This post is in partnership with Hancock Regional Hospital as part of their empowering women and children site. All thoughts, experiences, and opinions are my own. Be sure to check out their site for additional resources and support. This post contains affiliate links.
I'm officially in my third trimester! So with that, I wanted to look back on the second trimester. First, I want to note that every pregnancy is different. There's a strong chance you won't experience any of these symptoms. I don't think we talk about that enough, we usually only hear about the stuff causing discomfort, so under each symptom I'll share my personal experience since truthfully, so far my pregnancy has been really easy, although this pillow has been a life saver!! I've actually felt better and more aligned than pre-pregnancy which no one told me was possible. I wish someone had, it probably would've helped with my fears around pregnancy!
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Also sharing a few “bump” photos throughout the post. Honestly, I didn't start taking the photos until I hit the 21 week mark because I really didn't look like I was showing that much. I tried taking the 21 week photo in a shirt and it was totally not noticeable, even in the 21 week photo you can see how much I'm arching my back and pushing out my stomach to make it look bump-alicious haha! So there isn't much a change between the weeks until the last one. Alright back to the post…
In general though, the second trimester of pregnancy is often called the “honeymoon” period! You probably feel a lot better than the first trimester, as your energy levels bounce back and everything else returns to normal (mostly). Even so, you're still pregnant so your body is changing rapidly each day, which comes with pregnancy symptoms!
How To Deal With The Second Trimester of Pregnancy Symptoms
Body aches, pains, and cramps!
Whether it's an aching back, hip pain, or just general discomfort from the added pressure on your pelvis, as baby grows you're bound to feel it! Most women will experience round ligament pain. A lot of women also begin experience leg cramps at this stage of the game (especially at night).
I didn't really experience any of this. I think a lot of the hip and back pain can be helped by seeing a prenatal chiropractor regularly (I started around 11 weeks). I had minimal to no back or hip pain during the second trimester, and I'm someone whose body historically always hurts! I really believe I've been feeling better than I have in years physically because of the prenatal chiropractor appointments.
I also highly recommend working out if you can. It really helped keep things loose and limber, and truthfully my leg cramps and round ligament pain was really minimal too (like I only felt it for one or two days). I tried to stretch in the pool and keep things loose to combat that. Other remedies for the aches and pains are epsom salt baths, heating pad (just don't use it on your belly), and gentle stretching.
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Swelling or puffiness
It's no secret you're basically doubling your blood volume during pregnancy! That peaks around week 24, so don't be surprised if you hands and feet seem a little puffier than usual. Remember, that while some swelling is normal, you can keep excessive swelling down by not overdoing it on the salt, or by staying cool. Those summer months can be brutal in aggravating your swollen feet!
Also, in the same line of increased blood flow and swelling – if you weren't sneezing in the first trimester, you might be sneezing now! Using this cool humidifier saved me from a cracked nose and sneezing all night!
I haven't had any swelling so far which was a huge surprise since both my mother and mother-in-law were really swollen and went up at least a half a shoe size during their pregnancies. The sneezing went down from the first trimester, but I still sneeze more often than usual and sleep with a humidifier.
Acid reflux / heartburn
Neither are any fun! Hopefully you won't experience this, but many woman do (and no it's not a sign that your baby is growing hair!). Most women experience an increase in acid reflux as your uterus and baby press up against your stomach, forcing more acid to come up on you.
To alleviate any discomfort, try to avoid foods that aggravate it. Keep your meals small and frequent rather than three big ones each day. After you eat, stay sitting up for a while, and if you do need to lie down, do it on your side. If all of that doesn't help, you can try slippery elm lozenges (I used these but here are options from Amazon) or some antacids are safe to take (always consult your doctor though).
I only had acid reflux for a few days during the first trimester, and not at all during the second. The slippery elm lozenges helped me in the first trimester though! I used these but here are options from Amazon.
Digestive issues like gas or constipation
A lot of women experience gas or constipation throughout pregnancy. While these can be uncomfortable, there are loads of remedies you can try to keep things running smoothly. Make sure you're drinking enough water and eating frequently. Exercising regularly can really help with this too.
Be mindful of what you're eating and aim for 20-35 grams of fiber each day. If all of that doesn't work, consider taking a prenatal probiotic (the research on these aren't conclusive as to whether or not they actually help, but they can't hurt).
There was a day or two I felt backed up (TMI? Sorry!) and I would just take the probiotic on those days or as I felt it was needed. I go for 1-3 mile walks every single day, spin at least three days a week, yoga once or twice a week, and swim once or twice a week so I think staying active really helped me with this. In fact, I know the evening walks after dinner helped with the gas because I'd feel it, haha!
You can blame those pesky hormones again for changes to your skin! Some women develop patches on their face called melasma. Others may start to notice a dark line down their belly (linea nigra). Or maybe you're starting to notice reddish lines around your hips, butt, or breasts *stretch marks, yay*.
For me personally, I developed the dark line on my belly, and I've had a ton of red spots on my arms since the first trimester which I finally concluded are just blood vessels that are more visible thanks to the added blood and my thin skin (if you look closely you can see all the spots in pictures on my arms on Instagram).
The best thing you can do is remind yourself it's all temporary. Most skin changes during pregnancy fade once the baby comes. In the meantime, feel free to take extra precautions when out in the sun (I'm talking a hat AND sunscreen AND long sleeves with SPF 50 AND an umbrella if needed). I also made sure to moisturize with this pregnancy oil and dry brushed with this – though neither have actually been proven to prevent stretch marks, they helped me with the itchiness from my skin stretching and I didn't get any stretch marks!
While you may be feeling better and want to eat more, make sure you're still prioritizing your daily protein intake and following my other healthy eating tips during pregnancy!
I started noticing this a lot more as this trimester closed and the baby was going through some serious growth spurts. I started making the transition to more frequent snacks and small portions at meal time. Just listen to your body and do what feels right for you.
Increased sex drive
… you guessed it, those hormones! Take advantage if your experiencing this one, because I hear it all changes in the coming months! Personally, this was very real!
This isn't as common but I've talked with a lot of people in the second trimester struggling with it so I thought I'd include it. If you're experiencing this during the second trimester talk with your doctor! It could be an easy fix like you need more iron in your diet or something else.
There's no reason to assume that the pregnancy symptoms your experience are “just the way it is.” Talk to your doctor, try new things, and do what feels right for you. I wanted to share my personal experience with my (lack of) symptoms since I don't think we actually acknowledge that it's a very real possibility enough. I was so afraid of pregnancy before and I wish someone would've just told me it may not be as bad as I imagine.
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The second trimester is generally considered the “honeymoon” phase of pregnancy! The symptoms during the second trimester aren't overall that bad for most women. Plus you'll probably feel the baby's first kicks, have your energy level back, and feel amazing with glowing skin and thick glossy hair!
Check out Hancock Regional Hospital to learn about and get support on other women's health issues. If any symptoms seem extreme or abnormal, make sure to contact your doctor.