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Essential Second Trimester Must-Haves: Embracing Your Changing Body

Writing by Tiara Swain

The second trimester of pregnancy is often called the “honeymoon period.” Nausea usually begins to fade, your energy levels return, and your baby bump starts to show, meaning you no longer look just a little bloated. For those like myself who had a difficult first trimester, it can feel like a huge relief. However, with these changes comes a whole new set of challenges and needs, particularly concerning your rapidly changing body.

When the image of yourself no longer matches what you see in the mirror, it can be confronting, especially in a society that often pressures us to maintain our pre-pregnancy physique. We are expected to grow a neat little bump while the rest of our body stays the same, as if pregnancy should only affect one small part of us. This unrealistic expectation can amplify feelings of discomfort and self-consciousness, making it even more challenging to embrace the natural changes our bodies undergo.

I was adamant at the start of my pregnancy that I wouldn’t buy any “maternity” specific products, as I was reluctant to spend money on something I would only use for a few months. But I quickly realised this mindset needed to change. Accepting that I require a little extra comfort and support during this time has not only helped me embrace the changes in my body but also improved my overall self-esteem.

From experience, squeezing into your existing wardrobe only makes you feel worse about yourself. Trust me, tears have been shed.

Accepting Change

Early in my second trimester, my outfit options had become limited. I was down to two pairs of pants that didn’t cut into my stomach, and they weren’t the most fashionable items in my closet either. Wearing the same pair of stretchy sweatpants every day can soon become a little depressing. My underwear began to dig into me as my hips became noticeably wider, and my tender, enlarged breasts no longer fit my itsy-bitsy wire-free triangle bralettes. I felt like I was busting at the seams and it was incredibly uncomfortable. As someone who enjoys putting together an outfit, dressing myself became a source of anxiety.

Coming from a background in modelling, where societal pressures to maintain a certain size is dominant, witnessing my figure change has been particularly challenging. Embracing these changes as positive transformations has required a significant amount of self-love. Despite working on self-love, I still feel a little disheartened when clothes no longer fit, even if there is a good reason for it (such as growing a tiny human in my belly!). It’s crucial to remember that every pregnancy and every body is unique; it’s not a one-size-fits-all experience. What I’ve come to realise is that by trying to force myself into my existing clothes or feeling disappointed by this reality, I was not accepting or respecting the changes my body was going through.

Maternity leggings

During pregnancy, I’ve been particularly conscious of supporting my legs and hips for better circulation and alignment. I’ve noticed an increase in visible veins and cellulite, which at times makes me feel self-conscious when catching my reflection in the mirror. However, I’m working on accepting these changes as natural parts of this journey.

To address my circulation concerns, I’ve turned to maternity compression tights and shorts in recent weeks. They hug in all the right places and offer spaciousness around the belly which is much more comfortable than regular tights.

I used to look at maternity leggings and think the extra piece of fabric on the front wasn’t the sexiest addition, but they feel so much more supportive and comfortable, so they are here to stay. They have also been effective in easing the hip pain I’ve been experiencing during the second trimester.

Compression Socks

I have been sporting some pretty trendy compression socks, which I wear during the daytime. They too help with circulation, blood flow, and swelling. The great thing about investing in some compression socks is that they aren’t just for pregnancy. I can see myself continuing to wear these in the future to help with my inherited poor circulation and when travelling.

While you might imagine those ugly hospital socks that you get post-op, thankfully there are now much cuter options on the market like these by Thery Group (which I’m wearing as I write this).


The belly is the obvious area of change during pregnancy, so anything that is stretchy and easy to put on is going to be your best friend. I have been loving this estroni tank bodysuit and have been wearing mine under a puffer jacket and as is to Pilates. Being an all-in-one piece really takes the thought out of choosing an outfit.

The versatility of a bodysuit means you can transition seamlessly from a casual day look to a more dressed-up look with a jacket and accessories.

Maternity Bras

Supportive bras are another new thing for me. I barely wore a bra beforehand and was shocked at how much my breasts had grown in just a few weeks. I looked at different maternity bras and wanted to find something that was still minimalist and chic.

The Mumma Milla leakproof bralette is great because it transitions well from pregnancy to nursing and this particular shape hides away seamlessly under most clothing items. Some maternity bras can be a bit bulky, so this one ticked all the boxes for me for style and functionality.

While I originally thought I’d just tough it out with my existing bras, having the right support has quite literally taken a weight off my chest.

Maternity Pillows

Sleeping on my side has been a real challenge for me. At my 20-week scan, the baby’s heartbeat had slowed when I was lying flat on my back, so my midwife suggested I begin strictly side sleeping, which is usually recommended closer to 28 weeks. As a belly sleeper, this was tough and I kept trying to roll onto my back and stomach, so I looked for a pillow that would help give me a more supported sleep.

I didn’t want one of those giant snake-like bolsters that take up the whole bed so I have been using the Butterfly Maternity Pillow which is easy to reposition and small enough to move around. I often use it on the couch and take it with me in the car for long drives too. It can also double as a breastfeeding pillow. It has helped cradle my belly and keeps me comfortably on my side at night.

Skincare Essentials

During the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, my skin was completely freaking out. I had painful acne on my back and face. I felt like a teenager again. I was also incredibly anxious about what products were pregnancy-safe. Thankfully my skin has calmed down, but my new concerns entering the second trimester have been around nourishing my stretching skin.

To boost my moisture game, I have been using Endota’s organics range plus their nurture range, which is specifically designed for pregnancy. I have been generously lathering my belly, breasts, and hips with their hydrating belly oil and moisture-rich belly butter. With my baby bump growing so much over the last few weeks, keeping my skin moisturised has become a top priority for me.

Having a hydrating skincare routine can also help with relieving the itch that can come with stretching skin during pregnancy.

Embrace Your Body

Investing in comfortable, supportive clothing and skincare during pregnancy isn’t just about physical comfort—it’s about nurturing your self-esteem and mental well-being. Initially, I resisted the idea of needing specific maternity items, thinking I’d make do with what I already had. However, I’ve come to realise that incorporating some maternity products and basics into your wardrobe is one of the best things you can do during pregnancy.

Embracing the changes in my body and treating it with kindness is something I am working towards. As I look ahead, I’m actively learning to provide myself with the support I need to make things a little easier where I can. My partner’s admiration for my new, shapely body also continues to encourage me to choose items that not only provide support but also make me feel confident and comfortable as my figure evolves. As I prepare to become a mum, each step in this journey reminds me of the incredible transformations happening within and around me.

Tiara Swain

Tiara Swain is a freelance writer who covers diverse subjects, including finding one’s purpose, mental health, travel, and, more recently, pregnancy. As an Australian who once called New York City home for six years, Tiara infuses her writing with a unique cosmopolitan and down-to-earth perspective. Now residing in Geelong, she has found solace and inspiration in the coastal surroundings. Tiara’s words explore the human experience, extending an open invitation to introspect upon our own lives.


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