You’ve made it through your first trimester. Congratulations! I know I’m not alone in saying the second trimester is sort of a sweet spot in pregnancy. Of course, every woman’s pregnancy is different -- but for me, the second trimester is like a beautiful rainbow after a storm. First trimester symptoms ease up, and I feel invincible. I hope that you’ll have a similar experience during your pregnancy. As a nurse, certified lactation consultant, and mom of three, here are some of my favorite tips for making the most of your second trimester to ensure you’re well rested and prepared for your third trimester:
1. Go on a babymoon.
Whether you plan a weekend away or a weekend in, this can be a great opportunity to get some quality time with your family or your partner. Do things you enjoy, and use this time to relax and live in the moment. When I was pregnant with my firstborn, my husband and I took a road trip to a few state parks -- we even went snowshoeing. While expecting our second, we enjoyed a single night in a hotel and then went kayaking while the grandparents watched our son. Before our third arrived, we took a family vacation. Not able to travel? Do something you love at home, even if it’s just sleeping in as much as possible, binge-watching your favorite show, or ordering take-out.
2. Talk to your employer
about maternity leave.
While you may be planning to address this during your third trimester, talking about your maternity leave earlier may relieve some anxiety and help you and your coworkers feel prepared. Be sure to discuss whether your leave is paid or unpaid, how long you plan to take off, when you plan to begin your maternity leave (do you plan to leave before your baby’s arrival?), if someone needs to cover your job while you're out, etc. You can also discuss your plans for returning to work: Will you be able to work from home or bring your baby with you? If you’re planning to breastfeed, discuss where and when you’ll be able to pump or nurse your baby at work. Also make sure to research other benefits that may be available to you, such as paid family leave or disability.
3. Buy maternity clothes.
With my first, I waited way too long to invest in maternity clothes. I wanted to be able to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes for as long as possible. I even used the hair tie trick where you loop the hair tie over your button and through the buttonhole of my jeans. Who was I kidding? I lived in misery up until about 24 weeks when I finally splurged on some maternity clothes. I never looked back. Pro tip: Push aside all of the negative things you’ve ever heard about maternity jeans -- they’re lies! They’re available in an array of styles and budgets -- many moms even wear maternity jeans postpartum. Not into jeans? Grab yourself a pair of comfortable leggings. You won’t regret it.
4. Create a baby budget.
Cribs, diapers, and midwives, oh my! All of these expenses add up quickly. If you have limited paid maternity leave or don’t plan to work outside the home after the birth of your baby, be sure to plan accordingly. Maybe that means saving extra cash during your pregnancy or canceling subscriptions you no longer use. Being financially prepared can help relieve unnecessary stress during those early newborn months when medical bills (hello, unplanned epidural) start arriving in your mailbox.
5. Create a baby registry.
Creating a baby budget can help you get started on your baby registry. Babylist is a great registry where you can add products from various websites, which is especially helpful if you would like to add meals or services to your registry. You can even add items from a local baby boutique to your Babylist registry. When planning my registry for my first baby, I read the book Baby Bargains. It had a wealth of information I was eager to learn and rated baby products based on affordability and safety. Not planning a baby shower? That doesn’t mean you can’t have a registry! Sites like Amazon, Target, and BuyBuy Baby offer registry completion discounts after your baby’s arrival.
6. Book a newborn or birth photographer.
We didn’t plan on having newborn photos with our firstborn, so I was thankful there was a photographer in the hospital to capture those early moments. Photographers book up months in advance, so if you’re interested in newborn photos, don’t wait. Remember to add this one to your budget or baby registry. You could even recruit your most artistic friend, the one who always posts the best photos, to play photographer for the day.
7. Interview and book a doula.
Doulas can be incredible support people for your delivery. Many doulas provide childbirth education or attend your birth classes with you, helping you make empowered decisions so you can have the birth experience you desire. Doulas also book up months in advance, and they generally only accept a few births per month. Ask your friends or Facebook mom groups for recommendations or look up certified doulas here or here. Call your insurance provider to discuss benefits for expecting moms. Our insurance had a prenatal program, and we used our health savings account (HSA) funds to pay for our doula. You could also add a doula to your baby registry if it’s not in your budget or covered by insurance.
8. Take breastfeeding, childbirth, and newborn care classes.
With my first baby, we planned to deliver at a birth center. We were required to take three classes: breastfeeding, childbirth, and newborn care. As a nurse and a former nanny, I knew a lot about babies and what birth looks like, but these classes were invaluable. I learned so much and became so passionate about breastfeeding and infant nutrition through our breastfeeding class that I decided to become a lactation consultant so I could educate, empower, and encourage other families. Many hospitals, birth centers, doulas, and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) offer these classes.
9. Moisturize your skin.
Dry, itchy skin can be miserable. The taut skin around my belly button drives me bonkers some days. I’ve heard that well-moisturized skin can keep stretch marks at bay, though I’m not sure this has ever been researched. To keep my skin supple and itch-free, I prefer oils such as coconut, argan, or jojoba and fragrance-free lotions. I use the Think Dirty and EWG’s Healthy Living apps to check the ingredient safety of products I put on my skin since it’s the largest organ and absorbs things quickly. For more information on all things organic, check out our blog.
10. Visit your holistic health provider.
Chiropractors, acupuncturists, and massage therapists can all be great resources. Regular holistic care can be a drug-free way to manage pain, support proper posture pre- and postnatally, and help babies achieve optimal positioning for birth. Some moms even report fewer birth interventions, shorter labor time, and improved recovery after receiving regular chiropractic care. Be sure to talk with your health care team to determine if holistic care may be right for you. Your insurance may even cover these holistic health services. If you plan to visit a chiropractor, find one who is Webster certified.
I hope these tips help you make the most of your second trimester! Have any other tips for the second trimester? Please comment below. We’d love to hear them!