Read more about my second trimester pregnancy update. This post includes pregnancy symptoms, cravings and nutrition, exercise, product recommendations and mindset mantras that helped me through weeks 14-28 of pregnancy.
I can’t believe how quickly the second trimester flew by (I’m now 35 weeks pregnant writing this, so this post is well overdue!). While my first trimester wasn’t too bad in regards to pesky pregnancy symptoms, looking back it was definitely the most comfortable. The energy boost compared to the first trimester and only a handful of mild symptoms made these fourteen weeks much more enjoyable. Plus, I finally starting to show. Hello, little baby bump!
Starting to show plus feeling our little boy move, were the biggest highlights of this trimester. I finally started to look and feel pregnant. So overall, my second trimester was great! But let’s dive into the specifics.
If you’re new here or haven’t already, be sure to also check out my Pregnancy Announcement and first trimester update.
Around 18 weeks, I finally started feeling our little guy moving inside me and I think my heart grew two sizes. I was laying on my yoga mat and felt what I can only describe as a “swimming” feeling. Many people compare the first movement to flutters or popcorn popping, it felt more a faint glide. Over the next few weeks, the feeling turned into faint taps and flutters. I thought the ultrasound made everything feel real but feeling the tiny taps and flutters is beyond anything I could have imagined. By the middle of the second trimester, the little kicks now felt like jabs and punches and mostly to my ribs. This can really stop you mid-sentence. But it’s also the best feeling because you know they’re in there and it brings you peace of mind.
Ben was able to feel him for the first time at 22 weeks. Being able to share the experience was something I’d been waiting for. The first part of pregnancy feels like a solo experience. It’s out of your control but also all dependent on you. Having my husband feel our baby, gave me a sense of connection. The start of a family bond that I still can’t begin to wrap my head around.
Second TRIMESTER PREGNANCY SYMPTOMS
- Insomnia – for about 6 weeks around 19-24 weeks I did not sleep well, waking up constantly at 3:30 am. I’d lay there wide awake with no chance of going back to sleep. Instead of laying there, I’d get up and knock off some of my to-do list of the day and then take a mid-day (sometimes mid-morning!) nap. I was ready for bed by 7:30-8 but would try to stay up till at least 8:30-9 pm. Fortunately, this insomnia didn’t last too long and I started sleeping again.
- Weight gain – once I started showing, I become completely in awe of women’s bodies and the rapid changes that were happening in order to house and nourish the little one inside me. My weight gain was steady around ½ pound per week with some weeks more some weeks less. This was an area I didn’t know how I would handle. You know you’ll gain weight during pregnancy. You know what’s happening is for a reason but I didn’t know how my mind would handle the physical changes when the time came. I can happily say, the weight gain didn’t bother me. It’s such a crazy thing to watch your belly grow week by week and know your body is keeping your baby alive still blows my mind. I can honestly say I have a new appreciation for my body.
- Dry skin – winter air, hormones, and increase water needs made for my skin to be on the dry end. I also think this contributed to breakouts as my skin tried to condensate for being dry. Putting lotion on daily, especially my bump helped since I knew that skin was stretching. The normal lotion I put on after the shower (Burt’s Bee’s lotion of dry skin) worked best. I bought some belly butter but most are made with coconut or shea butter and that’s too heavy for my skin.
- Breakouts – so much for that pregnancy glow! I definitely felt like my skin got worse this trimester. With the combination of winter air, drier skin, hormones, trying to use an oil-based serum to rehydrate and cutting out most spot treatments because of ingredients not suited for pregnancy, my skin was not happy. My breakouts were very superficial with an occasional deeper pimple. It seems as though my skin with just getting clogged on the surface level. Of course, I made it look 10x worse because I couldn’t help but pick at it. It wasn’t until my third trimester, that I switched up my skincare and noticed a difference. So more on that in my third trimester post!
- Back and Round-Ligament Pain – These are common pregnancy symptoms as your uterus starts to expand and your baby gets heavier. This causes your ligaments in your abdomen to stretch. I experienced mild round ligament pain and back pain for about a week in December around 18-19 weeks. Once I noticed it coming, I focused on pregnancy-safe ab and back strengthening exercises and stretching. I also started doing cat/cow stretches daily along with glute bridges. This helped tremendously. I never experienced consistent or lingering pain when I stayed consistent with this.
Bleeding gums – by the end of my second trimester my gums became really sensitive. Brushing my caused my gums to bleed. While this is normal, there’s really not much you can do about it. I’ve read you could try using a softer toothbrush or squishing with salt water but it’s typically something that goes lingers around until you give birth.
Second TRIMESTER CRAVINGS
- Club soda – Give me all the bubbles! The carbonation tastes so good. Basically, I need the bubbles to enjoy water, especially in the evening. My go-to is lemon spindrift or plain club soda with tons of fresh-squeezed lemon. It’s so refreshing!
- Peanut Butter – My PB&J cravings turned into straight peanut butter cravings. I try to change up the different kinds of nut butter I use throughout the day to get in a variety of nutrients, but all I wanted was peanut butter. I’d go through an entire jar of peanut butter each week just by myself. Also, this is the BEST peanut butter. I stock once a month buying 5-6 at a time on Thrive Market because they have the best deal.
- Frozen Fruit – yes, frozen fruit! Especially raspberries and cherries. This may be replacing my “jelly” craving. I couldn’t get enough of the sweet, tart, and cold combination. Before bed, I’d make a bowl of frozen berries and drizzle with warm peanut butter. It hit the spot every time!
