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22 “Therapy Dupes” to Soothe Your Pregnant Self

Top women in the wellness world share the stuff that kept them cool, comfortable, and a little less angsty while housing another human. Cucumbers optional.
Angela Roma/Pexels

The summer of 2009 was an interesting one at Allure. I was the beauty director there, attending Chanel events, interviewing the latest celeb to launch a fragrance—and ordering black-and-white milkshakes from the restaurant across the street on the reg.

I was pregnant with my first child, and that shake (the best flavor—fight me!) was more than just delicious. It became a calming ritual for me, something to look forward to and savor despite third-trimester back pain and the discomfort of waddling up and down subway stairs in 80-degree weather. As I was putting the touches on my other baby—Allure’s Best of Beauty Awards—I went into labor with my first son, who’s now almost 14.

Back then, the term “therapy dupe”—a TikTok trend to describe things that can kinda-sorta-but-not-really serve as a “duplicate” for a therapy session—didn’t exist. (TikTok itself wouldn’t come into being for another decade.) In retrospect, I realize that shake was a dupe for me.

Of course, real therapy is actual therapy. No amount of Haagen Dazs is going to solve problems that need talking out with a pro. But when you’re pregnant and le miz, it’s nice to have little moments that help you feel “normal” again.

Psychologist Rachel Goldman, Ph.D., who just had her second child, achieved such moments this way: “focusing on my self-care, getting together with friends, and continuing to do the things I love doing and that make me feel like me.”

GOTTA READ: Why Building a Pregnancy Village Is So Important

A few other things made her life easier, including “prenatal massages, leggings that expand with my belly, and some clothes that make me feel good, as what we wear impacts our mood and mental health, too,” says Dr. Goldman, a clinical assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine.

Do socks count? Because Jordan Reid, a lifestyle influencer and mom of two, turned to her Bombas Women’s Everyday Compression Socks, $28, when pregnant.

“If you’re having some circulatory problems thanks to the human being currently shoving your organs into parts unknown, these knee-high compression socks have tangible benefits and feel like a hug for your feet and calves,” says Reid, who talks openly about having anxiety (including during pregnancy). ”Also, they’re cute, so you won’t feel like you’re wearing…you know…compression socks.” 

Reid recently published her third book, The Big Journal for Pregnant People, which she calls “the ultimate therapy dupe.”

“When I was pregnant, I got very into baby journals, but seriously: baby journals? The baby is not journaling. Even so, the options were limited mostly to super-saccharine or extremely generic journals that just didn’t feel especially relevant to my experience,” Reid says. “[My co-author and I] wanted to give pregnant people a way to engage with their emotions, their anxieties, and their memories in a way that feels both meaningful and fun.” 

Beyond socks and journals, here are the “dupes” that 10 other health and wellness pros relied on to soothe mind and (very pregnant) body.

All products featured on Mental have been selected independently and editorially. When you buy from our links, we may earn a commission.

Katie Becker, beauty and wellness expert

Writer for Vogue and former beauty & health director at Elle

8 Eight Sleep mattress, from $2,195

“I hate it when universal words or wisdom are true, but a good night’s sleep is a complete revelation for my mood and body. I’ve been using the Eight Sleep mattress for about four years. It’s a temperature-controlled mattress that I talk about constantly. You make your side of the bed hot or cold using the app and then the thin veins of water through the topper quickly change.

“I get very hot when I sleep and it’s extremely disruptive, especially now, when I’m pregnant. I keep mine down to the -3 setting (it goes from +10 down to -10) and I stay asleep for longer, deeper stretches. Whenever I travel, I really miss it—even when I’m sleeping in some of the fanciest hotels in the world. Nothing compares!”

Bub’s Maternity Pillow, $49.99

“Dozens of people have sworn by the pregnancy pillows that wrap around their whole body. I tried one and it was not my jam; I found it really suffocating and hot. 

“Instead, I got the Bub’s pillows, which are these cresent-shaped wedges that fit under your bump and behind your back to hug your midsection while you sleep and ‘float’ your belly. It’s really comforting without being noticeable and definitely not hot.” 

Navya Mysore, M.D., primary care physician

National program director, reproductive & sexual health, at One Medical Group

Eberjey Gisele Sleep Shirt, $118

“They don’t make pregnancy specific PJs, but the sleep shirt is soft and loose. So comfy!”

Peloton meditations

“They have great meditations, which were helpful during pregnancy.”

Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Yoga Cushion Set, $199

“So helpful during pregnancy, even when I just wanted them for support.”

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Rehydrating Mask with 10.5% Squalane, $45

“My skin was so dry in pregnancy, and a big stretch of my last pregnancy was in the winter, and this squalane mask saved me! I would wear it before going to bed, and in the morning my skin was softer and not as dry.”

Elizabeth Graves, lifestyle journalist

Former editor-in-chief of Martha Stewart Living

Dr. Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt Soaking Solution, $23.02 for 4-pack

“Baths and breathing (or sighing, as my husband calls it) were what got me through. And cheese quesadillas. 

“I took a lot of baths when I was pregnant. I was so wary of products that I would only use organic lavender epsom salts. We went to Paris when I was 28 weeks along and walked and walked and walked in the morning (and ate enough croissants that it’s no surprise it’s my son’s favorite food now). I returned to the hotel one afternoon, and my Fitbit read like 26k steps. I took a bath, soaked my feet, and rested—and was ready by dinner.”

