Welcome to my second trimester and associated learning curves. This trimester is famous for being the most pleasant for pregnant women and it was for me too, but only when looking back.
Not only was I out of the fragile first trimester, but this is when I started to actually look pregnant. Looking pregnant had a few advantages like more doors being opened for me, but also more creepy stares at my body. This is also when unsolicited advice starts being dumped upon pregnant women. Personally I received very little advice from strangers, but I also didn’t bring attention to my fetus, I avoided bringing up any pregnancy-related topics and I have apparently improved my RBF. If you too are wanting to avoid “helpful” suggestions from strangers I wholly recommend you work on being as expressionless in public as possible. It’s peaceful even though it feels unfriendly.
With that in mind, let’s get this show on the road.
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What I Wish I Knew #1 – Back Pain
I looked forward to the famous second trimester energy, but did not expect a loss in sitting stamina. After about 20 minutes sitting up my spine would just ache. So sitting hurt. Also standing for too long hurt. And laying down required a personal pillow fort. Oy vey.
The yoga poses Cat and Cow helped a bit, but I only used those stretches before and after sleeping. Otherwise I simply squirmed and repositioned my back for temporary relief. I survived by limiting my daily errands (so that I could be on my way home when the pain started to bother me), and leaning heavily on any armrest. I didn’t take any pain relievers because I knew that the discomfort would only increase as the baby grew. For what it’s worth, I didn’t use wax when I had braces either – if something is uncomfortable I have learned that it’s easier to just deal with it than to avoid. Unpopular opinion? Yes. Works for me? Yes. Do what works for you!
What I Wish I Knew #2 – Foot Pain
Changes to foot size are common, but I wanted to avoid gaining a shoe size. Many nights I would begin unwinding by lying on my back in bed and putting my feet up in the air to help drain fluids. This was easily done in earlier weeks.
As the weeks marched on I realized that I could not. I would be on my feet for about 20 minutes before they started visibly swelling and hurting. Some of this was due to season and location – Alabama in July is not a cool place. Normally I enjoy walking, but being on my feet long enough to buy groceries became my new limit. I finally put away my Tieks and bought some simple sneakers like these that I wouldn’t mind stretching out.
What I Wish I Knew #3 – Unpredictable Stomach Capacity
The beginning of my second trimester was heralded by my food aversions (mostly) lifting. And being able to eat non-salads again was a joy; as if blinders were removed and I could again roam free in any restaurant or drive thru.
It wasn’t all sunshine though. While I loved enjoying food again, my internal food space was soon occupied by a certain baby. Some days I could eat a ton of food and still have room for dessert, but other days I would be full after a glass of water and a bite of spaghetti. I just started ordering meals in a to-go box so I could eat one bite and be ready to take the rest home.
What I Accidentally got Right #1 – Borrowing a Pregnancy Body Pillow
I was unsure if I wanted to buy a giant pillow. Would it really make a difference? Why not just put a spare pillow between my knees? Would it be worth the space it would take up in the bed? Would I like a big C Shape or want a little wedge instead?
Well, turns out I didn’t need to fret at all. Mister Jupiter was offered a loaner pillow that he accepted on my behalf. At first I was skeptical, especially since it took up so much of the bed. But the moment I laid in it I was instantly comfortable. My bump was supported, my spine was in a neutral position, and I slept well. I used a U-shaped pillow like this. This was a game changer – and highly recommended.
What I Accidentally got Right #2 – Keeping a Dedicated Notepad for Doctor’s Visits
I’m one of those people who loves paper products, and had a fresh notepad on-hand when I decided to write down questions for my obstetrician. The process is simple:
- Choose note taking media (like these mini magnetic clipboards)
- Write any questions – leave space between each query for the answers
- Take notepad (or journal, Steno-pad, etc.) to your appointment
- Record relevant information, then take back home and keep in a safe place
- Prepare next page for new questions or concerns
- Enjoy having a written reference to your questions handy
I used a mini clipboard and the top of each page clearly stated
- the date and time of my appointment
- my weight
- my blood pressure
- new info like fundal height
Below these constants were my questions like “best time for flu shot?” “broken water or incontinence?” and I would scribble responses below the question.
Recording my own health data let me see the same trends my doctor did; like steadily increasing weight (normal and healthy), plus my slowly increasing blood pressure (within normal ranges). Writing questions as they surface is great because I usually forgot about them by the next appointment, but since it was recorded I remembered to ask. Whew!
This post is part of my “What I Wish I Knew About the __ Trimester” series.
Need a different trimester? Here you go:
- First Trimester (weeks 1-13)
- Second Trimester (weeks 14-27)
- Third Trimester (weeks 28-40)
- Fourth Trimester (first three months postpartum)