Well, this week is the fourth week of my third trimester! Exciting times! So, I thought I would write a reflection of my experience going through my second trimester of pregnancy, that is, weeks 13 to 27 – the longest trimester of the three. Some changes and occurrences were expected and some were not! Pregnancy really is so different for every single woman and every single baby.
The first trimester morning sickness may not stop immediately
I threw up a few times in the early weeks of my second trimester. It was interesting because I wouldn’t feel nauseous like in the first trimester (where I felt sick but never actually was sick). After eating breakfast, I would just suddenly be like, ‘Whoa! I need to throw up now!’ Then, 10 minutes after throwing up, I would feel fantastic.
This is one pregnancy symptom I had never heard of! Every morning I would wake up with a stuffy and/or blocked nose, similar to a cold. Early in the second trimester it was at its worst and I would wake with a very dry throat because I couldn’t breathe through my nose! The reason for nasal congestion in pregnancy is the much higher oestrogen levels in the body which cause an increased blood volume everywhere, including the membranes in your nose.
Increased sweating and feeling oh so ‘hot’
Whilst I’m on the topic of bodily fluids, I also noticed I sweated a lot more than usual! I was always feeling super hot and sweaty even when people around me weren’t. It’s all that oestrogen, again. Working as a phys. ed. teacher out in the sun was pretty disgusting over summer. I’m grateful to only be working as a relief teacher at the moment, so I was able to take the day off work when it went over 35°C.
Round ligament pains
These are sharp little pains experienced all around your stomach as the ligaments stretch in preparation for giving birth. I mainly felt them in my lower stomach and pelvic region. They never lasted long, but when I was feeling them quite regularly I got a bit irritated and grumpy.
Sore back muscles
I would have quite sore and tight back muscles at certain times. What helped me was Epsom salt baths, a foam roll, stretching regularly and having a massage every three weeks. Also, I found it was better to sit up straight, or lie down on my side, rather than to slouch.
The second trimester is, of course, when I started to really look pregnant and develop a baby bump. I’ll admit, I got a little tired of people always commenting on my physical appearance. Yes, of course I’m getting bigger! I’m growing a baby! Now can we talk about something else? Several people also commented, ‘Your face is getting fuller’. Seriously, why would you say that to a pregnant woman?! Ideally, every pregnant woman would like to only increase in size in the stomach and breasts, so why point our weight gain where we are not wanting it?
At week 16, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight (64 kg). Early in my pregnancy, I had dropped a few kilos due to morning sickness, food aversions and reduced appetite. After this, the weight gain happened with a vengeance! Each week I would put on 500 g to 1 kg. I was hoping to only put on 500 g a week max. but it was hard with my insatiable, raging appetite. As long as I was eating healthy and regularly exercising, I tried not to let a lot of weight gain in one week bother me too much. All my food aversions (coffee, salad, protein powder) left, so my food preferences returned to normal.
I had heard that this was a common pregnancy symptom, but didn’t experience it until the second trimester. I noticed my mood was less stable and I would sometimes feel moody, irritable, depressed, anxious or extra impatient for no reason at all. Sometimes being around other people would annoy me and I just wanted to spend lots of time alone. This emotional roller coaster is all to do with the raging pregnancy hormones pumping through your body! I found that exercising regularly was really effective at boosting my mood and ‘normalising’ it. I have been trying to do three to four weights workouts a week and make sure I get in a walk every other day of the week.
A scary moment
At one of my monthly check ups at 15 weeks pregnant, my GP tried to listen to the baby’s heartbeat with a low-tech version of an ultrasound called a Doppler. She couldn’t hear it! I freaked out. She recommended I book in for an ultrasound to check everything was okay. I couldn’t get an appointment until the following day which was very stressful; however, the scan revealed baby was perfectly fine! The ultrasound technician said the reason I couldn’t feel baby was because my placenta was positioned anteriorly in my uterus, so it made a bit of a pillow between baby and me. Also, since this is my first pregnancy and I exercise regularly, my abdominal muscles are nice and strong.
This was my last appointment with my GP. My prenatal appointments are now with the actual midwife who will help me give birth and visit me and my baby for my postnatal check ups. Seeing the same midwife throughout all the stages of your pregnancy is called ‘continuity of care’. I love it! I have so much respect for midwives! They are amazing. They view pregnancy and birth as natural and normal events, and are experts at helping you achieve them. They also know exactly what the red flags are and when to refer you to an obstetrician. Globally, 95% of women are able to give birth naturally, and that is what I am aiming for, too; however, if something unusual does happen, I will try my best not to be disappointed that I have had to subject myself and my baby to the risks and side effects associated with medical intervention. Instead, I will be grateful that I live in a country where we have amazing surgeons and medical technicians who can save babies and mothers who otherwise may have been permanently injured or killed through birth. (That is the pep talk my head will be telling my heart, anyway!)
