They say that most women will feel better in the second trimester than they did in the first. This might by true for some women, but for women anything like me, the second trimester won’t be the answer to any pregnancy prayers. There are both positives and negatives to this time, and depending on her body, mom-to-be might enjoy this trimester the most.
A lot of the major milestones of pregnancy happen during the second trimester. This period goes from the 14th week of pregnancy to the end of the 27th week. The belly has grown into a visible baby bump by this time, the pregnant glow has kicked in, and some might experience the disappearance of morning sickness. The baby is growing exponentially now, and these changes will be clear for the parents to see at the doctor’s office.
Though there are a lot of upsides to this important stage, the negatives are certainly quite annoying, too. While every woman hopes for an easy and healthy pregnancy, some usually have at least a few obnoxious struggles to deal with. These are only compounded if mom already has children or is working while pregnant and constantly on her feet.
There are easy and beneficial ways to take good care of your body while pregnant, and these can alleviate some of the baby-growing woes. Finding good skincare products, getting adequate nutrition, hydration, and rest, and having a good OBGYN team or midwife are just a handful of things that help. Read on to find out the 7 best and the 7 worst pregnancy symptoms of the second trimester.
14Best: Goodbye Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is probably the biggest complaint of pregnancy, aside from fatigue and weight gain. While it is impossible to predict which women will get this awful nausea and which women will not, there is not much that can be done about it anyway.
There are some who are constantly sick throughout their entire pregnancy, and they just have to accept it and be miserable. I know someone who deals with this during each pregnancy and I feel so awful for her because it really takes the fun out of being pregnant.
The great thing about the second trimester is that many will see a decline or stop to their nausea. One can only hope to be in this lucky group of women. During my pregnancy, I only had morning sickness once or twice and only in the first trimester. It really just depends on your body. If you aren’t seeing an end to this trouble, make sure you stay hydrated and nibble on small things throughout the day. Let your doctor know if the nausea is severe or constant so they can make sure things are progressing okay.
13Worst: Stretch Marks
I bet a million dollars I’m not alone in saying the scariest possible symptom for someone who’s hyper conscious of their appearance is the appearance of stretch marks. If you’re going to get stretch marks during pregnancy, they will probably start to happen during the second trimester. Stretch marks are the worst because there is little you can do to get rid of them once they’ve developed.
It’s really important to note, however, that you can help prevent stretch marks by diligently applying cocoa butter, shea butter, or coconut oil very frequently during pregnancy. I applied Burt’s Bee’s Mama Bee Belly Butter every single night during pregnancy and I did not get any stretch marks… HALLELUJAH. Lucky for us, there are tons of different products out there to help prevent these marks. If you do get stretch marks, just know they are the stripes of motherhood and are to be worn with pride. They’ll fade over time and they are nothing to be ashamed of…millions and millions of people have them.
12Best: Feeling Baby Move
If you’re one of the lucky ones, you can expect to feel the baby move for the first time as early as 13 weeks. For some women, they don’t feel anything until 18 or 20 weeks pregnant. These first few movements are mostly just flutters, with the first real kicks expected to happen by 20 weeks. In general, the timeframe is 13-25 weeks.
While I can’t remember when I first started being able to feel my baby boy moving in my belly, I do remember the surreal shock and elation of the experience. It’s a really indescribable feeling to have that constant, tangible sensation of a little person growing and developing inside your body. In the beginning, it can be hard to tell if it’s the baby moving or your body’s natural processes, but it will soon become apparent. The more time goes by, the more likely you are to see your tummy moving around, and that’s a crazy sight to behold.
11Worst: Dry, Itchy Skin
This one hits way too close to home for a lot of women. Dry, itchy skin is a pregnancy symptom that the majority of women will get. Even if your skin is not dry, the increase in blood volume in your body might cause you to itch uncontrollably at certain times. All that blood rushing around can cause redness and discoloration of the skin, too.
This is another time when frequent moisturizing is really crucial. You want to use products that are very hydrating and creamy, such as body butter. You don’t want to use heavily scented products if you’re sensitive to smell or have sensitive skin.
