Worrying during pregnancy is normal. Second-trimester pregnancy questions answered!

The second trimester is when things really start to become real. Your brain is finally catching up to the fact there is definitely a baby growing in you. The second trimester leads to new worries, as our body and emotional state are ever-changing.

I did an infinite amount of Google searches while pregnant. Looking back, there was minimal need for the amount of worry or Google searches. But, I find comfort in the fact that worrying during pregnancy is common - and normal. 

It does make sense we worry during pregnancy. We have dreamt about this little babe(s) and want them SO bad. But too much worry and stress isn’t good, so here are answers to some of the most common second-trimester pregnancy questions. 

newborn baby with mom
Photo Credit: @briannebellphotography

Trust your doctors

The nurse line is available for a reason and it is absolutely ok to use it. Just as a note from experience, don’t rely on it to give you full peace of mind. Many answers to pregnancy-related questions don’t actually have clear-cut answers. 

But, the nurse line will offer a plethora of REAL knowledge, like the answers below, and that is better than the one million opinions you will read via your Google search. 

When will I actually feel the baby move? What does the baby feel like when it moves?  When will my partner feel it? 

There is no “correct” time to start feeling your baby move. Most women will begin to feel it between 15-25 weeks. I think it was about 18 weeks for me. If your placenta is in the front, you won’t feel the baby kick as soon. Your doctor can diagnose placenta placement this at your 20 week ultrasound. 

I do know that the excitement to feel the baby move is real. I Could. Not. Wait. But, I had no idea what feeling I was even waiting for - and it is hard to describe.

Here is what I felt in the early stages of baby moving:

  • Light flutters or tickles
  • A light patter
  • A small “woosh” feeling in my stomach
  • A light swimming feeling in my stomach 

As my baby grew, the movements became much more obvious. But at the beginning, it is hard to determine!

I promise, at some point, your partner will feel the somersaults your baby is doing! 20 weeks is about average to start feeling movements from the outside. It will be longer if your placenta is attached upfront or if weight gain happens in your belly area. 

mom and baby on a changing pad
Photo Credit: @janiechicstyle

Is my baby moving enough? 

Your baby’s movement in the second trimester can be irregular, so there is probably nothing wrong. Some are non-stop gymnasts, while others prefer a more rhythmic approach. Generally, both of the above scenarios are fine. 

If you are feeling paranoid about the amount of movement, do a kick count. A kick count is where you take 1-2 hours to concentrate and see if you feel the kicks. Every kick you feel, write it down. It is best if you’re in a relaxed state, but the baby is active. 

To help the baby move you can:

  • Eat something
  • Shine a flashlight,
  • Gently push on your belly. 

In all honesty, I didn’t have great success with the kick count because I didn’t feel like my kiddo moved on command. I mostly just followed my gut instinct. If your gut instinct has you alarmed or if you do a kick count and feel decreased movement, call that nurses line. 

Is spotting normal in the second trimester? 

Not all bleeding in the second trimester is an emergency. In many cases, mom and baby are just fine. But, as a pregnant mama, it is still worrisome.

Light bleeding or spotting (red, pink, or brown) usually occurs when the cervix is irritated. Which can happen for a variety of reasons. Pink mucus or brownish discharge is probably just small amounts of blood leaving your body. Bleeding like a period is more concerning. Either way, it is best for you to not be the judge of the severity, and once again, call that nurses line for guidance. 

mom outside with little baby on a play mat

Can I exercise in the second trimester? 

Exercise is good. Contact sports are a no go. Low impact and low-risk exercise are best. 

  • Yes to:
    • Walking
    • Running
    • Very lightweights
    • Yoga/stretching 
  • No go: 
    • Contact sports
    • Lots of jumps and hard impacts 
    • Heavyweights

Adjust your workouts as your body changes and if anything ever feels off, stop your exercise, and give your nurse line a call to be safe. 

I am never full anymore. Should I be eating more? 

That never full feeling may be exciting after a first trimester of nausea. The short answer to the question is yes, you should eat more. But only about 350 calories per day more. You are feeding and growing another life, but that little life at the moment is only the size of a peach, so try not to overdo it. 

I’m having abdominal cramping, is my baby ok?

