The first thirteen weeks of pregnancy have passed. Whether they flew by or crept slowly, you are now in that much anticipated and magical second trimester, weeks 14 - 26! This trimester promises no more nausea, increased energy, and a cute but manageable baby bump, right? Maybe… Here are a few things you can expect this trimester, some that you might never have heard before!
1. Your belly
If you are a first time mom, this might be the time when your belly starts to “pop” and really announces that you are growing a tiny human! If this is not your first time, you might have popped earlier. That’s normal! Your body just knew where it was going and got there earlier. Your uterus was already stretched once and is softer now. Think about the first time you blow up a balloon, it’s tough. But let the air out and blow again, it’s easier. It’s the same with your uterus. Embrace the bump when you’re ready, no matter when it happens! There is never a wrong time to bask in the beauty that is your pregnancy.
2. Baby kicks
Be ready to start feeling those baby kicks! First time moms might feel them later due to a lower uterus position and not really knowing what they feel like. They might be confused with gas bubbles at first but if you pay attention you might actually feel what can be described as a fluttering very similar to butterfly wings! Second-time moms might know exactly when Baby is big enough to feel. Once you feel those kicks, there isn’t a more exciting feeling in pregnancy!
3. Increased energy
Increased energy in the second trimester is a real thing! It’s like your body suddenly knows what it’s trying to do and gets on board with it! Your baby isn’t doubling in size daily like in the first trimester so while they will grow more, they are growing slightly slower which means it’s less work for your body. Take advantage of the extra energy but still don’t overdo it! As they say, rest while you can before Baby gets here.
4. Weight gain
You are going to start to gain weight if you haven’t already. Duh! You are growing a whole other human. My urge to you is to not get hung up on how much weight you should or should not gain. Besides the baby growing in size, your blood volume is increasing as is your breast tissue and your fat stores to help nourish you and Baby. The average weight gain can be anywhere from 25 - 40 pounds depending on your starting weight. Don’t compare yourself to other mamas. Just focus on doing the best for you and Baby and your body will do exactly what it needs to do.
Glowing in pregnancy isn’t just a myth. It often starts in the second trimester. All the hormones that are in play while growing your baby cause your body to behave differently. They can cause your skin to look brighter due to increased oils and your hair to shed less which makes it thicker. The increased blood flow and extra blood volume that we mentioned might make your cheeks a little rosy, thus “the glow”.
6. Groin Pain
And speaking of those hormones… It’s not pretty, but sometimes the second trimester comes with intense groin pain. This pain can be Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPG) sometimes also called lightning crotch and unfortunately, it lives up to the name. It’s all thanks to that hormone called Relaxin that your body is producing to relax the ligaments in your pelvis, allowing them to stretch and open to accommodate your growing baby and birth. This hormone will soon work to soften and widen your cervix to let Baby through. It’s a good thing, but can be a painful thing. Some pelvic floor therapy might be a good choice for you. Ask your prenatal care provider about it.
7. A waddle
Your walk may start to become more of a waddle, especially if you are having that PGP. The position your baby is laying in can also make you walk funny. If they are lower in your pelvis, it can actually cause some discomfort, but it does not necessarily mean anything is wrong. It might just be your body adjusting. Focus on proper posture, look into a supportive belly band or using Kinesiology Tape, and remember that it is completely normal. But always bring it up to your prenatal caregiver if you feel concerned.
8. Decreased nausea
The nausea you had the first twelve weeks might go away. Or it might not. Or it might go away and come back. Really there is no telling! If you experience debilitating nausea through your whole pregnancy, you might have a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. Keep doing the nausea relieving things you did in the first trimester - eating or drinking ginger, crackers, small meals, avoiding acidic foods, snacks first thing in the morning, acupuncture wrist bands - to try to keep it under control. Also drink as much water as you are able to avoid dehydration.
9. Difficulty sleeping
Sleeping in the first trimester probably felt normal, maybe even better! But in the second, it can get a little dicey especially as your body changes. If you are a belly sleeper, that position will quickly become uncomfortable as your baby starts to take up more room. If you are a back sleeper, this might also feel uncomfortable as the bigger your baby gets, the more pressure it can put on your organs and nerves. Side sleeping might be the most comfortable option but also has its drawbacks, like this giant belly pulling on you. Don’t be afraid to try all the pillows! Some pregnant mamas find comfort in a body pillow or a full pregnancy pillow. Others prefer a small wedge pillow to support their growing bump. If you share a bed with your partner, remind them it’s only for a short time.
10. Interactions from strangers
Depending on your personality, this might be welcome or dreaded, but others are going to look, comment, and even try to touch your belly. Be ready. Decide how you are going to respond. Set a boundary that feels healthy for you and be prepared to hold it. Some love the extra attention and the strangers gushing about their growing belly and their glow. If that’s you, lean into it. If you prefer strangers to keep their distance, tell them so. Gently block their unwelcome touching. Come up with a phrase to use so you’re prepared. Something simple like “Please don’t touch me.” is absolutely appropriate. Pregnancy is not an excuse to give up your body autonomy to anyone unless you choose to!
So many moms look back on the second trimester as their favorite time in pregnancy. It looks different for everyone but no matter what it brings, it brings you one step closer to your baby. Happy growing, mama.