Time is moving on! You’ve passed 12 weeks and you’re into the second trimester of pregnancy. Your partner is likely to have a baby bump now and she’ll soon be starting to feel baby moving – little flutters at first, then bigger kicks and, eventually, big enough that you’ll be able to see and feel them through her belly!
How will your pregnant partner be feeling?
Moving away from the first and into the second trimester usually means feeling less sick and more energised. Baby is not yet big enough to make moving around harder, making the second trimester a relatively comfortable time for most women.
Unfortunately, not everyone will feel that they’re blooming. Sometimes, pregnant women and people can experience nausea and vomiting throughout pregnancy, whilst others don’t regain their ‘pre-pregnancy’ energy levels, especially if sleep is affected by pregnancy symptoms. If this is the case, go with the flow and empathise as much as possible with however she’s feeling.
Common second trimester pregnancy symptoms
Heartburn can start to be a problem in the second trimester and you can help by making sure she has regular healthy snacks if a large meal makes things worse. Leg cramps can come on suddenly, so be prepared to help her to rub or stretch her leg if that helps. When they happen at night it can be quite disruptive to sleep but remember that, as horrible as it is to be woken up, it’s even worse to have the pain as well, so do be supportive and help if you can!
Needing to wee a lot is still going to be an issue through the second trimester, including at night. All these nighttime interruptions can leave you both feeling exhausted, so do try to carve out times where you can both rest.
Another common second trimester pregnancy symptom is SPD, or pelvic girdle pain (PGP). This is caused the baby’s weight and pregnancy hormones affecting the pelvis. It causes pain in the pelvic area but also sometimes the thighs and knees. Early treatment with a specialist pregnancy physiotherapist or osteopath can make the world of difference, so encourage your partner to talk to her midwife as soon as possible if she thinks she has pelvic girdle pain.
Second trimester scans
Scans can be an exciting part of pregnancy for you. As her partner, you don’t get to feel baby’s movements nor the changes that happen in her body, so seeing your baby on the screen can be a wonderful way to connect with them.
If your partner decides to have scans in pregnancy, the first one will most likely take place as you get into the second trimester – usually around 12-13 weeks of pregnancy. This may be your first glimpse of your little boy or girl. This scan confirms the stage of pregnancy (dating scan) and looks for a variety of complications or genetic differences. Do feel free to ask questions so you understand anything that’s important to you.
Researching antenatal classes
Antenatal classes are not just to help your partner learn about birth, they’re to help you, as your baby’s other parent, to learn about becoming the parent you want to be!
Good antenatal classes should provide you with tools and information about caring for newborn babies. This may include supporting a conversation about how your partner wants to feed your baby, information about why breastmilk matters and safely making up formula, how to change nappies and dress babies, safe sleep guidelines and safe use of slings and carriers as well as many other vital topics.
Of course, birth should also be covered in great detail and, you, as the birth partner, will be a vital member of team birth! You may already know a lot about the physiology of birth, but if your understanding is limited to TV, films or your mate’s description of his own baby’s arrival, then you may be surprised about just how different birth is in reality! You may also be surprised at how important the role of birth partner really is: as advocate, cheerleader and bringer of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone which you should learn about in your antenatal classes. It plays a vital role in labour, creating, amongst other things, those all-important contractions!
So, do your research and choose the antenatal classes that best suit your needs.
Planning parental leave
Both parents usually have the right to parental leave after the birth of their baby, so do check out what your options are. You may need to let your workplace know that your baby is on the way, and you may wish to start thinking about what time off from work you would like to arrange.
Hopefully you will find that the two of you can really start to enjoy the pregnancy as you navigate the second trimester. You may feel that the focus is just on her, but you have an essential role to play as her partner; a role which many people find helps them to truly be a part of this exciting journey.