When I was pregnant, the itching would always start at night when I was trying to fall asleep. No matter how sensitive the products were that I used, or how pure my detergent, I just couldn’t seem to feel comfortable in my skin. That’s one of the worst parts of pregnancy for many women.
10Best: Chest Relief
One of the earliest signs of pregnancy is sore or tender breasts. It’s right up there with having to pee constantly and feeling nauseous or tired. Nipple sensitivity is also really common if you do have this unfortunate symptom with your chest.
I didn’t really experience this during pregnancy but it is very common. The sensitivity tends to decrease during the second trimester, which makes for a happier mama. What huge relief; having that big annoyance leave the body after suffering from it for months.
For women who aren’t so lucky, you can wear sports bras or nursing tank tops more frequently (and especially to bed at night) to help give the girls extra support and protection. There isn’t too much else you can do if this persists. You can try very warm showers; self massage and body oils (as long as they are deemed safe during pregnancy).
9Worst: Mask Of Pregnancy
About half of mothers will get the “mask of pregnancy.” This is a condition called chloasma (or melisma). It’s when you get dark, brown and blotchy patches on your cheeks, forehead, or upper lip. With the rise of estrogen production comes this hyperpigmentation.
This condition is one of the worst parts of pregnancy because it can be very apparent and there isn’t much you can do to fix it. It just has to fade with time. Most skin lightening products contain retinol, which isn’t safe during pregnancy, so you just have to wait it out. Freckles and birthmarks can appear darker during this time, too.
Sunlight exposure can make this condition worse, so try to use lots of SPF if you’re going to be catching rays. The good news with this skin issue is that it usually goes away after you deliver the baby, with some people having it disappear after they stop breastfeeding. The darker your skin, the more likely you are to experience this further darkening.
8Best: More Energy
Some women get a second wind during the second trimester of pregnancy. Starting around the 14th week, they might feel a lot less tired, groggy, and queasy. They might start being able to eat the foods they didn’t or couldn’t eat during the first trimester, and they might start sleeping better at night.
If you’re one of the lucky gals who experiences this boost in energy, you will be able to start getting the baby’s room ready and doing all of your nesting. This is a great time to get organized and get anything done on your to-do list that has been waiting for completion.
If you don’t experience this jump, you’re not alone. Some things you can do to boost your energy levels are to make sure you’re taking a quality prenatal vitamin, getting enough nutritious food in, and putting your needs first. Make sure to drink a lot of water and don’t go overboard with caffeine. A cup of coffee a day should really be the limit. Soda and chocolate also need to be consumed in moderation, as they will cause you to crash after the initial rush.
7Worst: Linea Negra
Linea negra means “dark line” and is another skin darkening condition that comes along with the second trimester. The line extends from the top of the belly all the way down to the pubic area. This condition is caused by the same thing as the mask of pregnancy; overproduction of melanin in the skin. The darker your skin, the more likely you are to experience this line.
There’s an old wives’ tale that if the line only extends up to the belly button from the pubic area, you’re having a girl, but if it runs all the way up to your ribs, you’re having a boy. I’ve never heard about this before but I would be interested to see how often the line predicts the gender.
There’s no need to worry about the dark line, it’s just another hormone-related skin change of pregnancy. Though you might think it unsightly, it’s really just another stripe of honor to wear with pride through motherhood. You can expect it to disappear a little while after the baby is born.
6Best: Baby's Ultrasound And Gender Reveal
This is the absolute best part of pregnancy, in my opinion. While you might be able to see baby on the ultrasound during the first trimester, the doctor sometimes can’t even tell if it’s a viable pregnancy by then. It’s a huge moment of relief when you finally know for sure that the baby is healthy and growing on track during the second trimester OBGYN appointments.
Around week 18, you get to find out the gender of your baby on the ultrasound. The range is from around 16 to 20 weeks, more broadly. I will never forget finding out we were having a boy. Though he crossed his legs for what was supposed to be the day we found out the gender, a couple of weeks later, the boy parts were clearly visible.
