My Third Trimester

I actually can’t believe I am writing a blog about being in my third trimester! Although the first trimester felt like the longest few months of my life, when I look back at my pregnancy, it really has flown by. Yes, there have been challenges, however I feel I have had quite an enjoyable pregnancy. But this feeling may be down to the fact that I am just so incredibly grateful to have grown and carried a baby I created with my Husband. I am aware that everyone experiences this journey in such unique ways but here is my own version of how it has been…

The best bits

Hands down, the most magical thing about being pregnant is feeling your baby move around inside of you. My little boy has been so incredibly active and his movements got so much stronger in the third trimester. My favourite thing to do is lie in bed before I go to sleep and just watch him dance around! Having suffered with an eating disorder in the past, I genuinely wasn’t sure how I would handle my body changing so drastically. I am not going to deny having some mentally challenging days however I am just so appreciative that my body has allowed me to this and I have a new sense of respect for myself.

At just over 34 weeks I had a maternity shoot with the lovely Vicky Chilten  and it was so much more magical than I could have expected! I think it is so special to document our body as it grows a baby and I would highly recommend the experience!

Finally, my baby shower! I was sooo beyond grateful that restrictions has eased enough for me to celebrate my little boy with my closet friends and family. My Mum put on an incredible day in the garden and again, it just felt so special (and real!) to think little one will be here so soon!

The challenges

If you are or have been pregnant before you will know it comes with its mental and physical challenges. Particularly around 30-32 weeks, I started to feel very pregnant. Bending down became difficult, I noticed my energy levels dropping and getting out of bed 3 times a night to pee was such an effort! At 28 weeks I found out I was breech and was actually devastated. I started my hypnobirthing course at around 24 weeks and hadn’t even considered a C-section being an option I would have to consider. The nurses told me I would have to keep an open mind if he didn’t flip head down. I headed straight to the spinning babies website as well as googling everything I could about how to turn your baby… Something worked as he flipped to head down position at 33 weeks and I pretty much cried with happiness. I know we can’t always plan how we give birth but I am so grateful that a natural birth is now a more likely option! Since he flipped I have felt my pelvis area feeling a lot heavier… Honestly as if my bump is digging into me! But at least he is in the right position!

I have also suffered miserable heartburn the further I have got into my third trimester and actually resorted to Gaviscon a few times which I was adamant I wouldn’t do. My tips for this would be to identify your trigger foods, stay hydrated, space out when you eat, sit upright after eating and don’t eat too close to bedtime. If it’s really uncomfortable speak to your midwife.

Something I want to mention too is that I fell down the stairs when 32 weeks. Not ideal! But it is important to note that due to the hormone relaxin (which softens our ligaments in preparation for birth) we can get a little clumsy in pregnancy. Thankfully I fell on my back and baby was absolutely fine but I want to shout out to other mama to be’s, to be careful!

Looking after baby and I

Something that has really kept me in positive place both physically and mentally is movement! I mentioned this in my second trimester blog too but exercise has continued to do wonders for my body. If you know me you will know I stick to low impact Pilates and strength style workouts created by one of my best friends Georgie (GS Method). Not only do I feel like it has kept me in good shape and had such a positive impact on my mindset, but I also feel so empowered moving! There is so much research suggesting that staying active whilst pregnant comes with so many benefits and I encourage everyone to find a way of moving that you enjoy! I have also been enjoying my walks with Bear every day.

Nourishing your body and staying hydrated is also super important. I have enjoyed eating a (mostly) well balanced diet however I also acknowledge when my body is asking for specific things. Chocolate has been a solid staple (to be expected!) but I have switched a high percentage dark chocolate for a white or milk chocolate depending on much I feeling like eating as I try and save my caffeine intake for that much needed matcha to help with my energy levels! We also need an extra 200kcal a day in the third trimester.

Third trimester has taught me that rest is just as important as moving… there have been days where just a 20 minute walk has been an achievement because my body is telling me to just slow down.

Pelvic floor exercises have now become a solid part of my daily routine. I downloaded the squeezy app and work my pelvic floor before getting out of bed in the morning and at night.

Prepping for birth

As first times Mum’s we can prep all we want but I really feel like the idea of pushing a baby out is so alien! I have had quite a few moments where I have just sat and thought ‘HOW?!’. But knowledge is power and (without overwhelming myself) I have read a few books and done a few online courses to help prepare me for a what will hopefully be a positive birth experience. I am sooo excited to meet my baby and I want to be able to take each moment in my stride and deal with the experience in the best way possible.

