Thrive through the second trimester ☑️.
Welp, I’m officially in my third trimester. WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?! ????
My first trimester was filled with the unknown – I wasn’t sure what to expect, or if what I was feeling was “normal” – but I felt wayyyyy more confident in my second trimester. While it was still filled with unknowns – especially during these crazy COVID times – I felt GOOD.
Like an elevated version of myself.
You know, one that’s CREATING A HUMAN.
How badass is that?!
That being said, I did experience a few (but very minimal, I have to admit) of the *usual* second trimester pregnancy symptoms.
I think those were the worst. They were usually caused by low blood sugar. I know on certain days, I just wasn’t eating enough – and definitely not enough protein – but the hunger would come on so quickly, that I’d hardly have enough time to get food in my belly before the headache came on. That, and I’d be ravenous, but it wouldn’t take much food before I felt full. It was like a terrible catch-22. But once I was aware of what was going on, I was able to get in front of it. What made the most difference was making sure I had A LOT of protein in the morning. I started adding 1 scoop of collagen to my green juice first thing when I woke up + another scoop of collagen powder in my tea, and then focused heavily on protein with my first meal. Worked like a charm.
Despite my blood sugar bumps and bruises, I’ve had really steady and good energy throughout the day! It felt good to finally be able to check things off my to-do list without feeling like I would collapse from exhaustion.
Getting so much done during the day meant that I was tucked out by bedtime. Sleep came easily, and I slept through the night, but OH MY GOODNESS the vivid dreams! I’ll spare you the details, but they covered everything from sexy to just plain weird. Filled with colors and strangeness, I’d wake up wondering …
Um, can we talk about the insane nipple pain during the second trimester?! I get that our bodies are preparing us for potential breastfeeding side effects, but my goodness was it extreme. To the point where I would have to wrap a heating pad around my breasts held up by a sports bra to have any kind of relief. It was quite the sight let me tell you ????.
As in my first trimester, my intention was to eat consistently through the day to maintain my energy levels, and make mealtimes as nutrient-dense as possible.
I’d wake up, and before a headache had a chance to hit, I’d make a quick homemade fresh juice – usually with celery, cucumber, beet, lemon, parsley, ginger, turmeric, and collagen. I’d drink that and then often have a banana with peanut butter to tie me over until a proper breakfast … because my cravings from my first trimester continued on in my second trimester … and peanut butter is life.
Breakfast generally consisted of one of the following:
CocoYo coconut milk yogurt, berries, banana, sprouted grain-free granola, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and cacao nibs.
Overnight oats made with One Degree sprouted oats, MALK oat milk, chia seeds, and cinnamon, topped with banana, blueberries, sprouted grain-free granola, hemp seeds, shredded coconut, and cacao nibs.
Egg and banana scramble: 2 whole eggs + 1 mashed banana, lightly cooked in grass-fed ghee, topped with banana, blueberries, sprouted grain-free granola, hemp seeds, shredded coconut, and cacao nibs.
Between breakfast and lunch, I’d usually fill my tummy with:
Black tea + MUDWTR with: 1 scoop collagen powder, 1 tsp MCT oil, 1 tsp raw honey, and Aroy D coconut milk.
My favorite green drink – 12 oz water, 1 heaping scoop DFH Proteins + Greens, 1 tsp spirulina, 1 scoop Paleo Greens, 2 tsp glutamine powder, 1 tsp moringa powder, 1 tsp wheatgrass powder, 1 heaping tbsp raw cacao powder, 1 heaping tbsp chia seeds, ½ banana, ¼ cup organic blueberries, ice, all blended together.
Lunch was a big ol’ salad with local mixed greens, carrots, beets, purple cabbage, pea shoots, avocado, quinoa or lentils, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, EVOO/ACV/Tamari – topped with leftover chicken, fish, beans, or lentils.
And dinner … oh man. Have I ever told you guys that I find cooking to be therapeutic and meditative? I can escape from the world, get out of my head, and leisurely prepare dinner. And it’s one of Ben and I’s favorite things to do together ????.
Here are a few of my go-to dinners while pregnant:
And, because I’m growing and nourishing a little human, my days were filled with snacks. They were generally quick and easy, especially because the hunger would hit hard and quick. Homemade macaroons, grain-free banana bread, dark chocolate with peanut butter, carrots & sprouted hummus, Flackers with dairy-free Miyokos mozzarella, and TONS of fruit. Like, an obnoxious amount of fresh fruit. I couldn’t get enough mangoes, apples, cherries, oranges, berries, bananas, pears, the list goes on and on …
Real talk: even as a nutritionist who knows better, the reality is, it’s unlikely that I was getting my full dietary requirements every day just through food. I’m a strong believer in the addition of supplements to a well-rounded diet, and this is especially crucial while pregnant – you have to keep both mama and baby healthy and thriving!
