SYMPTOMS, ADVICE, EATING HABITS, WORKING OUT, IMMUNE SYSTEM & MORE
I can’t believe I’m in my third trimester already! Before I sneak too far away from the second trimester, I want to make sure I write this up for y’all! (Like I did for my first trimester) 🙂
Before we get started, I’ll share my high and low of this trimester.
2nd TRIMESTER HIGH:
Feeling life inside me for the first time ever. There is no describing it. It’s such a sacred time where only you can connect with your baby on that level and it’s truly magical. Nothing will ever take those moments away from my memory. Also, when Drew got to feel our little love kicking like crazy was absolutely priceless. We’ve had so many nights cuddled on the couch, big spoon/little spoon style, when we would just laugh and smile so big together when we would feel her together. It never gets old!
Usually you start to feel your baby move around 16 weeks. At first it’s called quickening because it feels like tiny flutters. Like a butterfly in your belly. It’s so gentle, that first time moms (which I am) usually mistake it for indigestion or just convince themselves it’s something else. But when you start feeling it every single day, multiple times a day, you know it’s been your little one moving around in there! The further along you get, the more intense and obvious the kicks are – there is no missing it! Second time moms can notice movement as early as 13 weeks because they know what to expect it to feel like. This all all totally depends on 1) how active your baby is 2) how healthy your pregnancy is going. Our little girl is SO active! I felt her start the quickening phase at 16 weeks on the dot and Drew was able to feel her movements a couple short weeks later. Usually it takes way longer for anyone else to be able to feel your baby move around, but like I said, our little love is super active and I am so thankful that Drew has been able to feel her movements for almost as long as I have.
2nd TRIMESTER LOW:
I don’t even want to call this a low because 1) I honestly haven’t had any lows in my second trimester and 2) I am so very thankful for every moment of this pregnancy and all that it entails that I soak it all up. But, if I had to choose I would say my nausea randomly coming back after being gone for a few weeks at the beginning of the second trimester. I’ve learned that pregnancy and your symptoms are not a straight line. You truly have to respect the process.
OK, now onto what you came for.
2nd Trimester is Magic
I’m going to start this off by saying the one thing every woman is sick of hearing when she’s dealing with the morning sickness & exhaustion of the first trimester…. “I promise you, it gets better!! Just wait until the second trimester!” I remember hearing that so many times wondering if I was ever going to feel good again, let alone wonderful or amazing. Let me tell you, it’s the God’s honest truth. Something magically aligns in your body and you feel empowered, wonderful, amazing, and like you can do absolutely anything! For me, I was waiting for week 12 to hit thinking that was the exact day it was going to be all better. And that just wasn’t the case. I remember getting sick and saying to myself, “but I’m in my 2nd trimester??” Well,I finally caught a 2-3 week break and didn’t get sick for a couple weeks, which I thought was a miracle, (still didn’t feel great but certainly way better than what I was) and then it came back two different weekends in a row. (Of course both of those weekends I had big events that day I had to attend with Drew also, because that’s just the way life works, right!?) So my morning sickness didn’t fully pass until I was 17 weeks. And when it passed, oh my GOSH did I feel AH MAZ ING!! There’s no describing it. I felt wonderful. I was on a high (and still haven’t come off it yet knock on wood). It’s like my body was constantly being pumped with endorphins. I had energy, enthusiasm, happiness, I didn’t need to sleep 24/7 (I still sleep a lot though let’s be real).
So I’m just another woman saying this to you with the best of intentions despite you maybe not wanting to hear this— it will pass and you will LOVE your second trimester. Just ride it out, it’s beyond worth it.
