So Bumpie and I made it to the end of another trimester and what a ride it's been!
Before I go into the all the gory details, I'll remind you that this is an honest account of my experiences in pregnancy. I discuss potential PPROM and changes in babies movement, so please don't read on if you could be triggered by any of this!
You can watch my video diaries here or you can read on and find out, how as much as the books and the movies make out that as soon as trimester 1 finishes, all the symptoms disappear too, they don't!
You know I like to start with the facts, so here goes:
The second trimester of your pregnancy is from week 13 to week 28 - roughly months four, five and six. As well as feeling and looking more pregnant during these weeks, you may also have more energy than you did in the first trimester.
This will come as a great relief if you have been struggling with sickness, tiredness or anxiety about getting through the first trimester. (Tommys, 2018)
Second trimester symptoms (Pampers, 2017)
Baby bump- At some point, for example, you’ll begin showing that beautiful baby bump. Be sure to show off those curves in some gorgeous maternity clothes.
Feeling movement- Another big milestone you may experience is feeling your baby move for the first time. At some point between week 16 and 24, you’ll probably notice your baby start to move. Your baby will become more and more active until week 32. Then your little one’s level of movement will likely remain quite steady until you give birth. That’s because he’ll still have plenty of room in your belly during the second trimester to try somersaults before it gets a little cramped during the final trimester. If you notice your baby’s movements have slowed down or stopped call your midwife or your maternity unit immediately.
You may encounter some other symptoms as well. These could include feeling out of breath, dizzy spells, backaches, high blood pressure, constipation, haemorrhoids, round ligament pain, and trouble sleeping.
I remember in my Trimester 1 blog, confirming here that I had experienced all of the possible symptoms for the first 12 weeks. I can confirm, thankfully, that there are some of the above symptoms that I have NOT experienced in Trimester 2! What a result! There were however, some additional ones that don't seem to be listed so I will go through them all below...
Baby Bump (clothes)- "Be sure to show off those curves in some gorgeous maternity clothes". I won't lie, this is easier said than done. Maternity clothes took me a very long time to find and what I know now that I didn't know at the start was that even if something says 'grows with your bump' or 'suitable for all trimesters', it may not be! There was a period where all I lived in was Mat's pyjamas and gym clothes.
Now, you all know I am no fashion expert and spend most of my days in gym wear but it when it comes to every day clothes, I can confirm that ASOS, H&M, New Look and Topshop have been best for quality and growing with bump, but I did put a pair of jeans on the other day and couldn't get them past my hips so don't spend too much on maternity clothes, as they may not fit you after a few weeks.
When it comes to gym/active wear however, I can recommend a few small businesses who really do have products I love! Check out Natal Active and Latched who I have discount codes for too (just ask!) and also Mammarelli. I do have a couple of pairs of Reebok leggings too which are good, I won't even pass comment on Nikes new collection and another one to check out is Seraphine but support the small businesses where possible please!
Baby Bump (daily tasks)- Again, less about showing off those curves and more about not being able to reach your feet because of the curves! I should say before I continue; I absolutely love my bump. To the point that I think I'm going to really miss it once baby is here. But... as this trimester has progressed, it does start getting in the way! I won't go into too much detail but buying a shoe horn was a bit of a reality check, not being able to see down below when I shaved was another and actually having to have the conversation with Mat about helping me keep myself tidy there, paint my toenails and put my socks on in the coming weeks was the final straw!
Feeling movement- Honestly, the single best thing about this trimester but also the thing I have had most anxiety about. Feeling those flutters in the early stages (it was around 18 weeks for me!) was incredible and I remember thinking Mat would be able to feel it through my skin, but that took a wee bit longer. Some people feel movement a lot earlier but my placenta is anterior so there's a bit of an extra cushion there too so it took a bit longer for us to see and feel movement through my skin.
Now, at nearly 29 weeks, movement excites me every single day. I absolutely love that feeling and watching Mat interact with Bumpie when they're having a little dance party inside me fills me with warmth. He'll lay beside me with his head and hand on my bump and say hello. I really do treasure those moments!
