I don’t know about you guys, but life has been busy. The holidays are in full swing, which always tends to come with a full calendar. On top of that, I’m now 25 weeks pregnant! I can’t believe that I’ll be entering the third trimester by the end of the month, it truly is flying by (chasing a toddler keeps me very busy).
This pregnancy has been pretty different so far. If you read my blog about the first trimester, then you’ll know that I was much sicker this time around. With Amelia I was nauseas all day everyday for about two weeks. This time around I was sick pretty much the entire first trimester. I’m so glad that’s over with! Morning sickness (or all day sickness) is hard enough, but I feel as though it can be a little more difficult for someone who hasn’t always had the best relationship with food.
For the past two years, I’ve taken many steps toward healing my relationship with food, and ultimately the relationship I had with myself. Trust me, this isn’t an easy task. You don’t just wake up one day and think, “From now on I’m going to love myself endlessly.” It doesn’t work like that, although I wish it did.
With this pregnancy I had goals to try and be as healthy as I could be. But we all know that when you’re nauseas the last thing you want is a big bowl of steamed veggies. I couldn’t eat a vegetable or an avocado for months, and as stupid as it sounds, it really messed with my head.
The second trimester has been much more kind to me. I’ve been able to get back on track with a normal/balanced diet, but I’ve also been incorporating certain foods into my diet that I normally don’t eat—such as bread and pasta. I’ve really been taking the time to listen to my body and give it what it’s craving.
I think as a society we have such a negative perspective on ‘cravings’, when in reality that’s just our body trying to tell us something. For instance, if you’ve been craving salty foods your body could just be trying to tell you that you’re dehydrated. If you’re craving sugar your body could be telling you that you ate too many starchy foods and not enough protein and healthy fats. Before you reach for that bag of chips or a donut, be sure to check-in with yourself first by deconstructing your craving.
In terms of exercise I’ve been pretty good at keeping up with my BirthFit workouts and walking. When I was pregnant with Amelia I only worked out once or twice a week, this time around I try and get in 4 days of working out, and one day of walking. This has helped tremendously with my achy joints and puffiness. If you’re finding it hard to get yourself motivated to workout while pregnant, here are a few tips:
Just move! Even if you weren’t active before getting pregnant, you should still start an appropriate exercise program once you become pregnant in order to have a healthy pregnancy.
Listen to your body and only do what feels right.
Find a prenatal program. Find a program that takes the guesswork and time out of programming for your growing belly. I highly recommend BirthFit’s prenatal program—and they also have a postnatal program!
Modify—watch out for coning! Coning later in pregnancy can cause abdominal separation, such as diastasis recti.
Don’t forget to breathe! Pregnancy isn’t the time to overexert yourself.
Stay cool—there’s a reason why you have to keep your core body temperature at a safe range during pregnancy.
Don’t exercise on an empty stomach!
Kegels are your friend—don’t neglect your pelvic floor. The great thing about kegels is that you can do them anytime, anywhere.
Give your body time to recover after childbirth. It’s typically recommended to wait 6 weeks after childbirth before starting up an exercise routine.
I’ve also found that regular exercise has helped a lot in terms of achy joints and sleep. In order to help keep my joints feeling loose and limber, I take two scoops of Vital Proteins collagen each day. Two scoops of collagen gives you 18g of protein and 20g of collagen peptides, which aids in healthy bones and joints, skin hydration and elasticity, and hair and nail support. Along with the collagen, I also do my best to stretch every night before bed. Benny and I will typically watch an episode of something before bed, so rather than spending that hour reclining on the couch, I try and spend at least half of it stretching and bouncing on my birthing ball. I definitely notice a difference in my sleep when I miss a night of stretching.
In order to better aid my sleep I also stop drinking liquids around 8pm. This is something I DEFINITELY notice makes a difference in terms of sleep. I mean, I’m 25 weeks and most nights I never have to get up to pee! I’m still getting in the appropriate amount of water, but I just try and consume most of it during the day, then by the time I get home from work I typically only drink about 20oz.
If this is your first pregnancy, one thing I’d like to note is that the second trimester is the best time to establish a healthy sleep schedule. As you get closer to the third trimester, you may start noticing some added physical symptoms that may negatively impact your sleep. Acid reflux, leg cramps, and/or hemorrhoids, these are all things that could appear in the third trimester so it’s important that you do a little research on how to counteract each symptom.
When it comes to heartburn you definitely want to stay away from certain foods such as chocolate, fatty/fried foods, spicy foods, acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomato-based items, carbonated beverages, refined sugar, dairy products, peppermint and spearmint, gluten, and caffeine. Other ways to deter heartburn/acid reflux:
Eating 6 small meals, rather than 3 large meals
Avoid drinking water during mealtime
Eat slowly and chew your food
Avoid eating a few hours before bed
Stay upright for at least an hour after eating
If you’re experiencing acid reflux while sleeping, try propping yourself up with a couple pillows.
The best foods for fighting acid reflux:
Apple cider vinegar
Celery (or celery juice)
Kombucha or Sauerkraut
Aside from acid reflux/heartburn, you may start to experience those painful leg cramps toward the end of your second trimester. Leg cramps during pregnancy are typically caused by the additional weight gain and changes in blood circulation. A few things you can do to prevent leg cramps are:
Foam roll/stretch before bed, and be sure to include stretches that target your calves
Elevate your legs while resting
Have your partner massage your calves and feet!
Stay well hydrated in order to keep your muscles more fluid
Add these foods into your diet in order to prevent leg cramps: banana, avocado, potatoes, sweet potato, pumpkin, fish, sauerkraut, olives, celery, beetroot, carrots, dark/leafy greens, nuts and seeds, raw cocoa, dried fruit, coconut water, and all natural yogurt.
*I’ve also noticed that when I’m in the middle of cramping, it helps to NOT flex the cramping muscles.
In my opinion, I think the most important things you can do during the second trimester are staying hydrated, eating a well-balanced and colorful diet, maintaining an exercise routine, and focusing on rest and restorative sleep!
For more information on how to get better sleep during pregnancy, I highly recommend checking out Tuck. They have great resources and sleep guides for each trimester—including the fourth trimester!