2nd Trimester Recap: Expected and Unexpected

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby on. Posted in My Pregnancy


Just three months ago I wrote a post about my thoughts on the first trimester and how it compared to my expectations. To me it seems like AGES ago, I was suffering from morning sickness and wondering when I was going to show. But alas, it is time to write about my 2nd trimester experiences, because I am now in the home stretch of this whole journey.

The way it felt to me was that everything that was supposed to happen once I hit 2nd trimester DID NOT happen until the last few weeks of it.

So here we go:

My 2nd trimester

BABY GROWTH

Expectations: I figured that in the 2nd trimester I will finally start having a real belly that people can point at and say “She’s pregnant”.

Reality: I didn’t start really showing from the side until week 20 and from the front- until the end of the 2nd trimester. Obviously, my height had a lot to do with it, and so did the strong ab muscles ( my OB’s words, not mine lol). I can tell she’s getting progressively bigger and stronger, but I’ll see the bulk of her growing in the 3rd trimester

HUNGER

Expectations: Ravishing hunger that will make me want to eat  everything and anything in my sight. And at the same time I also expected myself to have a good control over it.

Reality: I was both right and wrong. The hunger did come. It wasn’t the type where you are never full and want to eat eat eat. It was more like the fast acting hunger that from the second you realize you *might* be hungry takes over your completely and you need FOOD IN YOUR STOMACH NOW! This kind of hunger lasted only a few weeks and subsided really quickly and I had enough control to still eat healthy and reasonably. What came after was a craving for sweets. First, light cravings that could be satisfied with 1 cookie, but the more I was giving into it, the more it was taking over me. Just like with any healthy food management, the less you have the less you want, and visa versa. Well, I think I got to the point where I was giving in more than I was comfortable with (nothing crazy for an average person, but definitely out of my comfort zone). It didn’t help that everyone thought that as a pregnant woman, I needed cupcakes and chocolate and ice cream ( including my husband). Seriously, people need to get a clue and stop tempting pregnant women- it’s hard enough for us to see our bodies grow and to feel tired most of the time, the last thing we want is to have the temptation of numerous nutritionally empty but awfully tasty snacks around our house. I just think it’s cruel- Impossible to resist! :) lol  Now that being said, by anyone else’s criteria I didn’t eat that many treats, but like I said I craved them more than was comfortable for me. Oh and btw, every single cookie or cupcake consumed above my limit has SURELY shown up on the scale. That one thing pregnancy doesn’t forgive – indulgences. So when I am complaining about losing weight (and I hope I don’t), remind me that it’s my own damn fault :)

BRAXTON HICKS

Expectations: I had absolutely no clue what they would feel like. I kept getting cramps and my OB thought I was having BH.

Reality: It’s exactly what everyone and books say: Tightening of your abdomen. For me they have been painless so far.

ENERGY/NESTING

Expectations: 2nd trimester means getting back to “normal” you,  a TON of energy, nesting instinct kicks in, everything is hunky dory.

Reality: Well, my body didn’t seem to be clued into the fact that I had reached my 2nd trimester, because not only was I still feeling sick and heartburny, that well-touted energy was nowhere to be found. I was just as exhausted as before. And even when my nausea subsided, I was getting hit with waves of tiredness for weeks. It wasn’t until the third trimester that I started feeling more energetic.

NAUSEA/MORNING SICKNESS

Expectations: 12-14 weeks and you’re done was what I thought.

Reality: Haha! Well, for me it was 16-18 weeks, and then closely followed by wicked heartburn and nausea after eating more than a few spoonfuls of ANYTHING. So nausea or no nausea, the suffering continued for another 4-6 weeks after the end of the first trimster

SKIN

Expectations: I was hoping that my terrible 1st trimester skin would clear up by the 2nd trimester when it’s no longer being bombarded by the hormones. I was also expecting the well known linea negra to appear some time soon.
Reality: My skin did clear up thankfully, but that was more towards the end of the 2nd trimester. However, 2nd trimester also brought an itchy rash- luckily it was nothing serious or permanent like PUPPS, but it still managed to annoy me for about 4-6 weeks. Also my whole upper body was all of a sudden getting covered in little broken capillaries. No linea negra as off yet.

