This was by far my favorite trimester, for many reasons. I had tons of energy and at times I forgot that I was even pregnant. Until I saw myself in the mirror! The first trimester felt surreal at times, anticipating my bump growing and one day meeting my little one. But the second trimester got very real. This was a time when I started having physical symptoms like swollen feet but also had to make big decisions about the birth plan.
The Hypnobirthing Method
My husband was reluctant on taking birthing classes, but I convinced him that we must sign up for Hypnobirthing classes. It was my goal to give our baby the most gentle birth into the world possible. If I could learn how to self-hypnotize myself through the pain and stress then why not give it a try and see what these classes had to offer? After the first class we both instantaneously had a change of heart of how and where I should give birth. Our original plan was that I would give birth in a hospital, which is a few miles away from our home- convenient and easy. But then, Hypnobirthing changed it completely. The wealth of information we received from our instructor and all that Hypnobirthing’s philosophy and information we leaned about was a game changer.
After our first Hypnobirthing class, I transferred to the birthing center. The part that had both of us convinced was while we aimed to have a natural waterbirth, if things went wrong I would be immediately transferred to the hospital across the street and the same group of midwives would look after me. I was praying for an all natural, unmedicated waterbirth, envisioning the water to help me relax with soft lit candles and mellow music.
The best part of the Hypnobirthing classes was the amount of information shared. The classes opened our eyes on things like how high the c-section rate is in hospitals among many other topics. The Hypnobirthing Method is a combination of breath work, visualizations for mental preparation of the birth. It includes a guided meditation called Rainbow Relaxation and birth affirmations to program the mind of a safe, easy birth.
My birthing center appointments increased to every 2 weeks later in the second trimester. The midwives were wonderful, they got to know me on a personal level and were completely aligned with my natural ways, not allowing ultrasounds until I was in my final weeks. They suggested more natural based solutions to ailments like water retention and heartburn. I was given appointments with a different midwife each time so I could get to know them and vice versa. Depending on who is on call, it could be any one of them during my birth.
My husband and I were thinking if we needed to hire a doula. As first time parents, we were not sure what to expect of a doula. We found a doula who was certified in Hypnobirthing and Spinning Babies and randomly bumped into her at our last Hypnobirthing class. Tej and I felt a connection to her and that same night we decided that she was the right one. She gave amazing support, always checking in on me, suggesting solutions and she came to our home twice. On her first visit she showed certain Spinning Babies techniques to help open up my pelvis and hip to allow the baby ease into the optimal head down position. I practiced these religiously every morning and I was grateful my baby was head down! On her second visit we went through baby CPR and the birthing plan.
A friend of mine said something very helpful that swayed me on hiring a doula, she said:
“the doula is not only for you but mostly for Tej, husbands get stressed out too during the birth and she will also help him remain calm”.
Vata Pacifying Diet
Ayurveda says that the first trimester is unstable with apana vayu stabilizing the fetus in the uterus, and that towards end of the third trimester is when apana vayu can be disturbed and cause labor to progress. Balancing vata is very important during all three trimesters. The first trimester is often hard to even follow a diet. During the second and third trimesters focus on foods that are grounding, nourishing and warm. This is the time when foods like ghee and healthy fats such as nut butters are emphasized.
The second trimester is the only one that really says that abhyanga is okay to do. Not to say that one can’t do abhyanga in their third trimester but it can get tricky. An Ayurvedic counselor should advise on whether abhayanga in the third trimester is okay to do. Abhyanga during the second trimester is generally the most safe.
Unlike typical abhyanga strokes, pregnancy calls for just gently applying and spreading the oil all over the body. I was using a vata pacifying oil by Banyan Botanicals because it was winter (vata season). After applying the oil, I would spread an extra large towel on the floor and sit down or lie down on my left side. Keep in mind it is dangerous to lie down on the back being pregnant, since the uterus presses on the major vein that returns blood from your lower body to your heart.
My husband encouraged me to swim and I kept coming up with a gazillion excuses . I finally ordered a bathing suit online and decided to attend an aqua fit class. I was shocked at how amazing I felt afterwards! The swelling in my feet and body had gone away and running in water was so relaxing!