I’m now in my third trimester! Here’s the latest update of what I’ve experience, what’s helped me feel better and a few pregnancy must-haves, including my prenatal vitamins.
I’m now just a couple days away from being 40 weeks pregnant! I alternate good days and bad days, usually two good days followed by one not-so-great day. On good days I feel GREAT, with lots of energy. And the next day I’ll feel exhausted, nauseous and achy.
My last update was a 34 weeks pregnant and I felt very tired all day long and just like everything is SO HARD. But, my doula and my friends tell me that’s totally normal. I’m sure the heat and humidity (it was 98% humidity this morning when I tried to run) are amplifying those feelings! I’m focusing on trying to eat well (although, lately all I want are cookies and trail mix), getting a couple easy walks in throughout the day and giving myself grace to have a slow morning or a not-super-productive day.
The photo below was at 24 weeks along! In so many ways, I feel like pregnancy has flown by. But I also feel like I’ve been pregnant forever. So, I guess I have many emotions about it. And being pregnant during a pandemic, rarely leaving the house, not seeing friends and family very often, and not traveling certainly doesn’t help!
You can see more photos from our pregnancy announcement in this post!
What woes I experienced changed in every trimester and my must-haves changed as my pregnancy progressed. So now that I’m near the very end, I wanted to share my top three items. And below that is everything I experienced along the way and what helped!
Pregnancy Must-Haves for Common Woes
First, there is a LOT you can get for pregnancy and pregnant women all have different woes and must-haves, but my top three pregnancy essentials are support shorts to wear under dresses, one outfit that you feel GREAT in (for me, it was this dress, pictured below – I got a size medium) and a sleeping pillow! I also have a pregnancy must-have shop on Amazon – I found a lot of affordable maternity clothing and actually, most things I bought weren’t maternity specific!
Okay this isn’t exactly a woe, but I get asked about prenatal vitamins a LOT, so I wanted to address it first. I’ve used four different prenatals in pregnancy, listed below with details about why I used them or stopped using them. The main thing is to make sure that whatever brand you take has adequate levels of folic acid!
- Trying to conceive + early first trimester: Rainbow Light Prenatal One. I had these in the cabinet since the brand had sent me a bunch of supplements last fall. So I just used them because I had them. However, when my nausea was awful, I quickly found these made my nausea worse.
- First trimester: Hello Bello & Ritual. I read that gummies are easier to tolerate with nausea and sure enough, the Hello Bello gummies went down much more easily! They were hard to track down on Amazon though, so I often had to buy directly from their site and shipping was a bit slow. I switched to Ritual about halfway through my first trimester. I loved the convenience of the autoship, but they had a fishy aftertaste.
- Second trimester: Full Circle Prenatal. These were recommended by the registered dietitian who wrote this book (which I enjoyed), so I bought them. I felt great about these since they seemed like a really comprehensive option based on what I read. And, they didn’t have any horrible aftertaste like the Rainbow Light or Ritual. But, I had to take 8 (EIGHT!!) pills a day!
- Third Trimester: I’ve taken Full Circle for the first half of my third trimester, but I am SO over taking eight pills, so I just signed back up for Ritual. I think the aftertaste issue may be better now that I’m not having such bad acid reflux like I did in the second trimester. Fingers crossed!
Woe: Dry Skin
Dry skin came on really quickly for me. I’ve always been prone to dryness, but it got really bad all over my body. (My face, thankfully, ever felt overly dry, but I already used a skincare line designed for dry skin. And, thankfully, my pregnancy safe skincare routine didn’t require much tweaking. But my arms, belly, back and legs itched like crazy!! I use this body lotion for arms and legs and the Beautycounter Body Butter or the Primally Pure Body Butter for my belly.
I did find that the Primally Pure Body Butter left my skin just a little greasy. So I typically only use that at night and then use the Beautycounter Body Butter during the day. I also liked the Primally Pure Baby Balm or Primally Pure Body Oil for my stomach. Shea butter is a great option for keeping skin hydrated too. While I haven’t had many noticeable stretch marks, I believe that’s more genetics than anything. I do have a minor darkening of my linea negra but I have no clue if the body butters helped with that or if I just got lucky.
The first trimester morning sickness was AWFUL. But it wasn’t contained to the morning! I was nauseous from the moment I woke up until I fell asleep. I never threw up, thankfully. But I very often wished that I could. I felt like I had car or sea sickness ALL day. Below is what helped with the nausea.
Nausea returned in the third trimester, but not to the degree as the first trimester. I get nauseous before, between and after meals. While the below things helped in the first trimester, what’s helped most the most with third trimester nausea is really small meals and eating even more often. The growing baby is taking up more space which means less space for my stomach and intestines, so smaller meals make sense. I’ve found that getting my blood flowing every day helped a lot. I usually ran or rode the Peloton.