FINDING OUT THE SEX

Expectations: We were waiting for the day when we could find out the sex of our baby. But it was more impatient childish curiosity than anything else. We had planned to have the reveal in a slightly less traditional way and had the u/s technician write it down on a piece of paper to be opened later.

Reality: You can watch the GENDER REVEAL video here. When it was time to find out whether we were having a boy or a girl, I got so much more emotional than I thought I’d be. At that moment I got hit with a realization that putting a name, a face and, let’s be honest, the right set of genitals on our baby made it so much more REAL that we’re actually having a baby. It was a very powerful moment!

STRETCH MARKS

Expectations: Hoping for none, but expecting some.

Reality: I know about 50% of women get their first stretchmarks in 2nd trimester, and luckily, I am not in that 50%. However, that is in no way a sign that I will not get them. It’s not like if you don’t get them in 2nd trimester they won’t be as bad ( ah! I wish). So I am hoping and moisturizing and praying to the pregnancy gods to let me survive this pregnancy without stretchmarks, but the truth is I won’t know until all is said and done and Alexis is here ( or sometimes after). So I’m doing all there is to do to prevent them, but trying not to think much of them, since well, I’ll either get them or not- not much I can do about it, except for moisturize and not gain crazy amounts of weight.

DIZZINESS

Expectations: I am prone to dizziness… At least I was a teenager. So I was fully expecting this one to show up

Reality: WHAT DIZZINESS? lol

LEG CRAMPS

Expectations: Leg cramps! Yes, I was definitely expecting those. I used to get them a few years ago at night and then they disappeared when I improved my nutrition.

Reality:  Nada! Seriously! Not a single one.I’ a bit surprised.  Of course, I religiously (and properly) take calcium and eat a varied nutritious diet, so I am thinking those two things saved me. The key to calcium supplements and calcium high foods is not to take more than 50% of DV, since your body cannot absorb more than 500mg at a time, anything you take over that will just go to waste. So I take a 500mg supplement in the morning, and then consume diary products at a different time of the day.

MOODINESS

Expectations: So I thought since I was not emotional during the 1st trimester, it would hit me in the 2nd trimester.

Reality:  Nope! Wrong again! I’m not sure why this particular symptom hasn’t gotten me. Maybe because we are doing everything we can to ensure a calm and happy pregnancy for Alexis’ sake, so I don’t have much to get upset about… Either way, my hubby is relieved that he doesn’t have to deal with a hormonal wife. I expect to start getting crabby once the back pain sets in and I’m in my last weeks.

GLUCOSE TEST

Expectations: I was expecting gross horribleness, possibly throwing up, possibly fainting, and having trouble drinking the overly sweet orange liquid.

Reality: For some reason, my doc had me drink only half the bottle. It wasn’t all that bad. The first few sips were actually enjoyable, like drinking flat orange soda (I don’t like gas bubbles, so it was even better for me). By the end, it was starting to get very unpleasant. Afterwards, I took it easy, had hubby drive me to the doctor’s, got my blood drawn and instantly stuffed myself with a whole grain (fake-)chicken sandwich. So overall, it was manageable. It did wipe me out  completely for the rest of the day, though.

And I never mentioned, but the results for blood glucose level came back normal at 89 (the threshold is 140)

SLEEP

Expectations: Bad sleep all throughout 2nd and third trimester. Fewer trips to the bathroom.

Reality: There was absolutely no difference between 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimester as to how often I have to get up to pee. It’s all the same: 3-4 times a night. Sleep got more difficult as the belly grew but as soon as I figured out comfortable positions supported by numerous pillows, in addition to a body pillow and a pregnancy pillow, everything settled down and I enjoyed every night of sleep

A few anticipated but missing symptoms

sciatic pain, swelling, round ligament pain, constipation.
Still expecting the first two in the 3rd trimester, along with back pain.

So there’s the low down on the 2nd trimester of a 1st timer. Overall, my 2nd trimester wasn’t that bad, but I’m definitely loving the third one better (for now).

How did your expectations differ from the reality of pregnancy the first time you were pregnant?
Was it easier or harder than you thought?

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Comments (22)

  • Tara

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    Love reading this! So interesting! So with being sick and nauseous did you get super sick of being sick? Or is it more manageable because you know its for a reason?

