If you thought the first trimester of pregnancy was a doozy, well then get ready because the second trimester... might actually be easier!
The second trimester starts at 14 weeks and goes until the end of 27 weeks. It's nicknamed the "honeymoon phase" of pregnancy since many of the not-so-nice symptoms from the first trimester ease up or go away altogether (though this isn't always true for everyone, sorry!). Regardless of your personal experience during this time, you and your baby go through a whole lot of changes in the second trimester.
Changes in the Second Trimester
Renewed energy - After the extreme fatigue many experience in the first trimester, the second trimester often brings relief in the form of more energy. Don't expect to feel like your pre-pregnant self, however -- your pregnant body is still working overtime, all the time; it's normal to feel tired.
Need for new clothes - With a growing belly, hips, and breasts, you're going to be in the market for some clothes that fit better and feel more comfortable. This could mean purchasing or borrowing maternity clothes, or perhaps just wearing clothes with a more relaxed fit. If you buy new bras in a larger size, remember that your breast size will likely change again after birth, so don't invest in too many at once.
"You're showing!" - Now that your pregnancy is visible to others, expect to receive comments and questions from
nosy interested and annoying well-meaning people. Not everyone enjoys the attention, which can make going out in public or being around a group of people exhausting and irritating. The sooner you learn how to dodge unwanted small talk about your pregnancy, the better. Sometimes you can just change the topic or use a snarky comeback. Being blunt, however, is most effective.
Less nausea/vomiting - If you were sick in the first trimester, the second trimester often brings relief. Unfortunately, some people will continue to experience nausea in the second trimester and beyond.
Baby movements - Somewhere around 16-20 weeks, you will most likely start to feel baby move! In the beginning, movements feel subtle. Some people say that it feels like little bubbles popping inside or like a muscle twitch. Toward the end of your second trimester, baby's movements will likely be more noticeable and feel stronger.
Braxton Hicks contractions - If you are among the group of people who experiences Braxton Hicks (BH) contractions (not everyone does), otherwise known as "practice" contractions, you will feel your uterus tighten, harden, and then release in a short span of time at different times throughout the day. Braxton Hicks tend to be felt toward the end of the second trimester. No need to worry, though, BH do not mean you're going to go into labor! However, if the sensations become more frequent and regular (forming a pattern), and are painful, contact your midwife or OB to make sure you're not experiencing premature labor.
Round ligament pain - As your uterus expands and your body stretches to cope with the growth, you are more likely to experience sharp pains in your lower abdomen as you move and change positions. This is known as round ligament pain. Moving more slowly and mindfully as you change positions can help you avoid these pains.
Back pain - As your uterus expands and weight shifts in your body, you may start to notice lower back pain. Wearing a back brace can help, as well as exercising regularly. Prenatal yoga and pilates focus on proper form and alignment to help alleviate common pregnancy discomforts, including lower back pain.
Emotions - In the first trimester, the onset of pregnancy hormones likely caused some emotional changes for you. The second trimester will bring more of the same along with the addition of looking and feeling "more pregnant," which can also impact how you feel. Some find it difficult to adjust to the physical changes of pregnancy while others revel in it. There's no "right" way to feel -- all emotions are welcome. If you ever feel like overwhelmed by or unable to cope with your emotions, seek professional support from a therapist or counselor. Mood disorders during pregnancy are real and require medical support.
20 week ultrasound - At 20 weeks, most people attend a 20 week anatomy scan ultrasound to make sure baby is developing healthily. During this time, if you wish to do so, you can also find out baby's sex. Keep in mind that ultrasounds are not completely accurate for spotting issues or for determining sex.
Breast leakage - During the second trimester, your breasts start to make milk! They are creating the first, most nutrient-rich milk called colostrum. As a result one or both breasts may leak small amounts throughout the day. Some people experience this and others do not -- both are normal.
Renewed/increased sexual interest - Some people feel an increase in sexual desire during the second trimester, which is likely a result of hormone surge, renewed energy, and less nausea. Other people feel a decrease in desire for sex during pregnancy -- both are normal and common.
What's Going on With Baby During the Second Trimester
Baby experiences big changes during the second trimester, too! At different times throughout the second trimester, baby will start to:
- Grow hair
- Suck, swallow
Second Trimester To-Do List
The second trimester is a great time to take care of several pregnancy, pre-birth, and pre-baby to-dos. Below are some of the most important and common things to do in the second trimester. If you want a more extensive list, check out our second trimester checklist.
- Hire a doula
- Sign up for a childbirth class (to take early or mid-way through the third trimester)
- Exercise regularly
- Eat well
- Plan your baby shower
- Create a baby registry
- Consider baby names
- Prep baby's room
- Schedule a maternity photo shoot (for the third trimester)
- Take regular pics of your growing, changing bump (you may regret it if you don't!)
Everyone experiences the second trimester differently, but everyone experiences major changes. Don't get too caught up if your experience differs from other folks' -- the journey through pregnancy, as it is in life, is unique. The key is to get through this time as safe and healthy as you can.
TagsPregnancy Second Trimester