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Perspectives on Pregnancy: 2nd Trimester!

By: Dr. Jessi Gradin, DC

Hi there and, for those who are new to the blog, let me reintroduce myself! My name is Dr. Jessi Gradin. I am one of the chiropractors at our Multnomah Village clinic and three  months ago, at age 35, I had my first baby! Over the next couple of months, I will be sharing a little bit about my adventure from preconception to postpartum.

The journey of every expecting mom is different and I am not here to say my experience was or is “normal,” or “abnormal.” Rather, my hope in writing this blog is that you will find things that resonate with you and your pregnancy. I hope you use my experience and recommendations to have a more informed, confident and comfortable time navigating your unique pregnancy. And, as you read along, please remember that every birthing person’s experience is different. 

Curating The Best Custom Care Plan For You

This is not meant to be an all encompassing rehab program, but a handful of tips to help you along your way to parenthood. After all, it takes a village! At HCH, we recommend all expecting parents (whether giving birth or not) come in for evaluation and treatment by a chiropractor so that a custom care plan can be made for those involved. Additionally, if your pregnancy has been classified as “high risk” please consult your OB/midwife before performing any exercises. 

Now, enough with the introductions, and on to the second trimester! The golden age of pregnancy when your energy comes back, nausea likely dissipates, and you’re still comfortable in your body. Enjoy it, momma! This is a great time to continue doing all of the activities and exercises you love….in addition to continuing to work on your breathing as discussed in my first blog article. Need a refresher? Click here to check it out!

Second Trimester: Weeks 14 – 26

If you haven’t been moving your body regularly up to this point, it is definitely not too late to start. The key here is to take it slow, listen to your body and respect where you are. It is typically safe and very good for you and the baby to keep moving in any way the body feels comfortable doing, but now is definitely not the time to be going after any personal bests!

I recommend starting off easy, with daily 15-minute walks. After a one week of regular walking try adding 5 additional minutes every week. If you find any week to be difficult, repeat that week’s time rather than continuing to add more time, remembering to respect your body and where you are. Do this until you are able to progress comfortably. 

Once you are able to comfortably walk for 30 minutes at a time, you can add in a little intensity and endurance to your routine. Do this by incorporating hills and intervals of faster/slower walking or simply by taking longer walks. If you have been working out regularly, it is typically safe to continue performing your usual activities with a few minor modifications that we will discuss later.

Your Pregnancy Is Unique!

Yes – that’s right! Every pregnancy is unique, so try not to compare to others’ experiences too much and rely, instead, on how you feel. No one knows your body like you do! But, at some point during the second trimester, it is likely that you will really start to notice the physical changes to your body. Your baby is growing every day! And, as they grow, you will need to start modifying your movements to both accommodate your belly and keep undue pressure off your pelvic floor.

Just as no two pregnancies are alike, no two baby bumps are alike, either! You may be already showing quite a bit or you may still be in that “feeling chubby but not looking pregnant” limbo phase for a while longer. Either way, you are beautiful and right where you should be! Here are some second trimester exercise modification options to consider while you’re here: 

Modified Exercises For Your Second Trimester

  • Reduce exercises that involve lying on your back. 
    • Short periods of time on your back is fine but extended periods of time in this position can cause reduced blood flow to you and your baby. Dizziness or lightheadedness will be your first clue that you need to reposition. 
  • Substitute planks/side planks and quadruped exercises for traditional sit ups. 
    • These types of exercises focus on the deep core musculature as opposed to the more superficial six pack muscles. The deeper core is the primary area that needs to be strengthened during and after pregnancy. 
    • Follow along with Craig, below, as he demonstrates plank variations, the horse stance horizontal and the deadbug in these videos. The deadbug is an exercise done while lying on your back so if you experience any of the symptoms described above please discontinue that movement. 
  • Adopt a wider stance for movements like squats and deadlifts
    • This will allow you to perform a greater range of motion before your belly limits you.
    • If you change up your stance, reduce the weight you typically lift by approximately 10% to allow your body to adapt to the new position.
  • Focus on hydration before, during and after workouts
  • Listen to your body!! 
    • What feels great today might be uncomfortable tomorrow and that is ok! For me, handstands went out the window first then lunges and running but, for some, those movements are never an issue. If you need help coming up with modifications please visit your HCH chiropractor, as we are all happy to help find the best plan of care for you!
  • MOBILIZE AND STRENGTHEN YOUR UPPER/MID BACK. 
    • This was a real wake up call once the baby arrived…even the tiniest baby gets heavy after you hold them for a while. You need to train for this. 
    • For mobilizing this area try using the foam roller as seen in some of our rehab videos, here
    • For strengthening, here’s Craig again with the banded row exercise. A great way to strengthen the mid back while maintaining a strong core!
  • Be able to hold a conversion during workouts, refrain from holding your breath during lifting.

Remember these recommendations are general and your best best is to come into the clinic for a full evaluation and individualized treatment. Chiropractic care and massage are a great addition to any pregnancy. We would love to help make your journey to parenthood as comfortable as possible!