By Kimberly Bond
For most women, the next 12 weeks are the most comfortable part of their pregnancy, as their body starts to get used to the changes it is going through.
Leanne Giddings, a Teenage pregnancy support advisor at charity Young Lives says one of the ways to describe what happens during the second Trimester of pregnancy is through one of her favourite quotes: “A mother’s joy begins when new life is stirring inside, when a tiny heartbeat is heard for the very first time, and a playful kick reminds her that she is never alone”.
So what can you expect?
Firstly your energy levels will rise and you will feel more able to plan for your baby’s arrival. You will put on weight rapidly and you will see your ‘bump’ appearing, meaning you will need to start wearing looser clothing and maternity wear. And as the above quote suggests, at about 20 weeks you will be feeling your baby kick and move for the very first time, which is a very exciting feeling.
This trimester is the time to talk to your midwife, your partner and family about how and where you want to give birth. There are so many options available!
There will also be many other physical changes you might experience, such as bleeding gums, puffiness in your legs or ankles and back pain – these are all normal but you might need to go slow and be careful. Get your friends at college or work to help, as well as your family. You should support your back with cushions when you can.
The second trimester is when your skin starts to change too. The so-called ‘pregnancy glow’ is caused by an increased volume of blood in your blood vessels, making your cheeks look like you are blushing, as well as increased oil in your glands. The Dr Sears Wellness Institute (USA) has more information on skin changes during pregnancy.
Eating a healthy diet during your pregnancy which will benefit both you and your baby is important.You can talk to your midwife or visit the Healthy Start website about receiving fruit and vegetables for FREE!
Protein is extra important as it is ‘brain food’ for your baby. You can read this article on the importance of protein during pregnancy – you need three servings of it a day!
Of course getting protein if you are vegetarian may be a little harder, but it is still possible. You can read whattoexpect.co.uk’s article on getting protein as a vegetarian.
Around the 20 week mark is an exciting time, as you will have another ultrasound scan with your midwife, who will be able to tell you your due date and (hopefully) your baby’s gender!
You might also have Braxton Hicks contractions, which is your uterus getting ready for labour and is usually termed ‘false labour’. Read more about Braxton Hicks and other changes during pregnancy here
During the second trimester your baby will grow and grow and by 28 weeks will be able to respond to sounds outside the womb. Here are some highlights:
At week 13 your baby can move their hands more freely and they may suck their thumb!
At 18 weeks, their vocal cords will be fully formed – but without air cannot make sounds just yet!
At 19 weeks, your baby will have all their reproductive organs formed- for a girl, the vagina, uterus and fallopian tubes, and for boys the penis will hopefully be clear to see at your next scan.
At 24 weeks your baby’s taste buds begin to form and they will be able to taste if you drink something strange!
At 26 weeks they will be able to detect light through your abdomen and uterus, and will also have a spine beginning to form.
You can watch this slideshow for a more detailed look at how your baby is growing!