Pregnancy essentials for the second and third trimesters


So you're through the first trimester - congratulations! Here are some tips for getting through the next six months as comfortably and happily as possible. 

The second trimester

The second trimester is a favourite of many, myself included. I had more energy, my skin was clearer than it had even been in childhood, and I was starting to feel the baby move, which meant it was all starting to sink in. (Although, that meant I was elated one minute and having full-on freak outs the next ... ah, hormones.)

Here's what helped me through.

Snacks: All of a sudden, I was constantly starving. I packed my desk at work with goodies - crackers, nuts and usually something sweet.

Belly band: I was able to stretch my pre-pregnancy wardrobe a lot further because of this three inch piece of stretch fabric. I picked mine up at a store, but there are lots of DIYs out there if you want to make your own.

Bathtub: In addition to sleep, soaking in a hot tub helped relieve some of my discomfort. I had a lot of back pain throughout pregnancy and it started pretty early on, so I often found the tub relaxing after a long day of sitting at work.

Coconut oil: Even though there is no proof that using oil/belly butters or any sort of stretch mark cream will actually prevent them, I found that rubbing my growing belly everyday with coconut oil at least kept the dry skin away. I would use it after a shower or bath before drying off - the water helped move the oil around on my skin and it didn't become too oily.

Bottle of cold water: I tend to drink a lot of water anyway, but during pregnancy, I really wanted ice cold water. This seemed to continue throughout, which is ironic since I ended up having issues with low fluid, but that's another post for another day.

Decaf tea: I started drinking raspberry tea at night because it supposedly helps strengthen the uterus and pelvic floor. I was all about doing anything I could to prepare for labor and delivery. Plus, it was a nice way to relax.


The third trimester

Tired, heavy, bloated and probably a little anxious; yep, the third trimester can drag. Here are a few tips on how to cope.

Prenatal yoga: I did this prenatal yoga video at least once a day. I loved that the narrator talked about natural techniques for labour to think about while working through the various poses. I distinctly remember thinking about this when I was labouring, trying to remember the breathing and using stretches to get through a contraction.

Massage: Husbands take note - in the third trimester, a prenatal massage is the absolute best gift you can give your wife. Absolute best. Just make sure you are working with someone trained to do prenatal massage because if not, the masseuse may accidentally put you into labour.

Heating pad: My back and hips were killing me by the time I neared the end. I was nursing a back injury I had incurred early on in my pregnancy, and that coupled with 10 extra kilos and an expanding front, made for a pretty sore me by the end of the day. I would heat a rice bag before bed and sometimes re-heat during those inevitable trips to the bathroom.

Maternity jeans: As I mentioned in my second trimester post, I used my belly band religiously. But there came a time (maybe around 33 weeks) when even that became uncomfortable, especially when used with jeans. So I caved and bought a pair of maternity jeans then wondered why I didn't start wearing them sooner. They were also great postpartum too.

Comfy shoes: I thankfully did not swell, so most of my shoes still fit. But I did find that wearing soft, canvas shoes felt the best. Plus, they go with pretty much everything.

Evening Primrose Oil tablets: My midwife suggested I start taking Evening Primrose Oil capsules around week 36. It supposedly helps soften the cervix in preparation for labour and online forums are abound with people who went into labour almost immediately. I, on the other hand, went to 41 weeks, so do what you will with this recommendation.

Antacids: I had wicked heartburn the last few weeks. I kept antacids in my purse, in my car, my desk and at home. They only helped so much, but it was worth the little relief!