What To Expect During The Second Trimester
Congratulations! You made it to week 14! You are officially a second-trimester mom!
The second trimester is usually every pregnant woman’s favorite. With nausea and morning sickness starting to subside, you can enjoy being pregnant. It's the "sweet spot" in pregnancy since your bump is just the right size and not the very large belly weighing you down (yet.) Hopefully, your growing breasts aren’t painful to the touch anymore and your severe exhaustion is manageable.
In this trimester, your baby is leaving its cozy spot inside your hips and moving upward into your abdomen. He's also due for some major development!
Trimester two is marked by a huge growth spurt for baby. Little hair follicles are forming on their adorable eyelashes, eyebrows, and head. The vernix caseosa (a greasy layer of oil and dead skin cells that shield baby’s skin from acidic amniotic fluid) is fully protecting the baby now, but don' worry, it will disappear before birth!
The end of the first trimester saw the digestive system fully formed. Now your baby is able to taste what you eat through the amniotic fluid. Scientists say that what you eat can heavily influence your child’s taste preferences. (Eat lots of veggies and maybe he won’t be a picky eater!)
Because the digestive tract is fully formed now, second-trimester babies swallow and suck, preparing for life outside the womb. Some research even suggests babies can cry inside the womb, and ultrasounds have caught babies sucking their thumbs!
photo credit to Quora.com
Also, thanks to the digestive tract, your baby can now efficiently go “potty” all by himself. Drinking amniotic fluid all day makes even a little person need to pee a lot!
By week 22, your baby’s sensory development is well underway. Now he is starting to hear, smell, and those little eyes are beginning to open! Be careful of loud noises during your second trimester. Try to avoid events such as car races, concerts, movie theaters, etc...your baby can hear and feel the vibrations and might be afraid. This is also a great time to introduce your child to all kinds of music, including your singing voice! Let loved ones talk to your belly so your baby will recognize them after birth.
Changes In Your Body
Your body is going to experience new and even crazy changes as well during this trimester.
Morning sickness is usually replaced with other symptoms like:
Heartburn: usually doctors say anti-acid chewables are safe during pregnancy. Avoid spicy food and eating late at night. If your heartburn is unbearable, talk with your doctor.
Constipation: fiber, chia seeds, beans, pure juices, walking, and hydration are the best ways to keep dreaded constipation at bay.
Congestion: this is a weird symptom, but because your blood flow increases during pregnancy, it affects your mucous membranes. You might find your nose stuffed, or dripping constantly, or you might become a snorer! It's not a virus, it's just pregnancy! There are safe over the counter medications you can take for relief.
Sensitive and bleeding gums: again, another weird pregnancy symptom. Be sure that if you experience more than usual blood during flossing, talk to your dentist. You don’t want to get an infection during pregnancy!
Foot swelling: almost everyone gets it. The best thing for it is to stop what you are doing and put your feet up. Try not to stay in any one position for too long.
Leg cramping: unfortunately, this one will probably not go away until after birth. Often this is due to a shortage of magnesium and calcium. Talk to your doctor about how to supplement these minerals. You can also buy roll-on magnesium for topical use, which many women love.
Abdomen aches: it goes to reason that as your belly grows, the ligaments stretch and the result is an achy body and belly. Try using a heating pad on low heat (and for a short time) to ease the pain.
Hemorrhoids (yay. Just what you always wanted.) These bad boys can be treated with a topical cream or witch hazel. As always, talk to your doctor about treatment.
Cravings: it is totally normal to have irresistible urges to eat an entire bucket of double chocolate ice cream. Or a whole jar of pickles. Or a bag of bagels. Every woman has different cravings, and often your body is craving certain nutrients your diet might be lacking in. If you want ice cream every night, for example, try getting more calcium in your diet instead.
1. It’s so easy to feel frustrated and uncomfortable during this trimester. Remember, that you are one-third of the way done and soon all the discomfort will be replaced with a soft little baby!
2. Remember that after week 16 you need to sleep on your side. Doctors recommend this to avoid putting pressure on important organs and blood vessels. Investing in or borrowing a body pillow is a must!
3. In the next few weeks, your appetite should start to reawaken and your body will gain pregnancy weight. For a comprehensive understanding of pregnancy weight gain, read here. Expect to gain about 1 pound a week, and roughly you’ll gain about 14-16 pounds by the end of your second trimester. Don’t panic! Baby weight is totally normal and healthy if you are not overweight at the beginning of pregnancy.
4. Kegels are important! Read how to do them here. Get your pelvic floor in shape while you can. The stronger you are, the healthier your birth and recovery will be!
Things To Do During The Second Trimester
Now that you look and feel more pregnant and have more energy, it will be easier to get some things checked off your to-do list.
Create a baby registry
Find the place you want to give birth (home, birth center, or hospital)
Get prenatal screenings for glucose levels and genetic screenings
Make a list of baby names
Look into childbirth classes
Schedule a hospital tour
Make a birth plan with your wishes and preferences (you can give this to your nurses at the hospital)
As you start to feel your baby jump, kick, and respond to your voice, you will know that this is an amazing season in life not to be taken for granted or rushed!