There is something magical about the second trimester of pregnancy. Chances are you will feel more energized and less nauseated than you have in weeks.
Feeling those kicks ?
With your little one getting bigger at a fast and furious pace, you will probably get to experience those amazing first kicks and jabs before long.
Sharing the news ?
You may have waited until this point to share the exciting news with friends and family, which means you can officially start celebrating the impending arrival.
We fully support imbibing in a mocktail at your baby shower!
Getting stuff done ?
Take advantage of your invigoration by tackling a to-do list. Trust us: When the last weeks of pregnancy tick down you may not even want to get off the couch, let alone scramble to prepare for the new addition.
Here’s what you’ll want to do during the second trimester.
1. Sign up for a prenatal exercise class.
The purpose of a pregnancy-oriented workout class is twofold.
The big benefit is that it will enable you to stay active with expert guidance. Secondarily, these programs are great ways to meet other expectant mothers. We cannot overemphasize the importance of connecting with others who have at least some idea of what you’re going through.
Plus, you may even find a few friends for future stroller strolls!
2. Make healthy eating a priority.
You may have your appetite back after overcoming morning sickness, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be eager to get back in the kitchen. Avoid the temptation of calling for takeout too often by stocking up on wholesome snacks and simplifying your menu. You may spend a bit more, but it’s worth it to get chopped veggies or prewashed lettuce if it means you’re more likely to eat them.
3. Do your homework on what optional tests your doctor will offer.
There are some big decisions to make in the second trimester, starting with whether you’ll do a quad screening.
This is done by a simple blood draw and tests for a few substances that can indicate whether your baby has certain birth defects, such as Down syndrome. Some women decide not to get these tests due to personal or religious preferences. Talk to your doctor or midwife to weigh the pros and cons.
A few weeks later, your doctor may offer to do an amniocentesis, or “amnio,” another test for genetic disorders and chromosomal abnormalities. This is a bit more complex: Your doctor will extract a small amount of amniotic fluid using a thin needle inserted through your abdomen. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports there is a small risk of miscarriage with amniocentesis, with one loss for every 300 to 500 procedures.
4. Decide whether you want to learn the baby’s sex.
Between 16 and 20 weeks, you will almost definitely do a big anatomy ultrasound.
The technician will pay close attention to how baby is developing, and can get the first good look at whether you’re having a boy or girl. This could very well be your last ultrasound, so decide in advance if you want to know the baby’s sex or go Team Green until the end.
5. Book a babymoon.
Before even simple day trips start to require multiple bags, car seats and strollers, take advantage of your freedom with a romantic getaway.
You can go big with a vacation like a cruise (be warned that most companies won’t allow you to sail after 24 weeks) or keep it simple with a staycation. Just make an effort to spend some quality, one-on-one time with your sweetie.
6. Decide about working with a doula.
You’ve likely decided whether to use an OB or midwife by now.
For some women who chose to use a doctor but want more consistent support or hope for a medication-free labor, adding a doula to the equation is a great option. Birth doulas provide continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth. We’re grateful for that!
7. Invest in some flattering maternity clothes.
It can be really exciting when you first get a true baby bump, but that joy can give way to frustration when your old wardrobe staples don’t fit. Maternity clothes aren’t only comfortable (so, so comfortable!) but can also boost your confidence.
8. Rev those baby registry engines.
If you’re planning to have a baby shower—or if someone’s planning to throw one for you—you’ll want to register for baby goods. This is one of the most fun parts of registering, and there’s no reason to stress out about it. (For one, Amazon Prime exists, and for two, you’ll have plenty of time even when your little one arrives to introduce the delivery man to you house.)
9. Plan for your return to work and childcare.
Now that the news is probably out in the open, it’s time to have The Talk with your boss about approaching maternity leave and your return to work, if that’s what you plan to do.
It also isn’t too soon to look into childcare, which can book up surprisingly far in advance.
10. Schedule a dentist appointment.
You can blame it on the hormones (for real!), but approximately 40% of women develop gingivitis at some point during pregnancy. That makes it more important than it already is to stay on top of dental cleaning. The second trimester is an ideal time.
11. Start assembling the nursery.
When so much of what happens during pregnancy is out of your hands, it can be nice to take control of something like designing a peaceful place for you and baby to enjoy in a few months.
So if you haven’t already, hop on Pinterest and get inspired.
If all that decorating makes you feel overwhelmed instead of excited, that’s fine too. Your baby will be just as happy in a simple room as one with an elaborate design.
12. Work on your post-baby budget.
Whether you plan to return to work or not, your monthly expenses are guaranteed to change when baby arrives—and not just because of those diapers! You should also bolster your own savings for emergencies and consider setting up a college fund like a 529 savings plan. Look at you, responsible parent!
13. Savor the moment.
We know this list, like so many things related to pregnancy, may seem overwhelming. Take your time. Include your partner. Ask “been there, done that” moms for advice.
And then build in time for relaxing! This is a special time in your life and we give you complete authorization to enjoy it. Rest and relaxation—go full force.
Emily Glover is a writer and new mama.