You’ve made it through the first trimester, and now you’re in the second trimester! Woohoo! At this point, you’re hopefully feeling a lot better and more like yourself. You will still probably use some of the things off our first-trimester must-haves list, but below is my list of second-trimester must-haves that include products and services essential for a happy second trimester! Also, these would make great gifts for someone you know who is pregnant! 😉
10 Second Trimester Must-Haves
In my opinion, the second trimester is the best part of pregnancy. Hopefully, your nausea has subsided, you’re sleeping a little better, and you’re finally looking legitimately pregnant. Also, if you have suffered miscarriages in the past, this is the point when you can relax a bit, enjoy your pregnancy, and treat yourself. You deserve it! So, here are my must-haves for the second trimester:
1. A Good Probiotic
Now that you have been taking a good prenatal vitamin and prenatal DHA supplement (what I recommended in our first-trimester must-haves list), here’s another great supplement to start taking . . . a probiotic! It is generally safe to take a probiotic supplement while pregnant, and there are many great benefits to taking probiotics during pregnancy.1 As with any supplement, consult your healthcare provider before taking one.
So, why take a probiotic? One of the main reasons I recommend it is it can help reduce the colonization of Group B Streptococcus (GBS). This bacterial infection naturally lives in the intestines and migrates down to the urinary tract, vagina, and/or rectum.2 GBS is tested at 36-38 weeks of pregnancy, and about 10-30% of women are GBS positive during pregnancy.3 If the expectant mother is GBS positive, she must receive antibiotic treatment during labor (usually penicillin or ampicillin) through an IV to prevent it from passing to the baby during birth.4 Taking a good probiotic can reduce your chances of being GBS positive, helping you avoid more interventions during labor.14
2. Body Moisturizer
They say “prevention is key” for all things skin-related. So, investing in a good body moisturizer during pregnancy is helpful. Many belly butters, oils, and belly lotions are marketed to help prevent stretch marks, but none have been scientifically proven to 100% work since stretch marks can be genetic.5 However, it never hurts to try, and moisturizing your growing skin is good. A few stretch mark creams, like body butters and oils I recommend are Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter, Motherlove Pregnant Belly Oil, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter, and my very fave, Mama Mio’s line of products.
3. Bath Pregnancy Flakes
Now that you are in your second trimester of pregnancy, your body might be experiencing more aches and pains from your growing baby.15 When you have an achy back and feel tired and weary, a long soak in a bath with some bath pregnancy flakes is the perfect little luxury. This is why these bath pregnancy flakes are on our second-trimester must-haves list!
I like these bath pregnancy flakes because they are pure magnesium. Magnesium is a wonderful mineral that has many benefits. It helps relax muscles, regulate body temperature, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, build strong teeth and bones, and much more.6 It can also help you get a more restful sleep and aid in mood stabilization.7,8
I recommend pouring half a cup into a warm bath and then relaxing and soaking in the tub for at least 20 minutes to allow the magnesium properties to absorb into your skin. You will enjoy some self-care time, and your body and mind will also thank you.
4. A Pregnancy Pillow
Finding a comfortable sleeping position when you’re expecting can be challenging. This is especially true as your belly grows, and you have to get up several times throughout the night to use the restroom. A pregnancy pillow is a second-trimester must-have item because it can help you get some sleep. Getting one during your second trimester allows you to enjoy it for a longer duration of your pregnancy (and even a few months postpartum).
A good quality pregnancy pillow can make it much easier to get comfortable and catch some Zzzs. Rather than using and trying to arrange several pillows in your bed, a pregnancy pillow replaces all of them and provides support in the right places. We know how hard your body is working to grow your sweet baby and how important sleep is. Invest in a good pregnancy pillow and give yourself the gift of sleep!
5. A Cozy Blanket
Now that you have a pregnancy pillow, you also need a cozy blanket to go with it! You want a blanket that will be soft on your skin, not too heavy (to avoid overheating), and not too light (so you stay warm). This ultra-soft throw blanket is one of my favorites, and I feel confident it will be one of yours, too! It’s perfect for snuggling up on the couch or in bed if you’re tired, feel nauseous, or want to put up your feet after a long day. I’ve even had my doula clients bring this blanket to the hospital with them for their postpartum room to stay comfortable. For the quality and the great price, it’s definitely a must-have!
6. Nasal Strips
Not enough people talk about this, but some women experience congestion during pregnancy, also known as pregnancy rhinitis. If you have a stuffy nose that won’t go away, you may be experiencing this. It’s common for it to get worse when you lie down, disrupting your sleep.9 To help you breathe easier, sleep better, and hopefully stop your snoring, use these drug-free nasal strips. They help open your nose and relieve nasal congestion by increasing nasal airflow. When you sleep better, you’ll wake up less tired and can conquer another day of growing your tiny human.
