I am officially in my third trimester and can proudly say I’ve survived 2/3 of this pregnancy! That alone deserves a flute of something transparent and bubbly, but since I’m not drinking the good stuff until the babe has made her grand entrance on planet earth, I’ll have to settle for some sparkling water with a splash of grenadine. #notthesame

Now that I’m the newest expert on the block about the trials and tribulations of second trimester pregnancy, I’m here to give you all the REAL deets about the 5 most common second trimester symptoms. If you missed out on all the fun of the first trimester symptoms, you can find the riveting recap here! 

Now I must preface this article in the same way my doctor reminds me when I pull out my list of questions at each monthly appointment (yup the poor doc in France has to see me every month for an hour, lucky him) that “Madame Catanzano, no pregnancy, even for the same woman, is exactly the same. You have got to stop reading and over comparing yourself on all those forums.” Umm, did I hear you correctly doc? As a fabulously intelligent and educated individual, I can believe that no two pregnancies are exactly the same, HOWEVER, over my dead body will I give up my “what to expect when you’re expecting” forums. Those dear ladies give me hope that it’s not just me that can’t fit into her boots because my ankles became cankles overnight or reassure me that someday these uncontrollably, massive knockers will drop 5 sizes and slightly resemble the perky pals I carried around before. This is my mental health we are discussing so lightly!

All this to say that, you may or may not experience exactly what I’m going through. No two pregnancies are exactly the same. But since I’m covering some of the 5 most common pregnancy symptoms in the 2nd trimester, I’m going to go ahead and believe my precious forums, that you will experience at least one of them and large chance you experience it in a similar way. So please, take a deep breath and repeat after me. “No mother ever says it’s not worth it.”

“You will most likely see a relief in frequent urination as your uterus will rise away from the pelvic cavity.”

Blah blah blah blahhh, BS. I was fooled into thinking that those frequent potty breaks that set in during the 1st trimester would most likely give me a much needed break in the 2nd. It wasn’t completely false. I don’t seem to go as often during the day. I could actually make it an entire morning at work without waddling (yes, back pain gave me the pregnancy waddle at 27 weeks) to the bathroom, so that’s a win.

But what actually got worse for me rather than better was the night breaks. I would wake up twice a night, around 2am and 6am (yes, 6 am is still considered night time for me pre child). The worst part of this new nighttime routine is that I live in a shoebox Parisian apartment, so our bed basically takes up our entire bedroom. Consequently, I need to actually crawl over my sleeping husband to get out of bed. Have you ever seen a sleepy, crabby, pregnant woman try to use her non existant ab muscles to pull herself up and over her husband when it’s pitch black? Let’s just say that I never manage to do it without groaning. Plus I’ve recently learned that there is there nothing more unsatisfying than going to empty what feels like an overflowing bladder and have it take literally 3 seconds every time. It’s like seriously baby? All that effort for…that?  

“You may see an increase in vaginal discharge.”

I would vote to replace the word “increase” by “waterfall” and I think if pregnant women were voting the change, it would pass with 100% unanimity. Unlike the pee dilemma, the discharge gods are not holding back. I finally just went out and bought panty liners to wear every day. Otherwise, I was spending my entire day in a moist pair of underwear. I know, ew, but this article is about honesty. It felt like I had gone to the pool and put shorts over a wet swimsuit bottom and then had to sit in a two-hour work meeting trying to concentrate on the passive aggressive comments being thrown around, while all I could think about was whether the floodgate in my underwear was visible from the outside. Just prepare yourself ahead of time and grab those panty liners when you’ve hit 13 weeks. Little effort can gain you incredible comfort.

“Due to an increase in blood, your gums may be more sensitive.”

“ Umm, do you mean that every time I try to brush my teeth and I do that “clean teeth snarl” at the end to make sure everything looks crystal clear, that actually I should prepare myself to look like a vampire post meal every time? Ladies, I’ve been lucky enough to have a pretty solid dental record. I did have an impressive 6-year run with braces and a couple of cavities. However, I’ve never had anything major or any issues with sensitive gums and I now look like the newest member of the Adam’s family twice a day.

No matter how gentle I am, I have a bloody grin after I brush my teeth. I took advantage of the stellar health care in France and went to my free 4-month teeth cleaning for future mama’s. The dentist told me that this was completely normal and I just needed to do my best to be gentle while brushing every day. You would think I was bathing my new born child I’m so gentle when I brush my teeth now and alas, the waterfall of blood continues. Since I’ll be pregnant at Halloween, I was thinking about incorporating this into my costume choice. Thoughts?  

“Leg cramps are common and may strike during the night.”

I admit to not being the best hydrator. “Hell no H20” could have been a personal motto in my youth. So I was introduced quite early to the middle of the night charley horse in my calves. I learned quickly that the best way to get rid of a charley horse was to stand on the leg that was cramping so that muscle would relax. I only became an expert because I would be in so much pain that I would stand up to run to my parent’s room and the cramping would stop. I guess I was preparing for pregnancy life at twelve.

No one really knows why leg cramps run rampant in pregnant women, but what I do know, is that they “absolutely” will strike in the middle of the night. Because it would be just way too easy to stand up from the chair you are sitting in to get some relief. I also know that they can strike multiple times during the night, so in between those pee breaks, get ready for a painful wakeup call that has you rolling over faster than you thought humanely possible since your abs disappeared. An expert tip to combat your newest enemy, it’s never a good idea to crawl into bed and do a full body stretch. You know that stretch where you point your toes like a ballerina, throw your arms above your head and tense up every muscle in your body because it just feels so good to be laying down in bed? Well ladies, that’s just asking for two charley horses in both calves at the same time. Save yourself the pain and keep the full body stretch for post baby relief.

“Be prepared for changes to your belly button.”

Again, this is just way too soft of a way to say it. Be prepared for your belly button to pop out so far it needs to be assigned it’s own zip code. My tiny inny belly button popped at in the middle of the 2nd trimester and has had a life of it’s own since then. When I lay down it looks like it’s breathing. It pops in and out to whatever rhythm the babe is playing on my uterus too. I’ve spent more time staring and analyzing this new addition to my body as much as I have wondering how labor is going to be. It’s supposed to be completely harmless, but let me just say, if it pops as far as mine did, it’s going to start rubbing on your clothes and getting red and irritated. Sometimes I just slap a band aid over it to get some relief during the day and then rub a ridiculous amount of oil at night on it. The best part is I’ve read there is a good chance it never looks the same again? People say it looks “lived in.” What does that even mean? No idea, but rest assured, I’ll report back to you post delivery.

In all transparency readers, the second trimester has been way more manageable than the first. Most people feel comfortable sharing their news around this time, so you don’t have to suffer in silence when your heartburn flares up or a hard core headache is getting you down. Plus you’ve got a huge chance of getting energy back and nothing feels better than having your normal routine back for as long as you manage!

Here’s to hoping that by shedding some light on second trimester pregnancy that I’m decoding some on the uknown for other future mamas or at least giving a good laugh to go along with those nighttime wake up calls! Don’t hesitate to leave any insights or comments below!


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