I’m also making sure to get enough fiber to keep things moving since constipation is common in the third trimester and can also lead to feelings of nausea. I’m still eating lots of fruit and sprouted wheat toast. I’ve also been craving oatmeal more. I like the Picky Bars Performance Oatmeal and I added Balance of Nature fiber to my nightly routine. (Use code TERI for 35% off the fiber.)
Drinking lots of water
Early on, something with just a little flavor and effervescence (like Spindrift or La Croix) seemed to help sooth my stomach vs. plain water. In the second trimester, I tolerated plain, cold water better and I was much better about staying hydrated by using a water bottle with a straw lid! Lots of articles recommended ginger tea, but I couldn’t stomach warm drinks until my third trimester.
Go with whatever fluids sound good and know that it may change. Just make sure you stay hydrated since hydration needs increase during pregnancy! Aim for 10-12 8oz glasses a day. I bought a water bottle with a straw lid since I drink a lot more out of a straw!!
I could not even STAND the thought of drinking coffee until I was in my second trimester. (Thankfully, I had already weaned my coffee consumption down from 8 cups a day!) And I’m still drinking it in my third trimester.
Eating lots of ginger chews!
I ate these throughout the day and after most meals throughout my entire pregnancy. I never left the house without them!! The Prince of Peace Ginger chews are my favorites. They come in multiple flavors, never get hard like other brands and have a serious ginger spicy kick, which I LOVE. (Read this post for more reasons I love ginger!)
Consuming lots of plain carbs.
I had a LOT of food aversions in my first trimester. I’ve always loved veggies and salads (see?), but I can’t count how many times I spit out vegetables on the days I even attempted to eat them in my first trimester. I also couldn’t stomach fish, meat, eggs or beans. The only things I could eat were plain carbs, cheese and peanut butter. So, I stocked up bagels and cream cheese. I liked the Canyon Ranch gluten-free ones with the Kite Hill vegan cream cheese best. Peanut butter filled pretzels and Food Should Taste Good chips (both from Costco) were also great since I craved a lot of salt. I also wanted pizza a LOT, much to my husband’s joy since he LOVES pizza and I’m usually meh on it.
To get fiber and protein, I occasionally had smoothies with protein powder. I stuffed them with berries, kale or spinach. And a vegan protein powder. I especially liked this Mint Cacao smoothie and this Blueberry Peanut Butter smoothie.
It definitely wasn’t a perfect diet, but I doubt any expecting mother has the perfect diet. I did the best I could!
In my second trimester and third trimester, things have mostly returned to normal. I’ve traded the gluten-free bagels for Food for Life 7-Sprouted Grains english muffins, which is great since they’re less processed and have more fiber and protein. I can eat most vegetables, but roasting them still makes me gag so I steam or saute them instead. And I can handle eggs, chicken, and beans meat most days, but I still can’t stomach fish or beef very well. And I’m back to being meh about pizza!
Eating more fruit
I’ve craved fruit like CRAZY throughout my entire pregnancy. Before pregnancy, I liked fruit but didn’t really crave it. But now I can’t get enough of it – berries, apples and sometimes bananas. I even called Tommy once to tell him how delicious mango is, ha! I’ve especially loved frozen strawberries and fresh pineapple in my second and third trimester.
Woe: Acid Reflux
This wasn’t something I expected to struggle with so much but it was AWFUL, especially in my first and third trimesters.
Eat small meals
I learned that eating smaller meals help a lot, which meant I needed to eat more often (e.g. every 1-2 hours). That was an adjustment since I’m not really a grazer.
I also found that anything tomato based made it MUCH worse so I have barely touched tomatoes since I got pregnant. Occasionally I can do a red pasta sauce, but I have to be careful with the quantity. What triggers acid reflux is different for everyone so just pay attention to when it is the worst and try to pinpoint the root case! For me, tomatoes are a MAJOR issue!
Woe: Nothing fits!
The in-between phase was rough since my regular clothes got too tight but maternity specific clothes were ENORMOUS on me. The belly bands on maternity jeans literally came up to my neck! Granted, I’m short, but sheesh! I tried folding it over and it was just too bulky.
I was able to wear my regular jeans until about week 14-15. Then, I ordered a Bella Band so I could wear my jeans and shorts unbuttoned.
Maternity shorts & jeans
Once I got to about 20 weeks, I finally ordered some maternity specific jeans and shorts, which were much more comfortable and simply looked better without the bulk of a Bella Band underneath. I LOVE these denim shorts and these jeans. I LOVE my Loft maternity jeans best so if you can find them in person in your size, get them! They’re totally sold out online. (This post has a round up of second trimester outfits).
I wouldn’t spend too much money on lots of pairs of jeans – get one good pair that fits great, maybe two. I bought five pairs and I only wear two of them! Also, before you take the tags off, walk around the house for a few hours and see if they fall down. I have multiple pairs that I had to pull up over and over throughout the day – super annoying!