Abdominal cramping in the second trimester is a bit scary for new mamas, but it is fairly normal. The most likely cause is round ligament pain. Essentially it is your ligaments being stretched around your uterus to accommodate that little bean growing inside of you. 

There are some other reasons for cramping too, like gas and bloating, constipation, or even sexual intercourse. Most of the cramping you feel would be like a sharp, stabbing pain or a dull ache, and is not a constant feeling. 

newborn baby sleeping in portable bassinet

I have heard that chemicals are bad for a fetus. Can I dye my hair? Can I paint the nursery?

In the second trimester, dying your hair should be safe. Your baby is now getting its nutrients from the placenta, so it would be hard for chemicals from the hair dye to pass through. If it is something that elevates your worry, just don’t do it. Let those roots grow out and call it a pregnancy hombre. 

There are no real studies on the effect of paint and pregnant women, but it is believed that the exposure is so low it is a fine activity to participate in, especially if the room is ventilated and you take frequent breaks. Oil-based paints are probably still a no-no though. 

I have a dark line down my belly, is this normal? Or, the dark line has not shown up, is this normal?

Whether you have the dark line or not, both are harmless to the baby. The scientific term for the dark line is linea nigra. Because your body is pumping out more melanin during pregnancy, it is normal for the line to darken. And fun fact, that line is there at all times, but normally it is too light to see!

If you don’t have the darkened line, don’t fret. That is also normal too. It just means you have a little less melanin flowing, and that is ok. 

Is it normal to have stretch marks in the second trimester? 

The second trimester is the most common time for those pesky stretch marks to show up. There is no full-proof way to avoid them. Some people get them, some don’t. Either way, you’re a beautiful mama. 

If you want to be proactive with healthy skin, drinking sufficient water can help keep your skin more flexible. Also, massaging almond oil, coconut butter/oil on your stomach can help moisturize. It doesn’t necessarily prevent it though. 

newborn sleeping inside a bassinet
Photo Credit: @thatstrangebunch

My lower body is SWELLED, is this ok? 

Swelling is common. Sorry. Your ankles and legs will definitely have some swelling, learn to love those cankles! 

Bring up excessive swelling to your doctor. It is always good to monitor swelling because there are conditions called edema and preeclampsia that have symptoms of excessive swelling. I had preeclampsia, so if you have any questions regarding it, send me an email!

Overall, YOU have wonderful instincts and it is your body, listen to it. If you just ‘feel’ off or your level of worry is just too high and it is causing issues, call the nurse line or go to the doctor, let the medical professionals help you.

Realistic Expectations

One large reason for worrying during pregnancy is the expectations we have, compared to the reality of what is. I wanted to have the whole house ready for the baby, a stockpile of meals in the freezer, and a ‘normal’ labor and delivery - but none of those expectations turned into reality. My son came into this world 3 weeks early via an emergency C-section because of preeclampsia. I had no meals stockpiled in the freezer. Nothing actually went as I wanted or expected.  

If I could go back to pregnancy and postpartum me, I would really work on my ability to relinquish control and be gentle with myself. To allow things to be what they are, to not research endlessly to try and “fix” it, and to let my baby guide me rather than trying to control how the baby should be doing things. 

It is ok if your birth and first few weeks of postpartum do not feel like the joyous and natural experience you were hoping for. 

newborn and family on a play mat
Photo Credit: @fixerupperfarmhouse

Take care of YOU

One of the best ways to relieve the worrying during pregnancy is to take time for yourself. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or costly or even require you to leave your home. But to spend some time during pregnancy doing the things you want and that you enjoy is so helpful. It is true after the baby is born your world will change forever as another being needs and depends on you and takes so much of the ‘you’ time away. 

Here are a few ways that can squelch worry and allow you to relax. 

  • Watch the movie or TV show
  • Get a little exercise - can be as simple as a mall walk
  • Have someone give you a 10-minute massage (partner, friend, relative, or you can go to a spa)
  • Put on your cutest maternity clothes and makeup and go out. Even if it is to the grocery store. 
  • Unplug for a full day (or at least a few hours)
  • Put yourself first and give permission to say no to things that may overwhelm or exhaust you

If you have made it all the way to the end of this article, we hope it provided a few answers or at the very least helped you understand that everything you are feeling is normal, because it is. 

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