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For many mums-to-be, the second trimester is the most enjoyable and comfortable phase of pregnancy. The morning sickness has probably gone, and you don’t have the physical discomfort of a huge belly and extra baby weight yet. A few discomforts can occur, however. The most common second trimester offenders are constipation, haemorrhoids, and round ligament pain.

Meanwhile, your baby continues to grow and develop, and if you’re like many pregnant women, you might be lucky and have a bit more energy during weeks 14 to 27.

Your Baby’s Development in the Second Trimester

In the second trimester of pregnancy, development continues upon the foundation set in the first trimester. During this trimester, your little one goes from being the size of a nectarine to that of a cauliflower, and this growth spurt becomes more visible as your belly grows, and more tangible as you start to feel movement in the second trimester.

Each week of the second trimester of pregnancy will bring something new. In week 14, for example, your little one will start practicing sucking and swallowing motions (maybe even sucking that little thumb at this early stage), and facial features like eyes and ears will start to take up their normal positions. In the sixth month of pregnancy, your little one’s heartbeat will be loud enough to hear through a stethoscope; he’ll start to have a sleep-wake cycle and might even find a preferred sleeping position. His ears will be developed enough that he can hear, so feel free to sing or read to him.

What You Can Expect in the Second Trimester

Many exciting things happen in the second trimester. 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. 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.

Along with unsolicited advice from strangers, you may encounter some second trimester symptoms as well. These could include feeling out of breath, dizzy spells, backaches, high blood pressure, constipation, haemorrhoids, round ligament pain, and trouble sleeping.

  • Combating Constipation
    The shift in hormones during pregnancy decreases the activity of your gastrointestinal tract. Also, as the baby grows, he pushes into your large intestine. All this can lead to constipation. Luckily, slight changes in your diet can help get things moving, so drink plenty of water, and eat more fibre (such as prunes, bran cereal, and vegetables). Exercise each day. Take into account your fitness level and how you are feeling, but remember, even a 15-minute walk will help improve blood circulation and strengthen your muscles. Don't take an over-the-counter laxative without checking with your doctor first.

  • Help for Haemorrhoids
    Haemorrhoids, enlarged veins in the rectum, commonly develop during pregnancy because of the increased pressure in that area. Because haemorrhoids tend to get worse as the baby gets bigger, treating them at the first sign of discomfort can help keep them under control later on. Avoid standing for long periods of time, and try warm baths to help relieve the pain. Preventing constipation is important because the less you need to strain to pass a bowel movement (and the softer your stools), the better. If nothing works, ask your healthcare provider about medication.

  • Round Ligament Pain
    If you experience pain or cramping in your groin area, chances are it's the result of round ligament pain. As the uterus grows, the ligaments that hold it in place in your abdomen have to stretch, and this stretching can cause pain. Unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do to ease round ligament pain, but if the pain becomes intense, contact your physician. Groin or abdominal pain during pregnancy can also be a sign of a possible complication, so your doctor will need to rule out anything serious.

Even though you’ve been pregnant for a while now, it’s still a big adjustment, so it’s completely natural to experience mood swings. Look on the bright side: after all the ups and downs of the second trimester, you’ll head into the final stretch – the third trimester.

What to Keep in Mind for the Second Trimester

At around the halfway mark – week 20 – you’ll probably have an ultrasound scan to check the health of the baby and to confirm your due date. Spoiler alert: if you want to, you can also find out your baby’s gender during this scan.

Continuing your healthy pregnancy diet is important in the second trimester. With any luck, your healthy appetite will have returned, but you shouldn’t actually ‘eat for two’.

Use your extra energy by beginning or continuing your exercise routine. Check with your doctor first, but walking, swimming and some prenatal yoga could be good pregnancy exercise options.

Often the 2nd trimester sees parents start to buy baby clothes and decorating the nursery. You can also start thinking about baby names, which is where the Pampers Baby Name Generator can help. Have fun with all the preparations.