Reflections on Pregnancy: Weeks 20-30

The stretch between weeks 20 and 30 felt really long, but I’ve officially entered the third trimester. Maybe it was the time of year (February and March are always the longest months where school is concerned) but it feels like I’ve been really pregnant for a while. I suppose my continuously growing bump is also a contributing factor. By 26 weeks, I was really starting to feel the impacts and pulled out all the tools: belly band, exercise ball, stretchy shoes, etc.

Doctor appointments have felt frequent at every four weeks but have gone smoothly (thank goodness). I am fully into my maternity wardrobe at this point and counting down the days to consistently warmer weather so I can pull out my cute spring dresses. I do really enjoy dressing the bump and had a conversation with a colleague the other day about how when I’m not pregnant, skin-tight is not my favorite. Now, I’m all for it! At least then people aren’t questioning why I’m running to the bathroom ten times a day.

Week 22
Week 28

The physical limitations of pregnancy have thrown me for a loop. I asked Ryan about taking a hike the other day and he, very kindly, shared he didn’t think an up-hill, three mile trek would be doable. Fair. My pace is slow and Baby C has rearranged most of my internal organs. I definitely have to be more thoughtful about bending down, sitting up out of bed or getting off the couch, and sitting for too long.

All that being said, I’ve tried to find ways to adapt to this changing season of life and overall, I really enjoy being pregnant. I know I’ve been incredibly lucky throughout, but I look forward to the remaining weeks ahead (ideally, nine to ten of them). Also, with the approaching end of the school year and some celebrations with family and friends, all in the honor of Baby C, our calendar is looking quite full. Onward and upward, I suppose.

Feeling the Baby Move is Wild

During week 19, I felt Baby C for the first time. He felt like a few little bubbles or wiggles in my belly. Then we had our 20 week ultrasound and he was moving all over the screen. I could feel him pushing against the transducer which really helped me identify what his movements actually felt like (and made me think I’d been feeling him for a bit and not realizing it). Now, I feel him move around a lot. My doctor shared that until 28 weeks, movements will fluctuate with some more frequent periods of movement and some quieter periods of movement. Then, at 28 weeks, movements should be consistent with breaks for only 20 minutes or so. Really, getting a sense of your baby’s moving pattern is most helpful.

It’s Nice to Travel in the Second Trimester

Over February break I traveled to the Netherlands with family, to visit family. My doctor seemed totally on-board, even suggesting that early in the second trimester is the best time to travel. I found her words to be true as I wasn’t quite big enough that my bump made things uncomfortable. Also, I had an excuse to eat an extra slice of dutch apple pie (which I did many, many times). There were some things like electrolytes, compression socks, and supportive shoes that helped. However, if there’s a time to plan a trip, the second trimester is it.

Find Deals on Baby Items Wherever You Can

As I started creating a baby registry, I realized just how expensive baby items tend to be. Then I began scouring Facebook Marketplace. The deals you can find on almost-new gear are insane! We picked up an Osprey Hiking Child Carrier for a fraction of the price and it truly looks as if no one has used it before. I did find it funny that I was crossing off items pretty early on, but when you see a great deal, you can’t pass it up. Second hand shops, Poshmark, and family friends have been another great way to find gently used items and I also feel better about the fact that I’m not buying all these new products that will only be used for such a short time.

A Giant Pregnancy Pillow is Worth It (And Your Partner Will Get Over It)

Ryan finally admitted about halfway through the second trimester that my pregnancy pillow was taking up a bit too much of the bed. He got an, “oh, that’s too bad,” from me before I rolled over and snuggled in. (He’s a really good sport!)

Sleep is so critical when you’re pregnant (I attribute a strict 8:30 bedtime to the energy I’ve had during the day) and a pregnancy pillow makes a difference. I started using mine around 20 weeks because I’m typically a side/back sleeper and you really are suppose to sleep on your left side primarily. Just having some additional support is really nice.

Picking a Car Seat Feels Like the Biggest Decision You’ll Ever Make

I’m not sure whether it’s the safety requirements, the frequency of use, or the (seemingly) ridiculous price tags but I found that items like car seats, strollers, and cribs were so hard to pick out. You want to make the best choice and the right choice for your family but you have no idea, really, what you need. Also, most of the time you’re spending a ton of money on these things! A friend gave me the advice that in the end, every brand of every item does the exact same thing. Once you pick one, it will almost always work for you and you won’t give it a second thought.

Quick OB Appointments are Good OB Appointments

I was surprised at how fast some of my OB appointments were until I realized we were following the same routine. I’d enter the office, they’d take my weight and blood pressure, they’d ask how I was feeling, I’d say, “great!” and offer few to no questions. Bing, bang, boom, we’d be done and out the door. There are some blood work and testing pieces to doctor visits in the second trimester (see “glucose test” below) but overall, if things are going well, you’re going to be in and out, which is a good thing.

No Need to Kick Count Until Later

I started feeling Baby C most consistently around 22 weeks. However, there would be a day here and there where I was moving around a lot or busy and I wouldn’t feel him as much. There would also be days where he went on a movement strike. By 26 weeks, these days were much fewer and now at 30 weeks he moves constantly every day. My doctor shared it’s not worth counting kicks until at least 28 weeks and even then, it’s more important to watch for changes in the trends of baby’s movements rather than the movements themselves. For example, if your baby is normally more active in the evening when you’re relaxing on the couch and one day you haven’t felt them at all, it may be worth reaching out to your OB just for a check-in.

It’s Tricky Coming to Terms With Your Changing Body

By 26 weeks, I was really starting to feel the additional weight from my bump. I also noticed that my ankles and feet would be swollen by the end of the day and that it was getting harder to wear my rings. Totally normal, I know, but still a shift that I was a bit surprised by. It’s taken about two weeks to adjust and I still have some evenings where I just sit there groaning, “I feel huge.” I just keep reminding myself, however, that a growing baby is a healthy baby.

The Glucose Tolerance Test Isn’t As Bad As People Say

I want to share my experience with the glucose tolerance test in case other mamas out there have seen varied things on the internet (like I did). First, I was really anxious leading up to it, which I kept telling myself was silly, but for some reason, this test felt like a big deal! Second, I learned that even if you are of excellent weight and fitness, you may still have gestational diabetes. It’s primarily about how your body reacts to the placenta. Overall, my experience was a positive one. I found the lemon-lime drink manageable (sort of like a slightly thicker and flat Mountain Dew) but there was a bit of an aftertaste. I appreciated being able to drink water afterward and I think a high protein dinner the night before, and breakfast the morning of, helped. I felt fine during the hour long waiting period (aside from some heightened nerves around the situation itself) and the blood draw was easy. I will say that by the afternoon, I felt more sluggish and icky than normal, so I was glad I took the full day off. In the end, the process was not an unpleasant experience and thankfully I passed the test and won’t have to do the three hour tolerance test (which I’ll admit does sound a bit worse for the fact that you’re stuck sitting there for three hours). In the end, these tests are to make sure you and your baby are at your best and that, I think, makes it all worthwhile.

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1 Comments

  1. Susan Soares wrote:

    Caitlin, you look so beautiful. I am so excited for you. Happy to hear all is going well. 😘❤️

    Posted 4.28.24 Reply