What to Expect in the Second Trimester
Hello & Happy Tuesday!!
As we’re making our final laps with this pregnancy, I wanted to touch upon each trimester to help you better gauge perhaps what to expect. It’s important to emphasize that every pregnancy is different and results may vary with every woman. As a FTM, MS Nutritionist and plant based foodie, I was curious as to what my journey would be like.
Simply put, when they capture these milestones in movies everything is dramatized leaving you with visions of craving things such as ice cream and pickles and the list goes on. However, my experience was far from that and was pretty smooth sailing.. until that dreaded last month of the 3rd trimester lol. Don’t be scared. To be cont’d!
You can find my first trimester post here, but as a whole the first was one of the roughest as your body is producing excess hormones making it hard to have an appetite, and random cravings will initially come on from just trying to think of something you can keep down. However, by about 11 weeks, the unpleasant symptoms dissipated and by week 14, I was on my way to the 2nd trimester, which was a breeze.
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Second trimester deets:
Gender Reveal: At 10 weeks we got the results of our NIPT test which disclosed various genetic related issues our babe could have and his gender. We had to wait to long never ending weeks to do the gender reveal. Initially I thought, we were going to have a girl. Whether it was random tests that hold no scientific backing lol, theories, or one person giving an opinion, I thought it had to be. Welp, I was way off. Baby boy O arriving in just a few short weeks. Watch the clip above for our gender reveal.
First kicks: At 15 weeks I felt his first kicks. I was getting work done on my computer, talking on the phone, and randomly had my hand alongside my stomach and felt something tap through. That moment was one I’ll remember forever as it just still all seemed so unreal to me. I never thought the day would come, and to know that he’s coming into our lives, he’s already with us, was just precious. While I felt this kick early at 15 weeks, there was a slow time from about 15-18 weeks where I felt nothing, however, it’s very common so you shouldn’t be alarmed. The never ending kicks will come lol.
4D Scan: At 20 weeks we did our fetal scan and had 4D views. Since the kicks had stopped it was again, surreal to see his face. Being that it was on the early side his features were much more defined. Like the kicks, it just made it much more real. I highly recommend the 4D. You can see more earlier in pregnancy versus later where the baby has less room. It of course has no guarantees as the baby can be hiding behind the placenta, cord, or just be in a bad position altogether. However, there is nothing like really seeing your baby outside the common black and white 2d option.
Exercise: In terms of energy, once the dust settled with the first trimester, around 11ish weeks I started to get it back. I started hitting the gym and just felt like myself again. The first cardio experience wasn’t the most comfortable, but I focused on listening to my body and taking breaks when I needed to. If there was any exercise that caused me to tense up my stomach area I just avoided. I found that the exercise increased my energy levels and enabled me to eat when I had no appetite. While I used to once exercise daily, I had stopped a regular exercise routine since undegrad minus the summers when I had more time. If there is one thing I can’t recommend enough though, it’s exercise while pregnant. I can’t imagine the last 9 months without it.
I typically worked out Saturday, Sunday, 1-2x during the week, and sometimes Friday. Even if it’s just 30 minutes, it makes a world of a difference just to keep moving.
Cravings: At 11 weeks my nausea was gone and I was able to get back into the swing of my usual routine. After the first trimester the never ending nausea resolved itself and I noticed I could finally slow down on the endless lime water. However, I still needed and craved foods such as fruit that offered hydration. I loved cold oranges all the time, sometimes eating 2 per day. Oranges not only provide hydration, but are packed with fiber and vitamin c, which is good for collagen building with the baby. I also craved raspberry and banana smoothies with spinach. While there are tons of fun powders I once put in my shakes, I tried to gravitate away from anything like that and focused just on fruits and veggies, perhaps chia/hemp seeds. Many powders are considered a supplement, thus they are loosely regulated. That being said, just like my approach to everything while pregnant, I kept it simple and stuck to real foods. While your nausea will decline, hydration less of a focus perhaps, you still need to ensure that you’re taking in enough fluids for the amniotic fluid, increasing blood volume and more.
Although I made sure to hydrate, even took magnesium daily, consumed potassium, I’d still experience the dreaded morning Charlie horses. The ones that are so intense that they linger throughout the day making it hard to walk. I can recall having 4 in one morning. (ouch) I highly recommend hydration to mitigate these muscle spasms, and also to flex your foot upward when they happen. If I pointed downward I would exacerbate the pain or even cause one.
Perhaps my most random craving would be organic cereal with fresh fruit lol. I haven’t been a cereal person since high school as I don’t enjoy a carb heavy breakfast. Instead I typically incorporate protein or healthy fats as it will keep you fuller longer and prevent you crashing an hour later. However, I craved a bowl of cereal at least once a week!
