The second trimester officially starts at pregnancy week 14, or about 12 weeks after you conceived. Here are the best parts:
1. Gender reveal! Unless you had genetic testing done that told you baby’s sex in the first trimester, the second trimester ultrasound between weeks 18-20 is when most parents learn the gender of baby they’re having (or choose not to)! If you want to know the baby’s gender the technician will look for either the “triangle sign” (the penis and scrotum form a kind of triangle) or a “turtle sign” (also known as the “hamburger sign”) – the three vertical lines that form the labia. If you don’t want to know the baby’s gender make sure that the technician knows this so he or she can tell you to look away from the screen.
2. New clothes! After about week 16 (if not sooner) you’ll find your pre-pregnancy pants, skirts and dresses simply don’t fit around you any more. You’ll need at least a few basic pieces to dress your bump the 6 1/2 months yet to come (and possibly for a few months postpartum, too). Jeans with pockets, shirts that don’t ride up or bind and some maternity/nursing bras to fit your new chest proportions are a must.
3. Movement! Most women will feel their first flutters of fetal movement between 15-20 weeks.
4. Luxuriant hair! Hormonal changes cue your head hairs to not shed at the rate they normally would, plus increased blood flow and oil production on your scalp mean thick, shiny tresses. Hormones can also make straight hair turn curly, or curly hair get flatter.
5. Less nausea! Most (though unfortunately not all) women report that their vomiting and nausea improves during the second trimester. The queasy-making symptoms appear to be the body’s natural reflex to keep dangerous chemicals away from the baby, and they tend to get better when the the placenta takes over your digestive system’s job of filtering nutrients and regulating hormones.
6. Better sex! Many women say that sex during the second trimester in the best of their lives. Increased blood flow to the pelvis means more sensation, plus you don’t have to worry about getting pregnant.
7. More energy! The placenta taking over hormone production also means your organs don’t have to work quite as hard as they did during the first trimester. That doesn’t mean you’ll want to abandon pregnancy naps altogether, but you’ll feel a whole lot better.
[photo (c): Dana’s Pink Ribbon]