10 tips to keep things smooth-sailing for the second trimester of your pregnancy.
Hooray! You made it to the second trimester. Most of you will be saying “Bye, bye” to nausea and will get a big burst of energy and a mood elevation. You may even feel more like your pre-pregnancy self. It is much easier to get the exercise and nutrients you need, now that you are feeling fine, but you still have a way to go before you meet your bundle of joy. Here’s some advice to keep things smooth-sailing during this part of your pregnancy.
1. Eat Well
For many women, the second trimester is when nausea subsides and energy returns. If you are finding that your appetite has returned, now is the time to fill your diet with nourishing choices for both you and your baby. Eat the rainbow. Eating lots of colorful fruits and vegetables will make sure you get antioxidants, fiber, and other essential components of a healthy pregnancy diet.
Make sure you are getting plenty of protein as well. Protein regulates your blood sugar and keeps you from bottoming out and having huge energy highs and lows.
Give in to cravings in a healthy way. If your mind says ice cream, try frozen blueberries instead. If potato chips are more your style, try homemade kale chips with sea salt and olive oil. There are some great cookbooks out there on pregnancy nutrition and blogger Greer over at www.mamahussy.com has done a great job of highlighting specific foods and their benefits for the second trimester.
2. Up Your Activity
Take advantage of your renewed energy and get in a little more activity. Exercise during pregnancy helps ease symptoms of constipation, prevent stretch marks, strengthens your core and often leads to easier labors and faster postpartum recoveries.
3. Add Tea And Magnesium To Your Daily Regimen
You should already be taking a prenatal vitamin with iron and getting a healthy dose of calcium. Red Raspberry leaf tea and other prenatal teas help support your uterine functions during pregnancy and helps tone the uterine muscles to prepare them for labor. It can also help to improve blood circulation and can relieve nausea. Magnesium is a vital nutrient that is particularly helpful in helping you get a good night’s rest, sometimes hard to come by in pregnancy, and relieving leg cramps commonly experienced during the second and third trimesters.
4. Soothe Heartburn
The majority of pregnant women will experience heartburn during their pregnancy, especially in the second and third trimesters. You can combat this by eating slowly, eating small meals frequently, and trying to avoid foods that seem to give you heartburn. For some reason, with my second pregnancy, anything with tomato sauce did it for me. You can also safely use over the counter remedies, like antacid tablets.
5. Prevent And Smooth Stretch Marks
You can prevent stretch marks by staying hydrated, moisturizing, gaining weight gradually, staying active and eating a diet rich in foods containing vitamins A and E, lots of Omega 3s and antioxidants. These nutrients nourish and protect skin and will enhance your pregnancy glow. There are lots of creams on the market to help keep pregnant skin moisturized and supple, but plain coconut oil and shea butter work just as well.
6. Ease Congestion
Increased blood flow and hormonal changes can cause swelling in your nasal passages which can lead to congestion, snoring, and even an increase in nose-bleeds. You can treat this naturally with saline drops and using a home humidifier. This will be especially helpful at night when congestion can make it hard for you to get some rest and snoring may disturb your partner.
7. Reduce Inflammation
The majority of pregnant women experience inflammation, or swelling, particularly in their legs and ankles. While it is a normal pregnancy condition, it can be an indicator of a problem. If you find that you have a great deal of swelling, the following things can be helpful: putting your feet up, lying on your side for thirty minute periods, staying hydrated, salting your food to taste (with sea salt), getting enough exercise, and sticking to loose, comfortable clothing. There are several yoga poses that can help, particularly with swelling in the legs and ankles. If swelling persists, it is important to speak to your doctor about it.
8. Support Your Back
While your belly is blossoming, your back may be aching! This is probably due to weight gain, a shift in your center of gravity, and relaxed ligaments in joints. Some women find this may be helped by wearing a belly bands or, if more support is need, a maternity belt. A belly band can also be helpful in making sure your shirts don’t ride up over your expanding tummy and a maternity belt can be used for support in the postpartum period as well.
9. Invest In Some Maternity Staples
Clothing can be expensive. Let’s face it, not everyone has a budget to accommodate clothing you may only wear for a few short months. However, having a few key pieces can really help you feel put together at a time when many women are feeling vulnerable about their changing appearance. Try to buy pieces you will get a lot of mileage out of. While maternity pants may seem like a really good idea, particularly for women with a business wear job, you will get much more mileage out of dresses, leggings, sweaters and tops. Look for pieces that you can wear while pregnant and in the early postpartum period (i.e. with nursing access). Embrace long cardigans and the empire waist. Cardigans will help you extend the life of maternity wear that is slightly out of season and an empire waist top or dress can be worn for a few months postpartum as well, while you are still transitioning back to your pre-pregnancy body. A pair of pregnancy jeans might be a good investment for moms who work from home or for weekend wear.
10. Rest Easy
You may find that it is progressively harder to get a good night’s sleep. Try to eat a small, light, protein rich snack before bed like Greek yogurt with fruit, a banana and some nut butter, or some cheese cubes and grapes. This will stave off any night time hunger as well as help combat morning nausea. If you haven’t already, now is a great time to start sleeping on your left side. This improves circulation, increases blood flow to your baby and your kidneys and uterus.
It might be time to start thinking about purchasing a pregnancy pillow. This might become your best friend while pregnant. A pregnancy pillow can help support your back, separate your knees to relieve hip and back pain, and cushion your growing belly. If you are having trouble relaxing at night, try chamomile tea, a warm bath, and slather on some pregnancy skin oil to help keep your skin moisturized while you sleep.
While these tips don’t address every concern you may face during this trimester, they will certainly help curb the few possible major problems. If you don’t quite have that pregnancy glow yet, it will come. Just be gentle with yourself. You are, after all, growing a whole other person. Take care and take time for a little pre-baby pampering. You are that much closer to being a mom! Happy Pregnancy!