My Pregnancy Journey: Second Trimester

Part II of a series that looks at the good, the bad, and the ugly of pregnancy – are there any women who are in their second trimester?

Part II of a series that looks at the good, the bad, and the ugly of pregnancy – are there any women who are in their second trimester?

You must have heard women rave about this trimester being the most enjoyable throughout your pregnancy.

In comparison to the first trimester, you’ll be pleased to know that some of the peskier symptoms such as nausea/morning sickness do tend to subside and your energy levels do eventually pick up. So instead of feeling like you need to take a nap the entire day, you’ll finally start to feel like yourself again…sort of.

Some women aren’t as lucky to get off the hook with morning sickness/nausea and experience this throughout their entire pregnancy. If that’s you, then I’m truly truly sorry for your loss of electrolytes and sanity…

If you’re one of the luckier ones, your appetite should finally start to return to normal. My nausea and occasional sickness crept into the first 2 weeks of my second trimester, so my appetite was still pretty much non-existent which led me to lose quite a lot of weight. Eventually, my nausea and sickness completely disappeared and I had to force myself to increase my food/water intake back to a normal level.

My energy levels also picked up and like any first expectant mother, I had no idea what would be in store for me as time goes on, so I tried to make the most of my recharged energy levels by going for daily 1 hour walks uphill and continuing with my workouts every 2 days. (Please remember everyone’s journey and bodies are different – I was doing HIIT workouts well before I was pregnant so my body was used to the ‘intensity’. Please work at your own pace and remember to consult with your midwife before starting something new.) This is also a great time to make the most of your renewed energy and start decorating your baby’s nursery and building the nursery equipment because you may not be so lucky with your energy levels in the next trimester.

In addition to not feeling lethargic, there’s something quite magical that you will experience during this period. You will feel your bundle of joy move for the first time! Now, online articles will tell you that this should start around week 13-27. As a first-time mum, as soon as I hit week 13, naturally I was extra vigilant trying to pay more attention to my body just in case I feel something, anything. But in all honesty, like many first-time mothers, I had no idea what I was looking for. Many women describe the first movement as ‘bubbles’ or ‘fluttering’, but what does that actually mean? And it certainly doesn’t help that you become incredibly gassy during this trimester, so you’re left questioning whether the ‘bubbles’ or ‘fluttering’ that you’re feeling are simply trapped gas.

Another thing that certainly doesn’t help is people. People constantly asking if you’ve felt your baby move yet. Oh and you’ll probably get the occasional – “You’re the mother, you’ll just know” comment. And with that one sentence, you end up crashing in a downward spiral. You put up the perfect facade of a smile painted on your face, imagining yourself drop kicking them whilst they add to the feeling of worthlessness that you carry so heavily, but all you do instead is exhale and walk away, trying not to cry from feeling less than, because that’s what you are right?

I mean you’re the mother of this baby, the giver of life! and you’re telling me that you don’t know whether that feeling inside you is your baby moving or a fart? You begin to question whether you’ll even make a good mother and have a special bond with your baby or if you’ll be cold and detached like the mothers you hear about on the news. I mean, how can you not know what your baby movement feels like?! – Well…because this is your first time. How are you supposed to know! So learn to block out the noise, just relax and take one day at a time. 

The above is a natural course of thoughts that you will most likely have every other day for the rest of your pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones my friend – another great symptom to look forward to. The ups and downs of your hormonal imbalances making you feel like you want to cry, punch, scream, and sit in silence staring at the wall, all at the same time.

I first felt my little cub move on the evening of 7 March 2020. I was in week 16, day 6 to be exact. (All praise to the ‘Flo’ app for keeping track of my pregnancy) And the only way I can describe it is, a ‘flutter’. Imagine a butterfly inside your stomach fluttering its wings. That gentle movement of the wings rubbing against you very quickly yet so delicately – that’s exactly what it felt like. It lasted a few seconds, caught me off guard, and immediately made me jump a little and say “Oh.” If I didn’t know that it was supposed to feel like a flutter – In all honesty, I wouldn’t have even noticed it. It’s common to miss your baby’s first movement, from being busy during the day or just not knowing what to look out for like me, and that’s completely fine.

I didn’t feel the ‘flutter’ again until later on in the trimester as it gradually progressed into small kicks/punches/nudges. I did however feel my baby somersaulting inside me very early on in the trimester – It felt like gravity pulling downwards towards my uterus. I don’t know about anyone else, but It would take my breath away, quite literally. At first, I didn’t know what that feeling was but as I progressed and my baby got bigger it became apparent that it was my baby moving positions and now the punches and kicks can not only be felt distinctly, they can also be seen with my stomach poking out in different directions whilst I try and enjoy a quiet moment with myself.

Due to my personal circumstances, I did struggle with feeling emotionally attached with my pregnancy, but as soon as I started feeling the kicks and punches it was as though my baby would encapsulate me in a blanket of comfort, alleviating the struggles I was facing. It’s a phenomenal feeling and I am utterly grateful for this blessing.

