Good news! Many women find the second trimester of pregnancy to be the easiest and most enjoyable. Morning sickness typically begins to ease, you can feel the baby move, and your belly becomes noticeable. There’s a lot to love about the second trimester, and it’s a great time to focus on your own well-being.
How many calories should a pregnant woman eat?
During the second trimester, your little one is growing rapidly. To fuel you and baby through this growth, you’ll need to add about 340 calories per day. That’s only about the equivalent of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. So be careful not to overeat as you add extra calories. Try incorporating some of these healthy snack ideas into your daily routine and check out The Art of Eating for more info about nutrition.
Preparing for Doctor Visits
You’ll begin regular prenatal care visits to your doctor during the second trimester. The frequency varies, but it’s common to have appointments every 4 weeks. Download the doctor visit checklist to help you prepare for appointments. During these appointments, your doctor will take lots of measurements for both you and baby. If you’re experiencing issues, such as nasal discomfort or continued morning sickness, be sure to let your doctor know.
Should You Share the News?
Many people wait until the 13th week before telling friends and family that they are expecting. This is because statistics show the rate of miscarriage drops dramatically during the second trimester. The decision of when to tell people the news is very personal, and there are many individual factors to consider. Whatever you decide, remember that the right answer is the one you’re most comfortable with.
Your little one is making major developments during this time—and some you can even feel. How exciting! As you continue to go to appointments, be sure to let your doctor know how you’re feeling and what you’re experiencing.
There’s A Lot to Know About You & Baby
By this time, you may be able to determine a lot of information about you and your baby. An ultrasound or sonogram can reveal:
Your doctor will take note of these factors and keep track of how things are developing. In future appointments, they will measure growth and change in many of these areas.
Your Next Doctor Visit—When to See a Doctor When Pregnant?
Sometime around the 18th week of pregnancy is a common period for a prenatal doctor appointment. Be sure to download the doctor visit checklist to help you prepare. During this appointment, the doctor will measure things like baby’s size, movement, blood pressure, and heartbeat. You may even have the joy of hearing your baby’s heartbeat (if you haven’t already) through the use of a Doppler instrument.
Fat Intake During Pregnancy
Fat is important for your baby’s development, but not all fats are the same. According to the American Heart Association, the majority of the fats you consume should come from unsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are especially important during pregnancy. Be sure to check the nutrition labels of foods for these fats and try to avoid trans fats as much as possible. Read more about nutrition in The Art of Eating.
Have you felt your little one moving yet? If you haven’t, you probably will very soon. Your baby is developing very rapidly and starting to gain senses and move around in the womb. You might even feel a little hiccup from your baby.
Baby Movement - Breathing, Hearing, and Kicking in Belly
By now, your baby’s limbs are well developed, and their brain is moving their limbs, both voluntarily and involuntarily—and you can feel it! They can also hear things both inside and outside your body. Your little one is hearing things like your heartbeat, your stomach gurgling, your voice, and the voices of others. So, go ahead and sing a song to your baby—they can hear you!
Iron and Anemia in Pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body produces more blood to help support the growth of your baby. Because of this, your body requires more iron and other nutrients to keep up with the increased blood production. If you do not have enough iron in your diet, you may develop anemia—a condition in which your blood doesn’t have enough red blood cells to deliver oxygen to you and your baby. If your doctor determines you have anemia, you may be required to add iron into your diet via a supplement or diet alteration.
You’re probably planning a visit to your doctor for another prenatal visit around the 22nd week of pregnancy. Here’s what you can expect:
Swollen Gums & Gingivitis During Pregnancy
Of all the things to consider during pregnancy, oral health may not be the first thing on your list. But it’s common for pregnant women to experience swollen, tender, or even bleeding gums. This is because you have increased progesterone hormone levels, which can make you more susceptible to developing the bacterial plaque that impacts gum health. Be sure to practice good oral health, eat a healthy diet, and visit your dentist to help combat gingivitis during pregnancy.
A healthy mom gives baby the best chance of being healthy. Take some time to make sure you’re on track with your weight, stress levels, and nutrition. You and your doctor should be tracking several health indicators to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.
Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy
During a prenatal doctor visit, you may undergo a glucose screening to determine if you’re at risk for gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a condition in which you have high blood sugar levels during pregnancy, despite having normal blood sugar levels before pregnancy. You can still have a healthy baby if you have gestational diabetes. If it’s determined that you have gestational diabetes, your doctor will work with you to manage your blood sugar levels during pregnancy.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are not uncommon during a pregnancy. This is because the uterus sits directly on top of the bladder. As your uterus grows during pregnancy, its increased weight can block drainage of the bladder and lead to infection. Symptoms of a UTI include:
If you experience some or all of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.
