Pregnancy- what they don’t tell you! Part : The second trimester
2nd trimester, probably my favourite one as I felt some amount of normal. The second trimester is from 13 to 26 weeks of pregnancy. During this time, most of the sickness and nausea decreases, although this isn’t always the case, it can hang around for a while unfortunately. This is also the time where you might be able to start feeling the baby move. It can be hard to tell often described as bubbles, butterflies or fluttering sensations in the tummy. However it can take a while to really know what your feeling and if your placenta is at the front this can dampen the feeling.
Yep we are going there. To the back end. The rectum, the bum and poo! Constipation usually eases off during the second trimester, but for many it lingers. Particularly if you need to take iron supplements, aren’t drinking enough and have reduced the amount of moving you do. Don’t worry they are all valid reasons and you shouldn’t feel like you have brought this on yourself! You can also blame hormones, which may alter the what your gut is doing, the size and position of a growing baby is also another reason why you might suffer. There are things you can do to help however.
Eat, drink and get yours knees up!
First up, keep hydrated. Drink when you are thirsty, little and often so your not dashing to the loo (as much). Fluid along with high fibre foods, help to keep your stools soft and compact without being hard. Veggies, fruit juice, whole grains can all help to get your poo moving. Being bunged up is no laughing matter either, it can give you tummy pain, increased gas and make you feel super uncomfortable. Trust me on this!
Knees up you say? Sorry I’m not referring to alcohol and a jolly here. I’m talking actual knees above hips when your on the loo. By raising the knees, it helps to open up the rectal muscles, making it easier to poo. Check out my favourite video of it here. However you don’t need to buy a squatty potty, books, toilet rolls, a small step all work to raise the knees. Then a little lean forwards and relax. Try not to strain too much, in fact think poo like a man! Get a book or your phone, chill out and let it come out!
Ah yes be prepared for this line: “Oh congratulations, your defiantly glowing, you look great!” Whilst in your head you secretly know your either sweating loads, or you haven’t had a shower in a day or two and your hair is greasy. I did NOT glow, I defiantly was just greasy, although a greasy complexation is supposed to indicate good skin. Swings and round-abouts and all that!
The glowing comes because your hair growth slows down, so it becomes thicker and fuller (this doesn’t last!)and the increased blood flow also brings colour to the cheeks. But doesn’t mean we all feel this way however!
Hopefully you are starting to feel a little more like you, you might be able to make better food choices and energy levels should be coming back. You might also feel like you can breath a little bit better now. This is a great time to start or keep up the exercise or activity. Swimming is free in England when you are pregnant so take advantage and get in the pool. If your only returning to exercise or just starting out, take it steady and slow and again listen to your body.
Its during this stage that we stop directly working the tummy muscles (think sit ups) and laying flat on your back. Yes it takes out a lot of floor based work but propping up or adapting to sitting or standing can work just as well. This is where prenatal yoga or pilates can help to keep your core strong without creating too much pressure.
Again if you feel ok, carry on doing what your doing with the above modifications. And start to become aware of the tummy when lifting!
As the baby grows, you might find you get all sorts of weird stretching or pulling feelings. These are normal as your muscles and skin start to stretch to accommodate a growing baby. If they become quite intense or uncomfortable, then its probably wise to either limit or stop what you were doing, be that lifting a bag of potatoes or a weight at the gym. I stopped doing assisted pull ups at 23 weeks when I felt my abs stretching too much, it was ok, just time to switch it up.
Unfortunately stretch marks may start to make an appearance, although good skin and genetics might hep you out here!
The stretch marks wont be helped with miracle creams unfortunately, but getting oxygen and blood flow as well as keep hydrated can all help. The more supple and elastic your skin is, the less likely you are to get them. How do you increase the elasticity in skin? Keeping hydrated, collagen supplements and good quality protein is one way. But the biggest factor- genetics. Basically roll with it. Rubbing cream will help but it wont stop them, and if nothing else it will feel nice. Over time them will fad to silvery colour and very few people will even notice them anyway.
Taking care of you
You may also notice that your moods are bit all over the place. Again normal, your hormones are going bananas with keep growing that baby! But if you find its more than blubbing at overly cute things on TV, or getting annoyed at the placement of tooth brushes, speak to your GP or midwife. Feeling like you are going insane or loosing it is normal to a degree but if its too much you must speak out.
Taking time to focus on you is important anyway, but now more than ever.