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WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH YOUR BODY DURING PREGNANCY AND HOW TO DEAL
When you get pregnant, your body goes through a whirlwind of changes and it can feel like you're in survival mode every day. Understanding what’s going on with your body and having tips and tricks at the ready can help make sure you feel your best through this really special and challenging time in your life.
If you’re pregnant and want to know more about what’s going on in your body, plus find some tips to make the whole experience easier, this blog post is for you.
FIRST TRIMESTER SYMPTOMS
At the beginning of your pregnancy, you are going to have many hormonal shifts happening all at once. You might not feel like yourself and you may be more emotional. You'll have a spike in your estrogen which is going to almost make you feel like you're on your period, but all the time - which is really fun.
1. Bloating: You might experience digestive issues and feel bloated because of the extra progesterone in your body. Unfortunately, bloating is just a part of that first trimester for many women.
Digestive enzymes can really help to break down your food so that you don't feel quite as bloated. They are safe to use during pregnancy, and will bring you some relief.
2. Exhaustion: This time period is hard for a lot of women, because you’re excited to be pregnant, but you feel pretty gross and can’t actually feel your baby at all yet. You just kind of feel bloated and uncomfortable and very, very tired. Your body is working in overload trying to create this human inside of you.
Remember, if you need to take a nap or rest, that's okay. One of the most important things I want you to take away from this is that it is okay to slow down.
3. Nausea: The other thing that you might experience is nausea. Not everybody experiences nausea, but many women do. Certain smells can set you off of entire food groups. All of a sudden you cannot stand the foods you used to love to eat. Usually those aversions end in the second trimester.
HERE ARE MY FOUR TIPS TO HELP YOU GET THROUGH THE FIRST TRIMESTER:
1. Let yourself rest when you can and know that this is a season of life. Just go slower. If you need to ease into your workouts, if you need to take a nap, it's okay to do those things. It's okay to not be your best or break any personal records right now.
2. Even if you're tired, move your body. Whether that is a 15 minute walk outside or maybe light weight lifting, moving your body will make you feel better. Even when you are nauseous, try to move your body because you will feel so much better after. Keep in mind that you’ll be nauseous whether you’re laying in bed or if you’re at the gym, or going for a walk.
3. Add something healthy in your daily protein shake. Add in spinach or berries or any way that you can get some sort of nutrients into your body. This is such an important time to make sure that you're getting all the nutrients you need. Making healthy foods a priority is going to help you feel your best, and it's also going to fuel your baby so that they can develop properly.
4. Peppermint oil on your temples and underneath your nose. This is a great hack for when you are feeling nauseous. You almost instantly feel better when you just use a little bit of peppermint oil.
Try out these four tips and then let me know in the comments below which ones you liked. Or if you have any first trimester ideas, I'd love to hear.
SECOND TRIMESTER SYMPTOMS
You're going to start feeling a lot of changes in your hips and your back during your second trimester. This is your body making room for your baby:
- Your hips stretch out
- Your core has less support
- Your lower lumbar may ache
- You may have round ligament pain
- Your pelvic floor may feel looser
1. Increased energy: The good news is that your energy usually starts coming back and you start feeling really good. This is a time where you can go back to the gym and get really excited about your baby. Plus, you're starting to have that little baby bump show!
2. Breast Changes and Swelling: I call this the honeymoon phase of pregnancy. Your boobs will get bigger, so make sure that you have a really good supportive bra. You might have minor swelling in your hands and your feet just because your body is pumping twice as much blood through your body, which is pretty phenomenal.
3. Stretch Marks: You might experience some stretch marks in this phase. Some women don’t experience this until the third trimester, but it can happen at any time.
4. Sensitive Gums: You may get swollen or bleeding gums when brushing your teeth. If you have an electric toothbrush, you may not be able to use it because your gums and teeth might be feeling really sensitive.
5. Frequent Trips to the Bathroom: You're going to have to pee, a lot. It’s going to feel like every 10 minutes you're running back to the bathroom. This is all just part of the experience.
Many women love the second trimester. Your hormones level out a little bit. You will have an increase in appetite and food starts to taste better. You can do your regular workouts without having to modify too much.