Once I started feeling better, I wanted to make myself get back out there for workouts. Don’t push yourself. I didn’t push myself. I just knew there was no reason for me not to workout since I was feeling so great and I want to do everything in my power to have a healthy/fit pregnancy. (Let’s also be clear that everyone’s definition of a healthy/fit pregnancy can totally vary). Find what feels best for you! And make sure you don’t start new workouts that you didn’t do pre-pregnancy. I really enjoy running outdoors. Since it’s been the weirdest winter in Atlanta history, snowing one minute – freezing rain the next – these outdoor runs felt few and far between. Which honestly worked out perfectly to get me back in the exercising spirit. It’s not like I was feeling guilty because it was gorgeous outside and I felt like I needed to push myself to get outdoors! So I would go out for a run once a week when I could sneak a decent day in. I also wouldn’t run far. Usually 2 miles or a bit under. I did the elliptical a few times, as well as lifting light dumbbells a handful of times. When I would do dumbbells I would specifically be overly cautious with not doing any movements that would engage my core. Absolutely do not do crunches or anything abs. I also loved taking spin classes pre-pregnancy, but 1) The closest spin class I decently like is 25 minutes away 2) With it being such a nasty flu season, I didn’t feel like being on bikes that everyone (including sick people) were sweating, sneezing, etc on. so I only took 2 spin classes my entire second trimester. Plus, I don’t like feeling in the crouched position while I’m pregnant and it doesn’t feel good down there to sit on the seat (not like it ever is comfortable to ride on those seats, but it really doesn’t when you’re preggo). Maybe if there was a closer class and it wasn’t flu season I would enjoy it more – but that’s not the way it lined up for me.
My advice: If you’re feeling well, are having a healthy pregnancy, and don’t feel light-headed, dizzy or your heart rate isn’t going up too much, do some light workouts that your body was used to doing pre-pregnancy. Even if it’s once a week, that’s great! If you didn’t do workouts pre-pregnancy, look into some prenatal yoga classes in your area or online videos to do at home. Don’t feel like you need to workout as many times a week as you used to, or even close to that. Just stay active. Walk your dog. That’s a workout. Tell your significant other your fitness goals upfront so he can be mindful and encourage you. Suggest going on a walk of the neighborhood together. Don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable. Don’t push yourself. You know your boundaries. Do not try to impress anyone except yourself and your mind – so workout alone if that’s what makes you happiest. Don’t discredit walking or just getting your legs moving by moving around your house as a workout. Change your definition of a workout during pregnancy and it will change your mindset and body for the best. Healthy active mom = healthy active baby.
Once you start feeling well in your second trimester and your morning sickness subsides (if you even had morning sickness) make it a point to eat healthier than you were your first trimester. If you read my first trimester post, you know I lived on goldfish for weeks. It doesn’t matter how healthy I ate pre-pregnancy, my body did not want any health food while I was experiencing nausea. I would try to sneak in an acai bowl or smoothie here and there to get some nutrients via food in me because I could handle healthy foods easier if they were cold because I couldn’t taste them as much or smell them. Anywho, once I felt better, I wanted to eat better. Was I eating health food constantly like I used to? No. But I was able to absolutely start eating healthy again and craving eating healthy again! Eating healthy is so important always, but especially during pregnancy. Your doctors will start to look for symptoms of preeclampsia starting during your second trimester through delivery. Parts of you can control the likelihood of getting it and parts of you just can’t. Some doctors attribute a correlation with what you eat. Whether that’s accurate or not, we at least know in general that eating healthy can help you be your healthiest all the way around. Some women get high blood pressure and excessive weight gain starting their second trimester. Once again, some women can control this, and I believe some women just can’t. Your body is going to react in different ways than other pregnant women because each pregnancy is different.