- Apples – another fruit craving! Crisp and sweet Pink Lady and Honeycrisp apples were my go-to afternoon snack. Always with cinnamon and peanut butter (of course!).
Second Trimester Nutrition
Calorie and protein needs start to increase during the second trimester. The average woman only needs about 250-300 extra calories during her second trimester. This was easy to do by adding extra healthy fats (aka peanut butter) throughout the day or having a slightly bigger meal or snack. I typically eat 5-6 times per day so just slightly increasing the portion size worked best for me. Some women talk about being ravenous this trimester, but I didn’t find this to be the case. I might be because I was already in a routine of eating every few hours or I was just eating enough at my meals and snacks to satisfy my needs.
For protein, I relied mostly on eggs and plant-based protein like beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, and fish 2x per week. I also used this Garden of Life protein powder daily, mostly in oatmeal.
Glucose Intolerance Test
Before diving into this topic, please remember this is something to discuss with your doctor. I’m simply sharing my experience.
I opted out of my glucose intolerance test. I asked for another option in place of drinking the Glucola. If you’re not familiar with the test or Glucola, I recommend doing a little research for yourself and then making a decision with your doctor about what is best for you.
There are many other options for testing your blood sugar. I’ve heard of some doctors allowing moms to eat a meal with 50g of glucose, 50 grams of jelly beans or another form of sugar, or simply testing their blood sugar like a diabetic would before and after each meal. This is the option my doctor offered me. I tested my own blood sugar at home for a week by pricking my finger and using a glucometer to test my blood sugar.
Everything came back perfectly normal so no other tests were needed. Since I work from home I didn’t find this to be a hassle. I’m also not a grazer so I was able to test my blood sugar with at least 2 hours between each meal. This might be because I’m a dietitian, but I found it fascinating to see how my body responded to different foods and meal combinations and how exercise plays a role in stabilizing blood sugar.
EXERCISING WHILE PREGNANT: Second TRIMESTER
Exercising during my second trimester felt great! I’ve had to make some modifications but overall nothing too drastic.
I was still running (much more slowly!) until about 24 weeks. It just didn’t feel great anymore with the extra pressure on my pelvis and constantly thinking I had to pee. I probably could have gotten a belly band but I took this as a sign that this was no longer serving me and opted for other forms of movement moving forward.
I switched off between walking and cycling with a combination of weights or bodyweight exercises. Back stretches, glute bridges, Kegels, pelvic tilts and stretching also made its way into my routine. I tried to do these things daily since I knew how much better they made me feel and how good they were for my changing body.
My supplement routine is pretty much the same as the first trimester. I’m taking a prenatal, probiotics, omega-3 and vitamin D consistently. I did switch up my brand of prenatal and probiotic and LOVE them. I cannot recommend them enough.
- Prenatal: I’ve still been loving Ritual’s prenatal and highly recommend it! I love their transparency and that they have choline (which is important for baby’s brain development).
- Probiotic: I can’t stress enough the importance of gut health and highly recommend taking a probiotic. Seed is the probiotic I use and recommend to all my clients. The research that went into making this unique pre- and probiotic is unlike any other probiotic formula I’ve researched. I cannot recommend it enough. Use the code NOURISHEDBYNUTRITION for 15% off your subscription.
- Omega-3: I opted to continue with Nordic Natural’s Ultimate Omega over their prenatal DHA because it has more DHA and EPA that the prenatal. It’s recommended getting at least 200mg of DHA from an omega while pregnant but to help reduce inflammation and get the other benefits of omega-3s I recommend at least 450 mg of DHA and 1000 mg of total omega-3s.
- Vitamin D: Most people are deficient in vitamin D. The only way to know it to get tested to know your levels tested and I highly recommend it. Taking at least 2000 IUs per day can help maintain your levels, but if you’re deficient or on the low end, you’ll need more. I take Throne 5000 IU vitamin D daily, especially in the winter months.
Second TRIMESTER PREGNANCY MUST-HAVES
- Nurture (the book) – The full title of this book is Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhood and Trusting Yourself and Your Body. I cannot recommend this book enough. It’s been helpful every step of the way while providing more holistic guidance on pregnancy. I found myself reading and re-reading parts of it over and over again. This book along with Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth (which I haven’t started) were the only two pregnancy books I purchased. But after diving into Nurture, I resonated with it so much I didn’t feel the need to read another.
- Extra pillows – instead of investing in a pregnancy pillow, I found using our king-sized pillows worked just find. Putting one between my legs or up against my back while sleep took some pressure off and just felt extra cozy. I’m not into buying things that only serve one purpose unless absolutely necessary. I know some moms swear by pregnancy pillows, but a regular pillow worked just fine for me.
- Athleta leggings – I love these Athleta leggings. Pregnant or not I live in them. Since I work from home, these are my daily uniform. These aren’t the high-waisted option, which I prefer. This also allows me to roll the waistband under my bump. I can’t stand having anything tight over my belly button, pregnant or not. I still fit into my regular size and find them super stretchy and comfortable.
These mindset mantras are phrases I’ve been saying throughout the second trimester. Honestly, these haven’t changed since the first trimester. These phrases have resonated with me throughout my entire pregnancy this far. When my anxiety is high or my mind starts to race, these mantras help keep me grounded. Incorporating empowering sayings help shift my mindset and see this new chapter in a positive light.
- “I let go of what I can’t control”
- “I”m doing the best I can for me and my baby”
- “My baby is strong and healthy”
That’s it for now! Stay tuned for my Third Trimester Update. Please share in the comments below if you found this helpful, want to share about your second trimester or have any tips and recommendations for the thrid trimester. I’d love to hear from you!