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    Second Trimester of Pregnancy

    Second Trimester

    Second Trimester of Pregnancy

    Updated on 29 December 2022

    After braving the challenges and changes of the first trimester of pregnancy, you have finally arrived at one of the best stages of pregnancy- the second trimester of pregnancy. Nausea and fatigue become a thing of the past for most women in their second pregnancy trimester. The foetus will continue to grow and develop rapidly inside your body and your baby bump will be a testimony to all that growth and development. Let us now understand in depth the second trimester of pregnancy along with its symptoms, precautions and baby growth.

    What is Second Trimester of Pregnancy?

    As you may guess, the second trimester of pregnancy is the middle of the three stages of pregnancy. The second trimester of pregnancy lasts from week 14 to week 27. During the second trimester of pregnancy, most women will notice that their anxiety from the first trimester has settled along with any morning sickness or fatigue. You will also get more used to prenatal visits and ultrasounds by the second pregnancy trimester. By the end of the second trimester of pregnancy, you’ll even feel your baby move.

    Second Trimester of Pregnancy Symptoms

    Some of the symptoms from your first trimester may overstay their welcome well into the second trimester as well. But there will be plenty of new second trimester of pregnancy symptoms as big changes take place inside your body. As a result, you will be feeling some or most of the following second trimester of pregnancy symptoms:

    1. Body Aches

    In your second trimester of pregnancy, you might experience one of these aches- headache, abdomen pain or backache. Headaches are among the most common second trimester of pregnancy symptoms and complaints. Try to practice some relaxation techniques and take plenty of rest. Additionally, you may experience some cramps in your abdomen because the expanding uterus puts pressure on nearby muscles and ligaments. Moreover, the weight you’ll gain in this pregnancy trimester may also result in backaches. Avoid any grunt work and wear comfortable shoes and clothes.

    Extreme abdominal cramping or pain is among the danger signs of pregnancy in second trimester, so look out for that and don’t hesitate to call the doctor.

    2. Skin Changes

    As the second trimester of pregnancy begins, you may also notice some changes in your skin. Because of the hormonal surge during pregnancy, the body begins to produce extra melanin (pigment-bearing cells) in your skin. Consequently, some women may experience melasma (brown patches on the face) or a dark line down the abdomen (linea nigra). These second trimester of pregnancy symptoms usually go away after delivery. Additionally, you may notice stretch marks and itchiness on your abdomen, breasts, hips or thighs. It’s time to befriend coconut oil and sunscreen.

    3. Bleeding Gums

    Owing to the hormone rush in your body and the subsequently increased blood flow, your gums will become more sensitive. As a result, even regular flossing and brushing may result in bleeding and swelling. Try to use a softer toothbrush, gentle flossing and saltwater rinses to soothe the pain and irritation. Instead of skimping on dental hygiene, it’s time to step up your dental care through all the stages of pregnancy.

    4. Nasal Problems

    The increased blood flow in your body can cause the mucous membranes in your nose to swell, leading to a stuffy nose, snoring or nosebleeds. Don’t panic if you experience a few nosebleeds as these are not the danger signs of pregnancy in second trimester. Just keep your head up straight and apply pressure on the nostril to stop the bleeding. Additionally, you can use saline drops, a humidifier, petroleum jelly or other natural methods to alleviate these nasal problems.

    5. Braxton-Hicks Contractions

    During your second pregnancy trimester, you may experience some mild, irregular contractions as tightness in your abdomen. Don’t worry these aren’t real contractions but just one of the normal second trimester of pregnancy symptoms. These muscle contractions called Braxton-Hicks are usually more discomforting than painful. And are usually triggered by physical activity, sex, dehydration or a full bladder. Try to relax, practice some breathing techniques or drink some water.

    In case the contractions start to become regular and more intense, it could be one of the danger signs of pregnancy in second trimester. Call your doctor immediately.

    6. Vaginal Discharge

    You may notice a sticky, clear or milky white vaginal discharge during the early stages of pregnancy. It’s normal and you can wear a panty liner to feel more comfortable but avoid using a tampon. In case the discharge becomes foul smelling, unusual in colour or excessive accompanied by pain or itchiness in the vaginal area, contact your doctor. While it is not one of the danger signs of pregnancy in second trimester, it could be an indication of a vaginal infection.

