When we found out I was expecting back in November, July felt *so* far away. Everyone said the months would fly and, honestly, I scoffed at it. Now that I’m here, I can honestly say I’ve never had seven months go by more quickly.
Overall, the second trimester was one of rapid change. From the belly coming out of seemingly nowhere to tummy grumbles turning into kicks and punches, every day brought something new. It’s really amazing how your body accommodates these changes and just rolls with them.
I’m feeling pretty relaxed about pregnancy which, again, is a surprise. We’re slowly putting the nursery together (my preferred way to decorate, which infuriates both my parents and husband) and getting some other things settled around the house in preparation.
If you haven’t read my First Trimester Update, start there! Otherwise, keep reading to see how my second trimester went!
The 20-Week Anatomy Scan
At 20 weeks – almost to the day – we had our first of two anatomy scans. This is the longest scan, looking at everything from baby’s heart to fingers and toes. They typically last about 45 minutes, something you should definitely mention to anyone who attends the appointment with you and might be waiting outside the room.
At our 20-week scan, baby was decidedly uncooperative. They chose to spend the majority of the appointment dozing on their tummy, making it tough to get the required images. The tech kept jiggling the probe into my stomach to attempt to cause movement. This being my and Mike’s child, it didn’t react well to this intrusion. Baby would stir, move rapidly away from the probe, then promptly go back to sleep.
We went back at 21 weeks for an additional scan to capture any missing images. This time, I scheduled my appointment for closer to lunch time and made sure to eat and have a sugary, caffeinated beverage en route to the appointment. Well, they got most of the images required but we found out at our OB appointment that baby didn’t let them in on one big secret – its sex. We’re all going into labour & delivery day without any inkling of what’s in store – even the doctor!
Baby Kicks & Punches at 22 weeks
At my 20-week ultrasound, I also discovered I have an anterior placenta. This sounds mighty scary, but all it means is that the placenta has placed itself at the front of the uterus instead of the back. It’s all the same to baby, but for Mom it means fetal movement is more muffled. Cue anxiety between appointments.
Happily, I was sitting and watching a documentary about guide dogs on Netflix (highly recommend!) and enjoying a lemon popsicle when I felt some distinctive thumps right at the 22 week mark! Ever since then, baby has made itself known with these thumps, jabs and kicks which is very cool and also very reassuring. Mike hasn’t felt the baby yet – it’s a sneaky little thing – but I was able to capture a video of a big kick last weekend.
Also at 22 weeks: the swelling started. I’m the kind of person who is always susceptible to swelling and bloating, so I’d been expecting and dreading this pregnancy symptom for awhile. I took my engagement ring off around the 22 week mark, coincidentally the day I experienced my first cankle moment. I’m also slightly neurotic and constantly asking Mike/my mom/my work wife if one leg looks more swollen than the other.
If you’re experiencing swelling, I’ve found that sitting with my feet up at night and being active (in supportive running shoes) during the day has been a great way to keep the swelling down. It’s a great excuse to walk the mall!
Cravings & Aversions
Everyone’s #1 question to a pregnant lady: what are you craving?! I wouldn’t say there’s anything I’ve been dying for in excess, which is probably a blessing. I’m still loving all things pasta, citrus (Fruttare Lemon Popsicles, Fiasco Strawberry Lemonade Gelato, Lemon/Lime Perrier to be exact) and my usual salt cravings (All Dressed Ruffles!).
As far as aversions go, it’s really a day-to-day thing right now. If anything, I have more trouble being interested in food than anything else. Deciding what to eat is next to impossible, but if someone puts food is in front of me I’ll eat it most of the time.
A Pain in the Ass (literally)
22 weeks also brought a brand new symptom: sciatic pain. I’m no stranger to this type of pain, but it’s very localized this time: my right butt cheek. Youch. My OB recommended a nearby physiotherapist and after a single treatment I was feeling a lot better. No pain since!
