If you've reached week 14 of your pregnancy, congratulations my pregnant friend! You've officially made it through the exhaustion, nausea, sore breasts, and anxiety that is the first trimester. You will soon discover why the second trimester — weeks 14 through 27 — is largely considered the best of the three. So if you're wondering what to expect in the second trimester, it's safe to say you're probably in for some pleasant surprises.
According to the experts at What To Expect, the second trimester of pregnancy is a time of big changes for you and your growing fetus, as well as a time of some well-deserved relief from those relentless and debilitating early pregnancy symptoms. As your baby grows and develops, and your body changes along with them, you will actually start to look pregnant and not like you've just had a big lunch You'll also start feeling your baby move and kick. You can expect to have an ultrasound during your second trimester to make sure your baby is growing and developing on track and, if you want, to find out their sex. This ultrasound, according to Parents, is the 20-week anatomy ultrasound that allows your doctors to check for things "that can't be seen in earlier scans, such as spinal cord abnormalities, brain defects, heart defects, and diaphragmatic abnormalities." You should listen to your body and watch for signs of common pregnancy complications and health concerns, too, that generally crop up during this time period.
According to What to Expect, most pregnant people welcome the second trimester, as it generally means relief from many of the symptoms of early pregnancy, like nausea, fatigue, and breast tenderness. As an added bonus, the same site notes that these symptoms subsiding might help your sex life change for the better, too, especially if you haven't been in the mood during your first trimester, and cause increased blood flow to all the right places, making second trimester sex pretty damn awesome.
According to The Mayo Clinic, while you might find relief from common first trimester symptoms, such as exhaustion and nausea, the second trimester brings with it it's own set of changes for your pregnant body. Your belly and breasts will continue to grow, and your pregnancy will likely start "to show." You may have to start wearing maternity clothes or at least invest in some leggings and new bras to to accommodate your changing body. Your second trimester is also when you'll start feeling your baby move and kick, which can make having to buy pregnancy pants seem totally worth it.
The Mayo Clinic notes that second trimester hormone changes may cause your skin to change, resulting in brown spots on your face (called melasma or the "mask of pregnancy"), and a line from your belly button to your pelvic bone (called linea nigra). While these skin changes can't be prevented entirely, wearing sunblock can help, as sun exposure can make make these problems worse.
For many pregnant people and their families, the most exciting part of the second trimester is the screening ultrasound. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, in addition to giving you a peek at your adorable little one, this test will allow your obstetrician or midwife to track your baby's development and health. Your provider will also measure their size, position, movement, breathing, and heart rate, screen for birth defects and health conditions, and examine your anatomy, the placenta, and how much amniotic fluid is present in your uterus. According to the same site, this is also when, if your baby isn't shy, you can learn their sex.
According to What to Expect, you may experience some not-so-fun second trimester symptoms from head-to-toe, too, including nasal congestion, dizziness, and swollen gums, round ligament pain in your lower abs, hemorrhoids and varicose veins, and swollen legs and feet. The same site notes that if you have some symptoms, including heavy bleeding, abdominal pain, or a fever higher than 101.5 degrees, you should call your doctor or midwife right away. Also, you should learn the symptoms of gestational diabetes — thirst, increased urination, and fatigue, and preeclampsia — sudden weight gain, swelling and vision changes, as these conditions can start in the second trimester.
Change is the name of the pregnancy game, and the second trimester is no exception. But as you continue to change as your baby does too, remember that each week just brings you that much closer to holding your little one in your arms. Finally.
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