New Found Energy, Leg Cramps, and Pelvic Floor Exercises for Second Trimester
I’m Jen, a pelvic floor physical therapist and as I write this am 32-weeks pregnant. I am finally taking the time to write about my second trimester experience. Every pregnancy is different, but in sharing my own story I hope to lend insight into somethings you may experience and a few elements you may want to focus on as your pregnancy progresses.
New Found Energy
At first pregnancy felt like it was going sooooo slowly (maybe because I told people when I was only ~6 weeks pregnant). Now it’s definitely flying by more quickly. The first few weeks into the second trimester didn’t feel much different than the first. I was still nauseous and tired most of the time. I was trying to stay active and rested as much as possible.
Then, like magic, a few weeks into trimester two, I felt awesome! Well, maybe not totally awesome, but better than how I had been feeling and more like myself again. I had more energy. I was no longer feeling nauseous. I could start eating veggies again without getting grossed out. I know for some people the nausea, morning sickness, fatigue, and other not so fun symptoms can last throughout the whole pregnancy, so I was relieved that I was able to get a break.
I used my new found energy to go on daily walks and keep up with exercises such as squats and lunges, both for strength and stretching.
I did squats and lunges in repetitions (example: 10 reps x 3 sets with or without added weights). For stretching, I did a supported deep squat by holding onto a countertop to get low for a pelvic opening position.
For stretching lunges, I did a hip flexor stretch (target the muscles in the front of my hip/thigh) in a standing lunge or kneeling position. I did have a little intermittent low back pain and lower abdominal discomfort during this time as my belly started visibly to expand. I used a belly band support occasionally during the day to help ease this discomfort.
Tackling a Project: Your Pelvic Health Book
I also used this burst of energy to decide to write and publish my third book, Your Pelvic Health Book during the second trimester. Yes, I’m a little crazy. I heard that during this time in pregnancy it’s great to take a nice vacation or get some big projects done that you might not get to after baby. For me, it was to write a book. This required time and effort, and I recognized my need for quality nourishment, staying hydrated with water, taking breaks to get outside, walking in fresh air and getting as much sleep as possible between writing, editing and marketing.
Navigating Leg Cramps
As the final weeks of my second trimester came to a close and I was transitioning to the third trimester of pregnancy, I started to get some leg cramps. Darn charley horses had me squirming and struggling to catch my breath during the night. To help remedy this, every night before bed I began stretching my calf muscles which was the main place I felt the cramps. I also used magnesium lotion to rub into these muscles. I also upped my water intake, and I wore compression socks. Within a night or two of prioritizing tackling leg cramps, things felt much better.
Focusing on Pelvic Health Care
The other thing I continue to focus on throughout this pregnancy is, of course, my pelvic health. On a daily basis I did pelvic floor contractions AND relaxations throughout my work day while sitting or standing. I also added these in while exercising, walking and with exertion like lifting a heavy dog food bag. If you’ve been following the Vagina Whisperer or any pelvic PTs you probably know by now that urinary leakage is common, but not normal. So far, no leakage for me. I contract my pelvic floor with coughing and sneezing and avoid straining by exhaling with bowel movements or heavy lifting. I find ways to be aware of my pelvic floor subconsciously and purposefully with exertion. It’s become second nature now. It also helps that I’m teaching people daily about their pelvic floor and therefore getting plenty of reminders.
I’m so grateful for the knowledge and resources I have as a pelvic floor PT to help support me during my pregnancy. If you have any aches, pains, leakage, or pregnancy concerns that you feel might be helped by a pelvic PT, feel free to reach out to us for virtual pelvic wellness sessions.
Are you currently pregnant or planning to conceive? If so, make sure to download my FREE resource — How to Prepare Your Pelvic Floor & Core for Childbirth + 8 Must-Dos for C-Section and Vaginal Deliveries.
Jen Torborg, PT, DPT, CMTPT, is a pelvic floor physical therapist and author of three Amazon bestselling books: Your Best Pregnancy Ever, Your Best Body after Baby, and Your Pelvic Health. Jen treats clients in Ashland and Bayfield, Wisconsin through Orthopedic & Spine Therapy.