Trimester by Trimester!
Pregnancy can be SUCH an exciting time for most new mums-to-be. It’s also a time when there are SO.MANY.QUESTIONS. Then throw changing hormones, unwanted pregnancy symptoms and the realisation that things are going to change into the mix. You can also see how it can be an overwhelming time. Last month I wrote about pregnancy symptoms during trimester 1 and this week it’s the turn for trimester 2!
If you’re after more general information on what to eat and what to avoid during pregnancy, check out the recommendations here: nutrition during pregnancy. Today’s post is more about the symptoms of pregnancy. It’s something I’ve wanted to cover for a while, and I see regularly a lot of misinformation around “cures” and “remedies” for pregnancy related symptoms. Which often aren’t supported by much research.
Lots of growth. During the first trimester around 5% of the entire pregnancy growth happens, but thereafter the other 95% of pregnancy growth tends to occur evenly throughout the second trimester and third trimester. So, as you enter the second trimester you might really start to notice your bump, boobs and bum getting bigger. Rate of growth is approximately 0.45g/week during these later stages (BNF bullitin)
Fat stores build up significantly during the second trimester. This is perfectly normal and is most likely to lay down energy stores for use during breastfeeding and later on during pregnancy too.
How you might be feeling…
Quite often during the second trimester you might be feeling your best! During trimester two, women sometimes say that they feel their symptoms have improved and that they feel better than they have so far. If that’s the case, this might be the best time for you to really take care of yourself. Get back to a varied diet, do some gentle exercise, go on holiday and lots of rest and relaxation too. I always remember my midwife telling me “that’s the time to book a holiday and rest” and that’s exactly what I did in my second trimester.
For some people this isn’t the case and some women may still suffer from morning sickness. Although typically this clears up by weeks 16-20. Check out my tips from trimester one if you’re still suffering. And make sure you’re getting some support from a health professional if you feel it’s extreme.
Symptoms during Trimester 2:
Leg cramps, dizziness and nose bleeds. Often occur during the second trimester. As your blood increases to provide more oxygen to your growing tissues and as your circulation changes and your body stretches. It’s a good idea to drink plenty of water during pregnancy so make sure you drink when you’re thirsty and you could try adding a slice of lemon or lime if you struggle with drinking lots of plain water.
Dental problems. Many people get bleeding and sore gums – mainly because of changing hormones in the body. Remember that dentist appointments are free during pregnancy so make the most and get a check up, even if you don’t have any symptoms. If you do have sore gums, try eating softer food including fruits, well cooked veggies and yogurt. Also try soups and stews which might be easier to go down without so much chewing!
Constipation is also common during this stage of pregnancy. It happens (again) due to hormonal changes in the body and it is very common earlier on, but can strike at any time. A few things can really help with this, including: Drinking plenty of fluids, eating plenty of fibre and fibre rich foods and doing some gentle exercise (also see tips below).
Foods to eat/Nutrition tips
- Try to relax and rest as this is likely to be the easiest time during your pregnancy that you’ll be able to do this
- Make the most of less symptoms (if that’s the case for you) and do some planning/research for when baby is coming
- Try to fit in some delicious, healthy foods if you’ve got your appetite back and are feeling less sick. Quick salads, smoothies, overnight oats, hot pots, pitta pizzas, apple crumbles are all good options and I have plenty more recipes on my blog too. Pack in those nutrients whilst you can and just think VARIETY!
- Drink plenty of fluids – even if you don’t feel too thirsty your body us using a lot of fluids every day. You might also be peeing more and water can help with constipation and keeping your teeth healthy too. Try to have fluids next to you in bed and drink more if you’re hot or exercising.
- Do some gentle exercises. Now might be the best time to sign up to antinatal exercise classes, join a pregnancy yoga group or even go on some short walks.
- Try stretching before bed or in the morning to reduce leg cramping and to keep your muscles working nicely.
- Visit the dentist during this trimester for a check over and because it’s free!
- Get plenty of fibre into your diet via foods such as chickpeas, lentils, beans, wholegrains, oats, nuts and seeds and fruits and veggies. This can help to relieve constipation and keep your digestive system healthy as well as being good for general health and wellbeing. If you’re not used to eating much fibre, build on how much you eat gradually and drink plenty of water alongside it.
- Look after yourself. Do some nice things for yourself such as have warm baths, go out with friends, practice mindfulness, have a weekend away or going shopping. This is the time to really be self-indulgent 😉
The lovely Adam from @at_dads_table is sharing 30 perfect meals for the second trimester of pregnancy this week, so be sure to check them out. Here are 4 of my favourite from his blog too, that I think will be perfectly suited to this trimester!
Fig, Feta and Walnut salad (yes you can have feta during pregnancy, as long as it’s pasteurised)
Pomegranate chicken with wild vegetable rice
Tuna steak with roasted apricot and wild rice
Banana and mango ice cream with crushed pistachios