The second trimester was far more positive than the first trimester, but it still had its ups and downs. Let’s start with the positives…
Pregnancy Glow – I was greeted with this quite early on and I’m so thankful for that. The difference it made to my self-esteem, even when there were times I still felt a little sh*t, was amazing. My skin has been on its best behaviour thanks to hormones and these skin saviours, my hair can go one week being washed and styled only once and still look presentable, and my energy has been amazing (up until week 26 when it started to go downhill again as I edged closer to third trimester).
Appetite – I finally got it back and was able to really take charge of what I was eating and try to be as healthy and nutritious as possible. It’s amazing the difference a good meal makes, especially when I compare myself now to my picky-eating days in the first trimester. I’ve put on a healthy amount of weight, but no rapid weight gain, so we’re all good.
At this point I’ve gained an extra 7.5kg since my booking in appointment at week 8 which sounds insane (looks more insane when you see it on the scales). But, I was told anything between 7 – 14kg weight gain by the end of your second trimester is good – anything less or more would need to be looked into i.e. improving your diet, further tests for things like gestational diabetes and so on. The fact I’m on the lower end of the weight gain threshold doesn’t worry me as I know I’ve been eating well and not stopping myself from indulging either, but I’ve also remained active through walking and yoga. Plus, my first growth scan showed we’re on track, so there’s nothing to be concerned over.
Decreased Anxiety – now, when I touch on the negatives of my second trimester, I’ll contradict this slightly, but holistically the second trimester has decreased my anxiety. I feel like the 2nd trimester you pass a lot of milestones which is such a huge relief: first movements followed by an established pattern, finding out the gender (if you wish), listening to the heartbeat, then getting all the reassurance you need from that all-important anomaly scan at 20 weeks.
Now, let’s talk about the low moments of the second trimester…
Movements – feeling your baby move for the first time is the most amazing feeling, and becomes even more exciting as the weeks go on and movements become stronger, then visible from the outside, and especially when you have that established pattern in place. However, it also brings a lot of anxiety around what is ‘normal’ and what’s not, and whether a quiet period for a couple hours is classed as reduced movement or is just baby sleeping.
By Week 22, we had well and truly established a pattern – there was no doubt about it. Our little sticky bean would make herself known most hours of my waking day except for between 10am – 12pm and around 4pm – 6pm – very active indeed. That’s what was established as ‘normal’ for me. Then came Week 25 and I had one day where I felt normal movement in the morning, then nothing for the remainder of the day/early evening.
Lunchtime went by and no usual kicks I’d expect after food. The afternoon continued and nothing. Then came the early evening when I logged off from work and still nothing. Bear in mind, I have a desk job so it’s not like I’m on my feet all day which makes it difficult to feel movements at times. Come 7pm my husband came home and the panic really kicked in. I rang triage, had done everything they advised, so they asked me to go in to be monitored for reassurance.
Thankfully, everything was absolutely fine. Her heartbeat was strong and even showed that she was moving but I simply couldn’t feel it which was likely due to her position – I have an anterior placenta so if she turns and kicks into that, I can’t feel it. That was incredibly reassuring, but it left me with some anxiety on how exactly I’m supposed to know whether it’s a reduced movement or she’s just turned and kicked my placenta. After-all, no one wants to feel like they’re constantly in and out of hospital for monitoring when most times everything is okay. The reassurance was that as the weeks went by, her kicks have become stronger and I can feel kicks against my placenta – they just feel much softer and more like a pulse than a kick, then she’d soon turn again and be kicking where I can see the movements again.
Aches and Pains – From Week 25 this became worse for me. The hip and back pain eases slightly when I’m active, so we’re increasing our walks and I’ve took to prenatal yoga again – this seriously helps! But come Week 26, I started to get pain in my lower pelvis – nothing of concern, but a lot of pressure and feeling like I’d pulled a muscle down there. A product that has helped is a bump support belt. It lifts the pressure from your pelvis and supports your back at the same time – it’s been a blessing during the final weeks of the second trimester, and will remain on all-day long for the remainder of my pregnancy!