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Yes it definitely gets old. When it’s constant and non stop, even thinking about the fact that it’s because of the pregnancy/your baby doesn’t help.
      I know that even women who struggled with infertility are miserable during morning sickness. And that’s normal, I think. It’s just hard regardless of how much you love the baby or wanted to be pregnant. Everyone’s feelings are valid regardless of circumstances. But the good thing is you know it will end, so that’s what keeps you going. Luckily in the 2nd trimester it wasn’t so bad. I really feel for women who experience it for 9 months.

      Reply

  • Rachel

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    What a great post…I wish I’d been able to read it when I was pregnant because it’s so informative. I know everyone’s pregnancy is different so other women’s experiences will vary but it is great that you’re talking about what can be expected.
    Mine? Ha, I laugh at myself. I totally expected myself (and everyone else expected I would be too!) to be one of those glowing pregnant women who retain their pre-pregnancy body for the most part (and just have a little belly on the front) and are laughing and chipper and oozing maternal pride. I was sick. I was achey. I was nauseous the entire time. Everyone kept telling me, oh you’re almost out of the first trimester, it will go away then. Nope. Oh ok, I’ve heard it can go away at week 19. Nope. Oh well, guess it’s here for the duration. Guess what? It didn’t go away until I delivered the placenta!! I actually started worrying I’d be nauseous for the rest of my life because that’s all I’d known for almost a year!! And like you said in your comment above Elena, even though you’re pregnant with the child you’ve dreamed of and prayed for you just can’t make yourself not miserable when you’re feeling so sick! So I feel like I missed out on a lot during my pregnancy (Including keeping as good of records as you are..I had intended to, but that went bye bye after a while!) BUT the end result is SO worth it to me, so I won’t mourn my missed expectations and unexpected realities!

    Reply

  • Irina

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    You may not get any additional symptoms in the 3d trimester: i am at the very end of my pregnancy: 40 weeks (and getting to be overdue) and I did not really experience constipation, sciatic pain or much swelling in my pregnancy. I do drink a gallon a day and try to be active (walking) and it seems to really work for swelling. Just not too much walking! Knock on wood: I have not seen stretch marks yet (oh, I so hope they will not appear after the labor, but anything can happen) and I did gain 33 lbs… I was convinced that I would keep it at 25 and not eat any sweets (I normally do not have a huge sweet tooth) but I am finding my willpower has gone completely, and it seems that the body does gain what it wants/needs to gain…

    Best of luck in the 3d trimester and hope you have an easy time in the final few weeks!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Oh that’s reassuring! Hope my third trimester is pleasant. I do drink a ton of water and walk too- hope that helps.
      As far as weight, I also thought id gain 25 lbs which seems silly now because if you count what you’re supposed to gain weekly (3-6 lb first trimester and then 1 lb each week till the end) that adds up to 28-32 lbs without counting any extra you might accidentally gain. Luckily normal weight gain is 28-40lbs so you’re good.
      Good luck to you too and hope your little one comes soon

      Reply

  • ElenaTroupp

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    Oh it’s so interesting! I’m really glad you didn’t (and hopefully won’t) have some of really bad symptoms! :)
    Time flies so fast when it’s not you who’s pregnant lol :))))))

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Well, I had morning sickness – that was baaaad, but let’s hope the rest stays away. And yeah I’m sure to you my pregnancy seems to be flying :)))) it has been going faster since I hit my 3rd trimester.

      Reply

  • Lauren

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    Hello! Just started reading your blog a month or so ago and I have to ask: What did your rash look like? I am 16 weeks pregnant and just developed a horribly itchy one all over my upper abdomen. Was yours in a specific area? My nurse practitioner thought it might be a reaction to a new lotion I began using, now seeing that you had one I wonder.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Lauren,
      mine started on my boobs and then spread to my back and right below my boobs ( not exactly upper abdomen but the skin right under my boobs). It looked like a heat rash or something and was very itchy. I was very concerned it was Pupps ( especially starting this early in pregnancy- pupps usually starts in 3rd trimester). But since it seemed like it was mainly in the areas that are always covered with clothes ( I wear support/sleeping bras at home and pants but nothing else, and it was exactly in the location of my bra). So we first tried eliminating anything that could have caused it. I switched detergent to a different brand ( all free and clear), I stopped using Mother’s Blend oil, I changed the soaps to super organic natural soaps ( the hard soaps at whole foods without any fragrances- I picked out the olive oil one- check out the ingredients and pick the most natural one) and avoided super hot showers and the rash started to ease up SLOWLY and then within 2 weeks or so it was gone. So I still don’t know whether it was the measures I took, or it just ran through its course, but I would suggest you take the same steps and hopefully it’ll go away as well. Good Luck!

