Surviving The Second Trimester Of Pregnancy
I have now officially reached my third trimester! So I thought it would be good to reflect on the second trimester. AKA the best trimester of pregnancy after the slightly rougher first trimester. For me, this was the time when I started to look like I was carrying a baby rather than a big lunch, and also when my first trimester symptoms really eased up. And yes, I did experience that burst of energy they talk about. Keep reading for more about surviving the second trimester of pregnancy (and how to thrive!).
The second trimester of pregnancy, which usually lasts from the 13th to the 27th or 28th week (depending on who you ask!), is often referred to as the “honeymoon phase” of pregnancy. During this time, many pregnant people find that their energy levels return, morning sickness eases (for me the nausea eased), and you can start to feel those adorable little baby movements.
Second trimester pregnancy symptoms
Even though lots of people feel much more energised (including me), there are still some pregnancy symptoms to be aware of during the second trimester:
- Growing belly: As your uterus expands to accommodate your growing baby, your belly will continue to grow and become more prominent.
- Stretch marks: Many people develop stretch marks during pregnancy as the skin on the abdomen, thighs, and breasts stretches to accommodate the growing baby. I didn’t really develop any stretch marks during the second trimester, although I’ve read this is more down to lucky genetics than anything else.
- Braxton Hicks contractions: These are mild contractions that some women experience during the second trimester as the uterus begins to practice for labor. Again, I personally haven’t experienced these in the second trimester, but they’re nothing to worry about if you do. Hydrating and resting is supposed to be good for stopping them.
- Back pain: As your body changes and your center of gravity shifts, you may experience back pain, particularly in the lower back. I can attest to this, and it’s only getting worse as I head into the third trimester.
- Increased appetite: As your baby grows, you may find that you’re hungry more often and need to eat more frequently to maintain your energy levels. I was absolutely ravenous for a month or so during my second trimester.
- Varicose veins: The increased blood flow during pregnancy can cause the veins in your legs to become swollen and painful. Again, fortunately not one I’ve experienced personally in the second trimester but very common.
- Heartburn: The hormonal changes and pressure on your digestive system during pregnancy can cause heartburn and indigestion. Ah yes, this has been by far my worst symptom of pregnancy so far. Gaviscon is your best friend.
- Leg cramps: Many people experience painful cramps in their legs during the second trimester, particularly at night.
It’s important to remember that every pregnancy is different, and some people may experience more or fewer symptoms than others. If you’re experiencing any concerning symptoms or are unsure if what you’re experiencing is normal, it’s always a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider.
How to thrive in the second trimester of pregnancy
I’ve found that there have constantly been lots of changes to adapt to during the second trimester, especially as a first-time Mum. Here are some tips to help you not only survive, but also thrive during this important stage of your pregnancy:
- Stay active: Exercise during pregnancy is generally safe and can help to alleviate aches and pains, improve sleep, and boost mood. Try to find a low-impact form of exercise that works for you, such as prenatal yoga, swimming, or walking. I’ve done a pregnancy yoga class every week from around 16 weeks, which I love for stretching and relaxation. As well as meeting other local pregnant people!
- Eat well: Good nutrition is important throughout pregnancy, but it’s especially crucial during the second trimester when your baby is growing rapidly. Make sure to eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. This is sometimes easier said than done, but can be a good way to balance out your diet that may have been more restricted in the first trimester.
- Take care of your skin: As your body changes, you may experience stretch marks, acne, or other skin issues. Moisturise regularly and use sunscreen to protect your skin from sun damage. My favourite moisturiser during pregnancy has been Brazilian Bum Bum Cream.
- Get enough rest: As your baby grows, you may find it more difficult to get comfortable at night. Invest in a good pregnancy pillow or use pillows between your knees and ankles and try to establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
- Consider prenatal classes: Taking a childbirth education class can help you prepare for labor and delivery, and may also provide an opportunity to meet other expectant parents. Hypnobirthing classes have really helped me feel more confident and prepared for the birth.
- Stay connected: Pregnancy can be an emotional rollercoaster, and it’s important to have a support system in place. Consider joining a prenatal support group or connecting with other expectant parents online.
- Monitor your health: During the second trimester, your healthcare provider will likely recommend routine tests and screenings to ensure that both you and your baby are healthy. Make sure to attend all scheduled appointments and discuss any concerns with your provider. In my second trimester, I’ve had my flu jab, Covid booster and whooping cough vaccination. You’ll also have your 20-week scan during the second trimester, which is quite a long one and very exciting to see your little one in so much detail!
Remember to listen to your body and don’t hesitate to reach out for support if you need it. With the right care and preparation, you can navigate the second trimester with confidence and joy.