The guide to your second trimester of pregnancy
Posted By Suborna Fermi
Posted on Jan 21, 2022
A pregnancy period is divided by three trimesters. From the 13th to 27th weeks of pregnancy is considered as the second trimester. The second trimester does a lot of changes to your growing fetus and also gives relief to your morning sickness after a long period of time. In this second phase of your pregnancy, you will begin to see the baby bumps, and you can also feel the movements of your baby for the first time. According to many mothers, the second trimester is relatively easier than the first trimester. However, it is still important to understand everything about your second trimester, which will help to prepare you for the upcoming changes.
What changes may happen in your body during the second trimester?
As mentioned earlier, the second trimester is the comfortable period in the entire pregnancy period. By this point, the symptoms of the first trimester start getting better. The nausea, breast tenderness and the morning sickness begins to improve as well. However, here is a list of bodily changes that you may experience in your second trimester.
- Breast and belly enlargement: The breast tenderness that you have experienced in the first trimester should ease up, but your breast would still be growing in preparation to feed your baby. Wearing a supportive bra or sports bra may help in this situation. On the other hand, as your uterus increases in size to make room for your baby at around the 20th week of pregnancy, it makes your belly larger and quite visible to others.
- Ache in abdomen: You may experience aches in the lower abdomen area in the second trimester. This pain or aches may happen because of the expanding uterus in pregnancy. Also, your abdominal areas may cramp because of the stretching of the round ligament muscles. To ease this pain you can try some relaxation exercises, taking a hot bath or pressing a hot bag in that area may help.
- Braxton hicks contraction: In the second trimester you may start to feel slight tightness around your uterus muscles for a minute or two which are not labor pain, but they are called Braxton hicks contraction. These come as irregular, however, they are more likely to take place in the afternoon or evening. Usually, sex or intense exercise stimulates barxton hicks contraction. They are absolutely normal in the pregnancy, but if you are experiencing Braxton hicks contraction more than often and also if they are strengthened than usual, immediate visit to a doctor because this can be a symptom of premature labor.
- Gum problems: In the second trimester your gums become more sensitive. Due to the increased levels of estrogen and progesterone, your gums are more prone to bleed easily. For some comfort you can use salt-water to rinse your mouth and change your toothbrush with a soft bristle toothbrush. Do continue your dental care regime in pregnancy because frequent vomiting affects your teeth enamel which can develop cavity issues as well.
- Nasal issues: In pregnancy, your elevated blood and hormone levels affect the mucous membrane linings and blood vessels of your nasal areas. This may cause your nasal membrane linings to swell which results in congested nose and nosebleed. You can use a humidifier, using saline drops may help you to soothe congestion of the nose. To stop your nosebleed, keep the head straight up and gently apply pressure to the nostril until the nosebleed stops.
- Vaginal discharge: Milky and thin vaginal discharge is called leukorrhea, which is very common during pregnancy. However, if the discharge is too smelly, has an unusual color, or if you feel pain in the vaginal area, it may indicate some pregnancy complication. In this position consult with a doctor as soon as possible.
- UTI: Bacterial infection in your urinary tract is very common in the second trimester. You may experience UTI symptoms including pain during pee, frequent peeing, pain during sex, smelly or cloudy urine, blood traces in urine. Urinary tract infection can also cause kidney dysfunction and early labor. Therefore, if you experience any UTI symptoms, visit a doctor because untreated UTI can become severe.
- Dizziness: Since expanding of the uterus in the second trimester, it creates a pressure between the blood vessels. This may cause you to feel dizzy. To avoid the dizziness drink a lot of fluids and do not stand for a long period.
- Leg cramps and backaches: The feeling of muscle cramps in legs are very usual in the second trimester of pregnancy. Doing enough exercises and drinking lots of fluids may help you in preventing leg cramps. Your weight may increase because you are growing a baby in your bump this may cause you back aches as well.
- Skin pigmentation: hormonal changes in the pregnancy cause elevated melanin levels. Thereby, you may notice some brown patches in your face or dark lines in your abdomen area. All these patches and dark lines will go away naturally after the delivery of the baby. Also, you can visibly see the stretch marks in the breast, abdomen and thigh areas. However, stretch marks stay after the delivery.
Development of your fetus in the second trimester
In the first trimester your baby has developed all the major organs of the body, now in the second trimester your baby will grow speedily. In the second trimester your baby will form thin hair, eyebrows and eyelashes become noticeable. Now your baby can turn side to side, move, and you can feel that your baby is kicking. Your baby can hear your voice from the second trimester. Later in the second trimester, you will notice your baby’s sleeping cycle. According to some studies, by the end of the second trimester your baby will be 13 to 14 inches in height and 2 to 3 pounds in weight.
What to expect from your doctor?
As regular checkup is essential in the pregnancy for your baby’s good health. After visiting, your doctor may take a physical exam, and will check your weight and blood pressure. Your doctor may ask you about your family medical history, medicines you are taking, fetus movements, diet and sleep pattern. After all of these, they might suggest some tests.
- Ultrasound: Ultrasound is also commonly known as sonograms, and has a significant role in analyzing our baby during pregnancy. In the first trimester, an ultrasound can be used to confirm pregnancy. Besides, in the second trimester an ultrasound can be used to analyse the stage of your pregnancy, fetal anatomy, the amniotic fluid and the placenta. An ultrasound can help you by providing a lot of information about your baby.
- Triple screen test: This screening test is usually given to the mothers under the age of 35 years. In this test, blood will be tested to identify the abnormal levels of hCG, AFP, and estriol. A triple screen test helps the doctor to detect down syndrome, spina bifida, and trisomy 18 syndromes.
- Cell-free fetal DNA test: Cell-free fetal DNA test is one of the new tests that is recommended to the women who are at a high risk of chromosomal disorder and trisomy 13, 18 and 21 disorders.
Apart from all these tests you can also be recommended to take an amniocentesis test to diagnose if your baby has any of the chromosomal or genetic diseases, one hour glucose tolerance test, blood count test, platelet count test, RPR test, STi test. All these tests will help the doctors to detect any diseases early, so they can treat them right away.