Congratulations Mama! You made it through what many women deem the hardest trimester and are now in what most claim is the smoothest trimester! For those of you still struggling with some of those challenging 1st trimester symptoms, like morning sickness that won’t quit, hang in there!
By this point you’ve most likely told the important people in your life about the pregnancy and I’m guessing it’s really sinking in that you’re actually pregnant. But what will these next few weeks bring? The second trimester is typically considered to be from weeks 14-27 and is by and large considered to be a more enjoyable trimester than the others, filled with several exciting pregnancy milestones.
You’ll most likely notice a decrease in some of those pesky early pregnancy symptoms in the 2nd trimester. Most women find that their morning sickness lessens or disappears completely and that first trimester fatigue gives way to some refreshed energy. Don’t worry, I still give you permission to take all the naps you want! In fact, I encourage it. But it should be nice not to feel like a walking zombie throughout the day. However, the lessening of the first trimester symptoms doesn’t mean you’ll be pregnancy symptom free.
In this trimester some women begin to experience heartburn, constipation and body aches. There are also a couple of unusual symptoms you may not have been suspecting that may pop up such as an increase in nasal congestion and more sensitive gums. And of course we can’t forget the common symptom of “pregnancy brain”, otherwise known as forgetfulness that seems much more exaggerated in pregnancy for many women. So if you accidentally put the frozen peas in your purse and your keys in the freezer, don’t worry, it’s totally normal!
It’s always good to remember that each pregnancy is different. You may experience all, some or none of these symptoms and that can all be considered normal. If you have any questions or doubts about anything you are or are not experiencing, reach out to your provider for more information and support!
As you continue into this trimester, you’ll continue going to your prenatal appointments usually once a month. Most of these will be pretty routine- checking your weight, blood pressure, getting a urine sample and answering any questions you may have. You’ll also get to hear your baby’s heartbeat which can be a heartwarming and reassuring experience each time you hear it.
Around week 18-20 you’ll have a more in depth appointment with your anatomy scan. This is a more detailed ultrasound done to get a closer look at baby and how they’re growing and developing. The ultrasound technician or doctor will take a lot of measurements of different parts of the baby to make sure everything is on track and check on all their major organs. It typically takes much longer than a routine ultrasound so you may want to budget more time out of your day for this appointment.
And for those interested, they will also be able to confirm the sex of the baby during this scan! Some women may have opted for a blood test in the first trimester to find out the sex of their baby. But for those that skipped that test, this is often one of the most exciting appointments. Be sure to let your provider know if you DON”T want to know this information so you can turn your head when they get to that part of the scan and so no one accidentally lets it slip when sharing the results of the scan with you.
Somewhere around week 24-28 depending on your provider you’ll also have your glucose screening.
This is a test that involves you drinking a very high sugar drink and then having your blood drawn an hour later to check your blood sugar. It gives your provider an indication if you might have gestational diabetes. If there are concerns after this initial screening there is a longer screening that is typically performed as a follow up.
Don’t let other women alarm you with their stories of this test. While the drink isn’t maybe something you’d choose from the vending machine if given the choice, it isn’t too terrible and you’ll be just fine! If you do end up being positive for gestational diabetes following these screenings, your provider will work with you on a plan to manage it for you and baby. There are also a lot of groups on the different pregnancy forums that you could check out for more information, support and encouragement!
Your baby is growing, growing, growing! This trimester, babies in the womb start growing at different paces, so not everything happens for everyone at the same time but overall babies’ organs become more fully developed and more advanced over this trimester. Their eyes will begin to be able to perceive light and eventually open, they’ll get their own fingerprints, their facial features will more fully form (even little eyebrows and eyelashes), and they will be making practice movements for sucking, swallowing and breathing.
All of this is happening while they are growing in both length and weight and you know what means? So is your belly! Just like babies in this trimester may grow at different rates, so do bellies. It can be easy to compare bellies and think yours should be bigger or smaller based on how pregnant you are but just remember everyone is different and your belly is beautiful!
And we can’t leave the 2nd trimester without mentioning one of the most exciting milestones we hit during this time. Feeling baby move! This isn’t an exact science and can happen at varying times in your pregnancy with women feeling those first flutters and then bigger kicks usually sometime between weeks 16-25. I know that timeframe seems huge!
Several factors go into when you may start feeling those movements including which pregnancy this is for you and the location of your placenta. But when it does happen, it is such an exciting feeling and I think most moms agree it helps them feel even more connected to their pregnancy and can give some much desired comfort to anxious moms wondering if their baby is ok. If your partner is also eager to feel those kicks, keep in mind it could be another couple of weeks before they can feel them on the outside of your belly even if you are already feeling them consistently.
So what should you be doing during this trimester? We’ve included a checklist of some of things you may want to consider checking off during weeks 14-27.