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The Second Trimester

Read all about my second trimester of pregnancy including product recommendations, body changes, stress, sleeping, food cravings, expectations, exercise and so much more! This blog post covers weeks 14-28 of pregnancy.

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I can’t believe how quickly the second trimester seemed to fly by (I’m now 30 weeks pregnant!).

During the first trimester, it felt like time was crawling by at the slowest pace; I found myself constantly checking my pregnancy apps to learn about baby’s weekly milestones and how big he might be, but these days not so much. Perhaps, it’s because there’s so much to do to prepare for baby’s arrival, or maybe because it’s my busy season for work, but now I’m more focused on preparing my body and mind for the ginormous shift in life that’s about to take place.

monique taking a mirror photo

Overall though, the second trimester has been amazing. I’ve had energy to completely redo our kitchen, hallway, and update nearly everything in our house and I couldn’t be more excited. The only thing we have yet to get to is the nursery, which is giving me a bit of anxiety, but I know we’ll get it done (hopefully) by the time our little love comes.

That being said, there has been an overwhelming and sometimes, depressing feeling lingering over me for the past month or so. I hope to touch on this more in a separate blog post because I think it’s important to address and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has gone through something similar while pregnant. By now, you all know how I feel and how important it is to advocate for mental health; this stage of my life has brought new feelings that I didn’t expect to have or hold which has been… different to say the least. More on this soon!

Today though, I wanted to focus on giving you a little update on how things have been from week 14-28 of my pregnancy journey. Be sure to also check out my first trimester post, baby registry and ask a doula as references too.

monique taking a mirror photo
20 weeks pregnant

Feeling movement

I first felt my little one move early at around week 16/17. Ever since then he’s been VERY active and constantly cruising around in there, but it’s important to remember that all bodies are different. Some women do not feel babies move until around 20 weeks or later, and that’s also completely normal.

Mostly, I feel him move after I eat a big meal, drink something cold or when I’m laying in bed. He also now likes to kick his mama in my ribs and occasionally, right in the bladder (not fun). Admittedly I feel incredibly excited and happy every time he decides to come out and party, even if it is at 1am. Anyone else?

monique on a hiking trail
20 weeks hiking in Portland

My second trimester exercise routine

My second trimester has been amazing for working out and staying active. I think a lot of women feel intimidated or unsure of what they can and can’t do during pregnancy, but what’s most important is that you listen to you doctor and your body.

My midwives told me it was not only completely safe but also recommended to exercise during pregnancy, so I pretty much continued with my normal routine, modifying as needed. Typically, I exercise 4-5x per week doing a mix of personal training focusing on weight lifting and going to Crosstown Fitness, where we do HIIT-based exercises. I’ve felt good and paid close attention to listening to my body; if something feels off, I don’t do it and I certainly don’t push myself beyond what I’m used to or what I feel like I’m capable of doing.

What was even more exciting for me, was around week 20, when Tony and I went on our babymoon in Portland and hiked nearly 10 miles each day. It was incredible and I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to stay so active during these past few months. Not only to keep my body strong, but also for mental health purposes. I notice on the days I workout, I feel SO much better. This mama needs her workouts to stay sane, even if it’s just going for a walk.

As a reminder: last week, I posted upper body pregnancy safe exercises that I did in partnership with my trainer Rae. We’re going to be doing a few move exercise movement videos that might be helpful for expectant mamas, so stay tuned for those.

monique and tony on top of a mountain

Body changes + weight gain

As I mentioned before, pregnancy weight gain was initially really difficult for me to think about because it all seemed to be happening so quickly, but now I just embrace it and focus on the good things. I eat well, exercise and nourish my little love. That being said, don’t ever ask a woman how much weight she’s gained while pregnant — ha!

It wasn’t until around 28 weeks it seemed like I really had a belly that I felt I could show off. There are times when I simply feel uncomfortable, especially after eating a big meal, so I’ve started to eat smaller, more frequent meals. I also chug water and Spindrift non-stop, because sometimes a little bubbly water just tastes oh so good.

I know I already mentioned this in my first trimester post, but I’ve been loving the Zoe Organics Belly Oil; I rub it all over my stomach and hips before I go to bed every night.

Unfortunately, I had a few bouts of eczema on my hands and thighs, which is basically just dry patchy skin that can sometimes be itchy. I read that eczema can affect pregnant women more, so I’m trying my best to keep my skin hydrated by drinking water and applying oils when I get out of the shower or bath. I’ve been loving Babo Botanicals healing ointment and a new-to-me product called Eczema Honey that came highly recommend by a lot of AK readers. The eczema honey has been AMAZING — I put it on my face, hands, and any other dry areas. I’m kind of obsessed and plan to try out a few more of their products.

