The 2nd Trimester Mommy Experience - Weeks 20-27

20th Week

Guess what? You’re halfway through your pregnancy! Your baby’s movements will be stronger and more noticeable now, and the top of your uterus should be at the same level as your navel. Since your uterus will be pushing out your belly button, you might experience some tenderness around that area. If you’re expecting multiples, your uterus should be 5-8cm higher than a singleton mom’s uterus would be. This is a good time to consider taking childbirth education classes if you’re a first-time mom.

21st Week

Your uterus will be positioned 1.5cm above your navel by now and swollen ankles and feet are common this week, particularly at the end of the day if you’ve been active. To reduce swelling, drink plenty of water and elevate your feet when you rest. Fluid retention tends to be more severe for women pregnant with multiples. Acne might also be a bit of a problem now since oil production will have increased, so make sure to wash the affected areas well with gentle soap or a suitable cleanser twice a day and avoid using moisturizers and makeup that contain oil. Do not, at any point, take oral acne medication as they can be very harmful to your baby, nor should you use topical acne medication and products before checking with your doctor. Varicose veins also tend to develop or worsen as the pregnancy progresses. To counter varicose veins try to exercise on a daily basis, prop up your feet whenever you can, wear a maternity support hose, and sleep on your left side.

22nd Week

By this week your uterus should be 2.5cm above your navel, and you should be gaining weight at a steady rate as your baby grows. Unfortunately, all this extra weight might put pressure on your back. So, to keep yourself as comfortable as possible, stick to low-heeled shoes and avoid sitting or standing for long stretches of time. Raising your knees higher than your hips when you sit can also help make you feel more comfortable. Mothers of multiples will start to experience leg cramps. To ease cramps, simply straighten your leg and flex your ankle. It might help to have your partner massage the cramped muscle. It’s usual for stretch marks to appear around now on the tummy, chest, thighs, hips and buttocks.

23rd Week
This is an active time for most babies, so there’s a good chance that you’ll be feeling lots of prods, kicks, jabs and flips as your baby wiggles around in your womb. This week, your uterus should be about 3.5cm above your naval, and crazy mommy-to-be mood swings will be in full swing. It’s a good idea for expecting mothers of multiples to familiarize themselves with the symptoms of preterm labor this week just in case, as they are at more risk of preterm labor than their singleton counterparts.

24th Week

Your uterus should be around 4-5cm above your belly button by this week. Since preterm labor tends to be a bit of a risk for some women (particularly those pregnant with multiples) around this time, keep an eye out for the following preterm labor symptoms and consult with your doctor immediately if you experience any of them or if you feel that something is wrong:
• More than 4 uterine contractions per hour
• Rhythmic or persistent pelvic pressure where it feels like the baby is pushing down
• Cramps similar to menstrual cramping
• Abdominal cramps, which might be accompanied by diarrhea
• Vaginal discharge
• Dull backache

25th Week
Talk about looking pregnant! Most women will be displaying a formidable bulge by this week, which isn’t all that fun considering the amount of pressure the uterus will be placing on their back and pelvis, triggering occasional shooting pain in the lower back and legs. Change your position if you experience such pain, or try taking a warm bath or applying ice or a hot water bottle to the offending area. On the upside, your hair will look fuller and more lustrous now thanks to hormonal changes.

26th Week
You might start to experience Braxton Hicks Contractions this week, which is when your uterus suddenly tightens and then relaxes painlessly at irregular intervals. This is no cause for worry as it is merely your body’s way of practicing for the 'big day'. If you experience more than 4 contractions per hour, however, call your doctor immediately, as this might be a sign of preterm labor. It’s very important that you get plenty of nutritious food and lots of rest at this stage. Other risky signs that you should watch out for include sudden and extreme swelling of your feet or ankles, rapid weight gain, swelling in your face or around your eyes, severe or persistent headache, problems with your vision, severe pain in your upper abdomen, or vomiting. All of these are symptoms of preeclampsia, which is a serious disorder that usually crops up during the 37th week but can occur earlier.

27th Week
As your second trimester comes to an end, you might start experiencing shortness of breath since your uterus will be positioned close to the rib cage and hindering your lungs from fully expanding. This doesn’t mean that you and your baby aren’t getting enough oxygen, though; your circulatory system is working more efficiently now thanks to your pregnancy hormones. Some of the discomforts you might be experiencing around now include back ache and more frequent leg cramps. Try to get enough rest and nutrients to support your progressing pregnancy.