Although my energy levels were back to normal I noticed I started to also crave coffee a little more. I felt it kept me going throughout the day and I just made sure to only consume the recommended 1 cup. I also spread the consumption of it out throughout the day to avoid any jitters or negative side effects.
Diet: My diet is plant strong, but I do mix in some local eggs as well as wild caught fish every other week or so. However, with the first trimester nausea was so intense that even the smell of fish or eggs was very off-putting. Once the second trimester came around, nausea had left, I was able to incorporate both again. Eggs are packed with protein, amino acids, and choline which is imperative for brain and spinal development. Also, a lot of times you won’t find choline in a prenatal vitamin so again, it’s a good choice. I also incorporated shrimp/salmon for protein intake, a good source of omega 3’s with having thyroid issues in my family, for iodine.
The baby is actually using your thyroid hormone in the first trimester, which can be bad if you have issues. I did a lot of shrimp/salmon with salads, cauliflower rice and just packed on the veggies.
Food Routine: My usual routine was avocado toast, hard boiled egg, a cold orange or fresh pomegranate seeds, perhaps a raspberry smoothie with spinach, and dinner was shrimp or fish with lots of veggies. I also craved miso soup! I found it relaxing, filling, and I just wanted anything that was fluid based to stay hydrated. Be careful to avoid MSG and some miso soups are not vegan.
When it comes to random cravings you always hear about, I actually had none. I ate very healthy, exercised, and it’s said that it can make a difference. Cravings are said to stem from your diet not being balanced. Something I did notice is that I became more of a snacker. It will keep any lingering nausea at bay, you get full really fast, and it just enabled me to keep going.
Beauty Routine: Towards the end of the first trimester and the beginning of the second, I finally found the solution to the pregnancy hair greasies! Believe it or not, while pregnancy can make your hair initially fall out less creating a fullness effect, mine could never get cleaned. I tried anything and everything and finally spent out and bought Oribe shampoo and boom, it worked! I found that my nails grew faster, which meant more manicures, unwanted hair also grew more, and I even grew.. a mole lol. You can thank all the hormones for all of the above. I was shocked that pregnancy can promote mole growth, but you heard it here, it can! lol
Believe it or not your dental health also becomes more of a priority while pregnant. Late in the first trimester/early 2nd I decided to get my teeth cleaned. Having an increase in progesterone can make your gums bleed more, the pH of your mouth is also said to be less acidic making it more of a breeding ground for bacteria to thrive and promote cavities etc. I felt so much better afterwards. I highly recommend visiting your dentist before you’re deep into pregnancy for an annual checkup/cleaning.
Pregnancy Workshop: Towards the end of the second trimester we did a 4 week pregnancy training course at our hospital that met once a week for 3 1/2 hours. While it may seem a bit excessive, as first time parents we wanted to ensure that we were prepared in every capacity for our new babe. The topics of the course was everything from labor, to massage, swaddling and more, and I can’t recommend it enough. We also too a CPR and breastfeeding course in the third trimester. Stay tuned for feedback!
Daily Life: Getting into the second trimester I started to feel less comfortable walking the dog. While our Frenchie Burt is only 30 lbs, when he pulled on the leash I could feel pressure in my stomach. If you have to walk your pup, I recommend if he currently pulls getting him more trained on a leash or letting your partner walk them. It only gets more uncomfortable when you reach the 3rd trimester.
I stopped using the pregnancy pillow early on as it was just too uncomfortable. I found it bulky and too firm that it literally hurt my ear in the morning. Instead I made sure to always place pillows behind me to prevent me turning over on my back and one between my legs. The combination of the two worked for me. I was also able to finally not live in a sports bra 24/7 with the second trimester as they became less heavy and painful. I still wore the support top leggings or belly bands for hours at a time if I felt the need and I absolutely did more sitting down with work. I liked the Ingrid and Isabel and the Blanqi brand.
The one silver lining to always being on your feet while pregnant, is that the baby is more likely to turn head down faster, which is where you want them to be.
At about 25 weeks I could definitely tell that I popped as I couldn’t see my feet anymore lol. In terms of energy, mine was in full swing early in the second trimester, but by 26 weeks I started to feel exhausted. By the time I progressed into the 3rd trimester, at 28 weeks it unfortunately only got worse. In many ways your body will crave more rest so it all works out in the end when you have to nurse every 3hrs! lol
Stay tuned for a recap on the third trimester!
No matter what way you experience pregnancy, always remember that every woman’s journey is different, and it’s never linear. There are countless things that can go wrong and you just have to embrace it all.
Through all the twists and turns leading up to conceiving our baby, I’ll take all the nausea, the aches, the pains, just knowing that I’ll soon get to soak up endless moments in this life with him.
For those struggling with infertility, not receiving answers, and just feeling lost in it all, you’re forever in my thoughts. I pray that you stay hopeful, that you don’t give up, and God blesses you with the most precious gift you desire.Women are truly warriors, enduring so much to give life.