My advice: Control what you can control is all I’m saying, because lots of it is beyond your control. Also, pay attention to what your body is craving. If it’s always craving sweets – I’m not talking about that! I’m saying is your body craving salads/spinach leaves? Is your body craving protein? Calcium? Carbs? Listen to your body and fuel it with that. I fully believe that your body tells you during pregnancy what your body is needing. I have had raw cacao in my smoothies every single day in my second trimester – no lie. I didn’t even know what raw cacao was pre-second trimester! But I found myself wanting smoothies with it! When I googled benefits of raw cacao after after tons of it, I found out it is the highest plant-based source for iron! I full heartedly believe that’s my body reminding me to fuel myself with just the right amount of iron my body needs right now! I’ve had my iron checked throughout my pregnancy (like every pregnant woman does) and my iron has been absolutely perfect every visit with no deficiencies! Knock on wood. Thank you to my body for craving raw cacao! Thank you to my body for craving what it needs to maintain the healthiest pregnancy for both myself and my baby. I have been lucky to not have had any cravings yet. Once again, referring back to my first trimester, I had lots of aversions and that was it. Second trimester, I didn’t have aversions and I didn’t have cravings, so I was able to eat normally. Do I eat perfect? Heck no. If I’m at a celebratory dinner with friends and family, of course I’ll have some dessert. If I’m traveling, I’ll indulge. I’m just saying, be mindful on a regular basis. Pregnancy is absolutely NOT the time to go on any sort of diet or calorie restrictions. Give your body what it needs. Also, second trimester is when heartburn can creep up on you because your hormones are relaxing the muscles in your body to let your body expand and grow as it needs to for baby and prepping your body for birth. These hormones also will slow down your digestive system. With your relaxing muscles, heartburn can happen easier because the acid is allowed in your esophagus. Whether you’re experiencing heartburn or not, you will experience later in your second trimester as you grow, that your literal stomach is smaller and is being pushed up way higher. What does this mean with either or both symptoms? That you may not be able to eat as big of meals. And if you do eat big meals, you will feel uncomfortable. So, eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day instead.
Traveling during your second trimester is totally safe. Obviously, consult with your doctor if you’re having a high-risk pregnancy or even if it just gives you peace of mind during a healthy pregnancy. I flew on multiple long flights during my second trimester and felt totally comfortable. I did wear compression socks on flights that were longer than 4 hours because pregnant women – healthy or not- are more prone to blood clots. Especially when you’re in the seated position for hours at a time. If you’re taking a babymoon that involves flying somewhere, I highly recommend taking yours during the end of your second trimester. You can read my babymoon tips here. Side note: You pee more when you’re pregnant. I think this is a no-brainer, but if it’s not – now you know. Especially once you start to feel your little one move around frequently, jumping on your bladder… yup, you gotta go. SO, heads up when you’re booking flights during your second trimester – book first class or exit row where you have more room to walk around the person next to you without bothering them – book an aisle seat in comfort or economy if you’re traveling alone – or if you’re traveling with your significant other, a family member, or friend, try and snag the two-seater side of the plane. This will make you feel way more at ease because I don’t know about y’all, but I hate always asking people next to me to get up. Also, you’ll want to hydrate a ton when you’re traveling. You should be drinking lots of water anyway, but especially if you’re flying. (Another reason why you should snag those seats I just recommended to you. The last thing you want to do is purposefully not drink lots of water because you feel guilty having someone get up…) Let’s talk x-ray machines at security. I don’t know how true this is, but I believe it. Don’t go into those “intense” x-ray machines at TSA. You know the ones I’m talking about? Where you put your hands up and the thing rotates around you. Those emit way more than the old school machines. If security isn’t giving you an option of which machine, then you can opt out of any form of machine and tell them you’re pregnant and request a full-body pat down instead. It’s more time consuming, but baby’s safety first. Road trips are also a form of traveling too, of course. And although it’s easier than flying, don’t discredit driving in the car from making you exhausted. Any form of traveling can make you tired, so just be mindful of your body.
My advice: You know your pregnancy best. If you’re swollen, you’re just going to get more swollen flying. If you’re body is uncomfortable in the stage you’re at in pregnancy, then you’re only going to feel more uncomfortable traveling. Do what will make you feel best. Don’t push yourself. It’s absolutely not worth compromising your body’s comfort and yours and baby’s health. Hydrate a ton. Wear the proper travel clothes. Travel with snacks.
Your immune systems is suppressed during pregnancy. This means you can get sick easier and that you will get sicker than you normally do, if you get sick. Also, you can’t take the normal medications that you would if you weren’t pregnant, including OTC medications. So you can get sick easier, get sicker, and not be able to take the proper meds that fight off what you need to. Sounds fun, right? Be extra cautious of the people you’re with, even if they have a cold. I hate to come across as a hypochondriac because I’m not. But when you’re pregnant you need to voice to people if you don’t feel comfortable being around them at the moment if they’re sick and people should be totally understanding and completely respectful of that. You’re only protecting your baby. Any pregnant woman understands, so hopefully your friends or family will too.
