Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Second Trimester - The Budding

Ija Maternity Sideshot by SHOfrE3zE.
Ija's Maternity Sideshot by SHOfrE3zE

"...then We made the drop a clot, then We made the clot a lump of flesh, then We made the flesh bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh, and then We produced another creature from it. So blessed is God, the best of creators."
Qur'an (23:14)

The glories of the second trimester! The foundation for your baby's rapidly growing body has been laid, and now as Allah miraculously details above, it is time for building upon that structure. Bones begin to ossify, fat forms, rapid eye movements begin, and the baby grows in length. As for mom, the nausea has for the most part passed, and you can feel the fluttering affirmations of life within. Your energy has likely returned. That little bump is starting to grow and you are starting to glow! Your appetite is increasing in proportion to your baby's needs. Blood volume is continuing to expand now and you may notice some of its signs; swelling, distended veins, shortness of breath. The increasing weight of the baby may also begin to show up in backaches. After taking a back seat in the first trimester nutrition and exercise, now reappear. Each subject deserves its own post, but I'd like to briefly discuss each below.

As the blood volume is expanding nutrition plays an increasingly important role. The quantity and quality of our dietary intake now can help to keep the placenta perfused for the entire pregnancy, allowing baby optimal nutrient intake and preventing complications of pregnancy down the line such as pre-eclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction. I would like to just offer a few basic principles, more on the quality of food rather than the quantity. Divvying up the food into vitamins and minerals is important, but that is too detailed of a subject for this post.

  • Nutrient dense foods such as whole grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables, offer the maximum benefit per bite. Say you have the choice between a donut, or even four saltine crackers, and an apple or a cup of carrot slices. The donut and crackers probably have more calories, but the nutrient dense choice would be the apple or carrot. The latter choices also have more fiber and will be more filling. Fiber is important in pregnancy to keep you from becoming constipated or acquiring hemorrhoids.
  • I really like broths. They are easy to make and so nourishing. For busy moms on the go, broth is a life saver! Just heat up a cup at a time and you have a cup full of protein, vitamins and minerals! Here are some easy ways to prepare broth.
  • Getting lots of good fats in pregnancy is essential to your baby's brain growth and development. You also need fats to help you absorb the fat soluble Vitamins A, K, E, and D. It is also important to avoid trans fats and maintain a good balance of Omega 3's 6's and 9's. I like this fish oil, it is cheap, pure and tasteless! Salmon is another great way to get in Omega 3's, just limit your consumption to once a week.
  • Iron deficiency, or anemia, can occur in pregnancy. The blood volume expansion that occurs, occurs mostly in the plasma part of the blood. This essentially 'waters down' the red blood cells. Some women can tolerate this better than others. For all women it is a good idea to add a little extra iron into the diet. Good iron sources are lamb, beef, greens, dried fruits, and oysters. If you find yourself anemic, Floridex is an easy to digest iron supplement. Iron is always better absorbed when taken with Vitamin C and should not be taken with Calcium.

Exercise has many benefits in pregnancy...contrary to what your aunties may tell you! It has been proven to make for a more comfortable pregnancy, shorten labor and reduce interventions in labor It can also make for a quicker postpartum recovery. In pregnancy our bodies undergo vast physical changes in order to accommodate the baby; muscles stretch, ligaments soften, and joints loosen. In order to keep up with those changes and to recover from these changes, exercise is necessary. Here are some recommendations for moving your budding body!

  • Get your heart rate up at least three times a week for half an hour. Stationary bikes, swimming, and hiking are good ways to do this. Walking is good exercise, but your heart rate has to be accelerated while walking.
  • Yoga is a fine exercise and feels good while pregnant. Attend a pre-natal yoga class or find a good DVD to follow at home. It's best if you have some experience with yoga before becoming pregnant in order to safely practice whilst pregnant.
  • Avoid laying in the supine position, raising your temperature above 102F, and any contact sports. It's best not to begin new exercises while pregnant, but continue with what you have done in the past. Be sure to hydrate well and to add 150-300 extra calories on the days you work out.
  • Kegel exercises should be done throughout the pregnancy. They prevent urinary incontinence, can help avoid tears, can speed recovery postpartum, and maintain sexual function.
  • Dancing is a joyous expression and quite suited to pregnancy. Turning on some music and moving your body to it for half an hour is an easy and satisfying way to get some exercise in. Belly dancing is particularly suited to pregnancy and a great tool in labor. Please check this website for more details and stay tuned for an upcoming interview with the founder.

The second trimester is a joyous time for most women. It can be an intense time full of fruitful dreams and creativity. Relish in it. It's also a time where the realities of becoming parents, whether for the first time or fifth, can lead to some tension between husband and wife. Keep the lines of communication open and be honest about any fears or expectations you have. It is a time for immense closeness between partners as well. Many blessings on your growth and your baby's!

No comments:

Post a Comment