Are you in the second Trimester? Here's what to expect...
It's the stage of your pregnancy when, with any luck, that pesky morning (or all day) sickness should be easing, energy levels are slowly rising and you're starting to feel like yourself again (kind of).
Try to incorporate the following to feel even better:
Exercise: To reduce the risk of gestational diabetes or excess weight gain during pregnancy, it's wise to keep up some form of exercise. Aim for bilateral forms of exercise that use both sides of the body equally. e.g. swimming, yoga, pilates or walking. Unilateral exercises that require the use of one side of the body over the other (golf or tennis) are not ideal for pregnancy as your growing baby bump will put pressure on the back muscles, causing overdevelopment of one side, which would put you at risk of pain later on in your pregnancy.
Do yoga: Aim to start pre-natal yoga from about 16 weeks pregnant or whenever feels most comfortable for you. It will help you to keep your body limber and teach breathing techniques that will be invaluable practice for delivering your baby at the end of the third trimester. It’s also really nice to meet other women on a weekly basis who are at a similar stage of pregnancy to yourself. You can talk at length about the symptoms you are experiencing and nobody is going to roll their eyes at you because they are going through the exact same thing themselves.
Consider your diet: Forget eating for two, you actually only require an extra 200 calories per day during pregnancy, which is about the same as a banana on a cracker with some nut butter. It is important to select plenty of nourishing foods, as the placenta is now fully established, which means that what you eat and drink is likely cross over to your baby. This is usually easier for women to achieve in the second trimester when the cravings and common nausea symptoms of the first trimester have finally abated. Of particular importance, according to research, is to eat plenty of healthy fats such as those found in oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Weight gain- the fat cells around the thigh and buttock area are primed to respond to oestrogen, so this is a very natural and healthy place to put on weight during pregnancy. While your body shape will change and skinny jeans will become a thing of the past, try to enjoy it and dress to flaunt your curves. Wrap maternity dresses or tops with ruched detailing that fit your bump well will flatter your curves while also being very comfortable, plus they stretch to accommodate your growing belly. Expect your cup size to increase by anything from one to two sizes, which means investing in some good quality bras, with adequate support that should see you through the pregnancy and into the post-natal period.
Restless sleep: This doesn’t just refer to problems sleeping, but having dream-disturbed sleep. These are often described as vivid, sensory dreams that are often enjoyable thoughts about what your baby will look like, but could also be something upsetting. You might have nightmares about being attacked while pregnant or falling and injuring yourself or the baby. This is a very natural symptom to have during pregnancy so don’t panic, you are not going insane! Your subconscious is mentally preparing for impending motherhood and disturbing dreams are a way of preparing you for all eventualities. Think of it as your subconscious ‘disaster planning’, your body’s way of preparing for the inevitable worries that motherhood brings.
Libido: After the invariable exhaustion of the first trimester, many women experience a new lease of life during this stage of pregnancy. Curvy feels sexy, and even more so when you are no longer spending most of the day feeling nauseous! Your body’s blood volume increases to nourish your growing baby, while hormonal surges heighten your sensory awareness, making it more likely you’ll have fun in the bedroom. Try to take advantage of this and enjoy yourself.
Jessica Bourke is a Natural Fertility Specialist, who deals with all aspects of reproductive health. Her clinical approach is based on evidence-based nutrition protocols, acupuncture treatment, and she also offers functional lab tests to support you on your journey to parenthood. She's a regular contributor to Irish media and co-author of the 'Guilt Free Gourmet' cook-book. As a Mum of two, Jessica understands the challenges of pregnancy and parenting. For more, visit jessicabourke.com.