You’ve safely arrived at the second trimester of your pregnancy. For many women this is a time to breath a sigh of relief. It’s often a happy time because you feel able to tell people about your impending bundle of joy, although most will have noticed your changing shape by now.
For many women the second trimester is often the most enjoyable part of pregnancy. You may get the glow everyone talks about and your sex drive may return with a vengeance. Watching your baby move around in your belly makes everything suddenly feel very real. It’s a time when you’ll also notice the most physical changes and while fascinating to experience, they can be hard to get to grips with.
Some women find it quite a jolt to notice the changes coming thick and fast, but it’s time to embrace these changes – they’re not going to be around forever, so hold them dear and enjoy them whilst they last.
Everyone seems to focus on the first trimester and the third trimester, so let’s talk second trimester in more detail, and give you an idea of what you can expect. These are the most common physical changes you can expect during the second trimester of your pregnancy.
1. Your Bump and Your Breasts Will Grow
While there are some women who don’t show that much, even in the second and third trimesters, but most of us do.Your bump is going to grow most noticeably at this point in your pregnancy, so there’ll be no hiding it any longer. Your uterus is stretching to allow your baby to grow, and your abdomen is growing outwards too. Carrying all this extra weight puts a strain a lot of muscles, especially in your back. So many moms-to-be invest in a maternity support belt at this point.
In line with all of this growing you’re going to get a cleavage ladies! Oh yes, your breasts will grow, and they’ll continue to do so. If you want to minimize discomfort here, make sure you purchase a good bra that has good strong straps to keep you supported.
By the end of your second trimester and as you begin to move into the third, you will look pregnant – very pregnant. It does zip by fast though so make sure you take plenty of photos to remember it by.
2. Changes in Your Skin
Those pesky hormones have a lot of answer for during pregnancy, and they go as far as affecting your skin too. Basically, when you are pregnant, there is a rise in the amount of melanin in your skin. This results in the occasional dark patch on your face, or you might see a dark line appearing on your bump known as the linea nigra.
These are normal and nothing to worry about. Usually after you deliver your baby you’ll notice they disappear pretty fast. Do remember to wear sun cream however, as these hormones can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s rays, and make the marks darker still.
The other thing to be aware of is stretch marks. You can’t avoid them totally, but you can minimize them somewhat. Use a moisturizer on your bump, your breasts, thighs, and butt during pregnancy, and you may get away with less visible marks than otherwise.
2. A Stuffy Nose
You wouldn’t think that the pregnancy hormones would go as far as affecting your nose, but this is a whole body kind of deal! We know that hormones are on the rise during pregnancy, and this actually makes your body produce more blood (about 50% more to be precise). As a side effect of this increase is that the mucousy membranes in your nose could swell up which can cause stuffiness (a little like a cold or hay fever) and sometimes nosebleeds.
3. Feeling Dizzy
It’s normal to feel dizzy during pregnancy even during the second trimester. One reason for dizziness is down to your circulation. Those pesky hormones even affect your blood circulation and that change in pressure can leave you feeling a little like you’ve been on a boat all day. This shouldn’t be severe but if it is then seek help from your midwife or doctor.
Drink plenty of water and avoid moving suddenly e.g. standing up quickly. This should help the problem.
4. Crampy Legs
This is a very common effect of the second trimester and one that tends to hit you at night when you’re trying to get some sleep. You can minimize it by stretching out your calves regularly, staying hydrated, and keeping as active as you can be.
Another thing that really helps crampy or restless legs are Epsom salt baths. Epsom salt is a form of magnesium and magnesium is one of the most essential nutrients in the body. It is absorbed through the skin and helps with a wide range of symptoms including muscle cramps, digestion, anxiety and sleep.
5. Discharge From The Vagina
You’d think that you’d be immune to all that considering your regular menstrual cycle is absent for nine months, but oh no! Vaginal discharge can actually increase during pregnancy. This is normal provided it doesn’t smell unpleasant, it isn’t a strange color, and there is no pain or itching involved. If you do have any of these symptoms a visit to your doctor will sort you out. A clear, white, and even sticky discharge is normal.
6. Water Infections/UTI’s
It might have been the bane of your life pre-pregnancy, but sadly you don’t get to avoid the possibility of UTI’s during pregnancy either. A urinary tract infection (UTI or water infection) can still bother you in the second trimester and can actually become more common. You will need to see your doctor in this case, as you’ll need treatment. Don’t ignore a possible UTI infection as it can travel up into your kidneys and become dangerous.
And Now For The Good Stuff…
We’ve talked at length about some of the physical changes that happen during the second trimester of pregnancy and to be frank not many of them are particularly welcome. On top of growing breasts and a bump you can be proud of, there are a few more positives to being in the second trimester. The main one is the arrival of the famous pregnancy glow!
During the second trimester, your first trimester exhaustion has subsided, you should be done with nausea and sickness, the most worrying part is finished and you’re rocking that pregnant vibe that everyone talks about. Your hair should be shining, your nails are growing stronger than they ever have before, and everyone will be cooing over your growing bump.
This is the time to enjoy your pregnancy the most!
How are you finding the second trimester?