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20 things pregnant mums need to know about the second trimester

You’ve made it through the first three months of your pregnancy, but what do you need to know about the second trimester?

It’s a time of more dramatic changes to your body as your bump finally makes an appearance and some of the less pleasant symptoms of pregnancy go away, such as morning sickness.

However they are replaced with new ones, unfortunately. Here’s some tips and advice on what to to expect see you through the next phase.

1. Maternity clothes

You’re probably starting to feel your jeans getting a little tight. You can buy straps that will allow you to expand the waist of your jeans, but I do thoroughly recommend maternity jeans.

They’re stretchy, comfy and look great. There are loads of options for maternity clothes now, I’ve recommended a few before in my favourite maternity clothes post.

Try to think about versatility when picking clothes out, such as dresses you can wear to work and for going out. Also many maternity clothes include nursing features so that means your maternity clothes can continue being useful for months to come afterwards.

2. Keep moisturised

No amount of moisturiser will stop stretch marks, sorry! But it helps to keep your bump as moisturised as possible. This can also ease itchy skin. You don’t have to get a pregnancy specific moisturiser, anything nice and rich will do.

3. Getting the first kicks

Your baby will still have space to do some womb acrobatics so you may start feeling not only flutters and kicks but weird swirling movements.

Some babies are more feisty than others, my second felt like I was being beaten up from the inside in the final weeks, but all will move around regularly.

You don’t need to worry about counting the kicks until after week 24 but it’s a good idea to be aware of your baby’s activity.

When it is time to count the kicks, try to stay aware of the times of day your baby is most active. If you’re ever worried, always speak to your midwife.

4. Gender reveal

20 things pregnant women need to know about the second trimester

Will you have a boy or a girl?

You can find out the gender of your baby at the 20 week scan if you want to.

Many parents like to keep it as a surprise and there is a growing trend for gender reveal parties. You can get the ultrasound technician to write down your baby’s gender and put it in an envelope.

You can then do cool stuff like give this to a bakery, which then creates a cake which is cut to reveal blue or pink on the inside.

Sometimes your baby will have their legs crossed on won’t be in the right position to tell their sex. If this happens you may be asked to have a walk and come back or wriggle your hips a bit.

If you can’t find out, don’t worry. A healthy baby is all that matters.

5. Heartburn

Ouch, this pregnancy problem can be a real pain. You can take indigestion medication such as Rennie while pregnant. Obviously always check the box when taking something new.

Lying down makes indigestion worse sometimes so try to prop yourself up with a few pillows in bed. A glass of milk can help too.

7. Your energy returns

The first trimester is very draining as your body works hard to establish a happy environment for your baby. But after this you may find your energy returning and some people report an extra spring in their step.

8. Sleep on your side

Sleeping on your back is not recommended from about 16 weeks onwards because it can cause circulation issues for you and your baby.

It’s suggested that sleeping on your left hand side is best to keep blood circulating well to your baby. You can buy maternity pillows that support you and your growing bump to get a good night’s sleep.

9. Antenatal appointments

Always bring a pot of wee and be prepared for a few blood tests to make sure you’re not at risk of developing anaemia or any other issues.

Write down questions that you have for your midwife as you think of them and take the list to your appointment so you don’t forget! Baby brain is a real thing.

10. Glossy hair

20 things pregnant women need to know about the second trimester

Glossy hair is a more welcome side effect of pregnancy

You may notice your hair feels thicker and a bit more glamorous now! Those hormones are doing you a favour at last, thank goodness!

11. Get the nursery organised now

When you’re in the third trimester you won’t feel like painting walls and building cots. It’s a good idea to get the big jobs in the nursery done after the 20 week scan.

You don’t need to have all the kit in place ready to go, but it’s a good idea to get these bigger tasks done and then you can buy little things like clothes at your leisure.

12. Feeling the heat

In the heat of summer pregnancy can make you feel seriously uncomfortable at night.

Wear light pyjamas and keep a cold drink by the bed. Investing in a decent fan is a good idea too.

13. Commute to work

The journey to work becomes a lot more difficult when you’re coping with the weight gain and various aches and pains. A Baby on Board badge is great for the London Underground. Transport for London will send you one free of charge if you contact them through their website.

14. Round ligament pain

This can feel a bit like a stitch in your side that you normally develop after exercising too hard.

It can be quite uncomfortable at times, with the pain varying from mild to moderate. Ask your midwife if it gets too much.

It is safe to take paracetamol during pregnancy. A warm bath can help to ease the discomfort too.

15. Swollen ankles

This is common during pregnancy and is caused by hormones and water retention. It goes away after delivery. Buy some bigger, more comfortable, shoes to see you through.

16. Insomnia

It’s 3am and you’re wide awake with restless legs. It’s annoying that disturbed sleep begins during the pregnancy as we could do with all the good sleeps we can get!

17. Diet

Remember to get your five a day

Try not to stress about what the scales say. Eating balanced meals is the best way forward for you and your baby. Get your five a day by snacking on fruit and including at least one vegetable at every meal.

18. Gentle exercise

It’s a good idea to keep active so that you maintain a certain degree of fitness for when labour comes. You’re going to be putting your body through a lot, so it helps to maintain that extra edge for when the contractions start.

Even walking for 30 minutes every day can make a difference. Also doing the housework is a good way to get your heart rate up.

Swimming can be really great if you struggle with back pain as well. It can tone up your muscles and is a good workout that doesn’t put too much strain on your body.

19. Increased need to wee

With a growing baby taking up ever increasing space in your tummy, your bladder is going to come under a lot of pressure.

You will find yourself going back and forth to the loo like a yo-yo. It’s particularly annoying in the middle of the night.

20. Constipation

Your hormones are running wild during pregnancy and one of the side effects is slowing down your digestive system.

Unfortunately this can lead to a lot of discomfort for you if it causes you to struggle to go to the loo. Drink loads of water and eat lots of fruit. Prune juice and orange juice can help get things moving.

If you do get really backed up your midwife can prescribe a pregnancy safe medication to help.

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20 things pregnant mums need to know about the second trimester

20 things pregnant women need to know about the second trimester

Vicky Smith is a mother of two daughters and a journalist. She has been writing and vlogging about parenting for over five years.