The Second Trimester

The second trimester is just the BEST! And for a number of reasons:

  • That daily dose of nausea that plagued you throughout the first trimester starts to fade (though sadly, not for everyone)
  • Your energy levels should start to rise – hello, old you, welcome back!
  • You can finally let the cat out of the bag (if you haven’t already) and share your happy news in some ridiculously adorable or creative way
  • You get a legit cute bump now – you no longer have to feel and look a little extra chubby.
  • OMG! You can find out the sex of your little bean! (if you want to know that is…)
  • AND you will start to feel little flutters or ‘quickening’ and then full on kicks in T2, – perhaps any day now – AKA, the best and weirdest feeling in the world!

See, there’s a LOT to love in Weeks 13-27 of your pregnancy. It’s no wonder they call it the ‘Honeymoon Period.’

BUT, with the cute comes the new… and by new we mean, even MORE body changes and a whole new batch of symptoms:

Belly & Back Aches – a result of your growing uterus and the extra weight you are carrying around, many women experience abdominal ‘stretching’ aches and back pains in the second trimester. You can help ease the pressure by sleeping with a pillow tucked between your legs, wearing low-heeled and all-too sensible shoes with good arch support, and our favorite – a MASSAGE! Ask your partner to gently rub the sore spots, or better still, treat yourself to a pregnancy massage.

Skin Changes – With your stretching aches can come stretch marks. Though not always, we’ve seen plenty of full term bellies without them. While you definitely start to see and feel that pregnant glow in T2, an increase in melanin can also cause brown marks on the face, known as the ‘mask of pregnancy’ as well as a ‘linea nigra’ – a dark line down the middle of the abdomen. If you do get any of these, then don’t worry, wear them with pride (your body is INCREDIBLE!). Most markings will fade after birth. In the meantime, just remember to use a good sunscreen – your skin is more sensitive to the sun while pregnant!

Breathlessness – at this stage of pregnancy, it is not uncommon to feel out of breath when doing everyday tasks. Relax, it is perfectly normal  – it’s just getting a little crowded for your lungs inside! Take it as another reminder to start slowing down!

Strange Dreams – Just as your body is physically processing a lot right now, so is your mind! There is a lot to wrap your head around pre-birth – and more than likely, you have advice and opinions coming at you from all directions. This can lead to a few odd or anxious dreams.

Sex drive – Feeling a little friskier than usual now that your energy levels have returned? Well that’s because your body is in estrogen overdrive! Did you know that ovaries produce as much in a single day as a non-pregnant woman’s ovaries do in three years? WOW! There’s more than a few reports of multiple orgasm ‘firsts’ during this phase too, so ladies and gents, ENJOY!

Shrinking Bladder – or at least that’s how it feels. The more space your little one takes up, the less room and the more pee breaks we’re afraid. Basic math!

Appetite – You will most likely see a growth in your appetite during these weeks, but BORING KILLJOY ALERT, you’ll get reminded by most professionals that ‘eating for two’ is a myth. You only need about an extra 300-500 calories a day during the second trimester. Ironically, now your sickness has faded and you can stomach food again, you may find yourself experiencing heartburn. TYPICAL! This is because your digestion has slowed down and food is staying in your stomach for longer, triggering more acid. Baby then puts pressure on said stomach, increasing the chance of acid being pushed up in to the esophagus. Boooo! If it gets too unbearable, check in with your health care advisor to see what they recommend.

By the end of your second trimester, you’ll have around a 2lb little human in that ever expanding belly of yours. You’ll probably wonder at just how much bigger you are going to get. Well, just wait and see. The next 12 weeks are all completely different again, with new rules, symptoms and changes. But that’s children in a nutshell really, just when you think you are have mastered something, it all changes, there’s a new phase and something completely different to learn. Welcome to the never ending school of parenthood!

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We See You. We Are You. #infantloss

Every year for infant loss awareness month, the world unites for a moving global ‘wave of light.’ A night where we are encouraged to light a candle to remember the little ones whose parents never had a chance to hold them, those who were born sleeping, and those who arrived but could not stay.

Remember.

