Welcome to the honeymoon period of your pregnancy. Second trimester starts from week 14 till week 27. Chances are, with first trimester gone, so is your morning sickness. You may be getting your appetite back and starting to feel human again! Have you started showing yet? Some women develop a bump earlier than others. It depends on your physique, genetics and also whether it’s your first baby or not. So, don’t worry because by the end of second trimester, you will definitely have a prominent baby bump.

Your baby’s development

-Heart: Baby’s heartbeat becomes regulated in this trimester.

-Brain: His brain has started to send signals to other organs (e.g. regulating heartbeat, signaling eyes to blink, making him kick and roll!

-Digestive system: His digestive system has fully formed and he’s peeing approximately every 40 minutes. -Senses: Your baby has started sucking and swallowing, an essential reflex that will help him survive after he’s born. His taste buds have developed which means he’s able to taste food through amniotic fluid. In this trimester, your baby will start to use his senses and be able to hear, smell, and see with those little eyes.

Overview:

Common symptoms

-Heartburn/Acidity: Now that your morning sickness has subsided and you’re gaining your appetite back, you’re probably eating all that your body (and baby!) is craving. That does, however, mean that you may experience heartburn or acidity with all that food you are having. This is because your body is producing the hormones progesterone and relaxin to a large extent. These hormones make your digestive system work slower, hence, the heartburn/acidity you experience. Unfortunately, for some women this symptom remains throughout pregnancy.

-Swelling: Also known as Edema, some women may experience mild swelling of feet and ankles starting in second trimester all the way to delivery. However, some women may experience this symptom in last trimester. Few women also find their foot size permanently changed to a bigger size even after delivery. Another common symptom of pregnancy are swollen blood vessels, known as varicose veins, that can occur in legs or any part of your lower body.

-Leg cramps: Mainly due to a shortage of calcium and magnesium, leg cramps are a common symptom in second trimester lasting till delivery.

Pregnancy diet

You’re most likely and finally eating for two. Let’s take a look at what your body requires in this trimester to keep you and your baby healthy and growing strong.

-Caloric intake: By second trimester, your body needs 300 to 350 additional calories per day. Make sure you get those extra calories from nutritious food rather than loading up on empty calories.

-Gaining weight: You will start gaining weight to support the growth of your baby. In the second trimester, you need to gain approximately 6 kgs (2 kg per month). Although, this number can vary depending on whether or not you were under or overweight at the start of your pregnancy.

-Balanced diet/nutrients required: Taking your daily multivitamin is essential throughout your pregnancy but especially in your second trimester to help your baby’s growing brain. Your daily diet should involve at least 3 servings of protein, 4 servings of calcium, plenty of water, 3-4 servings of vitamin A and C, at least 6 servings of whole grains/fiber, fruits/vegetables twice a day, along with some foods that are rich in iron, fats, and omega-3 fatty acids1.

-Best foods: Meat for protein and iron; milk, yogurt, and cheese for calcium needs; oranges, apples, bananas (they also help with leg cramps). Oats are a great source of fiber; eggs; nuts.

-Foods to avoid: seafood, too much caffeine, raw or undercooked eggs, raw meats, organ meats, processed foods.

Concerning symptoms

-Gestational diabetes: Many women develop gestational diabetes in second trimester. Concerning symptoms that may indicate this are frequent urination, extreme thirst, and severe fatigue.

-Bleeding gums: Oral hygiene during pregnancy is essential. Go to dentist if your gums appear red or bleed easily. If ignored, it could develop into gingivitis.

-Preeclampsia: Sudden weight gain along with swelling of face and hands can be symptoms of preeclampsia which is onset of high blood pressure.

Things to look forward to

-Gender reveal: Around week 20-21, you’ll have your anomaly scan that will evaluate your baby’s anatomic structures, placenta, and your own pelvic health. In this scan, you can also find out gender of your baby if you wish.

-Shopping for baby: If you haven’t already, now’s the time to start shopping for your little one. From clothes to cots, make sure to start a bit early so you don’t get overwhelmed with all the stuff you have to get for your baby.

General precautions

-Sleeping position: Once you enter the latter part of second trimester, it is advised that you avoid sleeping on your back. Doctors advise mothers to sleep on their sides (specifically on left side) because it helps maximize blood flow to uterus.

-Exercising: Unless your doctor has advised against it (due to complications in your pregnancy), exercising is beneficial for both you and health of your baby. It is also a contributor to psychological health of mothers.

-Hydration: Make sure to drink lots of water to form amniotic fluid, make extra blood, improve digestion, carry nutrients to baby, and flush out toxins from your body

-Traveling: Thinking about going on a babymoon? Traveling during pregnancy is safe (unless your pregnancy is considered high-risk), but even during the safest pregnancy, best time to travel is during second trimester.

Almost there now! Enjoy these months to the fullest, take pictures of your bump as you’ll want to remember this magical period in your life, and look forward to last trimester. You’re almost there now!