My advice: What have I done? I get plenty of rest to recharge my body to be its best every day. I take Vitamin C daily. You can’t take Airborne when you’re pregnant, so I just take straight Vitamin C. Here is the one I take. I take one gummy a day. I use hand sanitizer every time I leave grocery shopping pushing a cart, pumping gas at the gas station, any public place where you are touching something. I personally am not one of those people who believe hand sanitizer is bad for you because it’s also killing off the good bacteria. I want to kill the bad bacteria – give me all the hand sani! I use this one and this one. If you already have children or want a more natural option, I have this one already for when baby arrives. It comes in multiple scents, I have the lavender. I eat healthy to help my immune system be its best naturally. Remember that raw cacao I was telling you about earlier that my body wants a ton of this trimester? It also is jam-packed with crazy amounts of antioxidants. I also have been stuffing a ton of blueberries in my smoothies with the raw cacao and also having blueberry oatmeal. We all know blueberries are great for antioxidants! And overall just take care of my body the best of my ability. There is obviously only so much you can do to prevent something from happening. Just be cautious. Eat healthy. Get plenty of rest. Wash your hands regularly. Take Vitamin C. And don’t surround yourself with anyone sick if you can prevent it.
They say at 20 weeks you should stop sleeping on your back because you have a major artery that runs up and down your back to your heart. When you’re not pregnant this obviously doesn’t matter. But when you are pregnant, and when you reach a certain point in your pregnancy – your uterus weighs so much that when you sleep on your back, that weight can prevent circulation and cause bad things to happen. They say to sleep on your side. The best and healthiest sleeping position for you and your baby is sleeping on your left side. This way you don’t feel the weight of your uterus and your baby is receiving the most blood flow, therefore receiving the most nutrients. If you can’t sleep on your left side, sleeping on your right side is the second best option. You just don’t receive as much circulation. If you start off sleeping on your side and wake up on your back, don’t freak out – just roll back over to your side. The few times my body has naturally rolled to my back in the middle of the night after starting off on my side, my body wakes me up with numbness or tingling to tell me to roll back to my side. Your body knows and it should wake you up. This is where pregnancy pillows come in handy because they don’t let you sleep on your back and they elevate your leg. You can also just prop pillows around you. Plus pregnancy pillows are supposed to help you get comfier while you sleep because it only gets harder to get good sleep the further along you get.
My advice: I personally started to train myself to sleep on my left side well before 20 weeks and I think it’s helped me a ton because I rarely catch myself in any other position than my left side. It’s like my body is totally trained. So start training your body early in pregnancy for proper sleeping positions before you have to sleep in those positions and you’re already big and uncomfortable. While we’re on the subject of sleep, make sure you are getting enough sleep. Even though you’re not experiencing the first trimester exhaustion, your body is still growing a baby and working overtime, all the time. It is recommended you get 8-10 hours of sleep when pregnant. Even if it’s not consecutive sleep, and it’s full of tossing a turning toward the end of this trimester, make sure you’re resting enough or atleast sleeping in when possible. This also is a no-brainer, but you can’t sleep on your stomach. Sorry, stomach and back sleepers…
I recommend starting to use preventative stretch mark belly balms and oils during your second trimester instead of waiting until your third trimester and hoping for the best. In my first trimester I just used regular lotion and in my second trimester I switched to these two products that I’m so in love with! I absolutely use both interchangeably in my rotation routine. This one is a wonderful oil that has a lovely, light floral scent. This one is a organic, natural, thick belly balm. I’m almost 30 weeks pregnant writing this, and knock on wood, no stretch marks yet. I lather up twice a day, morning and night. (Especially when you get out of the shower because your pores are more open to receive all the hydration!) I’ve read multiple times that stretch marks are genetic and if your mom had them, you’re more likely to get them – and if she didn’t get them, then you’re less likely to get them. My mom didn’t get them but I’m still being cautious. Make sure you love on all your expanding areas – belly (obvi), boobs, upper butt and hips/upper thighs.