    7. Hemorrhoids

    Hemorrhoids or varicose veins are also a result of the extra blood flowing in your veins during pregnancy. As a result, you may notice swollen blue or purple veins around the anus and legs. To relieve the itchiness and discomfort, try taking plenty of rest, sitting in a warm bath and avoiding sitting or moving for too long. In case the problem aggravates, you can consult your doctor for an over-the-counter hemorrhoid ointment.

    8. Leg Cramps

    Leg cramps are one of the common second trimester of pregnancy symptoms. You’ll usually experience them towards the end of the day. Try stretching your calf muscles, staying physically active and increasing your fluid intake. Additionally, you can opt for some comfy, cushiony shoes and a warm bath or ice massage.

    Second Trimester Changes in Body

    Throughout the different stages of pregnancy, your body will undergo several changes to prepare, nourish and protect your baby. Besides the second trimester of pregnancy symptoms, you can expect to notice the following changes in your body:

    • Your uterus will continue to stretch, resulting in itchiness and stretch marks. Try to wear clothes that are stretchable, loose and breathable.
    • Besides the uterus, your breasts will also enlarge as they prepare to feed your baby. It’s time to ditch those padded and underwired bras for some good support bras.
    • With all this expansion, you are likely to start gaining weight. The much-awaited baby bump will make an appearance in your second trimester of pregnancy.
    • As both you and your baby grow, you will experience an increased appetite as well. So, try eating a healthy and filling diet.
    • The pregnancy hormones in your body may also boost your hair growth (and not just on the head). While the hair on your head will grow thicker, you may also notice hair in places you never had before.

    Baby's Growth in The Second Trimester

    During the second pregnancy trimester, your baby will gain weight and height. By the end of the second trimester, your baby should weigh around 900 grams and be 16 inches long. There’s a lot more happening inside your uterus, let us understand it in more detail.

    • The foetus in your womb will now start to look more like a baby with well-defined facial features, fingers and toes. Around the 17th week, your baby will have actual eyelids, eyebrows, eyelashes, nails and hair.
    • Your little one’s brain and other organs will grow rapidly this trimester. What’s more, the liver, pancreas and kidneys will even begin to function.
    • Around this time, your baby will begin to move freely within the amniotic sac in your uterus. By week 20, you may also feel some delicate fluttering in your abdomen known as quickening.
    • Your baby will also begin to hear sounds such as your heartbeat and your voice even though the ears are not yet fully formed.
    • You may also catch your baby sucking on his/her thumb or making faces during one of your ultrasounds.

    How to Stay Healthy During Second Trimester

    Staying healthy during the second trimester of pregnancy is just as important as staying healthy in all the stages of pregnancy. It’s not only good for your physical and mental well-being but also for your baby. Here are some healthy measures to follow to avoid experiencing any danger signs of pregnancy in second trimester:

    • Engage in light-to-moderate exercise regularly
    • Take your prenatal vitamins religiously
    • Consume a healthy diet rich in protein, calcium and iron
    • Try to consume about 2200 calories each day
    • Undergo second trimester screening tests

    Second Trimester of Pregnancy Precautions

    Exercising caution during the second trimester of pregnancy and in all the stages of pregnancy will ensure safe health for you and your baby. By avoiding certain activities and foods, you can hope for a complication-free pregnancy trimester.

    Here are some second trimester of pregnancy precautions:

    • Avoid high-intensity exercises or workout
    • Don’t take any medications without consulting your doctor
    • Avoid wearing high heels or standing for too long
    • Continue to stay away from alcohol, caffeine and smoking
    • Try to avoid lying on your back for too long
    • Follow all the dietary don’ts of the first trimester

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    References:

    1. Cleveland Clinic Medical Team. August 08, 2021. Pregnancy: Second Trimester. www.my.clevelandclinic.org
    2. Pregnancybirthbaby Team. Second trimester. www.pregnancybirthbaby.org
    3. Stephanie Watson. August 25, 2020. Second Trimester of Pregnancy. www.webmd.com

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