For me, I feel like positive affirmations have been really helpful, I have created a ‘labour playlist’ and spoken to my Husband and Mum about any negative thoughts around the birth. I am also working on having an open mindset in the sense that I know every birth story is different and I cannot control every aspect of it so I have to just ‘go with the flow’ to some degree!

My top products I have been using to keep my skin soft and supple throughout pregnancy are:

Evolve Berry Oil (most days)

My Expert Midwife (at night)

Mama Mio Omega 3 Rub (every other day)

Mama Mio Boob Tube (most days)

My Second Trimester

I will start with the fact that it is so much more enjoyable than the first trimester! If you read my previous blog, you’ll know I suffered with all day nausea and ate very little colour! But the 12 week mark was a real turning point and although I have had occasional headaches and fatigue, my body started to feel more alive again in the second trimester.

Things I am eating

I have had so much interest in regards to what I am eating right now! The truth is (since entering my second trimester), my diet hasn’t really changed. I still eat pretty much how I did before falling pregnant and am of course taking prenatal supplements. The only thing that slightly differs is I fill up much more easily in the evening and I like to make sure that I am not going to bed uncomfortable so I have been eating dinner pretty early to give my tummy enough time to settle after a big meal. Foods I am particularly loving right now are fresh fruits, chocolate (obvs), cheese, savoury snacks and kombucha! I know there are mixed opinions around drinking kombucha in pregnancy but it is my own personal choice to include it – I drank it lots beforehand and my body really enjoys it. There have definitely been days where I feel I need more food and I am genuinely just listening to what my body wants. I am making sure I include lots of nutrient dense foods (like I was before anyway) and I still enjoy chocolate everyday too!

Things I love

Feeling my little boy kicking around inside of me is a feeling like no other. I feel more and more connected to him every day! I started to feel him move around 18 weeks (Ash started to feel his kicks at 20 weeks) and I can almost predict when I will feel him awake now. I love the trust that my body has in me and I have never felt more confident in regards to the fact that I am looking after my wellbeing in the best way (for me). This will look different for everyone but I have dedicated years after recovering from an eating disorder to make sure I do everything I can to support my physical and mental wellbeing.

I loved my workouts pre-pregnancy and have continued throughout. Thanks to my gorgeous friend Georgie and her GS method, I tend to workout 4-5 times a week, mixing low impact cardio, Pilates, strength and pelvic floor exercises of course. I also make sure I get a walk in every day. This is just the type of movement that MY body loves. I don’t thrive off of high impact and you won’t catch me on a run. We know that movement is so important whilst pregnant and it really does keep me in a positive place physically and mentally.

I am so lucky to have an incredible Husband, amazing family and friends! They have all been such an important and helpful part of this journey so far in different ways. I am also superrr excited and lucky that my best friend of 15 years is also pregnant (just 7 weeks behind me) and going through this journey with someone is just magical. I find it imperative to talk to people. Talk to people who have experienced pregnancy before, ask for advice, seek support, you need it! Yes, pregnancy is a miracle but it can also be tough, so speak up and use your support system.

Things I struggle with

I know everyone’s pregnancy journey is so different… some people love it, some people don’t, but I personally feel so grateful to have the opportunity to carry my own baby. If you know my background you will know that I was always unsure if pregnancy would be a possibility for me so the fact that this has happened, kind of helps override any negatives that have cropped up. That being said, I have had my struggles. In all honesty, there have been days where I felt uncomfortable in my body. Some people love the free boob job but I am not feeling it! I was quite content with small boobs and not having to wear a bra. But hey, I’ll get over it and hope they reduce to their normal size in the future. The growing tummy, although of course necessary, has also been a struggle at times. Like I said when these negative feelings crop up, I address them and then remind myself how lucky I am that my body is growing my baby. But I don’t want to sugar coat anything and these feelings are normal regardless of size and history of body image issues. I also used to love having big meals, particularly at dinner – since hitting week 19 I started to get terrible discomfort if I ate too much in one go and this would trigger heartburn too! So I have had to spread out when I eat a little more to cater to this.

