You have been successful in sustaining pregnancy into second trimester which reduces the chances of miscarriage. Congratulations! By the time you enter this phase; several early fetal developments must have already taken place. You need to continue taking proper care and precautions during this trimester too. During this trimester, your baby grows rapidly.
Second trimester of pregnancy begins from the 4th month i.e. from 14 week to 27week of pregnancy. This trimester of pregnancy is usually considered as the most enjoyable stage of pregnancy as for most women it is the easiest phase of pregnancy. During this trimester of pregnancy too, you shall continue to experience profound physical and emotional changes and in this trimester, you shall start appearing pregnant.
There are numerous symptoms that you shall experience during the second trimester. As every woman is different; the symptoms experienced during every trimester of pregnancy may differ from person to person. With pregnancy evolving, most of the symptoms lessen or disappear. Morning sickness and fatigue experienced during the first trimester starts fading in the second trimester hence, making you feel more energetic.
Few of the symptoms that you may experience during second trimester of pregnancy are as follows:-
- Itching particularly around your growing belly and breasts due to the stretching of the skin and hormonal changes. In few pregnant females, there is itching of palms and soles which is caused due to an increase in estrogen. It usually disappears post delivery.
- Backache – Weight gain during the first trimester shall exert pressure on your back, making it painful.
- Bleeding and tender gums due to the hormonal imbalance which sends excessive blood to the gums.
- Breasts continues to grow though the breast tenderness experienced during first trimester fades off. Skin around the nipples darkens.
- Bleeding of nostrils, because of hormonal changes make the nasal mucus membranes lining to swell which may lead to nasal bleeding.
- Milky white vaginal discharge.
- Cramps in legs.
- Increased sexual drive.
- Increased appetite and desire for weird food combinations.
- Heartburn and constipation due to progesterone hormone.
- Bloating is because of the hormone progesterone, which slows down digestion.
- Hemorrhoids – veins around the anus may enlarge during pregnancy, because of extra flow of blood and due to increased pressure on them because of the growing uterus.
- Quickening – movement of the baby is experienced.
- Skin changes – Altered hormone levels make the skin appear flushed. Stretch marks appear which shall fade post delivery.
- As the blood circulation is increased to send additional blood to the growing baby. This excessive blood flow can lead to the formation of tiny red veins, known as spider veins, to appear on your skin. Pressure exerted on legs from the growing baby can cause the veins in legs to swell.
- Weight gain.
Warning Symptoms Contact your doctor immediately when you experience any of the below mentioned symptoms:-
- Severe cramping and abdominal pain.
- Severe dizziness.
- Rapid weight gain or too little weight gain.
Development of the baby that takes place during this trimester is –
- Fingers and toes get well-defined.
- Formation of eyelids, eyebrows, eyelashes, nails, and hair.
- Nervous system starts functioning.
- Reproductive organs and genitalia are fully developed.
- Heartbeat is audible through an instrument.
- Skin becomes reddish in color and wrinkled.
- Baby may start responding to sounds.
- Sucking and swallowing starts.
During this phase, the below mentioned tests may be advised:-
- Blood glucose levels shall be assessed to check for gestational diabetes.
- Screening Tests or Amniocentesis to ascertain Down’s syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities, neural tube defects or genetic disorders.
- Ultrasound to assess the growth of foetus.
One needs to be extremely cautious when –
- Using any medicines, it may be harmful to the baby.
- Using cleaning products or household chemicals.
In this trimester too, diet plays a vital role in maintaining and sustaining pregnancy. Nutritious and balanced diet shall help maintain the health of child and mother. In this trimester you shall require an additional intake of 300 calories a day for yourself and your growing baby.
Some of the dietary regime to be followed is:-
- Consume a healthy balanced diet.
- Drink ample amount of water.
- Encourage intake of colorful fruits and vegetables, eggs, sweet potatoes, pulses, soya, milk, cheese, paneer, curd, fibre, walnuts, beans, etc.
- Encourage small regular meals and plenty of fluids.
- Regular consumption of folic acid supplements, vitamins and other supplements.
- Avoid sea foods, oily and spicy food, unpasteurized cheese, unpasteurized milk, juices, apple cider, raw eggs or foods, homemade ice cream, raw or undercooked fish (sushi), shellfish, or meats.
Tips to follow during the second trimester of pregnancy are as follows:-
- Consult your gynaecologist on regular basis- prenatal care is of prime importance.
- Perform prenatal exercises such as water exercise, prenatal yoga, walking, or gentle dance.
- Perform stretching exercises as stretching increases your flexibility and makes you feel relaxed.
- Wear loose, cotton clothing.
- Shop for maternity clothes. Different size of maternity clothes shall be required for different stages of pregnancy.
- Apply unscented moisturizer on the belly to prevent itching of the belly.
- Start sleeping on your side especially on your left side, as this enhances the blood flow to the placenta and reduces swelling. Avoid sleeping on your back. To comfortably sleep on the side, you can place a pillow between your legs, under your hip, or behind your back.
- Start performing Kegel’s exercise which shall help in preventing urine leakage during and after pregnancy. It further prevents haemorrhoids and enhances the muscle tone of vagina.
- Rest your legs on a stool whenever you have to sit for prolonged periods of time.
- Take a pregnancy power nap when you feel fatigued.
- Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.
- Keep a track of your weight gain.
- Share your fears and excitement with family and friends as pregnancy is an emotional rollercoaster.
- Be aware regarding the danger signs of pregnancy.
- Avoid sports, lifting heavy weights and unsafe activities.
- Avoid food products that can be harmful to your baby.
- Avoid dieting during pregnancy.
- Avoid stress and depression as it can have an adverse effect on your baby.
- Avoid hot tubs and saunas as the high temperature may disrupt the normal development of the foetus.
You need to follow the above mentioned guidelines to have an uncomplicated pregnancy.