The second trimester is generally considered one of the best times throughout a woman's pregnancy. By now you're hopefully done with morning sickness, or are almost done. The extreme tiredness so many women feel in the first trimester tends to wear off and energy returns. You may have already started really looking pregnant, or will very soon. There are many changes happening all at once as your body grows your baby. Some are to be expected, but there are things your second trimester body will do that may freak you out.
Your second trimester is defined as the time between 13 and 28 weeks. This is a time of huge growth for your baby. They're no longer just a clump of cells — baby is starting to develop organs, nerves, and muscles, according to the Mayo Clinic. This is also the time that you can learn the sex, if you choose.
When I entered my second trimester for both of my babies I felt a huge relief. My nausea was gone and I wasn't bone tired. I actually started looking pregnant, with a visible bump, rather than just feeling rather doughy and zaftig. It was the best three months of my whole pregnancy, but that doesn't mean there weren't some bizarre body changes along the way. Here are nine things your body might do in the second trimester.
1. Your Boobs Will Grow (A Lot)
According to Mayo Clinic, your breasts will continue to swell as they accumulate additional fat in preparation for making milk.
I was already a big-boobed woman before pregnancy, but in my second trimester, those things were like watermelons. Do yourself a solid and get a super supportive bra for the second trimester, you'll probably need it.
2. You'll Get The Bump
You may notice that you're packing on the pounds a lot quicker these days (especially with morning sickness hopefully subsiding). Your uterus is growing exponentially to make room for the baby, and, as explained in the aforementioned Mayo Clinic post, you will likely gain 3 to 4 pounds every month up until delivery. If your bump hasn't shown itself yet, it likely will now.
3. Braxton Hicks (Fake Labor) Contractions May Start
I'm not going to lie, these fake labor contractions used to freak me the hell out with my first pregnancy. Mainly because I had no idea what real labor felt like in the first place.
Braxton Hicks contractions may start in your second trimester and carry into your third, according to American Pregnancy. As explained on the website, the muscles of your uterus tighten for approximately 30 to 60 seconds and sometimes last for as long as two minutes. They're not true labor contractions because they're irregular in intensity, unpredictable, non-rhythmic, and are generally not as intense (even though they're uncomfortable) as real labor contractions.
It's important to note that if these contractions get more regular and intense, you should call your medical provider right away.
4. Dark Patches On Your Skin May Appear
You may freak out about these at first, but the good news is they go away... eventually.
Dark patches may show up on your face thanks to an increase in melanin brought upon by hormonal changes, according to the Mayo Clinic post above. You might also get a faint, dark line down your abdomen called the linea nigra. These skin changes will likely go away after delivery.
5. Stretch Marks May Show Up
Time for you to earn your stripes, mamas. As said, you're growing at a pretty fast rate and that means your skin is inevitably stretching quickly too. According to Baby Center, stretch marks are depressed streaks in the skin that can show up anywhere on the skin, but during pregnancy will most likely turn up on the belly. They vary in hue: red, brown, or pink depending on your skin color. It's not known why some women get them and some don't. As mentioned in the same post, about half of all pregnant women get stretch marks. There's no way to prevent stretch marks, but gaining no more weight than what's recommended and slowly may help.
6. You'll Have Lots Of Vaginal Discharge
It might be like a waterfall down there. Many pregnant women experience heavy vaginal discharge, or leukkhorea, around 13 weeks, according to What To Expect. The discharge is thick, milky, white, and mild smelling. As explained on the same site, leukkhorea is caused by a huge bump in estrogen which stimulate your body's mucous membranes. It's totally normal, but if it starts to smell foul, you should call your medical provider as this could be a sign on infection.
7. You Might Have Bleeding Gums
This one can be pretty alarming when you brush your teeth and see blood, but it's generally OK. According to Web MD, about half of pregnant women get swollen and tender gums. Thanks to hormones, blood is circulating in your body in over drive, which makes your gums (and other places) more sensitive. As recommended on the same site, you should continue your dental hygiene routines, including flossing, but you may want to consider switching to a softer toothbrush for the time being.
8. You May Suffer From Congestion And Nose Bleeds
Your gums may not be the only thing bleeding. According to the aforementioned Web MD post, hormonal changes can cause the mucous membranes in your nose to swell. This can make you have a stuffy nose, snore, and even have nose bleeds.
If it's really bothersome, you might want to try some saline drops or natural methods to clear it up as suggested on the site. Call your medical provider if you start considering decongestants.
9. Hemorrhoids May Crop Up
Those pesky butt bandits are no fun. As you gain more weight, more pressure will be put on your pelvis. As explained on the Baby Center, hemorrhoids are blood vessels in the rectal area that have become extremely swollen. Some shrink after delivery, but others do not. They can be really painful, and make some women feel self conscious.
It's important to remember that some women have horrible pregnancies, including their second trimesters, and they shouldn't be judged for hating it. Every pregnancy is unique, and so is every experience. Growing a human takes a lot physiologically, and it's important to just listen to your body and adjust as needed without feeling the need to make excuses to anyone.