My advice: Create a routine in your second trimester finding balms and oils you trust and love. Instead of making yourself feel like you’re adding another thing to your to-do list, change your mentality to those few minutes becoming special time of you loving on your body and little one.
Do you know your blood type? Your OB will most likely find out your blood type during your first trimester, but if they don’t make sure you do lab work to see what you are during your second. Why? Because if you’re the lucky few to be O- blood type then you have to take some precautions. I am O-. Yup, I’m the best blood type out there – the rarest blood type out there – the universal blood donor. I can donate blood to any and all blood types, whether they’re positive or negative, A or B. So literally any person in the world can receive O- during a blood transfusion and be totally safe. BUT, I can only receive O- blood and my body doesn’t handle any other type of blood inside of me. Why does this matter? If you’re RH- then your body has antibodies that can potentially view your fetus/baby as a foreign body and attack it if it is not RH-. How do you prevent that from happening? You receive a shot called Rhogam at 28 weeks to prevent your body from doing that to your baby. Then at delivery, your baby’s blood type will be checked and if they aren’t RH-, then you will have to receive another shot of Rhogam for when your blood mixes during delivery for your safety, as well as starting to protect your future child if you’re planning on conceiving again.
My advice: Make sure you find out your blood type by your second trimester at the latest. RH- is very rare but it’s out there, aka me, and if you have it then your OB needs to know right away to test your antibodies throughout your pregnancy as well as know to give you your Rhogam shot at the proper times.
I was very lucky to really not have negative symptoms during my second trimester after week 17. Here are two symptoms I did experience temporarily that I learned are perfectly normal and I want you to know that in case you’re experiencing them too.
- Sensitive Skin: Thanks to hormones, your skin can become very sensitive. In some women that means zits and pimples. For me, that wasn’t the case. What I experienced with sensitive skin was rashes or itchy skin in areas on my body. These weren’t rashes anyone could see, but I could feel them and if I pointed it out and someone stared very closely at it, they could see. But it was uncomfortable feeling while I was experiencing it for a couple weeks. Be cautious of your products that you are using and don’t take real hot showers. Once you find products that agree with you, don’t switch them up. If you’re traveling, even if it’s a pain to pack all your products in their bulky containers – do it. Your skin will thank you. I talked to my OB about this one week during a regular check-up and she said this is common during pregnancy. Of course if you feel something unusual is happening, call your doctor.
- Round Ligament Pain: I only experienced this a handful of times, but when I felt it, I felt it. This is pain, a jabbing feeling or an uncomfortable feeling in your lower belly, hips, or groin area. Round Ligament Pain is a fancy term for your body expanding and growing at a rapid pace inside thanks to your uterus growing to accommodate your baby – and your ligaments are literally being strained, pushed and pulled in directions like never before to accommodate your growing baby. It can be dull pains here or there or it can definitely be more noticable and painful at times. As long as you feel baby moving like normal and you are feeling normal otherwise, you are totally fine and healthy. RLP is a completely normal part of pregnancy. If pains are accompanied by bleeding or you not feeling the baby move per usual, or any other red flag symptoms, then obviously contact your provider immediately.
ENJOY THE PROCESS
I can’t stress enough to love yourself so much during this time. Pregnancy is beautiful and the more you love on your body, appreciate your body, and respect your body, the more enjoyable of an experience you will have. There is only so much you can control. Do your best to make the healthiest, safest, and smartest decisions for you and your baby, because the rest is beyond your control. Be kind to your body. It is growing a human! Sit back for one second and truly soak that in. Then give your body a break and don’t be so harsh on it with judgement. Thank it for doing what it’s doing. Respect the process. Respect your body. Love your body. Love your experience.
Sending love to all you mamas out there and wishing you a healthy pregnancy.
PRODUCTS MENTIONED IN THIS POST THAT I LIVED ON MY SECOND TRIMESTER:
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