All The Babies!
Since announcing that we are expecting, so many of our friends and family have shared the same news. So far we’ve welcomed two new babies to the crew (Christopher + Max!) and are waiting on another five.
It’s wonderful to have friends who are also pregnant to talk to, and even better to get all the hot tips from the brand-new moms (big shout out to Jo especially with all the advice for post-partum and breastfeeeding).
Second Trimester Must-Haves
Gap True Skinny Inset Panel Jeans have been my go-to since about 16 weeks in. The fit is exactly what you’d expect from this classic Gap cut, except with a handy stretchy bit at the hips. These sit below the bump, which has been comfortable so far. Purchase your usual size.
Lululemon Align Leggings have quite the following online from moms-to-be. They’re known for stretching with you throughout pregnancy and for being mega-soft. I can confirm all this is true – I live in them in the evenings and on weekends. I love how comfortable they are and that they easily go above the bump. Purchase your usual size.
I wear a BellaBand almost every day that involves pants. I find the lower-rise pregnancy jeans don’t stay up quite as well, so this band is instrumental in keeping my pants up and smoothing over the bump. I’ve also worn it under a dress and leggings to provide a little bit of extra support and smoothness.
Non-maternity pregnancy attire is always a hot topic online. Maternity items have come a long way and I’m currently wearing a mix of maternity clothing, my existing pieces and some non-maternity, pregnancy-friendly items. A recent favourite is this stretchy floral dress and printed flounce dress (both from LOFT. My POV: shop how you normally would in the timeframe you’re pregnant. I usually pick up a few summer dresses and don’t feel guilty about bulking up my closet for this period of time.
In terms of other clothing, I’ve been relying heavily on maternity tanks + my favourite long cardis and kimonos with jeans. I’ve sorted through my summer wardrobe for pregnancy-friendly items, but have been investing in a few key pieces to get me through wedding + shower season. Plus, I’m considering a maternity clothing rental service like Sprout Collection to fill in other gaps. Stay tuned!
Do not delay in purchasing a U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow. I’ve used a multiple pillow system for support since my early 20s to help manage my disc condition and this is so much better. I highly recommend the full U option because it makes rolling over so much easier. No need to move the pillow with you – just enjoy your cozy cocoon. If you’re struggling with sleeping on your side, this makes the transition easier. It also provides lots of support for your bump and back.
Hydration is key during pregnancy and your body definitely lets you know when it needs more. I picked up the Rifle Paper Co. Corksicle 16-oz canteen (sold out, but you can still get the similarly-sized tumbler) to make sure I always have water nearby. This has been especially helpful when stuck in traffic or when I wake up parched.
Speaking of hydration, my skin has mostly recovered with the exception of one area. What I’ve been calling my ‘dryness moustache’. My upper lip area has been flaky, red and dry throughout my pregnancy with zero relief…until I was sent the Bio Oil Dry Skin Gel. Removing the water from traditional hydrating methods and replacing it with oil is what makes this pink gel so effective. You only need a tiny amount to make a big difference. I apply this at night and wake up sans ‘stache. It’s also worked wonders on the flaky areas between my fingers. If you’re so inclined, you could also apply after a shower on your baby bump to stay hydrated (although nothing but genetics will prevent stretch marks).
Pixi DetoxifEye Cooling Patches have been a lifesaver for tired, puffy pregnancy eyes. I’ve tried a number of other patches before, including the Skyn Iceland and Peter Thomas Roth cucumber, but really prefer these. Even without popping them into the fridge, they have a cooling, soothing effect that is so wonderful. My under eye area is hydrated and less puffy and the patches are non-irritating. Plus, they’re biodegradable! I haven’t been able to find them in-store in Canada, but you can order through the Pixi website or Target.
This goes without saying, but I’ll mention it anyways. Purse snacks. You need them. I keep single-serving packages of nuts from Costco, granola bars and fruit bars in my purse for hangry moments.