What Should I Expect My Second Trimester?
Welcome to the honeymoon of pregnancy — your second trimester (13-27 weeks)! You're past all the nausea, fear of miscarriage and exhaustion of the first trimester — it should be (relatively) smooth sailing for at least a couple of months. For many, the second trimester is a welcome phase of their pregnancy, while others may continue to suffer with extreme nausea.
While your body continues to produce hormones at a frenetic rate, your hCG levels spike and begin to steadily decrease, then level off at the end of your first trimester. Nausea and fatigue begin to wear off, and you just might start to feel like your old self again. Your body does, however, continue to produce a lot of estrogen during your second trimester. Reportedly, your ovaries will pump out as much as three years worth of the hormone in the span of one day! Keep in mind that while you may not be experiencing the same dramatic change in hormones of your first trimester, you still may suffer some ups and downs during your second trimester.
Your Changing Body
Your body will continue changing during your second trimester, and you will most definitely be showing by this time. Your waist is most likely a thing of the past and you may already need maternity clothes by this time, especially if this isn't your first pregnancy. By the end of week 27, the typical weight gain is 16-22 pounds (7.25 to 10 kg) total. You'll find it a bit more difficult to get around due to your changing shape. Because your uterus is expanding at a dizzying rate, it begins to push into your lungs (resulting in more frequent breathlessness), bladder and stomach. Stretch marks may begin rearing their ugly little heads — you can blame heredity for these.
You may find that you need to use the restroom more than ever — this will continue to get worse throughout your second and third trimesters. Hormones, coupled with your growing uterus, also contribute to stretching ligaments in your second trimester. Round ligament pain is that sharp pain you feel on the underside of your abdomen whenever you move or get up quickly.
Other Fun Stuff
This is the trimester when the reality of impending motherhood really kicks in — you'll have visual confirmation that there really is a baby growing in there. Although his little heart has been beating away for your doctor to hear by the end of your first trimester, it isn't until the second trimester that you will be able to feel his tiny movements. These early movements are referred to as "quickening," which feels like fluttery, bubbly movements. By the end of your second trimester, regular kicks and other hijinks will be the norm as there is plenty of room for your little gymnast to move around. Hiccups may be felt during the second trimester as well, with some babies getting them on a regular basis.
Sleep may be easier to come by now that the nausea of the first trimester has mostly passed. Unfortunately, that may be replaced with heartburn and difficulty getting comfortable. By now, you should be used to sleeping on your side, and some women find this difficult to get used to. The added stress and anxiety of preparing for a baby may also contribute to vivid dreams, which may lead to more restlessness.
One bonus of your second trimester is increased sex drive. This is due in part to hormones, and the fact that you feel better in general. Unless your doctor explicitly recommends against it in your particular case, intercourse during pregnancy is safe for both you and the baby.
Don't forget to stay on your pregnancy diet, and healthy choices. This may be the time that you can get back into your exercise routine — just be sure to consult with your doctor first. If you weren't exercising before, walking, swimming and maternity yoga are all good things to try.