At week 18, I finally bought myself a new bra that actually fit. I had been finding bras extremely uncomfortable to wear before this and barely fit any. My bra size increased from a size 10C to a 12DD! I should have bought a new bra earlier. It was so amazing when I bought my wire-free comfort bra from Bras N Things. I highly recommend it!! Apparently, this bra will fit me up until about week 36-37 when I may go up a cup size again, so I am planning on buying a few nursing bras with the clip-off straps for breastfeeding. I also found a super comfortable wire-free strapless bra from Cotton On Body. It is a size large (Wow! I used to be a small!) is actually quite pretty (lacy) and is surprisingly comfortable for a strapless bra. It was nice to be able to wear spaghetti strap tops and dresses again once I bought it!
I really didn’t want to buy too many maternity clothes because I figured I’d only be wearing them for a few months. I learnt, however, that during pregnancy you have to be able to feel comfortable and beautiful, especially as you are adjusting to your rapidly changing body shape. So, I bought a few non-maternity things two sizes larger than normal as well as a few maternity things from Kmart, Target and Jeans West. After trying this, I would recommend buying maternity clothes rather than just extra large sizes of normal clothes for two reasons. Firstly, maternity clothes are much more flattering. Rather than just being large everywhere, they are just roomy over your chest and stomach, and ‘come-in’ in other places for a more flattering fit. Secondly, they will last much longer. Now in my third trimester, I can hardly fit any of the size 12 normal clothes I had bought, but I’m still able to wear the maternity clothes, designed to fit for my whole pregnancy.
So far, I have varicose veins and spider veins appearing on one leg but not the other! Who knows why that is? All you can do to manage this is avoid standing or walking for long periods, put your feet up several times a day, and when it’s not so hot I’ll start wearing compression garments such as my SKINS socks to assist with the blood flow in my veins.
Even though fatigue is primarily associated with the first and third trimester, I have definitely experienced it during the second, especially around week 22. I think baby may have been going through a growth spurt because at that time I found I was also super hungry and felt a bit light headed at times. I have been loving long sleeps at night, usually sleeping about nine hours or sometimes even ten. I figure with all the changes going on in my body, it needs all the rest and repair time it can get.
During second trimester, my belly button was gradually pushed out. Apparently it goes back to normal after baby is born. I have no stretch marks on my belly yet, but a few on my breasts. I am applying olive oil after a shower to my whole body but I’m not sure it makes much difference to stretch marks. (On a side note, if you would like to know what other natural beauty products I love, check out this post). Stretch marks are mainly to do with genetics and rapid growth in certain parts of your body. I think all you can do is try to keep weight gain to a minimum. Sadly, the rest is out of your control.
Baby movement !
At week 25, I started to be pretty sure I was feeling baby move. Sometimes it just felt like digestive system movements and gurgles, but other times it felt like someone was taping me from the inside, so I was pretty convinced that it was my bub. With each passing week, the baby movements got stronger and more obvious. I mainly felt them when I was lying down, but not really when I was standing and moving around. A lot of people start to feel baby movements as early as 18 weeks, but in my case, because of my strong abdominals and anterior placed placenta, I had been pre-warned that I might not feel movement for quite a while, so I wasn’t too worried.
Compromised immune sysytem
I got a bad cold which lasted for almost two weeks – the longest I’ve ever had one. You are more likely to catch a cold when pregnant because you have a compromised immune system. My positive slant was to try to tell myself that at least I was getting a cold in my second trimester so I hopefully wouldn’t get one in my third trimester, which would be a worst time to get it. Maybe baby will receive antibodies from my body fighting the cold which might protect it for a while once outside the womb too?
So, that is my recap of the second trimester of my pregnancy! Thanks for reading! During pregnancy, there are so many changes going on in your body in such a short amount of time, and it can definitely be confronting and very difficult, but I found that it helps when you know the changes are normal and happen for a very important reason. One positive I noticed during my second trimester was that I never had too many pregnancy issues at once. Usually, I would have one or two for a while (e.g. super sore back and feeling very moody) but then a week later they would ease up and I would get something new like sharp round ligament pains.
Before, I sign off I would like to let you know that I have joined snapchat! If you would like to add me to see snippets of my workouts, what I eat and keep updated with my pregnancy journey, my username is eatmovelivewell.