10 physical changes to expect during the second trimester
Entering the second trimester is an exciting time for most expectant mums.
You've had your 12 week scan and the reality sets in, you're going to be a mum!
So what's in store next? The second trimester marks the start of more noticeable physical changes, here's what you can expect.
1. More energy/Better mood
The second trimester usually marks the end of nausea and mood swings.
Overall you will probably feel a lot better and have more energy, particularly if you've had morning sickness previously.
The second trimester is a great time to build up your strength before the birth.
2. Rapid weight gain
Weight gain is slow in early pregnancy but it speeds up in the second trimester.
It's a good time to look into buying maternity clothes now as you'll be developing a proper bump.
3. Changes in your breasts and nipples
Your breasts shouldn't be as tender as in the first trimester but they'll continue to grow.
The growth is caused by both fat deposits and enlarging milk glands.
You may notice some bumps around your nipples, these are just glands that create an oily substance to keep the nipples from drying out.
Don't freak out if you find yellowish fluid leaking from your nipples, this is just colostrum.
4. The dreaded stretch marks
Not every woman will get stretch marks but many do.
Typically they emerge on the belly and breasts, as your skin expands.
Stretch marks are caused by elastic fibres below the skin tearing, creating those telltale streaks.
There's no way to completely prevent them but they will fade after pregnancy.
5. Leg cramps or leg pain at night
You may experience leg cramps when you're trying to sleep.
These cramps are thought to occur because of pressure your growing baby puts on the nerves and blood vessels that go to your legs.
Try sleeping on your side instead of your back.
If you have pain and swelling in one leg, seek medical help immediately as this could be deep vein thrombosis, (DVT).
DVT is a blood clot that forms in a vein and can cause complications if not treated rapidly.
6. Skin marks and changes
You may experience one or more of the following changes, such as dry itchy skin on the belly, increased sensitivity to the sun and patches of darker skin on the face.
These are normal changes, just be sure to use a high factor SPF if you are spending long periods outdoors.
These should fade after pregnancy.
Favourite ankle boots won't go on? Swelling in the ankles, face and hands are extremely common in the second trimester.
This is caused by your body holding onto fluid and slowed blood circulation.
It's not a lot of fun but you can wear comfy shoes for the next few months...unless you want to do a Kim K!
8. Braxton Hicks contractions/false labour
This can be quite scary if you don't know what it is.
Braxton Hicks contractions are a tightening of your uterine muscles to prepare the uterus prepares for labour and birth.
This causes your belly to feel very tight and hard, and you may or may not have pain. These should only last a few minutes and should not come back.
If you experience persistent contractions which don't go away when you change position or walk around, call your doctor. You could be going into pre-term labour.
9. The first baby kicks and flutters
In the first trimester it can hard to believe you're really pregnant so it's exciting to feel those first kicks.
You should feel some fluttering deep in your belly towards the middle of the second trimester.
if you’ve been pregnant before, you might notice the movements earlier because you're more accustomed to them.
10. Backache/Hip and pelvis pain
Growing a new life and supporting the extra weight can be tough on your back.
Pain in the pelvic area and hips is caused by the pregnancy hormones relax the ligaments (tough, ropelike bands of tissue) that hold bones together.
The bones in your pelvis must loosen up to allow birth to take place.