Welcome to your second trimester—soon you’ll be halfway to term! During this trimester, your little one grows from the size of a peach to an eggplant. You’ll have more energy, feel less sick and be hungry! At 13 weeks, your placenta starts producing the hormones that maintain your pregnancy, and it gives baby oxygen and nutrition and removes waste.

You begin to ‘show’, happily trading jeans for maternity yoga pants!

Other changes can include:

An energy burst—ask your nurse what exercises you can continue or begin in pregnancy.

Lower back pain as your uterus grows and changes your center of gravity

Soreness or twinges along the sides of your belly as your uterus stretches and moves higher in your abdomen

Nasal stuffiness or even snoring from increased hormones and blood flow; soothe with saline nose drops and a humidifier

Varicose veins in your legs—even your vagina, from relaxed blood vessels and slower circulation; elevate your legs or wear support or compression stockings

Itchy skin or stretch marks; belly butters and balms can ease the itching Around weeks 17-20 you may be surprised by flutters in your belly—that’s your baby moving! More exciting is your second trimester ultrasound. Will you try to learn whether you’re having a girl or boy?

Gestational Diabetes

Between weeks 24-28, you’ll be checked for the most common pregnancy complication: gestational diabetes. As many as 1 in 10 women develop diabetes in pregnancy. You’ll drink a sweet liquid and have your blood drawn at 1 hour. If your 1-hour test is high, you’ll do a similar 3-hour test, but only 1 in 3 women who need that test will have gestational diabetes.

Around 27 weeks, ask for the Tdap vaccine, which protects against pertussis (whooping cough). Newborns can’t get vaccinated against pertussis until they’re 2-3 months old and pertussis can be deadly in infants. Also, get a flu shot in pregnancy before flu season—this vaccine is safe in any trimester.

Your baby’s heart is beating fast in the second trimester—about 140-150 beats/minute, which is normal. She’s sucking and swallowing amniotic fluid as she prepares for nursing. Don’t be surprised when you feel her hiccups! Her lungs are exhaling amniotic fluid, preparing for those first breaths after birth. Your baby can recognize your voices and will respond to them at birth.

Nutrition Know-How

  • Hydration is key; drink at least 8,  8-ounce glasses of water a day plus more during exercise
  • Minimize heartburn by skipping spicy or heavy meals, acidic fruits like tomatoes or eating late at night
  • Take in an extra 250 calories a day in the second trimester—up to 350 calories in the 3rd trimester—to maintain steady weight gain
  • Pick high-protein snacks like eggs, nuts, cheese sticks or hummus
  • Fill up on fiber in beans, bran or berries to keep your bowels regular

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