Whether you’re hoping for a girl or a boy, you will feel extremely grateful and thrilled when you can see your baby and its detailed parts for the first time. You’ll be able to hear the heartbeat, start thinking about baby names, and share the amazing news with friends and family. What a blessing!
5Worst: Weird Dreams
I have to be honest- I didn’t know this was a pregnancy thing. They say the body being flooded with pregnancy hormones can cause dreams that are extra wild and vivid. The more you sleep, the more you will likely dream, and have more chances for dreams you’ll remember.
The types of dreams you’re having can relate to your birth and pregnancy fears, feelings of uncertainty and anticipation, and what stage of the pregnancy you’re in. Some common pregnancy dreams are fish floating in water or the fetus floating in water. The mother can also dream about being in water, which symbolizes the womb.
Some dreams you might have when you’re in the second trimester are dreams about baby animals or little babies, showing that your brain is reflecting on the miracles of life. The more your wake up during the night, the more likely you are to recall the details of your dreams.
4Best: Glowing Skin
Ahh, the pregnant glow. There is nothing in the world as beautiful as a glowing and happy pregnant woman. The pregnant hormones are to thank for this lovely gift, which makes the skin look slightly flushed and dewy. You might get a lot of compliments during this time, as it’s one of the most visible signs of pregnancy aside from that cute baby bump which is also starting to show.
The only downside to the pregnant glow is an increased production of oil in the skin, which can lead to some pimples. Hydrating and sticking to your skincare routine can help control this, but you still might have a few blemishes.
I think it’s really nice when pregnant women show off their glow with adorable maternity clothes that hug the new curves and show their femininity. Thankfully, we aren’t in the days where maternity clothes resemble shapeless potato sacks, we can still be stylish and pretty while we grow.
3Worst: Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
During pregnancy, the uterus expands and the muscles down there relax when hormones are released. The already small space becomes even more compressed, pressing quickly multiplying bacteria into the uterus walls. Where does that bacteria come from, you might ask. It comes from the outer skin, mostly from your bottom area.
You might not even know you have a UTI, but if you do, it’s important to act fast and get it cured before it becomes a more serious issue. If you feel burning sensations, have urine changes, or abdomen pain- you need to get checked out ASAP. There are many over the counter products that can help, but it’s best to have a doctor diagnose you before you do anything. Infections down there can be confusing, and you never want to take chances with your health.
Urinating after intercourse and frequently changing your underwear are good ways to keep UTIs away. You want to make sure never to sit in wet or dirty garments, and keep your hygiene maintained with products that don’t cause irritation.
2Best: Growing Chest
For a lot of women, pregnancy can mean a big increase in chest size. You might go up by one, two, three or more cup sizes and also have an expansion of your actual ribs and back. This can mean needing to go buy maternity bras or tank tops to keep things snug and comfortable.
My chest felt a little fuller during pregnancy with all of the weight gain, but it wasn’t until my milk came in that my body really felt foreign to me. There is no way to predict who will have a big increase and who won’t. You can be a tiny person or a larger person and still see a dramatic change in your proportions. It can really help a woman feel sexy and beautiful during pregnancy.
Your chest can feel itchy as it grows and expands, so you’ll want to use your body butter here, too. You want to try to prevent stretch marks by keeping the skin hydrated and soft. You might not be able to prevent the stretch marks but your skin will still thank you for taking care of it.
1Worst: Braxton Hicks Contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions are those fun pains you might confuse with early labor during pregnancy. They can show up or worsen during the second trimester. What they feel like is contractions in the abdomen or even twinges of pain. They are also called false labor or practice contractions, if that’s any indication of what you’re in for.
These cramps can start as infrequent pains (at as early as week 6) and then become more frequent and finally result in actual labor pains. They are a result of the muscles in the uterus tightening. Some people do not have Braxton Hicks, and if you don’t, you are lucky.
I remember toward the end of my pregnancy, I was still doing cardio at the gym and would start having these contractions. I was very scared and anxious, thinking I had pushed myself too hard. They seemed to lessen the stiller I was. If you experience Braxton Hicks, you need to make sure you’re hydrated, use the restroom if you need to, lie down on your left side, and try deep and rhythmic breathing.
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