This is the second post in a series about pregnancy in Italy. I’ve done my best to share the facts about what the second trimester looks like in Italy, while also telling you a little bit about my own experience. Many foreigners have voiced concerns about how the healthcare is in Italy, going the free public route or the private one. Personally, I did a little mix of both, so hopefully, these articles help you choose which you’d prefer
If you just found out you are pregnant, you might want to look at this post here. If you are just thinking about pregnancy, and conceiving in Italy, you might want to check out this article first. Then of course if you’d like to know anything else about women’s health in Italy, I would this was an original post. In this post, we’ll explore what it’s like to be pregnant in Italy during the second trimester.
Second Trimester – Healthcare & the Required Tests
On a personal note, this second trimester was when I made the switch from public healthcare to private. I did this as we were moving and I wanted a little more stability. I also personally didn’t love the obstetrician assigned to me by the consultorio. However, every one is different and I definitely still recommend trying your local consultorio as it is free and you might find someone you like.
During the second trimester, mothers who were not immune to toxoplasmosis or cytomegalovirus will still be having to get tested every month or so. Other tests involve a general urine test to check how everything is.
The two big checkups during this time are your second ultrasound – the morphological, and the OGTT glucose test if necessary.
Your Ultrasound will be just like your first. It is often scheduled for just before the 21 weeks, in the case that it picks up any abnormalities. If there do appear to be issues, you will still have the possibility to abort if you wish until the 21 weeks of pregnancy.
Here they will check the position and growth of your baby to already see in what percentile it is growing.
On the other hand, the OGTT test will only be required for certain mothers. If you had family who developed diabetes in their life they may require you to take the test. This was one of the toughest tests to get through. It consists of three blood draws over the span of 3 hours. You need to arrive at the lab without eating beforehand, but bring a bottle of water with you. They’ll take your first blood draw, and then require you to drink a whole bottle of glucose. The taste is just like a very, very sweet juice, but it is a thick syrup. At the start, it might not be so bad, but after drinking the whole thing you might start to feel quite icky.
Do your best not to throw up, as you’ll need to redo the test. This is when your water bottle will come in handy. You still can’t eat, but you can drink water. Also, it’s a good idea to lay back and stay as still as you can. One hour after drinking this you’ll take another blood draw, and finally one hour after that the final one. Then you are free to go and eat!
During this time you’ll probably have a monthly check-up with the obstetrician, but when I switched over to Private, she gave me a good summer break to check in together at the very end unless there were issues. Remember that every checkup with private gynaecologist costs every time, while every meeting with the obstetrician or consultorio is free if you have Italian healthcare.
Life in Italy in the Second Trimester – A Personal Note
These were thee months my belly popped out, and it was crazy just how much of a difference in made. Before it really showed, maybe people wouldn’t treat you anything different. But as soon as it is out there they start letting you skip the line at hospitals and other places, give up their seats, and check in.
During this time I went on a little solo trip to the Ligurian Coast and had the funniest culture shock. If I sat down to order an aperitivo, no one would worry if I ordered wine, but they were overly concerned about the cured meats and cheeses. This is all to do with the idea of Toxoplasmosis, which I feel Italians seem way more worried about than anyone back stateside. Either way luckily I am immune so I got the OK to eat as I please.
Also these few months, I started to really feel the weight of the belly. While this was one of the hottest summers we’ve had in ages, it was hard to tell what was pregnancy tired and what was just heat. There wasn’t much I found to be useful during this time other than just relaxing.
Pregnancy Decisions & Planning
In the second trimester you might be thinking more seriously about hiring a Doula to come along with you on the journey. Especially giving birth in a foreign language, maybe you’d feel more comfortable with someone who speaks your language and can advocate for you.
I did not choose to go with one, however, while poking around I did find a few English speaking and international doulas around Italy. If you’d like to check them out here you go:
Margaretha – focuses also on hypnobirthing practices, she is mainly located in and around Milan but can travel a bit.
Bellies Abroad – offering a ton of prenatal resources all in English around Rome. They also can connect you with English speaking resources in other areas if they know of someone.
As always, if you want to get another EN consultation or doctor’s opinion, you can also always use Doctors in Italy to find an EN speaking care provider near you!