Oh 2nd trimester - you dream!
My 1st trimester symptoms of nausea/dizziness/tiredness lingered around until about week 16. I’m not sure what I expected but it certainly didn’t all disappear overnight at week 12! Between weeks 12-16 there was a sort of transitional period and my symptoms very gradually started to decrease. I’d have days when I’d feel amazing then other days I’d be back to feeling icky. I’m now writing this in my 29th week though and it feels like a long time ago!
Since about week 17 I can honestly say that I’ve felt a bit like wonder woman! My 1st trimester symptoms had gone and I had a new energy: bouncing out of bed pre-6am, no naps, back to CrossFit, back to cardio, back cooking my own food - chicken and vegetables firmly back on the menu - woohoo! In fact, I felt so good that originally I would often forget I was pregnant…and obviously you do need to remember that you ARE pregnant (!!), don’t overdo it, take care of your body and look after yourself ie. don’t burn the candle at both ends all the time. I was definitley guilty of overdoing it at some points.
I’m a huge promoter of exercise whilst pregnant and believe it’s really helped me physically as so far I’ve had no back or pelvic pain - it’s also been great mentally - helping me to deal with the hormones! BUT there are times when you are just knackered and you need to rest….but other times when you might just be being a little bit lazy! Finding your own rhythm and balance with it all is very important & don’t swayed by other people. Do your research, arm yourself with the facts and crack on!
CHANGES IN EXERCISE WHEN PREGNANT
The main change I found was that my heart rate would easily go through the roof when I exercised (or sometimes even the stairs if taken too quickly!) and I really had to manage it. This is because blood volume increases in pregnancy and the heart is having to pump faster to circulate all that blood round the system. During exercise I found I needed to do less work to reach the same level of intensity and it’s very important to factor this in. I have definitely been working at a lower ‘effort’ level but still getting a sweat on. I use the talk test as a measure of my exertion - I literally talk out loud to myself and if I can have a conversation/talk in sentences then I’m working at a safe level. If I’m too breathless then I won’t stay at that intensity and back off a bit.
However I do think the body is more resilient than we think and I believe 2nd trimester is definitely the time to get your exercise in. There is a lot of conflicting advice out there - you’ll be following someone on instagram doing 60kgs cleans in her 3rd trimester whilst your granny is telling you to just put your feet up for 9 months. You have to go on what you were doing before you were pregnant and how you feel during - I just make sure I’m being honest with myself but also leaving my ego at door! We know the benefits of exercise in pregnancy now so do remember that moving your body can be more beneficial than playing it safe and doing nothing at all (depending on your situation & doctor sign off!).
By week 22 I could feel fluttering movement and the pop of hiccups which is an awesome (if a little weird) feeling! The fluttering turned into proper squirming and what now feels like big knocks & kicks. Then at week 26 a big shift happened. I had been quite small (20th percentile) and people couldn’t believe I was as far along as I was…but then I suddenly popped and I felt different. I think I felt properly pregnant! During weeks 17-25 I had felt physically unaffected by my belly and pregnancy - no pains, no feeling of off balance. All of a sudden I felt bigger and slower….more tired, a bit wobbly occasionally and I was needing to rest again (though not always a full nap) in the afternoon. I had grown - we were now 50th percentile!
Now I’m in my 29th week and third trimester, I’m stepping it up a notch with my self-care. I am still doing my workouts but I’ve taken my weights right down again. It still feels so good to move & maintain my strength & fitness but I want to look after my body & mind now as much as I can in this final stretch. I’ve found a pregnancy yoga class I like, I do pilates once a week plus I’m having some sessions of reiki, acupuncture & my usual soft tissue massage. I’ve still got quite a few weeks to go but so far my body feels great! A lot of this I believe is because I’ve made the choice to work hard at looking after myself and I’ve stuck to it. I’ve eaten well 80% of the time (even when I haven’t felt like green veg I have shoved it down!) and I haven’t given my power over my body away to ‘oh that’s just what happens when your pregnant’. There are undoubtably things that will happen that are out of your control but what you can control I believe you absolutely should!