How to choose a pediatrician?
Many pregnant women will begin their search for a pediatrician around this time. Having to interview and select a physician while you’re managing a newborn can be time consuming. So, choosing a pediatrician while you’re still pregnant may ease the stress of parenthood after the baby has been born. Because every parent is different, it’s important to know what matters most to you in choosing a doctor for your baby. In addition to our pediatrician checklist(PDF, 75 KB), you can also check out these recommendations from Parents.com for helping you make the right choice.
Joint & Hip Pain During Pregnancy—Be a Little Extra Careful
As you progress through pregnancy, it’s common to feel as if your joints and ligaments have loosened or weakened. This is because your body is releasing the hormone relaxin. As you move closer to labor, this is your body’s way of opening up your pelvis to deliver your little one. Because your joints are a little looser, you’ll want to be extra careful as you go through your day-to-day activities—especially if you’re doing exercise like yoga, Pilates, or other fitness regimens. As always, consult your physician before making changes to your exercise routine.
What is Normal Weight Gain During Pregnancy?
With all the information out there about diet, nutrition, and weight, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. Just remember that it’s never too late to start a healthy diet plan, no matter how much you weigh. For more on healthy eating during pregnancy, see our prenatal nutrition guide. A certain amount of weight gain is completely normal, and you shouldn’t necessarily be discouraged by what you see on the scale. As always, consult your doctor if you think your weight is unhealthy.
Ok, pregnancy isn’t always pleasant. Heartburn, constipation, and Braxton Hicks Contractions all become common concerns for women as they head into the third trimester of pregnancy. But, don’t worry, you got this. Read on to learn how you can manage some of these events.
Managing Heartburn and Constipation in Pregnancy
Your expanding uterus and hormonal changes may be causing you to experience some digestive issues. Your diet and nutrition during this period can have a big impact on addressing these issues. But there are some things you can do to help relieve or reduce the symptoms of pregnancy-induced heartburn and constipation. See our guide for managing these conditions.
Preterm Labor vs. Braxton Hicks Contractions During Second Trimester
According to the Mayo Clinic, Preterm Labor occurs when regular contractions result in the opening of your cervix after week 20 and before week 37 of pregnancy and can result in premature birth. If you think you’re experiencing preterm labor, call your healthcare professional or call 911. Even if you’re unsure, call your doctor just to be safe. In contrast to Preterm Labor signs, Braxton Hicks Contractions are irregular, weak contractions that vary in length and intensity and typically stop when you rest, walk, or change positions.
Consult your physician for help determining the difference between preterm labor and Braxton Hicks Contractions.
You and Baby Are a Team. Take Care of the Both of You.
You and your little one are on this journey together. So while you’re taking care of baby, also make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Be aware of how you’re feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally. Drink plenty of water, follow nutrition guides, go for walks to relieve stress, and find support groups of other parents that understand what you’re going through. Sometimes it’s nice to hear that other people have had the same experiences you’re having—the good ones and the not-so-good ones.
Ease of second trimester. Mayo Clinic website. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/prenatal-care/art-20044581
Best time to tell people about pregnancy. Healthline website. https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/when-to-announce-your-pregnancy#first-prenatal-visit
Fat in diet. What to Expect website. https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/fat-in-diet/
Anemia in pregnancy. WebMd website. https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/anemia-in-pregnancy#1
Gingivitis during pregnancy. Healthline website. https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/gingivitis#treatment
Loose joint. What To Expect website. https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/labor-signs#joints
Glucose Screening. Mayo Clinic website. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/glucose-tolerance-test/about/pac-20394296
Gestational diabetes. WebMD website. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/gestational-diabetes-guide/gestational-diabetes#1
Urinary tract infections during pregnancy. American Pregnancy website. https://americanpregnancy.org/womens-health/urinary-tract-infection/
How to select a pediatrician. Parent Magazine website. https://www.parents.com/baby/care/pediatricians-medicine/how-to-select-a-pediatrician/
Preterm labor. Mayo Clinic website. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/preterm-labor/symptoms-causes/syc-20376842
Braxton Hicks Contractions. What to Expect Website. https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/symptoms-and-solutions/braxton-hicks-contractions.aspx
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