Second Trimester for the Momby Elizabeth MacDonald
Is reality setting in yet? Your body will be physically changing over the next few months, and most moms say that this stage of pregnancy is when they start really bonding with their babies. Sometime during this trimester, people will actually be able to see that you are pregnant. You may have to ward off strangers wanting to touch your belly; and you may hate your scale. The adventure of motherhood, or adding a sibling is becoming closer, more tangible. Your hormone levels are balancing, and you actually will have a bit of energy again. Throughout these few months you can expect to experience some (or all) of the following:
YOUR BODYBy the end of the second trimester, the uterus has expanded higher than your belly button. As the uterus grows, the mother’s heart enlarges due to the extra blood flow needed. Not only does it enlarge, but shifts slightly too. No worries though, after birth it will return to its original size. A mom will breathe faster during the second trimester of pregnancy. The body has to work harder to keep the level of carbon dioxide in the blood down and the increased upward pressure on the lungs from the growing baby makes that a little harder!
LESSENING OF COMPLAINTS
Morning sickness should ease up around week 14-15 for most moms. (There are some that experience it throughout the entire pregnancy.) Breasts will still be swollen, but they should not be as sore or tender. Food aversions may dwindle – and food may taste amazing.
ENERGY and HAPPINESS
Due to balancing hormones, your mood swings should taper off. You may desire to get back into activities that enhanced your exhaustion the last few months. Take the opportunity to join a prenatal yoga group, jump back on the jogging trails, or dive into the pool.
You are growing big enough to look pregnant, but not big enough to feel uncomfortable. This growth tends to bring a serious bout of happiness with it. Sex technically equates to more happiness and a more relaxed nature. Sex is amazing during the second trimester! The blood flow and extra sensationalized body tingles enhance the entire experience. Not to mention that your exhaustion has let up, so now you aren’t crashing at 7:00pm every night. Feeling ‘Womanly’ – You’re getting more curves, growing life, glowing from orgasms… it’s hard not to feel spectacular. Own it, Mama.
Baby Kicks. You are going to start feeling more and more movements from inside the womb. They will intensify throughout the second trimester. There is nothing better than feeling hiccups and tiny soccer kicks. Your partner will be able to feel them shortly after you can.
While your first trimester woes may be fading, there are a few new things you may experience. Your breasts may start leaking toward the end of the second trimester. It may happen in the third trimester – or not at all. None of these timeframes reflect your milk supply – or play a role in your breastfeeding journey!
Food cravings may kick in for things you have never even tasted before. New flavors or more intense ones may be just what this baby is enjoying! Heartburn tends to flare up from now until the end of pregnancy, but that may have something to do with your food cravings – or not, it may just be part of your pregnancy. Invest in some papaya extract to chew on for relief. Leg Cramps may be eased by adding more magnesium into your life through baths, lotions, or supplements. Staying hydrated and active may help too. UTI’s are more common during the second trimester. Swelling shouldn’t be painful or so noticeable yet, but it may happen on days you are standing a lot. Rest, eat healthy, and stay hydrated. If you notice sudden swelling, head in to your doctor for a blood pressure test to rule anything out.
Constipation is common at this point in pregnancy. Up your fiber and water intake each day for some relief. Skin Changes. Pregnancy masking, called melasma is the darkening of the skin on the forehead and cheeks, looking somewhat like a mask. Also common is the development of the linea nigra, which is a dark line from the navel all the way down the abdomen. Stretch marks may also develop around the abdomen and other parts of the body! Weight Gain. You are not eating for two. All of that food may taste amazing, but be conscious about portions and quality of the food you are consuming. I’m not kidding – extra weight gain just means more post-baby weight to shed later. Don’t use pregnancy as an excuse. You will (and should) be slowly gaining weight right now though. There is no perfect number you should see of the scale, in fact, ditch the scale altogether. Let your doctor weigh you at appointments and just maintain a healthy lifestyle and enjoy this pregnancy! Along with weight gain comes clothes not fitting. While this is common sense, some women like to complain about it – so I’ll add it in! Go ahead and purchase some maternity clothes.
Sex Dreams. These may have something to do with the awesome sex you are having again, but they may or may not include your partner. Don’t be ashamed or feel guilty, it is just something that happens while pregnant. Ligament pains can be quite intense for some women. There is nothing to do but wait them out and see a chiropractor! Braxton Hicks Contractions – common and good for the baby and uterus. These are like training exercises for the big day ahead.
This is typically the time that moms start shopping and sharing their dreams out loud. You start picturing tea parties and t-ball games, holidays and birthdays. Let your mind race and run wild. Make lists of baby names, write letters to your child, and plan new traditions. You may or may not find out your baby’s gender around week 20, this too gives you plenty to daydream about.
Start talking, reading, and educating yourself about birth. Register for a real birth class beyond what is offered at the hospital. Some series are 12 weeks long and should be started toward the end of the second trimester – and many may have a waiting list, so call now. Talk to your employer if you have not done so yet, and set up your maternity leave plan.
Sign up for your hospital or birth center tour, and prepare a list of questions so that you will leave knowing every little thing that will (or could) occur during your stay. Register for anything you’d like to receive or purchase for the baby and start working on a nursery, if you would like one. This is also the time to talk to friends about a baby shower, and pick a date. Planning a ‘Baby-Moon’? Start nailing down the details and setting the dates.
Your doctor visits are still every 4 weeks, but you will be able to find and hear the baby’s heartbeat with ease during them now. As baby grows, your doctor will help you figure out his current position and decipher between a feet and an arm kicking you. The big appointment most moms refer to is known as the 20 week scan. This is when (if you choose) you learn the baby’s gender, find out if everything is developing as it should, and that both mother and baby are preparing for a healthy future. This is also when you may learn of any potential troubles, so it can be an emotional experience for couples. Toward the end of the second trimester, your doctor or midwife will ask you to start thinking about your birth. It can be an overwhelming and frightening thing to plan for, so starting now to work through your emotions is a good idea.
What is your favorite part of the second trimester?