After lots of research … and trial and error, here are my top 5 tips for having a great second trimester. Keep in mind that I experienced months 4,5,6 in the middle of summer so some of these might change if you’re 5 months pregnant in January.
1. Supportive shorts/underwear
Belly bands and other items are great if you’re wearing pants but since I’m almost exclusively wearing dresses (with the exception of my maternity jeans, see below), it adds bulk and doesn’t quite give me the support/smoothness I’m looking for. I loooove supportive under-shorts. These ones by Pea in the Pod,$35 are great, as are these from Belevation, $23 (Made in America!) Start with one pair but if you’re like me, you’ll get used to the support and want more than one pair in your rotation.
1 item of clothing and you’re dressed! Ta-da! I’ve been able to wear 3+ dresses from my pre-pregnancy wardrobe so far without fear of stretching them out too badly. Cotton jersey dresses with a lot of stretch and ones that are very tent-like (my husband calls them “magic mu-mu dresses” because they look horrid until you belt it!) are my go-to styles. I’m also still loving my Splendid tulip dress. Splendid maxi dresses are amazing and should work for lots of women while pregnant (and not!) Re-styling existing wardrobe pieces is essential. Seriously. Get creative with it. Check out the blog/video series by Oh Joy on “Dressing the bump” for inspiration. Her idea to wear a longer skirt high on the waist (over the bump) is so cute. Take some fashion risks to show off that growing belly!
I also went and purchased a couple suuuuuper simple cotton dresses from American Apparel. This t-shirt style (organic cotton version here) is my favorite and I wear them all the time on their own, with a layer on top (long-sleeve shirt or cardigan), or with leggings underneath. I recommend going into the store to try on since everyone’s body type is different. These might be way too short on some women (especially when you add the bump) but I am short so they work for me. They may not be great (without leggings) at month 9+, but oh well. I got them in a larger-than-my-normal-size since they can shrink in the wash.
2a. Skinny, stretchy belts! Huzzah! I had a few already and I’ve realized how much a skinny, stretchy (if possible) belt pulls a potentially-dowdy pregnancy outfit together. I wear mine over and over and over again.
3. Maternity jeans
My regular jeans went into hibernation pretty quickly into my second trimester. Some lucky women can make them last longer with this trick, but it wasn’t comfortable at all for me. Maternity-specific purchases are difficult for me to stomach (or, uh, uterus?) but I splurged on a fantastic pair of maternity jeans by AG. Made in California! Oh so freakin’ comfortable since they have the stretchy panel that goes all the way over the belly (called “Secret Fit”.) One of my favorite USA-made denim brands, Paige, also makes maternity jeans but I didn’t like the style/they weren’t as comfy for me. I wear my AG jeans all the time and since I’m refusing to purchase a whole new wardrobe to accommodate my growing baby, spending more on this one high-quality item works for me and my budget.
My food aversions (mostly to protein – meat, eggs, etc.) are a bit inconvenient (<– understatement of the decade) so I’ve turned to smoothies to supplement my whole food diet. Not ideal but it gets me through the day with less “oh sh*t I’m so woozy/nauseated all of a sudden” moments. I stick to a few key ingredients, like:
- Frozen berries (blueberries, blackberries and strawberries)
- Chia seeds
- Coconut water (adding enough liquid is key for most blenders to work properly! I add water and maybe a splash of fruit juice if I don’t have coconut water on hand)
- Fresh, leafy greens (1) wash very well! 2) make sure to add these first with the liquid to get the best/smoothest results)
- Whey protein powder (plain = less sugar, vanilla = more sugar but better taste)
- Also, occasionally: Grass-fed yogurt/Greek yogurt (buy full fat, please! Fage and Trader Joe’s have plain greek yogurt tubs with all that good fat intact)
If you don’t have a blender, you don’t have to get a Vitamix or other high-powered machine right away. Start with one of these highly-rated and less expensive options (both #MadeinUSA): Oster 6-cup 8-speed Blender, currently $48.73 on Amazon, or try the Breville Hemisphere Control Blender, currently $199 on Amazon.
I’ve also been pleasantly surprised by Quest bars - they are a protein bar (20g per bar!) but I don’t get that huge sugar hit I have with other bars. They have been great for on-the-go “Oh sh*t” moments (usually half a bar does the trick for me), as have almond butter packets by Justin’s.
5. Comfy and supportive shoes
Carrying extra weight can mean saying “Sayonara!” to your unsupportive flip flops/flats. I’ve been living in my Birkenstocks, sneakers and wedges and even some heels. I know it seems weird but a little heel/wedge is actually pretty comfortable for me. The few times I went back to my tried-and-true pair of leather Frye (flip-flop-ish) sandals, I didn’t make it very far without my feet getting sore/swollen. Gross. Having some arch support and padding is 100% necessary.
TIP: Try on every pair of shoes you currently own. Every pair, seriously. You might be surprised at what fits/feels comfortable (see wedges, above.) If nothing works, check out a big store like DSW to track down a sneaker-flat hybrid or other supportive shoe to fit your new preggo feet. Bigger stores might be necessary here because, again, you might have you try on a lot of different styles. You could order online but trying your new shoes on is essential. If online shopping is your jam, order from a site with a great return policy (like Zappos or Amazon.) Don’t be afraid to wear the same shoes every day. It’s only for a few months, right? Plus, people are more interested in your cute bump and how you’re feeling than what’s on your feet. Trust me. Anyone who judges you for pregnancy-comfy shoes is lame. Express yourself with your accessories if you’re used to showcasing your fashion sense through footwear.
p.s. In case you missed it, here’s my post on what you need for the first trimester!
Hope this was helpful! What are your second-trimester pregnancy tips (or questions)? Head to the comments section!