Friday, April 12, 2013

Paleo Pregnancy - Second Trimester Recap

This post is a bit overdue as I am already 33 weeks pregnant, but better late than never and soon enough I'll be holding my little baby and recapping my third trimester, which is still hard for me to believe.

I can totally see why they call the second timester the "honeymoon trimester". My first trimester was full of ups and downs. Once I hit about thirteen weeks, though, my morning sickness went from all day every day to every few days and by fourteen weeks it had disappeared completely. I knew people said it would get better, but when you are sick nonstop for weeks on end, it is hard to take their word for it. My appetite came back, too, and I was able to eat many of my favorite foods again and actually enjoy my meals. I was even able to come up with fun new recipes again (like this and this) without wanting to run screaming from the kitchen!

Speaking of food, once my appetite came back, those tell-tale pregnancy cravings came flooding in. I dreamt about digging into piles of cake and ice cream with my hands and filling a huge bowl with all of my favorite cereals. It goes without saying that some of my biggest cravings have been cereal, ice cream and cake...along with pizza, macaroni and cheese and chocolate. Luckily I was able to enjoy those foods in my dreams so I could stick to my Paleo diet during my waking hours. This post gives a good picture of what I currently eat in a day. We did make a lot more Paleo treats than usual, like sweet potato brownies and cookie dough bars, to satisfy my craving for sweets and I ate the occasional french fry and sushi roll without an ounce of regret.

Around 20 weeks by baby was finally getting big enough to squish my internal organs a bit and I started to experience some major pains in my gallbladder after eating most meals. I talked with my midwife and she said it is normal for pregnancy hormones and the cramped quarters to cause digestive issues. They did some additional testing on my liver and kidneys and everything came back normal so we just chalked it up to good ol' pregnancy. Kevin and I did cut back on a lot of the fattier cuts of meat (goodbye bacon and sausage) and I ate a bit of Greek yogurt and drank Kombucha to get some healthy bacteria into my system. Kevin made me cherry and cranberry juice cocktails, too, to clean our my digestive tract. I am not sure what worked, but eventually the baby moved or my diet changes kicked my digestive system back into gear because the pain slowly went away over the next few weeks.

I also experienced some extremely uncomfortable and painful itching on my back and scalp during the winter months. More talking with my midwife led me to the conclusion that this is also a normal symptom of pregnancy. On top of the already dry winter air, the baby is basically taking all of the nutrients I consume to fuel its growth and development. I am happy to suffer through some discomfort for my baby (I am sure this is only the beginning...), but I still sought out some relief. The best solution I came across was pure Vitamin E oil. I think it worked best when Kevin rubbed it on for me and, great husband that he is, he obliged.

Luckily, my other appointments with my midwife were less eventful. We went in once a month to hear the heartbeat and discuss our questions and concerns. We did have a second ultrasound at nineteen weeks and based on the results we declined any of the additional second trimester screenings for genetic disorders. My midwife assured us that nothing they tested for would be life threatening for me or for the baby so we politely declined. It was so exciting to see our little baby again and this time we could see cute little arms and legs and even the spinal cord, heart chambers and vertebrae. I had no idea you could see so much detail! This was probably the last peek we will get at our baby before it is born so we savored every moment.

Even though we don't get to see the baby again until he or she is born, around 18 weeks I started to feel those first tiny kicks. Like most first-time moms, it took me a few days to realize what I was feeling. They started out as very subtle movements, but within a few weeks even Kevin could feel the occasional kick. Near the end of my second trimester, I could literally see the kicks and watch my stomach move when the baby was rolling around in my belly.

Another happy happening of the second trimester is that my energy came bouncing back, too! By fifteen weeks, I had a burst of energy that lasted into the third trimester. Even though my body was changing, my workout times were improving and I was able to lift heavier weights than I expected. I got back in the pool and was able to swim much longer than I could in my first trimester. I ran more often, too, and even participated in a few 5K's. As the second trimester went on, though, and my belly grew larger, I definitely had to start modifying my workouts.

In CrossFit, I had to do push ups from my knees and gave up sit-ups for modified toes to bar. I also moved to a little mini box for my box jumps and used stronger bands for pull ups. As my weight went up a lot of movements became more difficult and eventually I was modifying almost everything. I just did whatever felt right and tried not to push myself too hard.

When running, I took a lot of walk breaks and slowed my pace down a bit to accommodate my changing body. The same went for swimming, too. I took a break every few laps and drank some water and just swam at whatever pace felt good.

I also found some great prenatal weight lifting and yoga videos  on YouTube, which I wrote about in this post on my favorite pregnancy resources. On the mornings when I just couldn't drag myself out of bed early enough to get to the gym, I could still get a good 30 minute workout in from the comfort of my own home.

Near the end of the second trimester I did experience some difficulty sleeping. I couldn't lie on my back anymore because it cut off my breathing so I was exclusively sleeping on my side. Even surrounded by pillows, it was hard to find a comfortable position and lying on one side for too long made my hips hurt, so I usually woke up at least four or five time each night to rearrange. Some nights I just gave up and came downstairs to watch 2:00am Law and Order reruns and that was usually enough to tire me out and get me back to sleep (no offense to Law and Order).

All in all, even with the few minor discomforts, my second trimester was a happy three months. I felt the baby move for the first time, I could enjoy food again, my energy came back with a vengeance and I loved to watch my baby bump grow from week to week! I continued to write about my pregnancy in Paleo Living Magazine throughout my second trimester. You can check out Paleo Living Magazine on Facebook or head on over to subscribe now if you are reading on our iPad.


If you would like to learn more about following a Paleo lifestyle during pregnancy, check out my first book, The Everything Paleo Pregnancy Book. I cover everything from which healthy, Paleo foods to focus on to get the most important nutrients for pregnancy, how certain foods can alleviate common pregnancy ailments, how to modify your workout plan during pregnancy and over 100 healthy recipes! The book is available in both paperback and Kindle versions through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Did you start to feel like yourself again in the second trimester? Is the honeymoon trimester a god way to describe it?