One morning you'll inevitably drag yourself out of bed and stumble about your morning, per usual. Pretty quickly, however, you'll realize that something is different. Maybe your partner poured a cup of coffee the smell didn’t gross you out. Maybe when you’re brushing your back teeth you’re like, “That’s funny, I should have thrown up a little just then.” Maybe you were actually hungry for the first time in three months. Wait a minute, you don't feel like crap! Welcome to your second trimester, the ultimate lie, because you haven't seen anything yet, my pregnant friend.
To be perfectly honest, the second trimester of most pregnancies is pretty great. At the very least it tends to be better than your first trimester, which was clearly a miserable, vomit-covered mess. That “glow” people would tell you about when you first got pregnant (you know, the one you thought was an absolute lie or at least the misrepresentation of nausea-related sweat)? Yeah, you actually start getting that glow. A lot of the symptoms you might have had in early pregnancy — morning sickness, exhaustion, nausea — have probably alleviated (unless you have been cursed with hyperemesis gravidarum in which case, I'm the most sorry). Your hair and nails are amazing. You bump is looking absolutely adorable. You sit contentedly, stroking your belly, tossing that thick, shiny hair and think to yourself “The bad times are over. Time to sit back and enjoy the rest of this pregnancy.”
Well, I hate to break it to you, but you have been duped. Don’t feel bad, lots of women have. Hell, I was tricked by the second trimester twice. The truth of the matter is, nature throws you a bone with this glorious 12 weeks because you deserve it and sh*t's about to get real. It can be great, because we need a break, but it also lulls us into a false sense of security and the third trimester will come down on you like the hammer of Thor. So, with that in mind, here are 20 things the warm fuzzy beauty of the second trimester does not prepare you for.
Sciatica refers to your sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in your body, which runs from your hip, through your backside and down your leg to the sole of your foot. If your baby is situated in such a way that they press against it, you will experience the searing, electric pain of sciatica. Yay!
Braxton Hicks think they’re doing you a favor by preparing you for what labor is going to feel like, but they’re really just a huge pain in the ass. Seriously, they're like that one friend who insists on helping you out by cleaning your house, but they put everything away in the wrong place and break your vase and just wind up making more work for you by creating a bigger mess.
While Braxton Hicks are almost never as intense as actual labor pains, they still hurt and, if you're a first-time mom, can be extremely anxiety-inducing. Plus, unlike actual labor pains, they can go on for months.
Swelling is a pretty normal part of pregnancy, but it usually doesn't become a "problem" until the third trimester. When you're pregnant, your body produces approximately 50 percent more blood and body fluids to meet the needs of the developing baby. So, when your ankles and hands and toes and fingers and seemingly every other part of your body pulls a Violet Beauregarde, your second trimester did absolutely nothing to prepare you for it.
Pregnancy insomnia is the worst and unless you're able to purchase on of those ridiculously huge body pillows (which, still, might not work) there's just not a whole lot you can do about it.
Remember how tired you were your first trimester? Then, during your second trimester you're like, "Oh wow I have the most energy let's do prenatal yoga and clean the entire house and do all of the things all of the time!" yeah, that energy is gone and the exhaustion is back during your third trimester. It may be for the best, though, because you can't even see your toes anymore, let alone reach them during a yoga pose.
When you're in your second trimester you'll haphazardly buy a baby outfit, fold it, put it in a drawer and be like, "Look at me! I am hardcore nesting now!"
Yeah, that's nothing compared to the intense cleaning, shopping, and organizing that some women will go through come their third trimester. Did you ever read the fairytale The Red Shoes when you were little? It’s about a girl who puts on a pair of red dancing shoes and cannot physically stop until someone cuts off her feet. Third trimester nesting is like that, only instead of cutting of your feet you have to pop out a baby.
In my experience, leg cramps are most common as you are trying to sleep, which does not help with the aforementioned insomnia. Thanks, body. I mean, I get that you're doing something incredible (like growing a freakin' human being) but could you get it together, please?!
