So you are now past the 12-week mark and officially into your second trimester of pregnancy! Well done! You have no doubt seen your little human on the ultrasound for the first time, and what a beautiful experience that is!
Hopefully by now those pesky, and sometimes debilitating, first trimester pregnancy symptoms have started to subside and you are feeling a little bit more like your normal self.
During pregnancy, the first trimester really does get the most attention, and for good reason. It is a critical time for your baby’s development and you are going through huge changes physically and emotionally. However; the second trimester is probably the most comfortable trimester of pregnancy (for most women) and your baby is still changing and growing on a daily basis.
What can you expect during the second trimester?
Your energy levels are likely to return back to their pre pregnancy levels (or close to)
As those waves of pure exhaustion start to subside you can now get back into your exercise regime (if you were unable to maintain it during the first trimester). Maintaining appropriate levels of exercise throughout pregnancy, including the practice of your pelvic floor muscles will help you through labour as well as your recovery afterwards.
If you suffered from morning sickness it’s likely subsided, or will do by the time you are 20 weeks
For those of you who have only been able to stomach refined carbohydrates for the past 12 weeks, now is the time to start stocking up again on those vital nutrients needed for your baby’s development, as well as supporting your own nutritional needs. Remember that your growing baby will take from you what it needs for its growth and development, so if you are depleted, you may struggle to maintain your good health throughout pregnancy and beyond.
You get to feel your baby’s movements for the first time
This is by far the best part of the second trimester (well it was for me anyway)! First you may feel little gas bubbles popping in your stomach, or the feeling of ‘fluttering’. But it won’t be long before you will start to experience those unmistakable kicks, punches and rolls. Around 18 to 20 weeks is when first time mothers generally feel some movement, but it can be earlier for second pregnancies.
Unfortunately, whilst the second trimester is often the most enjoyable, it can also mean you develop other uncomfortable symptoms.
What are some common second trimester pregnancy complaints?
- Indigestion and reflux
- Feeling of fullness in the stomach after only eating small meals
- A blocked nose or sinus congestion and headaches
- Muscle aches and pains, particularly in the lower back
- Restless legs and cramping
- Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
- The urge to urinate frequently
- Low mood and/or irritability
Some of these symptoms may be due to hormonal changes, the size of your growing baby, pressure on your stomach or bladder from your uterus, your dietary choices, stress levels, exercise routine (or lack of), or even an indication you might need some additional nutritional support to help you through your pregnancy.
Try these tips to ease some of the common second trimester pregnancy symptoms
- Continue your exercise regime (unless medically advised not to), or consider joining a pre-natal yoga class
- Review your diet and check you are eating a wide variety of wholefoods including vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, lean meat, seafood and wholegrain
- Eat small meals often
- Take some time to relax and keep an eye on your stress levels
- Plan some time with your partner. Life is going to get really busy once your baby arrives and now is a good time to connect and enjoy being ‘just the two of you’
Do you need some help to manage your second trimester pregnancy symptoms?
Sometimes, you may need some help to address your diet and lifestyle to ensure you are doing all that you can to minimise some of the discomforts of pregnancy. If you have struggled to get back on track with your diet following the first trimester, your naturopath can provide advice and guidance in regards to your nutritional needs, and assess your lifestyle to help you make the best choices for your health.
Your naturopath can also provide some nutritional and/or herbal support to ease some of these symptoms and make pregnancy a more enjoyable experience for you. Symptoms such as muscle cramping, restless legs, difficulty sleeping, low mood and indigestion can all be relieved with appropriate guidance and support from your naturopath.