NOT feeling movement- Advice says that if you notice a change in your baby's movements, to contact your midwife or assessment centre immediately. In the earlier stages, it's difficult to establish a routine or pattern of movement but as pregnancy progresses, it will become easier to detect changes.
I have had two episodes of reduced movement which have resulted in trips to the ante natal triage department at the hospital. The first time, Bumpie had consistently been pretty active; I'd feel movement every time I was relaxed or stopped work etc during the day, then at night when I was fully relaxed on the sofa, I would feel what I thought was Bumpie having a party. Lots of prolonged kicks and flutters. On this occasion, however, I went from 5am to 10pm without feeling a thing, resulting in increasing anxiety as the day went on and a trip to the hospital for reassurance.
They used a doppler and found heart beat without any difficulty, but I still felt no movement. The next day, we went back in and this time, I was scanned and reassured that everything was ok. As the sonographer scanned me, I felt a big kick and only then did I breathe a sigh of relief. They explained that it was positional and should improve as baby gets bigger.
Afterwards, I felt a slight wave of guilt that we had gone in and taken up valuable time of medical professionals but knew it was the right thing to do. The second occasion was similar and only a couple of weeks after the first. This time though, as they used the doppler, baby started moving and I felt instantly better, but very guilty when they took us for a scan anyway, just to double check, and an emergency came in over the phone. I couldn't help but think we were wasting their time when someone more worthy of their time was waiting. However, the staff quickly reassured us and reminded us that this is just as important.
So I'll finish by saying, do not feel guilty. If your baby's movement pattern changes, go and get checked out. It could prevent something more serious and at the end of the day, could save a life! You know you and your baby better than anyone!
Other symptoms- feeling out of breath, dizzy spells, backaches, high blood pressure, constipation, haemorrhoids, round ligament pain, and trouble sleeping. Although I have had some of these, none of them (except trouble sleeping!) have been so bad that I even mentioned in my vlog but I'll touch on them all now.
Feeling out of breath- I've had a little bit of this sometimes if I've been in one position for a long time, but generally it'll go as soon as I move. I've also noticed I'm a lot more breathless than normal when out walking or exercising but I'll say a little bit more about this later when I talk about adapting my training.
Dizzy spells- I've had a couple of brief dizzy spells but only if I've stood up too quickly or have had a sicky day. Nothing I have been concerned about!
Backaches- Only in the last 2 or 3 weeks have I had a bit of a sore back, but again, generally only if I am in one position for any length of time and as soon as I move it eases. I am having to move about a lot to avoid it, which, especially in bed is pretty annoying, but luckily, this isn't causing any real problems and hopefully it stays that way!
Constipation- I went through a few weeks of feeling so constipated it hurt, then I went through a couple of weeks of having the opposite. So again, other than being a bit annoying, I don't think I've suffered too badly and I'm pleased to report, it definitely hasn't led to haemorrhoids! Let's hope that continues...
Round ligament pain- Other than a few episodes of light cramp type pains, I haven't had this too badly. All very manageable and eased itself. I think on one occasion, around week 15/16, I took pain killers but it didn't ever last too long!
Trouble sleeping- Can I just change this heading to Insomnia? Wow, this has been a biggie! If you have watched my vlog, you will have seen me yawn a lot and that sums up this trimester. I thought extreme tiredness was more prevalent in trimester 1 but I have struggled!
Thankfully it seems to have improved a bit now but for a long time, I'd be going to bed exhausted, falling asleep really quickly to wake up a couple of hours later and be awake for about 4 hours. My normal waking hours became 1am to 5am. I get up for clients at 6am so really not ideal! I tried everything I could; Bach Rescue Remedy, meditation, staying up later, going to bed earlier, reading, staying in bed when I woke, getting up when I woke... nothing really worked and it seems only time has improved things.
One good thing is that it taught me to listen to my body; I learned how to nap during the day and not feel guilty if I didn't achieve a task because I simply couldn't function. I guess it's just teaching me the reality of being a mum to a new born and preparing me for the sleepless nights to come, and I know it's a symptom in trimester 3 but hopefully I'll manage a few more nights sleep first!
There's a lot more not listed in the quoted article so I'll continue below. Grab yourselves a cuppa, I think it's gonna be a long one!