      Reply

      • Lauren

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        Thanks for the response Elena! I began using Burt’s Bees Mama Bees Belly Butter a couple days ago and mine began showing up two days after that. Small, red raised bumps on my upper abdomen and down my sides – pretty much everywhere I put the lotion. So frustrating when you buy something mainly natural to use and then you might be allergic to it! I plan to try some natural oatmeal baths and I’ll keep my fingers crossed mine will run it’s course as well!

        Reply

        • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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          I know some people are allergic to Bee’s Wax… I’d recommend Mama Mio Tummy Oil. I’ve been using it for a few weeks and in love with it! And the fact that it passed my “all natural, no harmful ingredients” test means a lot because I am very strict on that.
          It’s amazing how sensitive our skin is during pregnancy.

          Reply

  • Lauren

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    I’ll have to give that a try, thanks for the recommendation!

    Reply

  • MeganB.B.

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    Awesome post. :)
    A lot of those symptoms didn’t show up for me until week 34-ish.

    Reply

  • Lisa B

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    Are you really planning on getting an epidural? I thought I had read that somewhere, but it sems like it doesn’t fit at all with your organic, baby-focused planning. What kind of 2-3 hour/day preparation is needed if you plan on being numbed?

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      No I’m no longer planning on an epidural since I found a method that seems reasonably effective in dealing with pain , hence the intensive relaxation technique practice. However even a labor with an epidural can benefit from relaxation skills. And any type of labor could use daily kegels, labor muscles strengthening( essentially just strengthening exercises) and perineal massage.

      Reply

  • MelissaWhittaker

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    Darn it, my comment disappeared.

    I’ll make it shorter this time. Was strangely excited when I got my stretch marks (at about 36 weeks). Not so excited after baby was born to have them but I’m 8 months pp now and they’ve faded back to skinish color.

    Pregnancy was way rougher than I expected. Miserable doesn’t even begin to describe me. Sick or in pain the entire time. So much so that we’re stopping at one. Glad it’s not been so bad to you and that you’ve been able to handle any discomfort in a positive light.

    Good luck with the rest of the 3rd trimester!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I am not a fan of being pregnant. The first trimester was miserable, the second was better but still rough, the third is when I feel best so far. So I totally get what your saying.

      Reply

  • lisa_m_boyce

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    great post. maybe i’ll revisit it if/when i get preggers with a second!
    the first was like this:
    no morning sickness {i don’t know what i’ll do if i get with the next one!}
    leg cramps — BAD ones.. all night long. always. groin pain. ouch. was not fun.
    stretch marks – i had absolutely no stretch marks until AFTER the birth — and still, you know… they are barely noticeable.. and i honesty don’t care — it’s true when people say “once you see your child, you won’t care” — it puts everything in perspective: like — here i am with this magnificent little being.. who gives a crap about some faded marks on my belly! still — i do wish my boobs would have recuperated a little better.. but ah well. such is life!
    moodiness – i wasn’t moody — but i did cry a lot.. at happy things. at songs. at commercials. at pretty much everything. haha
    hunger – hit me in the last trimester.. at around 36weeks.. right around the time of my shower — i devoured my shower cake. say no to cake!!

    ps. looking great =) get ready to slide into home – almost there!

    Reply

  • Jessi

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    Great post. I got round ligament pain in the 3rd tri and they were really uncomfortable. It’s funny how when you first learn your pregnant it’s like, wow I have so far to go. And before you know it your 30 weeks and still have so much to do lol. I’m interested to see your birth plan. We didn’t really have one, I just wanted Alexis here and safe and healthy by whatever means. I know you have certain things you want, like an hour bonding time. I’m curious to read that. Welcome to the almost end of your pregnancy :) you make me want to be prego again lol

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Oh thank you! I don’t know that I’ll wish to be pregnant again but it’s definitely nice to be almost done.
      I am very flexible on a lot of things when it comes to birth but I have a few strong points (mostly have to do with Alexis)

      Reply

  • 16392941035300804724

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    My first two babies were horrible while this time I have pretty much no symptoms at all.

    Reply

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