Men aren’t exactly Einsteins in the gift-giving department, at least not for the women in our lives. We tend to stick to the old stereotypes and standbys as far as presents, and sometimes that isn’t the way to go. Especially when the receiver of said gift is pregnant. How do you choose a great gift for an expectant mom?

My wife got pregnant shortly after we got married. Very shortly after. So shortly in fact that, coupled with the fact that our daughter was three weeks early, many people jump to the conclusion that pregnancy was the reason we got married, but that is not the case. Due to the timing of that conception, she was pregnant, and just starting to show, when we spent our first Christmas together. I learned something really good regarding gifts for pregnant women: give her a gift that makes her feel beautiful.

Right around two months, women hit a hated spot during the pregnancy. She is starting to show, but not enough to really look pregnant yet. So, according to her, she just looks dumpy. I did not really agree with my wife’s assessment, because I knew what was going on, but she was very self-conscious about what other people might think.

I wanted to make our first Christmas together special, so I went out of my way to give her the perfect gift. I asked advice from a lot of people, and the best advice I received was to give her something that made her feel good about her looks, since that was weighing on her mind at the time.

Now, you may need to tweak that advice to meet your wife’s needs and preferences, but my solution was to get her a day of beauty package at a local salon, with a limo ride to the salon, a new outfit, and a nice dinner after she has been primped and pampered all day long. She loved it. She felt catered to, appreciated, and loved, and after a whole day of salon treatments, she was confident about how she looked as well.

Every woman is an individual and should be treated as such; also, don’t confuse this advice as meaning that women should be viewed as only caring about their looks. It just means that you should put some thought into gifts for expectant mothers. Another thing is that gifts shouldn’t solely focus on her impending motherhood: help her remember that she’s also the beautiful, special woman you fell in love with. Here are some other ideas that might be attractive to your mommy-to-be:

  • A basket of assorted lotions, creams, bath salts, etc. However, be careful with this one if she’s going through a “sensitive to scents” stage. Many pregnant women find they suddenly despise a scent, perhaps a cologne or even a food smell, that they loved before. It’s often better to save this one for later on in the pregnancy, when many of those sensitivities have gone away.
  • A massage session
  • A trip to the salon for a mani-pedi (believe me, once in the third trimester, she isn’t capable of doing her own toes)
  • A personalized coupon for a “day off” from kids and home responsibilities, redeemable whenever. This should include some neat stuff like breakfast (or lunch or dinner) in bed, a back or foot rub (with no “pressure” for said massage to evolve into romantic time), and plenty of time to herself—meaning no kids in sight or earshot, or any bothering her about where things are or to mediate kid arguments.
  • A weekend getaway
  • Something she’s mentioned wanting: a juicer, bread machine, personal coffee maker for her desk at work, a new case for her cell phone or laptop, etc. Just be careful about the “domestic” gifts, because some women bristle at that…unless you’re married to a girl like my wife, who loves to cook and is happy getting nifty kitchen gadgets.
  • A gift certificate to her favorite online store. This way, she can choose whatever she likes!

If you find yourself in a similar situation, with your wife feeling less than her best due to the expanding new person inside of her and a special day coming up, take the opportunity to make your wife feel beautiful, special, and loved.