Throughout the duration of my third trimester with my son, I don’t think I took more than 5 deep full breaths because I was carrying so high and he was pressed up against my diaphragm. Every now and then, as I sat in my office or watched television with my partner, I would all of a sudden sharply and loudly inhale. My partner thought this was hilarious. I thought it was incredible annoying.
Whether you are always constipated, or always pooping, or your nausea has returned, you will be cursing the pregnancy gods when you’re held hostage by your intestines for the next few months. It's like they took a break during your second trimester (like literally stretched inside your body) only to twist and contort and cause you a slew of annoying problems. Ugh.
It’s constant. Constant and awful. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you drink, you will basically live on your toilet. The only cure is childbirth, my friend.
You could live entirely on oatmeal, milk, and Maalox, but you’re still going to have to deal with heartburn after everything you eat. An old wives tale that also happens to be scientifically supported indicates that this could be a sign you're growing a baby with a thick and luxurious head of hair so, silver lining? I don’t know. I’d take a bald baby over heartburn any day of the freakin' week.
This is the term I use to describe the sharp sudden pain one feels throughout their pelvic region (and yes, sometimes in the vagina) during the last trimester of pregnancy caused by the now enormous baby bumping up against local nerves. My friend Bridget, who is an OB-GYN, assures me there is no official name for it (“I hope I’d know if there was.”), so I’m going to keep going with “lightning crotch” because it describes it perfectly.
Where? Oh. Only a little area called your whole entire body. On your bladder, on your back, on your stomach; I'm even convinced it's on your freakin' brain. There’s only so much one can be expected to expand before it start get pretty intense.
I thought my boobs had gotten as big as they were going to get in the first trimester. I was so, so wrong. It was like puberty all over again. Of course, there's also the fact that your breasts may start leaking during your third trimester, in preparation for breastfeeding. Oh, how fun.
Because you didn’t feel undignified enough, nature made it so that you are basically required to move like a penguin. Take comfort in knowing that penguins are nature’s most adorable bird, so even if you think you look like an idiot in your third trimester, I can assure you that you look like an adorable idiot.
I’m pretty sure my partner could easily score a massage therapy license at this point, because I made him rub my back every night for a solid three months. All that pressure and shifting and extra weight is absolute murder on your poor back.
Ladies, things get a little gushier during your third trimester. Of course you’ll want to keep an eye out for your mucus plug (it’s as charming as it sounds), since that’s a sign that you’re getting close to your baby’s birthday, but it’s often a tough call because there may well be a lot coming out of your vagina around this time. That second trimester is sounding better and better by the second, huh?
This was me three days before I had my son. I couldn’t breathe, and everything that didn’t experience sudden awful pain was in a constant state of dull to burning pain. I was waddling around with sciatica and swollen feet, unable to sleep but exhausted, and peeing every second of every day.
So, you can probably imagine that lugging around an enormous belly was also unsettling and annoying. Whether or not you experience all or none of the aforementioned symptoms in your final trimester, just about every pregnant woman I’ve ever known has felt ridiculously large as that due date looms, and that feeling is something no previous trimester could possibly prepare you for.
In my first and second trimesters, I called my daughter “The Goldfish” because I could feel her delicately and daintily kicking away in there. Those little kicks, nudges, and shifts were absolutely adorable.
Third trimester? She was aptly (and lovingly) called “Amazon,” because she was strong AF. She was born 9 pounds, 2 ounces and let me tell you, when something almost 10 pounds rolls around incessantly and starts kicking the crap out of you it ain’t cute anymore.
Whether you are ready for all the annoying physical crap to end, or whether you are just overwhelmed and anxious to meet your baby, you’re pretty much over it. With the exception of, like, the women on I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant, the third trimester is generally marked by a deep desire to be done. By the time you hit the home stretch you’ve been pregnant for the better part of a year, and that's a ridiculously long time to be housing another human being.
Don't worry, it all ends. I promise. Fortunately, you don’t have to work too hard to repress all those awful third trimester memories. When that kid pops out you’re too busy to remember.