Oh, and guess what? I still don’t have an outie. Only time will tell. 🙂

monique with a cat on top of her

How I’m sleeping

Over the past two months I’ve seemed to develop a terrible case of restless leg syndrome. Apparently, this is very common during pregnancy, but it’s the most annoying thing when all you want to do is fall asleep and you can’t stop moving your legs! I’ve noticed that taking a warm shower or a bath before bed is helpful, and also taking magnesium.

Starting at around week 26, I found myself waking up 2-3x per night to pee, or just waking up randomly. My dreams have gotten weird too. Last week I had a dream that I was best friends with Brie Larson and we were eating popcorn and watching a movie (the woman who plays Captain Marvel). So strange.

Even with my pregnancy pillow, I’ve been struggling with on and off back pain at night too. Warm baths with epsom salts seem to help so I try to take a warm bath every single night — it’s my little self care routine that I’m especially fond of when chilly weather hits.

Any other sleeping tips, mamas?!

monique in a white jumpsuit


I’m still taking my Binto vitamins on a daily basis! Binto vitamins are tailored to your needs and body. You just fill out a survey online and then get your results based on your goals. They have regular women’s multi-vitamins, but also have focuses on prenatal, pregnancy, postpartum and menopause. The vitamin packages start at $35/month and are directly delivered to your doorstep. They’re also gluten free, vegan-friendly and preservative free.

Right now I take the Binto prenatal vitamins which include a prenatal with DHA and a probiotic. All good stuff.

If you are interested in trying BINTO, you can use the code ‘ambitiouskitchen’ for 20% off your first order!

monique taking a mirror photo in a bathroom

Cravings & aversions

After my first trimester bagel obsession ended, I really didn’t have too many cravings. If anything, I’ve wanted to cook more and go out less. The thought of burgers disgusts me, which is weird because usually I’m the type of person who loves the local bar’s turkey burger & fries 1x per week, but now I refuse to go.

I will say that I have LOVED having fresh fruit. Usually every night I’ll eat an organic honeycrisp or sweetango apple with peanut butter. Other days, I’m obsessed with oranges (they just smell soooo good!). In fact, right now my craving for an orange just kicked in. I JUST LOVE THEM.

One thing that I’m eating a lot more of lately is yogurt. I love siggi’s whole milk yogurt and have been eating it with peanut butter/almond butter and my favorite homemade granola recipe. I figure this is great calcium for both me and baby, since I don’t really eat much dairy.

Another things I’ve noticed is that my sweet tooth isn’t as strong as it used to be. I used to really look forward to having chocolate after dinner, but now, I’d rather have fruit or even a small cup of peanut butter panda puffs + almond milk before bed. Occasionally, I’ll get the urge to bake something sweet, but honestly, I think it’s more the soul soothing baking brings me, rather than the end result.

Did your sweet tooth change at all?

monique taking a mirror photo in a dressing room

Maternity clothes

Since I work from home, I really don’t have to worry too much about what I’m wearing. The summer was much easier because I just wore most of the dresses I already had. However, around weeks 26-28 I noticed that even my sweatpants were getting tight, so I ordered a few things that I’ve pretty much been living in. Besides these staple items, I mostly stick to regular clothes such as bigger sweaters because I figure I only need a few maternity things here and there because helllooooo… only 10 WEEKS TO GO and I don’t want to spend a ton of money on things I probably won’t wear again.

Madewell maternity jeans: these are amazing and after trying on about 8 other pairs of maternity jeans, these were my favorite and well worth the investment. SO COMFY.

Lululemon align leggings: there is a reason that a lot of pregnant women rave about these leggings and it’s because they are incredible. I still am wearing my same size because they’re so stretchy. Since I love them so much, I invested in two pairs! I also plan on wearing them post-pregnancy.

Lululemon pullover: this cozy, cute sweatshirt is perfect for the bump! I basically live in mine.

Lululemon sports bra: truly the only sports bra I wear these days. So comfy and stretchy.

monique in a black dress taking a mirror photo

What I’m looking forward to in the third trimester

Two of my besties are hosting a co-ed baby shower for Tony and I next weekend and I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone and celebrating our little one. I’m also eager to get started on the nursery!

To be completely transparent, we have a VERY, VERY busy next two months before baby arrives. We’re doing hypnobabies, a prenatal class through our doula, and that’s every Sunday for the next 6 weeks. We also signed up for a baby CPR class & a breastfeeding class through our hospital, and belong to a centering pregnancy group which meets for two hours every two weeks.

With those classes, getting the nursery and all the baby things ready plus celebrating the holidays (I’m hosting Thanksgiving!) might prove to be exhausting, but then again, holidays are my favorite. We’re definitely going to try and soak up some us time along the way before baby comes, because we know it will never just be the two of us again.

Shop my pregnancy favorites & recommendations

Head over to the Ambitious Kitchen shop to see everything I recommend during pregnancy & beyond. I’ll continue to update as I go!

P.S. Don’t forget to check out our baby registry, pregnancy books I’m reading and my first trimester post.

I hope you loved this little life update. Feel free to drop a comment below with any questions or any product recommendations you might have! xo.

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