What happens in my body during the second trimester of my pregnancy?

For many women, the second trimester brings about several welcome changes. Nausea tends to subside or disappear entirely and your breasts become less tender. You will probably have increased energy and appetite. Perhaps the most exciting thing is that most women begin to feel the baby move at about 18 to 22 weeks. These first sensations, referred to as quickening, often feel like little fluttery movements or gas. Quickening, combined with the visual sign of a growing belly, may help make the pregnancy seem more real.

As the baby grows, so will your belly. At 12 weeks, your uterus is at the level of your pubic bone. Around 20 weeks, the top of your uterus (the fundus) may reach your navel, and by the end of the second trimester, it reaches even higher, so it is right under your ribs. Women have tremendously varied responses to the changing shapes of our bodies.

Women often feel ambivalent as a result of the value our culture places on being thin. Many women try to live up to this cultural ideal, even while pregnant, with negative consequences. Unfortunately, images of big, powerful birthing mothers are largely absent from our culture. Recently, popular media have celebrated pregnancy as sexy, but only for celebrities with otherwise "perfect" bodies. Imagine if we were surrounded by images that embraced our roundness instead. Try not to allow narrow cultural lenses to rob you of the right to feel happy and proud of your pregnant body.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.