Your 20-week scan will also be soon approaching and you may have thought about whether or not you want to find out the gender. I for one am incredibly impatient and wanted to be prepared in terms of clothing and primarily so that I can feel closer to my baby. I always envisioned going to my appointment and sharing this particular experience with my partner, but nonetheless, God always has a different yet better plan for us if only we knew.

There are many articles online that talk about a mother’s instinct of just knowing what you’re having before going to your scan and let me tell you that is not always the case. My guess was completely incorrect and it doesn’t even matter because the moment you find out, it all becomes so much more real. It might sound strange, but when you find out the gender, you’re able to imagine your life with your baby much more clearly.

You’ll probably also start noticing your bump more too. You may have had a bump in your first trimester or still not have a bump in your second, or it might be bigger or smaller than someone else’s – none of that matters because everyone’s body is different and every bump is different. The reason why your bump becomes more noticeable is because your uterus moves up and out of your pelvic cavity and continues to enlarge so that it reaches your belly button.

For me, it genuinely felt like my bump grew overnight. I was bloated throughout the entire first trimester and as soon as I was a few weeks into my second trimester, I remember waking up feeling so much heavier and with a firm bump. It took me a little while to adjust to having this ‘extra piece’ attached to me. I’m rather clumsy by nature on a normal day, let alone during pregnancy. So I had to be extra careful maneuvering myself with my new bump on board.

It’s no surprise that as your bump grows, your nights will also become increasingly uncomfortable. I had increased sensitivity around the band right above my bump. It was border lining painful to touch as it felt like a constant stinging sensation from the inside. Finding a comfortable position to sleep in was also a struggle. A few things I was recommended were:

  • Try putting a pillow underneath your bump as well as in between your legs whilst laying on a side. For me, this sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. If you toss and turn quite a lot it becomes really annoying, as you have to move the 2 pillows with you every time you shuffle sides.
  • A pregnancy pillow was the highly recommended item from a lot of women. I’d be lying if I said it fixed all my problems. What I do love about it though, is that it’s multi-purpose – it can be used to support your back, your front, you can lay with it, sit up with it, use it for breastfeeding and even as a nest for your little one to lay in. So it’s worth investing in regardless. Sleep-wise, I had a love-hate relationship with it. Sometimes it would ease the discomfort and other times it was just a pain in the ass to toss and turn with too.

I think it comes down to what type of sleeper you are. If you’re able to lie completely still in one position all night like a corpse, then the pregnancy pillow will be of more use to you. But if you toss and turn like me, then any extra pillows are just an added inconvenience and will most likely spend more time on the floor than being put to good use.

Speaking of tossing and turning. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your sleeps are no longer yours because you are now at the mercy of your unborn child. If you’re one of the lucky ones where your baby is still at night, you may be able to find a position that’s comfortable. But, if your baby likes to start their kickboxing session at night like mine, you will simply be hovering in and out of sleep, constantly switching sides until your baby is comfortable, so good luck!

Now that you’re in your second trimester, your baby will be growing too so it’s important to try and eat as healthy as possible in order for your body to get the correct nutrients to your baby. Contrary to popular belief, eating for two is a myth. It is recommended that you only need an additional 340 calories a day and it’s also important to gain healthy weight during your pregnancy to avoid complications further down the line for yourself and your baby.

I know I know, it’s easier said than done especially when all you crave are unhealthy desserts which is what happened to me throughout the entire second trimester. I had an increased sweet tooth to the point where I was making up for losing my appetite in my first trimester and satisfying every single craving of mine. I always had some sort of iron deficiency since I was a teenager and due to my carelessness during this trimester, it caused my iron levels to drop lower than they have ever been. As soon as my midwife informed me of how low my iron levels were, I gained back some self-control and balanced out my diet. I still satisfy my cravings, but I also ensure that I include high-iron foods within my diet.

Some women may also develop a pregnancy rash. Unfortunately, I did too on my arms which I still have. Apparently, it’s pretty common and soon after delivery it should clear up. It’s horrible especially during the nights, as you’re already exhausted from not having a good night’s sleep and onto of that you feel like ripping your arms off.

And…just when you thought you had every pregnancy symptom out there, along comes another one – pelvic girdle pain. This is the stiffness in your pelvic bones which usually occurs as your bones move and widen in preparation for childbirth. I started feeling a numbing pain on both sides of my hips towards the middle/end of my second trimester, more so at night when laying down. I’ll probably touch upon this in more detail in my ‘Third trimester’ blogpost, but I have found that some light exercising and stretching temporarily eases the discomfort/pain.

A great recommendation I have received from numerous women is – put your feet up! The one thing that I don’t seem to do. I mean, it would have certainly assisted with my swollen feet which I also had at the end of my second trimester. Swelling of your feet will mainly occur with warmer weather and if you stay on your feet all day. As soon as the weather cools down, so will your swelling.

Overall, this trimester is definitely the most exciting as there are a lot of new changes in your body and with the development of your baby. You may feel like a mum, or you may not just yet. Either way, it’s perfectly alright. This is your journey and you have been blessed. So take it a day at a time and try to enjoy it because you don’t know what’s in store for you in the next trimester…

This article was originally published on the author’s website Safura’s Corner, found here.