So you’re over the hump – your first trimester was a whirlwind time, exciting and full of surprises. Now you’re into your 14th week. What can you expect?
In many ways, the second trimester is the most comfortable of the three. However, your body will continue to go through changes – some more visible than any you’ve experienced before – and many of the things you experienced in your first trimester will start to disappear.
The second trimester is often described as the most comfortable time of pregnancy. Here are 10 things you can expect!
During this time, your bump will start to show as your baby continues to grow. He or she will double in weight by week 27, will grow ears, eyes and fingerprints, and will begin to yawn, stretch, and make faces. But what about you? Here are 10 things you can expect during your second trimester.
During your first trimester, your breasts will likely have become sore and tender. This is due to your hormones that are preparing your milk ducts for breastfeeding. By your 14th week, you will have started to notice some growth, and this will continue right through the rest of your pregnancy.
You may also notice your nipples start to get darker, and that the small bumps around them have begun to grow. Towards the end of your second trimester, you may even begin to notice a small amount of fluid leaking from your breasts. Don’t worry! This is just colostrum – the first milk your breasts produce during pregnancy.
During your first trimester, you may have also noticed your energy levels begin to decrease. Nausea and morning sickness, combined with your body working overtime to prepare for your baby, may leave you feeling fatigued. By your second trimester, the nausea begins to go away, and less energy is channelled to your placenta. You will notice a boost in energy, and find yourself feeling less tired. What a relief!
The hormones present during your first trimester can cause the passage between your stomach and esophagus to relax, resulting in heartburn. This will persist into the second trimester. As your uterus gets bigger, it presses on your stomach and can force food and acid up into your esophagus, causing the burn. So this may get worse as your baby grows. Fortunately, there are lots of effective ways to neutralise or prevent heartburn. Please ask of you are having problems.
During your second trimester, your hormone levels increase and your body makes more blood, increasing flow to your body’s mucous membranes. This may result in some nasal congestion, and you may find yourself blocked up or snoring for the first time. You may also experience bleeding noses.
There are over-the-counter medications for this, so talk to your me about how they can help. Sometimes your pharmacist may be unsure or reluctant to sell you medications that are perfectly safe in pregnancy. If you are at all uncertain about these, please ask me.
Sore Gums and Loose Teeth
The hormones present during pregnancy can impact the anatomy of your mouth, causing your gums to become sore and tender and your teeth to feel looser. This may make it painful or uncomfortable to brush and floss, and may result in some minor bleeding. Try using a softer toothbrush, and try rinsing your mouth out with salty water. However, if these symptoms become quite severe, see your dentist. They may be a sign of gum disease.
Swelling of the Ankles or Feet
You may notice your ankles and feet start to swell during your second trimester. This is due to the extra body weight you are carrying and decreased circulation. It usually starts around the 22nd week and remains right until the end. You can help reduce puffiness by exercising and avoiding long periods of standing or sitting (if you do, put your legs up!).
You may also notice some mild leg cramping. This may also be due to lack of calcium or magnesium in your diet, so make sure you’re eating well and taking your prenatal vitamin. Stretch before going to bed if it is really bothering you. Don’t sleep on your back, as this has been linked with stillbirth.
Issues with circulation may also cause you to feel dizzy, and even a bit forgetful. If you feel dizzy, lie down on your side, avoid standing for too long, and drink lots of water.
Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are more common during pregnancy, particularly in the second trimester. This is due to hormones that cause issues with urination, making you more susceptible to an infection. If you notice any symptoms of a UTI, book in to see your healthcare provider right away. If left untreated, they can cause complications with your pregnancy. See more about the symptoms of a UTI here.
Braxton Hicks Contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions – also known as ‘false labour’ – are a tightening of your uterine muscles. They may begin in your second trimester as your uterus prepares for labour and delivery of your baby. They may come as a shock at first but don’t be alarmed, they are completely normal – albeit a little uncomfortable.
If they become regular or painful, get in touch with your doctor immediately. This could be a sign of preterm labour. Don’t feel embarrassed about asking. Sometimes the only way to tell the difference between true labour and Braxton Hicks contractions, is that Braxton Hicks contractions stop before a baby is born!
The second trimester is when the fabled ‘pregnancy glow‘ may appear. An increase in hormones may result in more oils in the skin, which can give it a pleasant sheen. But this is just one of the skin changes you can expect. You may also begin to see stretch marks appear on your breasts and belly (these will noticeably fade after pregnancy) experience dry or itchy skin, a dark line on your belly, or dark patches of skin on your face. You may also find yourself more sensitive to the sun, to be sure to wear sunscreen and protective clothing when you go outside.
If you have any questions regarding your pregnancy or would like to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Dr Brown is one of the most trusted obstetricians in Sydney and will be more than happy to offer advice and compassionate care in every way possible.