20 weeks and finally showing

20 weeks and finally showing

As I write this second instalment, I cannot believe how fast this journey is progressing. I have to confess to being a little clueless when it comes to counting weeks and knowing which week represents which trimester. A typical pregnancy is actually more like 40+ weeks which is more than 3 sets of 12 weeks so I was a little shocked and surprised when upon consulting my Pregnancy Plus app that I was into my third trimester…where did the second one go??

I feel like I don’t have as much to complain about in the second trimester and I’m so so grateful for that. Nausea all but disappeared and food aversions/cravings were considerably less which allowed me to start eating a little more normally. Initially I was still eating a little more carbohydrates than normal but I wasn’t giving myself a hard time about this, just listening to my body. I started to focus more on things like sweet potatoes and bananas though rather than grains. As the weeks have progressed though, I’m steadily requiring less carbohydrates and finding that my diet resembles much more a pre-pregnancy ratio of macro nutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates).

In my first installment I shared my cravings and the healthier alternatives I turned to to get me through. Allow me to share the second trimester trends with you.

FOOD

In the last trimester I have found that some of the aversions I had have dissipated which has been amazing and has allowed me a little more variety in my diet. Below are some of the foods that have featured heavily during the last 14 weeks.

Delicious coconut wraps

Delicious coconut wraps

Coffee – after not feeling like it at all in the first trimester, I find myself wanting one occasionally and I’m allowing myself this indulgence once a week in the form of a coconut milk latte (weak).
Fish – salmon, tuna, sardines. I still have an aversion to cod liver oil so have also been taking a good quality fish oil for brain development.
Banana bread – this was my breakfast staple (with nut butter) for weeks 14 – 18
Tahini & honey – as a sweet snack in the afternoon, probably if I hadn’t had nut butter in the morning
Chai or Turmeric Latte with coconut milk
Curry with rice
Sweet potato mash with lots of butter
Butter
Coconut wraps with protein, avocado and salad – picture attached.

I have found that I still do have aversions to a few things, some which are interesting to me in the context of essential micronutrients for baby. I have tried to consume Fermented Cod Liver Oil which was a daily staple for 6 years before I conceived but cannot bring myself to even open the bottle. The fat soluble vitamins A, D, E & K2 contained in this supplement are essential for fetal development amongst other things however the intake of this supplement is most essential in the years & months leading up to conception as the rapidly developing embryo derives these essential nutrient stores from pre-conception. So I’m happy to honour this one.

I also cannot really tolerate or handle anything too rich. I have on more than one occasion when out dining ordered a rich meat dish (like beef cheeks) only to discover after one mouthful that I cannot eat even a single bite more. My partner has happily helped out on these occasions. 🙂

Overall I feel more in control of my food and general cravings and my body feels all the better for it.

BLOOD SUGAR

Years ago, before I started eating an ancestrally influenced diet (see previous post) I had wild blood sugar fluctuations. If I went for more than a few hours without food, god help anyone within a few meters of me!! I gave new meaning to the word HANGRY. Once I understood how to manage my proteins, fats and carbohydrates more effectively those blood sugar fluctuations were a thing of the past. I would still sometimes get a little hangry (hungry/angry) if I went for long periods of time but nothing like the psycho reactions of times past.

Enter the second trimester. Initially I noticed these wild moods when I was in the remote North of WA enjoying a holiday with my partner. I put it down to a lack of good quality foods in general and probably more refined carbohydrates than I typically would eat…Unfortunately this phenomenon continued post holiday and I found myself needing to eat every 3 hours at least.

These are the strategies that I found to be the most helpful to keep me from doing & saying things I might regret due to low blood sugar;

• Eat every 3 hours
• Ensure that you eat adequate protein & fat, if you feel hungry within 2 hours, you have not eaten enough protein OR fat
• Eat nutrient dense organic food
• Avoid highly refined and high carbohydrate foods
• Don’t make any decisions, talk about anything serious if you are outside of the 3 hour window 😉

Thankfully, in the last few weeks this has been much easier to manage which I attribute mostly to improving my consumption of protein and fat relative to carbohydrates.

MEDICAL SCARES

I wasn’t sure if I was going to share this on my blog but decided it was an important part of my journey and might help other women in similar experiences.

I decided early on that I wanted a pregnancy that was as natural as possible. I have some amazingly inspiring women around me who have given birth naturally and drug free in the comfort of their own home. Both my mother and my sister in law have both had 2 children this way so I aspired to this as much as was possible.