Maura Lynch, health and wellness writer and editor

Soundcore Anker Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, $59.99

“I’ve always been a little sensitive to sound (I’m for sure a highly sensitive person). But it always gets worse during times of high anxiety. When I had the baby blues and that then progressed into a full-blown perinatal mood disorder, I couldn’t hear my baby cry without melting down.

“My husband bought these for me so the crying—which is a natural and normal thing for newborns to do—wouldn’t be so triggering for me. I would even listen to the Calm app with it—sometimes meditations, but usually just the sound of rain, which is the most calming sound in the universe to me. 

“And I legit slept with these on for months. Don’t worry, my psychologist was aware—we have made huge strides in coping mechanisms since, haha. At the time, I was in so deep that no CBT exercise was going to save me. I had to get my baseline to a better place before any of the real work could start.

“Now, I use them for focus mostly. I churned through a ton of work the other day just putting the sound-canceling mode on, not even listening to anything.”

Tahlia Disisto, co-founder of Mama Sol

Editor’s Note: When you buy Mama Sol 100% Mineral Moisturizing Sunscreen through Mental until August 31, a portion of the proceeds will go to Every Mother Counts, a nonprofit that supports maternal health in marginalized communities.

Earth Mama Organic Raspberry Leaf Tea Bags, $17.91 for 3-box-pack

“After 32 weeks of pregnancy only, red raspberry leaf tea is supposed to help you have a more comfy delivery. I used to make big batches and drink it iced with a little sugar syrup—I was so hot in the last stage of my pregnancy, and just having iced tea on hand was heaven. I used to drink it out of a really fun glass, too, because it made me feel like I had a fancy drink.”

Coco & Eve Like a Virgin Hair Masque, $39

“Started by an Aussie in Bali. This smells divine, and there’s nothing like having great hair to brighten up your day.”

Aveda Cherry Almond Softening Shampoo, $21, and Conditioner, $23

“I can’t explain it. It’s softening and so good. I gift this to all my preggo friends.”

Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam, $15.12

“The best of the best of the best. I loved being tanned while pregnant—it just made everything look better and helped me feel like I was, indeed, glowing.”

Nintendo Switch Lite, $199

“When I was pregnant, playing video games was a great way to wind down and relax—cozy gaming, especially on the Nintendo Switch, has really taken off on TikTok, which is both cool to see but also you’d be surprised it’s a lot of grown-ass women playing these games. They’re so fun and relaxing to play—definitely a big therapy dupe!

“Some popular games are Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, Disney Dreamlight Valley (very ‘healing your inner child’ meets nostalgia), Cult of the Lamb, and A Little To The Left (unpacking puzzle game). These aren’t your high-energy, stressful video games, they’re designed to be enjoyable and help you chill!”

Abby Lerner, Content Marketer & Strategist

Co-founder of Revel, a brand editorial agency, and former executive editor at Self and Shape

Lululemon Align Super-High-Rise Pant, $98

“It’s the same Align legging that so many people love, but this version—which is only available online—has an even higher waist that fits over a growing bump. I was always resistant to buying maternity clothes that I’d only wear for a short period, so preferred things that could work before, during, and after pregnancy.

“Now one year postpartum, I still wear these leggings all the time, and they still feel like a super-soft second skin. They didn’t stretch or lose shape at all. But they truly were my go-to and so much better than any maternity leggings I tried.”

Queen Rose Pregnancy Pillow, $49.99

“I held off getting one of these for a long time because they’re giant, and making the bed—a morning ritual for me—is a challenge. But in hindsight, I wish I’d ordered this pillow much sooner. I prefer sleeping on my belly, so when that wasn’t an option, hugging it on my side was the next best thing. I was shocked by how well it kept me in a comfortable sleeping position throughout pregnancy, plus it doubles as a feeding pillow once the baby arrives.”

Tracy Middleton, editorial director at Hone Health

Former editor-in-chief of Yoga Journal

The Twilight Saga Complete Collection, $66.99

“Weird but true: During the last two weeks of my first pregnancy, I did nothing but lay in bed and read the Twilight series. Totally saved my sanity. I couldn’t focus on anything meaty, but trash novels were an escape from the worry, anxiety, and stress.”

Sabrina Skiles, health advocate

Mom blogger and breast cancer advocate at SabrinaSkiles.com

Three Lollies Preggie Pop Drops Plus, $16.95 for 48 Count

“I had morning sickness, and these were super helpful for pregnancy nausea. They taste kind of like Jolly Ranchers.”

Arielle Moody, co-founder of Mama Sol

Editor’s Note: When you buy Mama Sol 100% Mineral Moisturizing Sunscreen through Mental until August 31, a portion of the proceeds will go to Every Mother Counts, a nonprofit that supports maternal health in marginalized communities.

Belabumbum Folderover Jogger, $52

“Soft and stretchy PJs with a fold-over waist are a good idea.”

Coconut Oil

“My skin would get dry, so I layered straight coconut oil all over my face and body before bed and would wake up with glowing skin.”

Heather Muir, Real Simple beauty director

Kneipp Mineral Bath Salt Eucalyptus, $22

“I sprinkle these in the shower. They got me through both of my pregnancies and my hard days!”

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