Symptoms, Growth, To-Do List During the 2nd Trimester of Pregnancy
So you’ve crossed the threshold of the first 13 weeks of pregnancy and entered into the 2nd trimester. Congrats! Maybe now it is feeling real. Hopefully, the nausea and some of the initial symptoms of the first trimester are subsiding. You are feeling more energetic again. Maybe you are ready to prepare for birth and life after baby. Let’s talk about what you need to know and do in the second trimester.
When is the Second Trimester?
The second trimester starts at week 14. The average length of pregnancy is 40 weeks and so each trimester is approximately 13 weeks. As the second-trimester starts, so do new stages in your pregnancy. Weeks 14-27 of your pregnancy are a great time to focus on preparing for life after the baby arrives.
During this season of your pregnancy, you can expect that your uterus will continue to expand. Your body will experience some aches (chiropractors can be great!), your skin may start to show stretch marks, and skin changes and you will likely start to feel the baby move!
Symptoms of the Second Trimester of Pregnancy
During the second trimester, if you are lucky, you may get a break from some of the pregnancy symptoms you experienced early on. However, there are still many changes happening in baby and in you. Your belly will continue to grow and likely really pop during this time. Your hormones continue to fluctuate and your body continues to adapt to the caring for the baby growing inside.
Some of the symptoms you may experience include (but are not limited to):
-Leg cramps/Charlie horses (these were one of my worst pregnancy symptoms!)
-Dizziness/lower blood pressure
-Round ligament pain
-Swelling (especially ankles and feet)
-White/clear vaginal discharge
Start Preparing for Baby’s Arrival During the Second Trimester
The second trimester is a great time to use your energy to prepare for the baby’s arrival. Yes, you want to prepare for labor and delivery. Also, you want to prepare for all the changes that come after the baby is born. A birth plan is great, but do not forget to create a postpartum plan as well.
Preparing Your Body For Birth During the 2nd Trimester of Your Pregnancy
When it comes to preparing your body for birth, this means taking care of your wellness while also prepping the body for the work of delivering a baby. Continue your exercise routines as you and your medical provider feel comfortable. Continue to prioritize proteins, healthy fats, complex carbs, fibers, and vitamins.
You want to prepare your core and vagina for birth. This means working with an expert in prenatal exercise, practicing visualization and pelvic floor movement for birth, and perhaps getting your partner involved with perineal massages.
Preparing Your Home For Birth During the 2nd Trimester
When you come home with the baby, you want to make things accessible and easy so that you have the time to rest and recover as needed. This is a great time to think about a snack and water basket for when you are trapped on the couch, easy access to diapers and feeding items, and food that you (or your partner or support person) can easily prepare. If you have a home with steps, ensure that you can remain on one floor for the first couple of weeks as your body recovers. Another way to prepare is to stock your bathroom with a basket full of the postpartum recovery times you will need.
Another part of preparing your home is preparing for the logistics. Who can help by bringing food? Who can help with pet or sibling care? Will you utilize the service of a postpartum doula or other helping professional? Have these conversations with your partner and do the research so that you can make the most empowering decisions for you and your family.
Preparing your Finances/Work-Life for Birth During the 2nd Trimester
As you prepare for your baby to be born, you want to know what the leave policies are for your place of employment as well as your partner’s (if applicable.) Talk with your HR department and get all the information on what is available to you and what you need to do in order to ensure you can take full advantage of your benefits.
This is also a good time to have a conversation with your partner and make a plan about finances. With a baby can come more unexpected situations and expenses and working to set aside money for the “what ifs” is a wise choice. While it can be tempting to go all out on nursery decor and onesies, work to find a balance that feels comfortable for you and your partner.
Preparing Your Mind For Birth During the Second Trimester
The hormones, lack of sleep, myriad of transitions… they can be difficult mentally as you adjust to new motherhood. During the second trimester, spend time asking about and learning your family history around mental health struggles. Also take this time to learn the signs of PMADS (Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders). PMADs can show up during pregnancy as well, so be alert of your mental wellbeing.
Preparing Your Relationship For Birth in the Second Trimester of Pregnancy
While it is really beautiful to see your partner step into parenthood, there are also challenges like less time together, lack of sleep, changes in intimacy and decisions to make for the baby and your family. In preparing your relationship for birth, start the conversation about how you can share the load of household responsibilities, research that needs to be done, communication with friends and family. Take this time to list out things that make you feel connected to one another so that you can tap into those things when you need to.
As you move through the second trimester of your pregnancy and weeks 14-27, there are many things you can start researching, discussing, and preparing for so that you can move into parenthood with more understanding and preparation. While you can never be prepared for and control all aspects of having a baby, you can be proactive so there are less surprises!
If you are in the second trimester, join a kick-ass group of ladies preparing for life after baby with intention and honest conversation. Head to the group coaching page and find the next session of Postpartum Planning Group. If there’s not a group that matches your time needs, you can always do the self-paced eCourse as well!