Other unwanted symptoms that have cropped up are back pain, occasional headaches and I have to admit my mood can go from feeling on top of the world to crying for no reason!

Tips

These are my personal tips for anyone in their second trimester…

Drink water!

I drank a lot of water any way but have realised I really do benefit from drinking more now that I am pregnant. Because I feel like I need to pee every hour still, it sometimes deters me from drinking more water but I notice I feel like I haven’t drank enough when it gets to the end of the day so just make sure you stay hydrated. I use a litre water bottle to keep track and make sure I am refilling it at least 2-3 times a day.

Get your vaccines

I know there are mixed opinions here but I personally believe that with the research that we have, it is a safe way to protect your baby. I had both the flu and whooping cough vaccine and have no regrets. The last thing I would ever want is to be terribly ill whilst nurturing a baby in my tummy.

Move

Like I said this can really help support your mental and physical health so find something you love and commit to it when you can. I feel so empowered after a good workout!

Relax

Although it is important to stay active in pregnancy, it is also important to relax. I found benefit from an acupuncture session as like I said my back has been pretty achy for the last few weeks. I also have a facial, pregnancy massage and reflexology appointment booked – if now isn’t the time to pamper ourselves I don’t know when is! I have also been prioritising at least 8 hours of sleep every night. I also use a lovely pregnancy safe belly oil to keep my skin supple whilst its stretches out to grow my little boy!

Get a Swiss Ball

If like me you are struggling with back pain or even achiness (some people also suffer with cramps), try not to sit in awkward positions that may make this worse. I spend at least 70% of my working hours sat on my swiss ball which I feel really helps keep any discomfort at bay!

Listen to your body

I will say it again – every pregnancy is different and you know your body better than anyone. If you think something might be wrong or something feels out of the ordinary, call your midwife. If something makes you feel good, go with it. People will offer their advice and opinions whether you ask for them or not – you don’t have to listen. Stand up for you and your body!

My First Trimester

When I found out I was pregnant on the 2nd November I was shocked, nervous, elated, excited and in disbelief! Despite my slightly swollen / tender breasts, I felt fab! I kept thinking ‘it is normal to feel like this’? I was eating all the same foods, working out regularly and going about my day. 9th November came and I was like ‘oh, okay, this is what it feels like’. I cannot explain how ill I felt. Morning sickness is not reserved for the morning. I spent all day feeling like I was fighting the world’s longest hangover. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I usually love being productive, love my routine and hate sitting still. I had to accept that my body was changing. I have to say it made the pregnancy feel much more real. But damn it was hard. I was so grateful to be growing a baby in my tummy but I just kept wishing the days away.

It was definitely worst in the morning and then again in the evening. All I could stomach was carbs. I found myself wanting to eat because my tummy felt quite hungry but it distressed me how much the sight of vegetables would increase the feelings of nausea. Foods, I relied on most were: Marmite on toast, eggs on toast, hummus on toast, and more toast. I couldn’t even drink tea. Often when I managed to eat something other than bread, I would finish it and then be hit with waves of nausea again. This was so far from what I had ever experienced. As someone who normally feels so in tune and connected to their body, I felt like I didn’t know myself at all. It sounds dramatic but it was mentally hard to get my head round.

I spent so much time googling ‘tips for morning sickness’ but very little seemed to have any affect! What I would say to anyone suffering is try and not let yourself get too hungry as this can mess with your stomach acids and cause you to feel more ill. Stomach what you can, and take each day is to comes. It really is survival mode. What kept me feeling somewhat okay about only eating very little variety is that my diet had been very nutritious up until this point, so I knew baby would take what it needed from my nutrient stores.

My energy levels were also low. Before pregnancy I was working out anything from 3-6 times a week and walking every day. Then all of a sudden one workout a week was a huge achievement. Although it is frustrating and miserable, we have to accept our bodies are going through a huge change – I mean we are growing a baby! So try and chill out and know things will get better. Other symptoms that I noticed were: enlarged boobs, heightened sense of smell, needing a wee every hour and mild cramping.

When I hit 10 weeks, the sickness eased a little and by 12 weeks I started to feel a lot more like myself (thank goodness!). I am currently 15 week and aim to workout 3-4 times a week, walk everyday and can eat vegetables again – yay!

For more on Nutrition and Pregnancy check out my previous blogs: Food for Fertility and Pre Natal Nutrition.