The span from week 13 to week 27 of pregnancy is called the “honeymoon period” for good reason: Typically, nausea subsides, emotions even out and sex drive returns. It’s also the time when you’ll start to feel the baby’s first movements. What other changes are in store? Read on.
The nausea subsides
Thankfully, the list of second trimester symptoms generally doesn’t include morning sickness. Most women find that it tapers off or stops completely. If you’re still feeling queasy, talk to your doctor about increasing your intake of vitamin B6, which has been shown to settle the stomach. Around this time, you’ll start to experience a new discomfort in the tummy: abdominal aches, a result of your growing uterus and the stretching of the surrounding ligaments.
Signs of life
During most of your first trimester, your baby grew silently inside you. At around 12 weeks, your doctor could detect the baby’s heartbeat. But now you’ll experience other physical signals that your baby is thriving. Among them:
- Between 16 and 20 weeks, you’ll start to feel your baby move around inside you, known as “quickening.”
- Toward the end of the trimester, you might also feel repeated “blips” in your abdomen, Don’t worry: That’s just your baby having completely harmless hiccups!
At this stage of pregnancy, even mundane activities like walking to the bathroom might make you feel out of breath. It’s perfectly normal. As the uterus grows, it crowds the lungs, making it a little harder for air to flow in and out. Try to take it easy, but if you find that your shortness of breath becomes more severe, see your doctor.
Your changing shape
By week 16, you’ll likely be wearing maternity clothes due to your expanding waistline and widening hips. By week 27, you should have gained 16 to 22 pounds, but your baby will only account for about 2 of those. You’ll also probably start to see another pregnancy phenomenon: stretch marks. Most will fade to nearly invisible silver or white streaks after you give birth.
Although your hormones are still in overdrive, your body’s had three months to adjust to them, so you might actually tame your emotions enough to make it through a tear-jerker commercial without crying. On the flip side, as your shape changes you may worry more about the long-term effects that pregnancy may have on your body. To beat the body blues:
- Buy a cute outfit. Great pregnancy clothing is available now.
- Treat yourself to a beauty boost, like a manicure for your newly strong-and-long nails.
- Revel in how great you feel now, because the third trimester is on the way!
As your baby becomes more “real” to you, your dreams might become more startling. Giving birth to some kind of supernatural Rosemary’s Baby is a common theme in expectant moms’ dreams during the second trimester. So don’t freak out if you wake up in a cold sweat. It’s normal to feel a little anxious.
Your sex drive
During the fourth or fifth month, you might suddenly feel much more sexual. By your second trimester, your body is manufacturing estrogen in overdrive. The ovaries produce as much in a single day as a nonpregnant woman’s ovaries do in three years. And since the first trimester’s nausea and fatigue have tapered off, you might feel more aroused. Some women even experience multiple orgasms for the first time.
Getting in exercise
Second trimester symptoms are minor compared with those in the first trimester, so take advantage of it!
- Kegels, which will help you with pushing during labor and reduce the risk of incontinence after. Contract your muscles as though you’re trying to stop the flow of urine in midstream. Hold and repeat.
- Prenatal yoga. It’s tailored especially for you and your changing body, and you’ll get to meet other expecting moms in the process.
- Hitting the pool. Swimming and water aerobics are low-impact, and the weightless feeling will give your tired legs, feet and back a break.
- Walking. Even just around the neighborhood will get your blood pumping and make you feel more energetic.
- Avoid heavy lifting or any exercise that requires you to exhale with great force. It can raise your blood pressure to dangerous levels.
- After the fourth or fifth month, skip exercises that require you to lie flat on your back. This position could cause you to compress the vena cava, a major blood vessel that brings blood to the baby.
- Eat a small snack about an hour before your workout. The calorie boost will increase your energy.
- Sip water throughout your workout. It’s especially important to stay hydrated while you’re pregnant.
- Take extra care with exercises that require balance. Your body is changing rapidly, and you can feel especially off-kilter while running or doing step-aerobics.