So you’ve reached the second trimester and hopefully, any ickiness will have faded and you will be feeling more energetic too. The second trimester is the best period of your pregnancy as you ditch those early pregnancy symptoms and you feel it’s safe to announce it to the World it starts to feel more real; especially when you feel those first flutters of movement!
Here’s my list of things to consider in your second trimester:
Where to give birth
If you haven’t already given it any thought now is the time to consider where you would like to give birth and also who you would like to care for you. In some hospitals, there are Midwifery Led units attached to the main labour suite areas so literally down one corridor you can have options of pool births, twinkly lights and aromatherapy and on the next corridor will be epidurals and theatres for caesarean sections. In some areas, there are smaller stand-alone Midwifery Led units with a natural birth focus and then there is also the option of home birth where the midwife comes to you. Everyone’s circumstances are different and there may be reasons why you need to give birth in the hospital as opposed to at home but you have the right to choose so it’s important that you voice your choice and discuss your options when you meet with your midwife/Doctor.
When it comes to who you want to care for you in the NHS this will be a Midwife unless you have any complications then your care will be under a Consultant in the hospital or they may share your care so you will have appointments with both of them throughout your pregnancy. When it comes to giving birth you will be cared for by a Midwife during labour with Doctors only becoming involved in your care if there are any complications. There is also another option of paying for a Private Midwife, these Midwives offer a continuity of care and dedicate longer and more frequent appointments so you can create a bond with them. They offer different packages of care and can work with you in conjunction with the NHS.
Another option to consider is a Doula; this is a supportive person that you can employ in addition to seeing a Midwife. A Doula cannot deliver your baby or give any clinical care but they are really good as a birth partner to guide you through labour and some also offer support in the postnatal period too.
Antenatal tests and Scans
The second trimester is a busy time for tests and scans, if you’ve not already had it by now you will be offered your first scan at the hospital by 14 weeks, this is to confirm your pregnancy and calculate your official due date according to the size of your baby. It’s obviously the first opportunity you will have to see your baby and listen to their heartbeat so it’s a special moment and all hospitals now provide you with scan photos (although you will have to pay for these) You will also be offered a blood test after the scan to screen for Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s syndromes so it’s important to give consideration to these tests before deciding whether or not to have them done.
At 20 weeks there is a second scan offered through the NHS and this time it is all about checking for any abnormalities. It is a detailed scan as the sonographer looks at your baby’s organs and takes various measurements; they are looking to check for 11 different conditions some of which are very rare. This is the scan where if they’re lying in a suitable position you may be able to find out the sex of your baby but it’s important to realise that this is not the prime reason for the scan and also that the scan is optional so you can choose not to have it at all.
For some women, depending on your risk factors you are also offered a glucose tolerance test at around 24-28 weeks to check for gestational diabetes, this involves a blood test, followed by drinking a sugary drink, resting for 2 hours and then having another sample of blood taken to determine how your body is dealing with the glucose.
Finally, at 28 weeks everyone is offered another blood test to check your iron levels and antibody status so you can end up feeling like a pin cushion by the end of the second trimester!
You may have spent hours scouring the internet for information on pregnancy and birth but this can be unnerving because there is a lot of scaremongering out there and incorrect advice so don’t believe everything you read! It is a good idea to prepare for birth just in the same way that you would prepare for any other big life-changing event, that way you feel prepared which helps to ease the nerves. It’s important to have an understanding of the process of labour, what happens to your body and coping strategies including pain relief options.
Some hospitals or community Midwives offer free antenatal classes and these vary in availability and quality so it’s best to get recommendations from other local mums. There are private options to consider such as the NCT but bear in mind that the teachers may not be Midwives or be aware of how your local hospital practices. There are also now plenty of smaller independent businesses setting up offering classes – some actually run by local NHS Midwives (as their own businesses).
An alternative (or some women see them as an additional option) is to attend a HypnoBirthing class, this is where you learn specific techniques based on visualisation and hypnotherapy – this is a great tool to use to help keep you calm and relaxed throughout labour which produces some great results.
The ideal time to attend classes is around 30-34 weeks but these classes get booked up quickly so you need to be researching now and making contact with the provider to reserve your place.
Choosing the Pram
This is one of the pinnacle points in pregnancy for a lot of women and one of the most stressful for others; with so much choice out there I’ve heard many parents saying its worse than buying a car!
So this is something that’s worth starting to consider in the second trimester so you have the time to research and visit stores to try out the prams for size. Consider the height of you and your partner, size of your car boot, the weight and ease of folding rather than just being swayed by the cute designs! There are Baby Shows up & down the Country throughout the year and this is the ideal way to see lots of prams in one place plus they have special offers so you can often pick up some bargains along the way.
Places for babies with nurseries and childminders are highly sought after, so if you’re going to need childcare such as this for your baby you do need to start researching now by visiting providers and putting your name onto waiting lists.
Movements Feeling your baby move is so special – it makes it all real and helps you to bond with your little one. You’ll start to feel movements at around 18-20 weeks- maybe a little later if this is your first baby and you’ll recognise them as fluttering type feelings.
You may have got through your first trimester in your normal clothing but during the second trimester, your body will change week by week as both your bump and breasts grow. It’s important to wear a supportive bra that fits comfortably – soft bras are great because they will accommodate your growing breasts. There’s a growing choice of maternity clothes out there to suit all budgets and styles but if you choose wisely and mix with some of your normal clothing you don’t need to spend a lot.
Being pregnant is a very busy time as you prepare for baby’s arrival with many parents-to-be opting to do large DIY projects whilst others decide to move house. There’s this feeling of wanting everything to be absolutely perfect for little one's arrival and you can end up putting pressure on yourselves and creating stress just to achieve these goals. It’s also easy to lose sight of your relationship with your partner in all of this mayhem, so late on in the second trimester is the ideal time to take a “Babymoon” with your other half. It’s that last holiday together to celebrate your relationship before your baby arrives (and life will never be the same again!!). So whether you choose a fortnight abroad, a city break or a weekend in the countryside try to enjoy a getaway with your special person to relax and enjoy some quality time together.
Thanks for reading
Jane – The Midwife x
For more blogs on pregnancy, birth and life as a new mum please visit www.naturalbirthingcompany.com/blogs/news
During your pregnancy factors may come into play that results in you requiring different advice – in these circumstances, you should seek direct advice from you own Midwife/Doctor according to your situation.
If you are unsure about anything or have any concerns whilst pregnant please speak to your Midwife.