Welcome to your second trimester! All the hard work involved in making your baby and helping it form has been done. Baby’s essential organs and body systems should be in place and ready to keep growing and maturing from now on. In your second trimester, your baby will increase 3-4 times in size and will look more and more like the little person it will become.
For most women, their second trimester comes as a welcome relief. The exhaustion and nausea which has been so consuming in the first seem to settle and there is almost a return to a normal state of well-being. However, there are still some big differences to come.
Has anyone seen my waist?
You may find it is getting harder to hide the reality of your pregnancy at this stage. When women start to “show” is highly individual and depends on their overall size and stature, whether they’ve had children before, how accurately they have estimated their dates and even the muscle tone of their tummies. At the start of the second trimester, the womb is just starting to rise up from the central pubic bone. Until then, it has been protected within the pelvis but now becomes too large to stay there and needs to lift up and out.
How big you are outwardly, at this early stage of your pregnancy, is not an indication of your baby’s growth or well-being. So don’t worry if you still can’t feel anything when you’re poking around on your tummy.
Your physical changes in the second trimester
- That stuffy nose that has been irritating you is likely to hang around for a few more weeks. Try to limit the amount of time you spend in low humidity environments and air conditioning. A bowl of water or humidifier in the room can help make breathing easier.
- Your size and shape is going to change in the next few months. There’s no way of getting around this. Every woman will “carry” differently and lots of people will tell you it is possible to determine the sex of your baby from how much your tummy sticks out. But, although there is no scientific proof to support this theory, there is no harm in having a little fun.
- Get ready to feel Braxton Hicks Contractions from around week 26. These are painless contractions of your womb, which are designed to prepare your womb for labour and increase its blood flow. You may be conscious of them earlier if you have had a baby previously.
Your emotional changes in the second trimester
- Take note of where you put things throughout the next few weeks. One of the more common symptoms heralding the start of the second trimester is “pregnancy amnesia”. Don’t think you’re losing your marbles - just don’t do too much at once and learn to laugh at yourself! A sense of humour helps.
- In the small hours and quieter moments you might find yourself worrying if your baby will be alright and how you will cope if it isn’t. There is a sense in the second trimester that there is no going back. There are no guarantees or iron-clad contracts when it comes to baby-making, but be reassured, nature is very clever and gets it right most of the time.
Hints for your second trimester
- Get used to the idea of attending regular antenatal appointments at your obstetrician, GP or midwife. Routine check-ups are usually a means of screening for potential problems. It is common for pregnant women to have their weight, tummy size, blood pressure and urine checked at each visit, which is usually every 4 weeks or so throughout your second trimester.
- Think about your diet and whether you are eating as well as you could be. You don’t need to eat for two, just really well for one. Make sure you are getting lots of carbohydrates and protein, iron and calcium in your diet. Remember, everything you eat will eventually find its way through to your baby and will help it grow.
- Expect yourself to start gaining weight through your second trimester. Most women find their weight remains stable in the first trimester or even drops in response to their appetite changes. Don’t stress too much if you are gaining weight but remember that a healthy gain is around 12 kilograms. Gaining over this amount can cause pregnancy and labour complications.