. Usually, my go-to-gift is a fun book of baby names, some Godiva truffles, and a jar of my homemade pickles…ha ha, get it?? Nothing elaborate, just a “Congratulations! I am thinking of you and so happy to hear the news!” sort of thing.

But, with the weather getting warmer, I don’t want to ship chocolates. I’d like to mail some nice bath products instead. But, I have no idea what a pregnant lady might find good or useful. I only have a dog! Were there any bath or skincare products that you really liked while pregnant? Or maybe something totally random that you received when you were expecting that would ship well? I Googled “gift ideas for expectant mothers” and got a great article about hiring a decorator to help with the nursery designs or a new digital camera! Haahaaaheehaa…yeah. I’ll do that as soon as I can remember where I misplaced my trust fund. So, nothing that’s going to break the bank, ya know?

All the best,

Well, damn. It’s obvious that none of MY friends cared enough to Google “gift ideas for expectant mothers” because I received ZERO digital cameras or interior decorators when I was pregnant. Thanks for nothing, FRIENDS.

(Thanks for the entry title idea, though!)

I LOVE your ideas, by the way — particularly the homemade pickles. That’s outstanding. I would have eaten the whole jar in one sitting. (FULL DISCLOSURE: I would still eat the whole jar in one sitting.)

As for bath products — yes, also a very good idea. You would not believe the crazy stuff that happens to a pregnant woman’s skin. I itched for months. I got weird bumps and spots. I was extra sweaty. And I loved taking baths. I loved bubble bath, those fizzy bath bomb things, bath oils (sooooo good for the inexplicable itching), really nice moisturizers…whatever. If you have a favorite bath product, I bet your pregnant friends would be thrilled to get some.

We’re cranky and swollen, but essentially not all that picky.

A few general guidelines for giving skincare/bath stuff to pregnant women, in case you want to be extra thorough with your shopping: Her sense of smell may be heightened, and she may actively recoil from certain scents and fragrances (especially in the first trimester). So stay away from anything with a really strong, overpowering smell. Think light, fresh, clean. Lemon is good, especially if she’s suffering from morning sickness.

Or! I kind of love this idea! You could swap out the chocolate truffles for some chocolate bath products (like this set by Philosophy) to keep with your pickles and chocolate idea. Or thisHershey’s Sweet Chocolate Body Butter, for a cheaper option. If she has a sense of humor, this set of cocktail-and-booze-related body washes> or the “Congratulations Bubbly” body wash would be fun.

(Though some women might be sensitive to stuff that smells like “food.” I was VERY ILL for a good six months of my second pregnancy and while I think I would have been fine with the chocolate and cocktails and citrus, I get some nostalgia nausea by imagining my pregnant self smelling some of Philosophy’s other offerings, like “vanilla birthday cake” or “pink frosted layer cake” or oh God, don’t send anything that smells like cake.)

(Real cake, on the other hand, is fine. Fake cake, no. Ugh.)

Besides the smell, some pregnant women are going to be extra cautious about ingredients. Natural and organic are good. “Real” ingredients are good. My mother-in-law got me some handmade olive oil soap and a body oil at a farmer’s market and oh my God, that stuff was amazing. (I would TOTALLY recommend a bunch of stuff from LUSH here, but it’s all labeled “may melt” on their website, so…not really solving the shipping problem. But you get the idea. Think green!)
Now…personally, I would NOT have really dug one of those mother-to-be gift sets that are all about the stretch mark creams. Thanks to my first pregnancy, I know firsthand that most of these products don’t actually work. You either get stretch marks or you don’t. You’re playing the genetic lottery, and while moisturizing your skin is good, there is no magic ingredient in any of the anti-stretch-mark creams that actually, clinically, conclusively prevent stretch marks. Also (and this is JUST ME, mind you), I can’t help but think that reminding a newly pregnant woman about stretch marks via a gift early on is a little: “here you go, good luck down the road when you get really fat and stretched out and whee!” I’ll buy my own Mustela or Palmer’s Cocoa Butter, thank you. For a gift from a friend, I’d prefer a little non-pregnancy-related indulgence that doesn’t remind me of the not-fun aspects.

(Also more pickles.)

Photo by eek the cat

Published May 1, 2009. Last updated March 27, 2018.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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