At first glance, remember feels like the wrong word for parents to use, doesn’t it? To remember almost suggests you’ve forgotten. You’ve survived, but you’ve never forgot. You might put on an old top one day and remember that time where it was once a little snug as you desperately tried to keep your bump a secret.  You might see or hear your baby’s name when out in public.  You might sit there and wonder what he or she would have looked like at one year…five…ten, etc. However long your baby was with you for, he or she was part of you, and always will be. So yeah, remember doesn’t always feel like the right word for parents. But then again, what IS the right word?

People can be so afraid of using or finding the right words that they choose not to talk about loss at all.

Some parents can’t understand why or feel they failed, or did something wrong. So they stay silent.

Some simply can’t find the right words to express how they feel, so they stay silent.

Some worry months or years later that people will think they should be ‘over it by now,’ so they stay silent.

Friends are scared of ‘bringing it up’ or upsetting parents, so they stay silent.

And so all too often, it stays silent.

And that’s exactly why this awareness month, and nights like the wave of light, are so important. It’s a reminder to break the silence. A reminder of how powerful sharing stories can be. Sharing is solidarity. It’s strength.

And it’s not just about sharing. It’s also about asking. It’s about opening up a two way dialogue. It’s reminding wider family and friends to simply ASK. Reminding them to say your baby’s name. To talk about your child. Because they existed. Losing a child doesn’t ever stop you being a mother or father.

So this week, the Babies in Bloom family took time to remember all those little ones who didn’t make it. We shared. We asked. And we supported.

Parents, we see you. We are you. And we’re here for you. Always.

For those who believe in the healing power of sharing, we thought we would share this website that we stumbled across with you: Stillbirth Stories. It’s a powerful collection of honest interviews about loss from the side of parents and clinicians.

 

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The First Trimester

While you may not even be really showing all that much by the end of your first trimester, it’s absolutely incredible how much happens behind the scenes in those first 12 weeks. This is the time where your little one grows faster than at any other time of your pregnancy – from a little poppy seed at 4 weeks to a whole lime at 12 weeks! By the end of the first trimester, your little lime’s bones, muscles and organs have been formed and is even practicing swallowing. WOW!

With all this magic happening inside at super speed, it’s no wonder that the first trimester is so loaded with side effects and symptoms. It’s a physical and emotional learning curve for any mom – be it her first time or fifth, as every pregnancy is so different. For those planning a baby, or those in the early stages of pregnancy, here’s a quick overview of some of the most common symptoms to expect in that first trimester – starting from as little as six after conception.

Light Bleeding: While any sight of blood can be alarming, it’s thought that around 25% of pregnant women experience slight bleeding or spotting during their first trimester.  The most common cause of this is implantation bleeding – a sign that the fertilized embryo has implanted in the uterus. This usually occurs 6-12 days after conception, around the same time as your cycle, so many often mistake it for a lighter, regular period. Of course, for anything beyond light spotting, or pains in your abdomen, your health care provider should be consulted immediately.

Sore Breasts:  Boobs are extremely hormone sensitive and because of all the progesterone and hCG in your body after fertilization, your blood volume increases which makes your breasts swell. The good news is, this swelling normally fades after the first trimester as your body adapts to the changed hormone levels. Now’s a good time to start thinking about maternity bra shopping though – you’re gonna need a bigger bra!

Discharge: a thin, milk white discharge (or leukorrhea) is pretty common in the first trimester too. It’s annoying, but it’s completely normal. You can use panty liners (tampons are a no-no) to feel a little more comfortable, but if it changes color or becomes foul-smelling, it’s important you trust your mama bear instincts and contact your healthcare provider.

Extreme Fatigue: With so much growth and development in this trimester, your gears are running high. The wealth of progesterone in your body is thought to have a sedative effect and while blood volume is increased up to 50% to provide baby with blood, extra iron is needed to make baby’s blood cells. This iron is often taken from your supply, leaving you low – and therefore low on energy. Your doctor should give you a blood test during your first prenatal visit to check your iron levels – if you are too low, you can get a supplement.

Constipation: While that added iron supplement, might provide more energy, it can also be a cause of constipation in the first trimester.  That and the fact that your intestine muscles are working slower because of those darn progesterone levels. You might have to look in to upping your fiber intake – and don’t forget to drink extra fluids to keep things moving down there.