I took the same supplements as I did in my first trimester, you can see them here, with the addition of Phosphatidylcholine – a super duper important one to add in at least by your second trimester, but honestly you should take your whole pregnancy. Knowing what I know now about it’s benefits, I should have added it in earlier. Buttttt I was eating a TON of eggs in the first trimester so hopefully that was a help ????.
Phosphatidylcholine is an important nutrient that, amongst other things, plays a key role in the fetal brain developing optimally while still in the womb. It’s also important for protection against neural tube defects, cleft lip and palate. AND in a 2012 study, higher choline intakes were shown to alter placental markers of prenatal stress such as cortisol. The authors discuss the exciting possibility that these findings could indicate a reduced risk of stress-related diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and depression later on in life.
The reality is that 1 in 5 pregnant women don’t get enough choline in her diet during pregnancy. The richest food source of choline is egg yolks and liver. And even if you’re eating 3-4 eggs a day in pregnancy (which I highly recommend and strive for myself!) you still won’t be getting enough. And most prenatals don’t even come close (or have any added choline at all). Your need for choline increases to 450 mg (or more) per day during pregnancy, so knowing this I added in an extra phosphatidylcholine supplement and took 2 capsules per day for a total of 900 mg.
Studies have been done on expectant mothers who were given choline supplements starting in the second trimester of pregnancy and continuing until birth. Results so far suggest that children born to mothers receiving choline supplements during pregnancy have significantly lower risk of developing serious brain disorders such as schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. Choline is also an essential nutrient, meaning although your body can make small amounts of choline, it can’t make enough to meet your needs, so you need to eat foods rich in choline and take a supplement to get the amount your body requires.
Remember how I said that my energy was back, and that I was able to sustain it all day?
You better believe I brought it to my daily movement!
While in my first trimester, most days all I could manage was a 60-minute walk with my pup. Second trimester, though, was a whole other story. I continued my daily walks + added in a whole lot more hiking and long bike rides to get some good cardio in every day.
I also added in wayyyyyy more strength training and with all the amazing studios taking their classes online, I was able to get an awesome 45-60 minute home workout every day! I love studios like RBL REMOTE, Studio Bloom, Melissa Wood Health, Gaia and Glo. I rotated between these options depending on what my body was asking for.
I found that I craved daily movement, and my day wouldn’t feel complete without it. It helped me sleep better, feel better in my body, increase my circulation, and soothe the mental craziness of these current times.
I didn’t have the physical or mental capacity to practice much self care in my first trimester (aside from my daily evening baths), but I made it a priority in my second trimester. With all of these new changes in my body, acupuncture and prenatal massage was top of my list.
Weekly acupuncture was sooooo necessary. Each appointment was tailored to what my body needed – whether it was relief from nausea, lower back pain, or decreased energy, my girl had me covered.
Can we talk about baths while pregnant? THEY ARE AMAZING. I’m pretty sure I’m part mermaid, and I belong in the water. It’s so soothing for mind, body, and soul. Light a candle, throw in some essential oils, and I could relax and meditate.
And, of course, while walking and hikes were part of my daily movement, I also considered them self care. Nature has a way of clearing my mind and letting me reconnect to Mama Earth, and allowing me to detach from my phone and computer while getting in some deep breaths in nature are my perfect ways to reset.
As I mentioned in my first pregnancy diary, even though I inherently “knew” the answer to most of these questions, I wanted to make sure that my symptoms were “normal”, and that I was doing the “right” things.
And that, my friends, is how I thrived in my second trimester. I was so dang happy to have my energy back, my appetite back, and my desire for exercise & movement. Being able to sleep through the night without getting up to pee 5 times was fantastic, though now that I’m getting closer to my due date, I’m sure that’ll regress. I felt pretty incredible in my second trimester, and I’m carrying those vibes into my third trimester.
I said this before, but it still feels so relevant – this experience, this pregnancy, has made me a WAY better clinician. I know more, I understand more, I have more compassion, and as they always say – until you walk the path yourself, you can’t fully know the path.
This constantly moving baby and I are treading along smoothly together in my third trimester, and I’m already looking forward to sharing my next (and final!) pregnancy diary with you!
Are you trying to get pregnant?
Balance your hormones?
Feel good in your body?
Or maybe your second trimester symptoms have been kicking your butt?
I’ve love to support you, with whatever you’re going through. I am always available to have a one on one chat.