I chose a Doula and decided to have my baby at the only birthing centre in Perth. I also decided that I would do the minimum number of scans, opting to do the 12 week scan as well as the 19 week anatomy scan, both prerequisites for the Birthing Center.

Early in my pregnancy, approximately week 8 I had some cramping and spotting. I did what so many women before me have done and got online to do some “research”. What I discovered was thousands of stories of miscarriage and loss. Not what I needed to read during this stressful time. I took myself off to the GP who naturally suggested a scan. The results were all totally normal and of course that spotting and cramping stopped, as did my increasing anxiety.

The 12 week scan was a beautiful experience, we were both overjoyed and excited by the gorgeous little creature wriggling, squirming and even sucking it’s thumb on the screen and by all accounts it was a perfectly healthy little baby. Unfortunately I received a call from my GP alerting me to the fact that I needed to come into the clinic urgently prompting a great deal of stress and anxiety in the 12 hours or so preceeding my visit.

The second scan had revealed a cyst the size of a lemon, larger at that time than the baby. My GP was relatively calm about it all and I had a “feeling” that all was going to be fine. They ordered a third more detailed scan which was unfortunately inconclusive and it revealed that there were some “sinister” elements to the cyst and that my ovary might need to be removed. I tried to remain calm but the alarm of the health professionals around me contributed to elevated levels of anxiety and stress. They decided to sit and watch the cyst for a month rather than just remove it. This felt like the right thing to do for me and I nearly forgot about it during those 3 weeks or so.

The third scan coincided with my anatomy scan so I cleverly avoided having 2 scans instead of one. As I had suspected, the cyst was shrinking and did not need to be removed. All of the “sinister” qualities had disappeared and now we could focus on the healthy little baby growing inside.

Obviously I needed to have the 12 week scan, however, cysts are so common during pregnancy due to the increase in growth hormones being produced at that time. I wish that it had been managed a little better by some of the health care providers around me. The midwife at the Family Birth Centre had probably the most appropriate reaction, when I told her about my cyst she said “oh yes they happen all the time, I wouldn’t worry about it”

I feel that I created a lot more stress and anxiety within myself and formy developing baby than was necessary during those 2 months.

REPTILIAN TALES

I’ve always had skin that was on the oilier side. Growing up this meant acne and greasy foreheads but once my raging adolescent hormones settled I actually started to appreciate the benefits of an oilier skin.

Recently though, I’ve noticed that my skin is not so much oily as resembling an aging snake…dry and flaky. This is something that I have never experienced before but much to my disappointment I discovered this is relatively common during pregnancy.

A lot of websites talk about dry skin on the face but mine seems to be not on my face but all over my body!

These are the things that I have been doing to improve this somewhat irritating (not to mention ugly) symptoms

• Dry brushing – religiously daily. I had sort of forgotten to do this after I fell pregnant, now it is front and centre of my mind and morning routine.
• Not using soap on my body. Yes I know what you’re thinking but not only do conventional soaps contribute to our toxic load but they also strip the skin of all of the essential and protective oils it contains naturally. Although I use a totally non toxic natural soap I am currently only washing my underarms and bikini area.
• Lathering Coconut Oil everywhere. My traditional moisturizer just doesn’t seem to cut it on this scaly skin but coconut oil provides a deeper more nourishing level of moisture.

THE BIG MOVE

Probably the most challenging thing that I faced in my second trimester was moving house. Most people would agree that moving house is up there when it comes to stressful activities and my experience of moving whilst 6+ months pregnant was certainly no exception. I have found that during my second trimester I generally have good energy and feel pretty good so I was unpleasantly surprised to find that packing, moving and cleaning over 2 weekends left me utterly exhausted. I found myself in tears on numerous occasions and have never felt so much pain in my feet.

In hindsight, it was a learning experience for me, a gentle reminder that my amazing body is doing some incredible work right now to create another human and that means I can’t do things in exactly the same way. I need to remember to rest more, nurture myself more, listen to my body when it speaks to me and honour the work it is doing.

Moving also represents a wonderful new chapter in our lives and we have both been busy “nesting” around the house, creating the perfect little environment for our unborn child to enter into. I’m sure the third trimester brings more changes and adaptations and it culminates in us meeting our beautiful new little baby.