Morning sickness: Nausea and vomiting is thought to affect up to 85% of moms-to-be. TBH, we aren’t even sure why we still call it morning sickness, as we all know it can strike at any time. Hormones are again to blame – too much human chorionic gonadotropin in your system. Moms-to-be find themselves in the early weeks repelled by certain tastes and smells while hyper-craving others. Whatever it is, it can be rough! Some people swear by eating smaller meals during the day. Some people swear by ginger.  Some swear by B6 while some go completely unaffected. There are no rules here, just trial and error. Take it easy and keep reminding yourself that this will soon pass. For those that can stomach regular meals, remember in trimester one that you only need an extra 150 calories a day – the whole “eating for two thing” is more wishful thinking here!

Acne: Thanks once again to a hormones overload, your skin might also start to produce more oil which can lead to acne break outs. There’s no real way to avoid this unfortunately – just don’t fuel it by piling on oily moisturizers and make up and ALWAYS consult with your health care provider before using any medicated gels or lotions.

Acne? Vomit? Discharge? Constipation? First time mamas might be thinking ‘pregnant glow my big toe!!’ The first trimester is probably not what you imagined. And while it’s beyond exciting, the symptoms are more than likely also making it REALLY difficult to keep the baby news under wraps in those first 12 weeks. We know it’s hard mamas, but try to remember in one of your dark vomit fuelled hours that, YES your body is being put through the hormonal ringer right now, but all these symptoms are a great sign that baby is growing and doing well. Your body is doing an incredible job, just like you will when your little lime fully cooks and finally arrives.

 

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Sex After Baby

sex after babyCue bad (like, really bad!) 90’s dancing.

Let’s talk about sex, baby
Let’s talk about you and me
Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be….

And by this, we mean let’s talk specifically about sex AFTER baby. The good, the bad and the plain ol’ feeling ugly.

How long did you wait? Or for those currently pregnant, how long do you think you will wait after birth to have sex….?

Don’t worry, this isn’t a test. While most healthcare advisors recommend somewhere in the range of four weeks to six months postpartum, it’s not concrete. In truth, it might be earlier, or it might be a lot longer – it all depends on when you feel ready. Both physically and mentally.

When it comes to sex, the majority of us will opt to use humor to talk about it. Because it’s not easy to talk about sex seriously is it? We blush. We avoid. We conceal. We hold back.

Well not today!

We’re going to say what we’ve all thought or have been thinking- and say it out loud. THINKING ABOUT SEX AFTER HAVING A BABY CAN BE SCARY!

Post birth, while you KNOW your body is amazing, you also don’t really KNOW your body anymore. Not only does it feel different and look different, there’s that fear that anything ‘down there’ is reeeeally going to HURT! Let’s be honest, we’re still a little traumatized from the first bowel movement fears after birth, let alone thinking about letting anything in! And for those who experienced tearing and stitches, the anxiety about sex pains can be further heightened. Ladies – we hear you! All of you.

The truth is, it may well feel a little awkward and uncomfortable at first – one of the reasons is your estrogen levels drop right down after birth and remain low while nursing – this can lead to vaginal dryness. So first’s things first, don’t go in expecting perfection – ideally go in after a small glass of wine, loaded with giggles and lots of lubrication! Tell your partner about your fears– let him know that you are worried about discomfort, so that you can set the right pace for you.

Of course all of the above assumes that you are both ready and raring to give it a go. Many take longer to get to this point and that’s ok too. Did you know that the oxytocin that is released when you are nursing suppresses your libido? There’s that, and then there is the lack of sleep, the diapers, the nursing, the stretchmarks you are so paranoid about…. it can all culminate to a very unsexy cocktail called ‘Not tonight Sweetheart!’! This cocktail far from puts you in the mood.

If this is how you feel right now, then big hugs from us. Please believe us, this too shall pass. Just like you feel you may never sleep again, be able to 100% focus again, or get in to those old jeans again – eventually you do! You WILL have good sex again – it just takes time, patience and honesty with your partner. Keep him emotionally and physically updated to ensure he doesn’t just feel plain old rejected.  You WIILL find your confidence again. In fact, to end on a high, many moms actually say that they enjoy sex MORE after kids. Perhaps they feel more empowered by their bodies. Perhaps birth awakened something in their bodies. Perhaps it’s all the fun quickies that you have to weave in to your parenting routine, (because you have to take the moments when you can, and if it’s 1:20 in the afternoon, then so be it!). Whatever it is, know that post birth you will be desirable, you will be desired and you WILL feel your own desires return. Be patient with yourself, and most of all, be kind to yourself!

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