Hello from your friendly, if occasionally grumpy, pregnancy High Tea Caster. Last month I told you all about the things I learnt from my first trimester of pregnancy as a first time mum. The learning didn’t stop there though. Here’s what I’ve leant this trimester.
Your 20 week scan rocks
I loved my 20 week scan. Partly because I wanted to know the sex (it’s a boy!) but also because I got to see so many details – from his little feet to a close up of his thigh bone! It lasts longer than your 12 week scan which is good – often this is the last NHS scan of your pregnancy.
You don’t have to buy everything new
The second trimester is a good time to start making lists of things you need. This is terrifying. But it doesn’t have to cost thousands, or even hundreds. Partly because lots of people will trip over themselves to give you stuff cluttering up their garage, for free or a cheap price. I’ve had boxes of clothing, moses baskets, a cot, a breast pump (just make sure you sterilise it when you get it), a sterilisation kit, and nappies that a friend’s baby grew out of before they had a chance to use them. Most things you can buy second hand. The only exceptions are car seats (as you don’t want one that may have already been in a crash) and mattresses. We ended up picking up an entire travel system, buggy and car seat, for £65 as it was an ex display model in Babies R Us. It had been on display for just one day.
SPD can be a pain in the bum (literally)
There are lots of things I didn’t realise occurred during pregnancy to the body. For me, one of those things was SPD – symphysis pubis dysfunction. This was something I affectionately called ‘kicked in the vadge pain’, as it felt exactly like I’d been kicked there or had been bareback horse riding for five hours straight. There are ways to ease SPD (sleeping with a pillow between your knees, keeping your legs closed as much as possible and physio), but if it’s left too late or severe, it can lead to you spending the last few months of your pregnancy on crutches or in a wheelchair. Yay pregnancy.
Pregnancy pillows are the best inventions
After one bedtime tantrum about not being able to sleep, my husband slipped out of bed for half an hour. I assumed he was trying to escape my past-8pm crankiness for a few minutes, but the real reason arrived in the post a few days later – a giant pregnancy pillow. I love this pillow. In fact, I don’t think people should have to wait until pregnancy to get one. It’s incredibly comfortable, and my sleeping has improved so much since getting one. Sure, my husband only gets 30% of the bed now, but he also gets a quiet, whine free night.
The hormonal rollercoaster
I expected tears. My friends and family joke that I’m a bit dead inside as I rarely cry – so I kind of expected to be tearing up over baby adverts and puppies. That hasn’t happened. What I didn’t expect was to have days, and even weeks, where I felt very low. Thanks to hormones and a sh*tload of pregnancy symptoms, pregnancy has felt very overwhelming at times. In fact, one thing a lot of mums don’t easily tell you (but a lot secretly feel) is that you’ll sometimes have the thought “Is this a mistake, will I regret having this baby?”. I’ve even spoken to women who have tried for years to get pregnant, but have felt this feeling. Thankfully it’s not constant – there are plenty of times when you feel great, positive and excited. And every mum I’ve spoken to that had those fleeting feelings, went on to fall completely in love with their baby and love motherhood.
As your bump becomes more prominent, the chances of having someone touch your tummy without asking increase. It’s weird. There’s no other time in life when strangers will just lunge to touch you. No acceptable one anyway. As someone who has never had a flat tummy, the idea of anyone other than close friends and family touching my tummy makes me feel very uncomfortable. Thankfully most people are fairly ok with you saying “oh sorry, I don’t really feel comfortable with people touching my tummy”. Or a subtle smack of their hand does the job too.
Baby On Board badges don’t always work
TFL offer a free Baby On Board badge for when you’re on public transport. Generally, women are brilliant at getting up and giving you a seat. But there have been plenty of times too when someone in the allocated seats clearly sees the badge but pretends they haven’t. I don’t ask for a seat (mainly due to this Buzzfeed article), but there are reasons why pregnant women need those seats. It’s not down to being lazy or tired. Often it’s because we’re more likely to faint, will cause damage to the baby if we lose our footing and fall (our sense of balance sucks) and because standing up can cause us serious pain (especially for those of us suffering with SPD).
Weight gain isn’t automatic
I started out pregnancy as a size 16, and did have a concern about gaining lots more weight. But babies are clever. They take what they need from your body, and you get the leftovers. So I only put on 4lbs in the first trimester, and 4 more in the second trimester. The ‘safe’ weight gain for my weight is 11-20lbs during the pregnancy, and I hear you pile on most of it during the last trimester, so I should be within the safe zone. Your body adds what it needs to, and as long as he or she is the right weight at your scans, everything is good.
Symptoms can come and go
You’re told that certain symptoms will disappear after a few months. Take morning sickness for example. For me, the nausea didn’t truly go until five months. I find the tiredness definitely comes and goes – some weeks I want to go to bed at 7pm every night, others I feel like I’m full of energy. The nicest thing about the second trimester though, is when the bloating shifts and the bump starts to arrive. Bizarrely, the bump at this stage feels a lot lighter than all that bloating in the first three months that can make you feel sluggish. Often I’ll forget I’m pregnancy until I look down and see the belly, or feel the little guy kicking away.
On the kicking topic, don’t freak out if you don’t feel them until later on. I didn’t really feel mine until 21 weeks, and I know people who didn’t until 23 weeks.
You’re public property
Other parents have told me this starts in pregnancy and carries on throughout parenthood – suddenly being public property. Suddenly people tell you what you should eat, what you should do, what you should buy, how you should give birth – and usually this happens without you asking for their input.
What did you learn in your second trimester?
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