At the beginning of this trimester, babe is the size of an avocado and will undergo so pretty substantial developments! Babe is growing constantly, and they are developing lung capacity to prepare to breathe and are developing taste buds, eyebrows, and teeth - so there is a lot of development happening in this period! With that comes the stress of worrying about whether or not you are doing everything right and taking the best care of both yourself and growing babe!
Sleep challenges are incredibly common - yet rest is so crucial to overall health. Sleep is so important in pregnancy as it helps the body regenerate and recuperate, increase daytime energy, reduces post-partum risk factors, and reduces the risk of increased blood pressure and pre-eclampsia. While sleep is so important, it is also hard to come by for moms-to-be, so know that you're not alone! Common causes of sleep disturbances are
There are many pharmaceuticals that can help facilitate sleep, however they can be contraindicated for later pregnancy; we look at natural interventions first and foremost to safely encourage sleep and make it sustainable!
Last but certainly not least, sleep hygiene is critical! It's so easy to bring things into the bedroom such as laptops, TVs, or with quarantine and working from home..our entire life! During this time it's important to keep the bedroom a place for sleep and relaxation. We encourage no screen time 30-60 minutes before bed (keeping blue-light's stimulative effects at bay), creating a relaxation ritual pre-bed such as deep breathing, journalling anxieties, and using eye masks or earplugs to block light and noice distractions for the light sleepers!
Energy is low, aches and pains are increasing, and it can be hard to motivate amongst the many factors at play during this time (we see you stress, anxiety of harming your pregnancy, endless to-do lists) but exercise can really make a difference in helping you feel well during pregnancy, especially with the physiological changes you're experiencing! The goal would be 30 minutes of exercise 5 days per week of moderate intensity - breaking a sweat but you're still able to talk. Research shows that exercise, done safely, is very beneficial for pregnancy. Again, this may not be the workouts that you are normally used to, but going for walks, swimming, prenatal yoga or pilates, strength training, cycling (stationary), and even gardening and housework are great ways to stay active in a safe way during pregnancy! The benefits of maintaining a healthy exercise routine are:
There are factors to consider, however, such as risks of overheating, regulating blood sugar levels, as well as your changing centre of gravity which make higher intensity exercises not-so-safe! Furthermore, hydration is paramount so it's important to hydrate before, during, and after a workout, and to ensure you are eating enough calories to support the metabolic needs of both you and babe!
A big focus is core strength: 60% of moms experience diastasis recti - the separation of rectus abdominis muscles which are naturally weakened suring pregnancy. It is responsible for incontinence post-partum, vaginal prolapse, low back pain, and compromised delivery. When we think of core strength, we think of crunches and sit-ups, but these exercises actually separate the rectus abdominis muscles and can make the issue worse! We love to encourage healthy exercise routines during pregnancy, so we recommend local trainers that are well-versed in prenatal and post-partum training!
Once again, we love to visit what herbs and botanicals can do for health first and when safe. Some commonly used herbal solutions during second trimester to help with relaxation, muscle relaxing, and more are:
Always. Helpful to relax the nervous system and promote healthy sleep, as well as back pain, anxieties and digestive complaints such as heartburn and nausea. So many of our patients experience benefits from these treatments! We love sending patients home with our acupressure kits, and with acupressure points to stimulate such as HT7 - heart 7, great for relaxation!
Stress can be overwhelming, and we want to ensure that we are responding appropriately to stressors and managing our hormonal balance. We can also explore incorporating certain adaptogenic herbs to support adrenal hormone output and balance. Stress hormones such as cortisol can impact our reproductive hormone levels, making stress management especially important (all of the time, too) during pregnancy to prevent:
Don't discount the impact of little things on stress such as dancing around the house, simply breathing and grounding, laughing, and talking to a close friend!
Contact us! Our ND's love to chat how to make your pregnancy healthy for both you and babe!
Romm, A. (2009). Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. St Louis: Churchill Livingstone.
Mills, E. et al. (2006). Herbal Medicines in Pregnancy & Lactation: an evidence-based approach. London: Taylor and Francis
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