Parenting Tips and Advice

My Kinda' Living > Parenting > Pregnancy

Second Trimester Worries: Do's and Don'ts

The worries that had you pacing the floor during your first trimester are now ancient history. Does this mean you can finally put the worry beads away? Probably not. Here are just a few of the worries that you may find yourself battling during the second trimester of pregnancy.

1. I'm 16 weeks pregnant and I haven't felt the baby move yet. Should I be worried? While you can expect to feel your baby's movements at some point during the second trimester, you shouldn't necessarily assume that Junior will be doing somersaults by week 16. More often than not, the first flutters aren't felt until sometimes between the 18th and 22nd weeks of pregnancy. Slimmer moms and moms who've been pregnant before may detect fetal movement a little sooner than this, however, and the location of the placenta can also affect how much movement you feel. (If it's at the front of your uterus, it will tend to cushion your baby's movements – something that could make it hard for you to notice Junior's intrauterine gymnastic performances!)

2. I keep having dreams about giving birth to a severely deformed baby. Is this “mother's intuition” at work? It's not unusual to experience disturbing dreams during pregnancy. Sleep researchers pin much of the blame on pregnancy hormones, which can affect your sleep patterns. Fortunately, these dreams don't necessarily indicate that there's a problem with your baby's health. You're no more at risk of giving birth to a baby with health problems than someone who dreams of picture-perfect Gerber babies.

3. I'm just starting my second trimester and I've already gained 10 lbs. At this rate, I'm going to be huge! While a “typical” pregnant woman tends to gain somewhere between three and five pounds during her first trimester, it's not unusual to gain a little less or – in your case – a little more. Rather than getting overly hung up on the number on the scale, focus on eating reasonable quantities of healthy foods and aim for a more gradual weight gain during the remainder of your pregnancy.

4. Last night when I rolled over in bed, I felt this ripping sensation in my lower abdomen. Is this normal? The sensation you're describing is round ligament pain – pain that results from the sudden stretching of the round ligaments (the two large ligaments that attach your uterus to your pelvis). It tends to be at its worst between the 14th and 20th weeks of pregnancy, when your uterus is heavy but not yet large enough to rest any of its weight on the pelvic bones (something that typically happens during the second half of the second trimester). Round ligament pain can be alarming (and painful!), but it's nothing to worry about.

5. Sometimes when I'm out for a walk, I feel my abdomen tighten and harden. Should I be concerned? What you're experiencing are mild contractions triggered by physical activity. They can be worrying and uncomfortable, but generally there isn't any cause for concern. That said, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the signs of premature labour so that you'll be able to distinguish between normal abdominal tightening and pre-term labour contractions. When in doubt, err on the side of caution. It's much smarter to show up at labour and delivery with a “false alarm” then to end up giving birth to a baby who may not yet be ready to adjust to life outside the womb.

6. I just failed the one-hour glucose screening test. Does this mean I have gestational diabetes? The one-hour glucose screening test merely indicates that you're at increased risk of having gestational diabetes. It doesn't state definitively that you do or you don't. Your odds of failing this test and actually having this condition are just 15 per cent. The only way to find out for sure if you have developed gestational diabetes, of course, is to go for the follow-up tests.

7. I'm 15 weeks pregnant. Suddenly, I don't feel pregnant anymore. Could something have gone wrong? The early second trimester is a bit of a no-woman's-land when it comes to pregnancy symptoms. The first trimester fatigue and nausea have probably begun to subside, and you're unlikely to be experiencing a lot of fetal movement at this stage. Get in touch with your doctor or midwife to talk about your concerns. Something as simple as hearing your baby's heartbeat can help to reassure you that everything's proceeding according to plan.

8. I can't believe how “hormonal” I've been acting. I feel like I've completely lost my mind! There's no denying it. The “cocktail” of pregnancy hormones that you're describing can leave you feeling weepy one moment and euphorically happy the next. Fortunately, the effects aren't permanent. You'll get your marbles back at some point after the delivery!

9. I'm worried about how my having a baby will affect my relationship with my partner. Having a baby may bring the two of you closer together or – if there are already some serious problems in your relationship – it could very well drive you apart. The best way to deal with this particular problem is to tackle it head-on. Talk to your partner about how you're feeling and resolve to work through any rough spots as they arise. And make a concerted effort to keep the lines of communication open.

10. I'm not sure whether my partner and I are on solid enough financial ground to have a baby. Statistics about the cost of raising children are enough to scare you into celibacy! Fortunately, having a baby doesn't have to spell financial ruin. If you force yourself to distinguish between frills and necessities, make a point of shopping secondhand, and get in the habit of borrowing as much baby gear as possible from friends rather than buying everything brand new, you will dramatically reduce your baby's first year costs.

By the time you come to terms with all these worries, it will be time to head into the home stretch of pregnancy – the third trimester.

About the Author:

Ann Douglas is one of North America's leading pregnancy writers. Her books include The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby ,Trying Again : A Guide to Pregnancy After Miscarriage Stillbirth and Infant Loss, and The Mother of All Pregnancy Books: An All-Canadian Guide to Conception, Birth and Everything In-Between. Ann is frequently quoted in the media on a range of parenting-related topics, and has appeared as a guest on a number of television and radio shows.


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