I bought a few maternity tanks and blouses (mostly from Gap Maternity), some very casual and others a bit more polished. And a lot of my t-shirts (especially these) fit throughout my entire pregnancy. By having multiple tops that I could pair with jeans and shorts, I felt like my wardrobe was well-rounded. My favorites are linked below.
Once teh temperates warmed up, I’m lived in dresses. Only a few are maternity specific. You can scroll through my favorites below. And this post has a round up of third trimester outfits (mostly dresses!).
Workout leggings and shorts
For workout clothes, the Align leggings have been AMAZING in every trimester. I had multiple pairs before I got pregnant and they’ve never felt too tight. Once the weather warmed up, I bought a pair of Align shorts for running and the Peloton. I did size up in the Align shorts, but my Align leggings are my usual Lululemon size.
My chest size changed DRAMATICALLY within just a couple weeks. I went from a B/C cup to a DD/E cup. Based on some googling, I ordered a few nursing bras that work while pregnant and they were SO uncomfortable. I also tried some stretchy bras that other pregnant moms had suggested (specifically these) but they did NOT work for me since I needed way more support.
I figured there was no point in being uncomfortable by trying to buy something cheap and I just sized up in my usual brand of bras. Since I worn and LOVED Third Love bras for years, I just ordered larger sizes, and I’ve been so happy I did that. I have this t-shirt bra, this strapless one, and this lace one.
While I was able to make my regular t-shirt bras work for a while, that wasn’t the case with sports bras. I previously ran in the Lululemon Long Line Energy Bra, but it wasn’t supportive enough once my chest got bigger. Plus, I simply didn’t fit in the ones I owned. Not. Even. Close.
I got a Brooks Juno and Athleta Advance Bra, which are both great. And I have since found this one on Amazon and like it even better than the Juno!! It will also work well for nursing with the velcro straps and it’s cheaper.
Woe: I can’t sleep!
In the first trimester, I had a VERY hard time falling asleep and would wake up every couple of hours. I was getting only about 3-4 hours of sleep a night so I ended up getting a prescription from my doctor for a few weeks. Then, eventually, I was able to fall asleep without it so I stopped taking it.
I slept pretty well in the second trimester but now that I’m near the end of my third trimester, I’m back to rough sleep. I wake up at least two times a night to use the bathroom. And honestly, I just toss and turn because I’m uncomfortable.
I don’t know if there is much to resolve this other than basic sleep hygiene habits to help as much as possible: go to bed and wake up at the same time, minimize electronics 1-2 hours before bed and have a consistent wind-down routine! Then I go upstairs about 45 minutes before I want to sleep to wash my face and read.
I also started wearing these blue light glasses during the day and at night when we watch the news. Not sure if it helps, but I don’t think it hurts!
Woe: Swollen feet and ankles
This kicked up in the third trimester. After dinner, I put on these compression socks, or my running compression socks if I really want intense compression. They’re so hard to get on but worth it. I also find that taking walks throughout the day (even 5-10 minutes) helps. And around 5:00 each day, I move from my desk to my couch to prop up my feet while I answer emails and wind down my day. (Perks of working from home!)
My thighs have definitely gotten bigger. Add in humid heat and lots of dresses, and my poor inner thighs, oof. These support shorts have been lifesavers under the dresses linked above! I have a pair in nude and black. I wish I’d bought more since I wore them so often!
Woe: Back Pain
I started having back pain pretty early on (e.g. 6 weeks) that was unrelated to pregnancy. I’ve been prone to sacrum and SI joint issues for over 10 years, and I messed up my sacrum while doing some PT exercises for my injured ankle. The pain was so bad that I could barely walk and running was absolutely off the table. My OBGYN agreed that it wasn’t pregnancy-related back pain since it was way too early for that, but still suggested I do PT for my back. That helped some and once I was past my first trimester, my OBGYN cleared me to get dry needling and that helped a LOT.
In my second and third trimester, I’ve had more typical pregnancy-related back pain. It’s very achy and it’s very hard for for me to get comfortable on the sofa or in bed. My back pain is more mid-back (near my bra line) vs. lower back though. If lower back pain is your back woe, sitting on an exercise ball for a few minutes a day can help.
For sleeping, I finally got this body pillow (pictured below) and that’s helped a lot. It also helps me to not sleep on my back – I’ve always been a back sleeper so that’s a hard habit to break!
Bottom line: Every pregnancy is different
Everyone will experience pregnancy so differently so you’ll have to figure out what works for you! It may take a little trial and error, but I hope this helps you figure out some common woes out if you’re expecting!
What were your pregnancy must-haves? If you’re expecting, what other symptoms are you experiencing?
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Note: This post is based on my personal experience and is not intended to be advice for your pregnancy. As pregnancy impacts everyone differently, always check with your doctor before incorporating anything new into your diet, workout routines, etc.!