Hyperemesis Gravidarum/Sickness- The main part of trimester 1 and yes, it continues. I'd love to say that as soon as I got to trimester 2 it stopped but I have had some pretty hellish days. Even as I write this now, I've just taken an anti sickness tablet and am sipping away on full fat cola. On a positive note, it has absolutely 100% improved. I have gone from being laid up in bed for days at a time on three types of anti sickness meds to being able to fully function with some intermittent nausea and the very occasional vomit! As trimester 2 progressed, the amount of times I was being sick reduced and the medication seemed to start working. I managed to get back to work and now as long as I always have my anti sickness tablet, I am a fully functioning human! There were a few days as I started to feel better that I actually worried that something was wrong with me or with baby. Sounds ridiculous right?
To have such strong symptoms constantly and then all of a sudden feel kind of 'normal' made me anxious. Hyperemesis is a condition that doesn't go away but it has got better for me. I do still stick to my decision though that I'll need to wait til Bumpie is somewhat independent before I even consider being pregnant again haha! The thought of going through this while looking after a baby or toddler is a scary one!
Thinking my waters have broken- One of the scariest and most worrying days of my life, never mind pregnancy. If you have watched my vlog, you will have seen my ugly tears and complete fear that my waters had broken at 20 weeks. The day after the 20 week scan, I was feeling awful. Really sick and nauseous and the tablets weren't working. It was a bad day and very early morning, I knew it was going to be one of those days where I didn't achieve much and I was ok with that. What I didn't expect though was while I was being violently sick for about the third time that morning, a gush of fluid would leak onto the floor beneath me. Without going into it too much, it didn't look or smell like wee and I've never had any problems with my bladder control, other than needing to go every 30 minutes now!
I called Mat at work in a right state before calling my Mum and then ante natal triage who told me to use a pad to monitor fluid and call back in an hour if there had been any more. I was so worried my waters had broken and I'd experienced PPROM, but luckily there was no more fluid and the midwifes didn't seem to concerned. They asked me to monitor it at home but explained that sudden discharge or urination as a result of being so sick was quite common. I was glad they thought everything was ok but couldn't help remain worried and anxious about what that could have meant.
From that moment, the love and bond I developed from Bumpie just grew and grew and I'm so grateful that everything turned out to be ok. Preterm, premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) is the premature rupture of the amniotic sac and can lead to severe infection and increased likelihood of premature birth and occurs in around 3% of pregnancies.
Ever growing breasts- They are less tender and a lot happier to be touched, but the bras that I had to re- mortgage for in trimester 1 do not fit. Just like the maternity clothes, do not spend lots of money on nice bras, because regardless of what anyone says, your boobs will continue to grow during trimester 2!
Baby brain- This is a real phenomenon. I won't go into too much detail but let's just say there have been a number of 'episodes'. Being more forgetful, clumsier and a failing sense of time is just part of it. Forgetting to put a tea bag in Mat's tea, giving him a flask of cold soup for his lunch or putting fresh orange in my coffee are the reality!
Cravings- Throughout the pregnancy, I've had a few spontaneous cravings, but they haven't really been consistent. This has resulted in 56 Dib Dabs being delivered, me eating 3 and the rest sitting in the cupboard (anyone for sherbet!?), a massive bag of carrots being bought from Tesco, for me to eat 2 raw and the rest be turned into soup and a selection of Fry's creams which Mat ended up eating! The only consistent one is fresh orange juice, to the point that I cannot get enough of. I've had to put a limit on it due to the amount of sugar, otherwise I'd be drinking 2l a day. I thought I may be lacking vitamin C or other nutrients, but aside an increase in chocolate, my diet is pretty well balanced just now and all my blood tests have been spot on so there's no real reason other than it is the best taste in the world. Think I'll go buy some shares in Tropicanna!
On a similar note, I need to mention coffee. I went completely off this in trimester 1 and for anyone who knows me, you'll be as shocked as I was. However, this trimester has seen my love reignited and although it's now decaf only, there's no better taste than that coffee first thing in the morning! Roll on being able to have caffeine again though!