Another (not-so-fun) experience that can happen during pregnancy is pregnancy insomnia. Even though you have your pillow, blanket, and nasal strips to help you go to sleep, sometimes your mind won’t “turn off.” I get it. There’s much to think about now that you’re about to have a baby. But I have found that listening to something soothing can help you drift off to sleep. That’s why getting an Audible membership is a second-trimester must-have. You can use it to listen to a good pregnancy and birth book or parenting book when you can’t fall asleep. Listening to a book or podcast will put you to sleep or help you learn something new!
8. Loose Dresses
Clothes are getting tighter at this point in your pregnancy, so you’ll want to invest in some new items you can enjoy wearing for the rest of your pregnancy. I recommend loose dresses because they are comfortable, can grow with you, and can even be worn after you have the baby. Maternity clothes are great, but having pieces in your closet that can be worn beyond pregnancy is a win in our book. This beautiful black floral smocked maxi dress is a perfect example. It even has pockets!
9. A Good Bra
Hello, boobs! It’s no secret your belly isn’t the only thing that grows during pregnancy. Your breasts are also growing to a size you may have never experienced before, and underwires are probably not your friend. A good, supportive bra that fits properly is what you need! If you’re staying active, try Shock Absorber Bras. I also found a few great bralettes (like this or this one) that can work for you for months to come. They still provide support but are more breathable than other bras. They also make great sleeping bras! Getting a few good maternity bras or nursing bras is also a wise investment if you plan to breastfeed. I love the Bravado bras, and several of them come with a conversion kit to make them into regular bras when you’re done nursing!
10. A Doula
A birth doula supports every woman and family for any type of labor and birth you choose. Whether you want a natural birth, a medicated birth, or a planned C-section, a doula is a great person to add to your support team to help you have the positive experience you want and deserve.16 This is the time during your pregnancy to start interviewing and choosing the right doula for you. Many of the good doulas book up quickly, so the sooner you start looking, the more options you will have available. Look at DONA International or DoulaMatch.net to find birth doulas near you. (Read more about what a doula is and why you should hire one here.)
Not only does your doula support you during birth, but they will also support you during your pregnancy. They will let you know all of the options available to you and resources in your area. They will answer your questions and help you prepare for your birthing day. And they will give you continuous labor support with massage, breathing techniques, comfort measures, being your advocate, and so much more.16 Having a birth doula has many benefits, and we want every soon-to-be mama to be supported and have the best pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience possible. You can also listen to our podcast episode, where two doulas talk about all things doulas.
More Helpful Things for the Second Trimester
The list below isn’t necessarily essentials or must-haves for the second trimester (though some women might beg to differ). However, they can be very beneficial to have! Here are items and activities that can be helpful during the second trimester of pregnancy:
Now that your nausea is subsiding (I hope!), it’s important to get active. Many women have good intentions to work out regularly but find themselves out of the habit after an exhausting and nauseating first trimester. The second trimester is perfect for taking up exercising during pregnancy. It will keep you fit, and because it makes you stronger and healthier, it can help you have a better labor and birth experience.10 Some great workouts are walking, prenatal yoga, and pilates. Whether joining a class in your area or buying a DVD and doing it at home, be sure to get up and get moving. The breathing and some of the poses you will do in these classes can also help you during your labor and birth.
2. Stay Hydrated
As mentioned in our first-trimester must-haves list, staying hydrated during pregnancy is essential. It’s just as crucial in the second trimester, too.17 If you’re getting tired of water, you can also start drinking raspberry leaf tea! Raspberry leaf tea is a tremendous uterine toner that can help prepare your uterus for labor and delivery.11 I recommend drinking 1-2 cups per day in the second trimester and up to 3 cups in the third trimester. Grab your water bottle that you got in the first trimester and continue to fill it up!
3. Take Notes
Something you may have heard of during pregnancy is “pregnancy brain” or “mommy brain.” I experienced this during both of my pregnancies. It felt as if my babies were taking all my brain cells because I couldn’t remember even the simplest things! I recommend keeping a notebook handy to write all your lists and ideas that come to mind — baby-related or not. You can also keep your Notes app open on your smartphone, leave yourself voice recordings, or set reminders. I have found these things helpful when you’re in a rush and don’t want to forget something.
4. Eat Protein
Protein during pregnancy is critical for your baby’s growth. Since many women usually feel better in the second trimester, this is an excellent time to focus on your diet and eating protein. It’s recommended for pregnant women to have about 70-100 grams of protein per day, depending on their weight.13 Protein is especially important during the second and third trimesters when the fetus grows rapidly. This is why I suggest adding protein to each of your meals. Some good second trimester foods and protein sources are lean meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, and soy products.12
5. Surround Yourself With Support and Positivity
Now that you can announce your pregnancy to the world, surround yourself with positive birth stories, positive birth images, positive affirmations, and positive women who will support you during this exciting time. Find a local support group, attend some prenatal yoga classes to meet other pregnant women, and reassure yourself that you can do this! You and your body are capable of having an enjoyable birth experience.
These are my second-trimester must-haves! What couldn’t you live without during your second trimester?