MY THREE TIPS TO HELP YOU MAKE IT THROUGH YOUR SECOND TRIMESTER AND FEEL YOUR BEST ARE:
1. Keep a regular exercise routine and try to get as many nutrients as possible. During the 2nd trimester, you’re able to do basically the same workouts you'd been doing before you got pregnant. Try to avoid any jumping movements or things like box jumps, those are just a little bit too jarring for the baby. You should also modify your core workouts, because you'll want to avoid any abdominal separation.
2. Work toward body acceptance. You should write down a list of things that you are grateful for about your body. Some women can have a really hard time seeing their body shift, their hips get wider and dealing with the stretch marks. It can be hard, but if you focus more on everything you're grateful for then it will help the journey be so much more enjoyable.
3. Make sure to stretch out your hip flexors. It's going to get tight on your hip flexors and your glutes are gonna be more relaxed. You don't really activate your glutes or your posterior chain as much when you're pregnant. Make sure to do some stretches to open up your hips.
Hopefully these three tips will help you throughout your second trimester. Let me know in the comments what works for you!
THIRD TRIMESTER SYMPTOMS
This is by far the hardest trimester, because you're very uncomfortable. But again, I have three tips to help you feel your best during this time.
1. Your Hips Will Be Out of Alignment: Let's start with the changes that are happening in your body. First, your hips are going to be out of alignment because they're expanding to make room for your baby. Doing exercises like lunges or squats might feel a little bit awkward. You might feel like your body is kind of out of place, and that’s normal - because it is!
Be cautious when working out - you can easily pull muscles because you have a lot of extra progesterone in your body. This usually means you’ll want to be careful about lifting too heavy.
You want to also pay really close attention to your pelvic floor. This is a time that you can work out to feel good, but take care of your body and listen to it. You can definitely still exercise, but you do have to be careful of diastasis recti.
If you want some guidance, I have a pregnancy program that I created specifically for women to feel really confident during their pregnancy and know exactly what exercises are safe and then exercises to avoid.
Related: Third Semester Lower Body Workout
2. Exhaustion and Aches: You also might start slowing down a little bit and be feeling really tired again. You might experience some back aches because, again, your core stability is shifting, so your back is having a lot of pressure on it.
Look out for that lower lumbar. Belly bands can really help with core stability and back pain.
3. Hormone Shifts: The third trimester is when pregnancy hormones really spike. People around you will know what you’re going through and will be understanding. This is a time in which you’re going to be more hormonal, and it's important to remind yourself that this is expected and okay.
4. Round Ligament Pain: The round ligament pain might pick up a little bit more just because your body is stretching. You might feel a little more pressure on your bladder which will mean you'll have to go to the bathroom a lot again.
5. Vivid Dreams: You might also start having really vivid dreams. This is a hormonal shift that happens. If you start having really weird dreams, that is completely normal.
HERE ARE MY TOP THREE TIPS ON GETTING THROUGH THE THIRD TRIMESTER:
1. Give yourself grace. The third trimester is definitely the hardest three months. Make sure to give yourself love.
2. Be gentle with your workouts. You're going to have to modify your workouts at this point. Avoid core exercises or it can make your abdominal separation even worse. You're not going to want to do any jumping movements. Typically, I don't have my clients do any running in the third trimester. It's just too much pressure on your pelvic floor. Here's my #1 Tip for Strengthening Your Pelvic Floor.
3. Make a vision board. Think about how you want the next three months to look. Meditate on how you want to feel, what you want your attitude to be, what you want your birth experience to be like, and what are the things that YOU can control. Focus on things like what you eat, how you move, and what your attitude is. It really helps to try to stay positive in the last three months, because your baby can feel that energy.
You’re going to experience so many changes over these three trimesters and knowing what is happening to your body can really help you deal with it positively.
If this helped you, check out my "Five Soul Questions" meditation.
I'm a mom of 4 and have been a certified personal trainer with specialties in pre- and postnatal fitness for 13 years. I'm also a certified nutrition specialist and certified meditation and mindfulness coach.
I am passionate about helping women change their lifestyles to be the healthiest, happiest versions of themselves and I've seen it happen for thousands of women.
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