Acne- Not much to say on this one other than my skin has endured it's own rollercoaster this trimester. Some weeks my skin is great, others, I have Mount Vesuvius erupting or a cluster of spots requiring their own post code! Aren't hormones wonderful!?
Heartburn- Not something I have EVER had in my life before but wow, it's real. There doesn't seem to be any link to what I'm eating or drinking but it will just randomly strike and stay with me for hours. Gaviscon made me extremely sick (I think I was just having a sicky day and it put me off!) so I'm trying to get by on Rennies. Any suggestions would be most appreciated!
Extreme itchiness- Apparently totally normal as your bump grows and skin stretches. I'm not convinced that I should have had itchy bump, bum, thighs and genitals constantly for a week though!? For a few days I walked about naked under my dressing gown, lathered in coconut oil, taking any anti-histamine I was allowed and trying not to claw my skin off! I washed all my clothes just in case I'd developed a reaction to the washing products, but I still don't know what caused this and it settled down again soon after. I do still get periods of itching, just around my bump but definitely not to that extreme! There is a disorder called Obstetric Cholestasis which affects your liver during pregnancy and causes extreme itchiness, but I was tested for this and didn't have it. If you have extreme itching, it could be worth getting this checked!
Adapting training- I've written a separate blog on Training in Pregnancy so I won't go into too much depth here other than say, all of a sudden, like in the space of a few days, I felt very pregnant and had to make some big adaptations to the intensity and duration of my workouts! I'm so grateful that I am still able to exercise and I am still enjoying it!
Intimate waxing- You may remember me describing this in trimester 1 as a brutal attack. At 9 weeks pregnant, it really was. However, I have since had this done twice again, and I can safely say it was fine. If you're not great with waxing anyway, don't think pregnancy will suddenly solve all your pain problems, but I can safely say, trimester 2 is way easier than trimester 1 and I even managed to get all the hair removed!
Illness- Seems to be escalated in pregnancy. Probably down to our reduced immune systems but I can confirm that having a cold is pretty brutal when you're pregnant! Nothing more than a simple head cold but I was wiped for a good three days. Lacking energy, feeling weak and just generally took way more out of me than a cold ever would. I had no choice but to listen to my body, rest and recover. I also had what I think was a sickness bug which although you'd think I would be used to dealing with sickness at this point, left me feeling completely wiped too! It took about a week to recover fully from this, I didn't train, I didn't work and I wasn't eating properly. If you get ill in pregnancy, remember that your body is fighting for two and it will affect you more than usual. Listen to your body and be kind to yourself!
Feeling full- After not having much of an appetite in the first trimester, one of the best things about this one is my love of food! I'm eating well and just the feeling of actually wanting to eat is great. However, towards the end of trimester 2, I'm struggling to eat much. I'll be desperate for a certain meal, get it and then only manage about a third. I just feel like there isn't much space in there. That's ok normally but when you have to make a decision between another slice of roast beef or the last yorkshire pudding in your Sunday roast, it's a tad disappointing. Eating little and often has become the only way to do it and my portions are probably just like Bumpie's will be when we start weaning!
Stretch marks- Not something I have any more of than before but something I've been asked about a lot. I have been using Mama Mio products to try and prevent them but it's hard to tell if they work or if I have just been lucky so far. It's not something I am too bothered about; I guess it's part of the process of growing a human. They may appear during this trimester or even post partum but I'm ok with that. If you're worried, keep hydrated, moisturise regularly and try and remember they are completely normal! I have some from pre pregnancy and I've just embraced them!
Spending and Nesting- We made a few big purchases this trimester. The nursery is underway with furniture arriving next week, Bumpie has more new clothes than me and thanks to our generous families, we have the pram and car seat too! It gets so exciting when you see all the little person things in one place! I'm definitely in full on nesting mode.
Everything I have ever wanted doing in the house is happening and I'm cleaning more than ever. I got excited about a new tumble dryer and clothes pulley, a new vacuum cleaner and have become a DIY lover; painting the bathroom and the ensuite, helping Mat make TV units and light fittings and hanging picture frames and mirrors that have been in the spare room since we moved in! The big thing though is that I have turned into a crafter. I am the least creative, artistic person ever but for some very unknown reason I have a new hobb