You are now basically half way through your pregnancy. It is that period when your baby’s development starts to be both felt as well as seen, and the expectation to hold your little one in your arms is increasing with every day that goes by.
The second trimester of pregnancy is considered by many to be the best of the three trimesters and is often called the honeymoon phase of pregnancy.
This is mainly due to the fact that most of the side effects women experience in their first trimester would have subsided a bit, and also since most women are not having to bear a huge belly just yet.
Discomfort, nausea and other symptoms are not felt that much during the second trimester, and yet the baby in your womb is growing bigger and bigger and if you wish you can even learn if it is going to be a boy or a girl!
Hence the second trimester is indeed special in its own way.
So, let us elaborate a bit further on what you can expect of this second trimester of your pregnancy.
How is your body changing, and how can you deal with it?
Most pregnant women feel quite well and rather like their normal self during their second trimester. They are quite energetic, and it is actually that period when most women start to prepare certain things, such as preparing the nursery, and buying the various necessities for their child’ arrival.
However, even though most women feel okay, there are also some changes that are worth noting in the woman’s body during this period. Some of these changes may be minor for some women, and more pronounced in others.
Let us take a close look at common symptoms most women experience during their second trimester.
Weight gain – this is obviously the most evident and obvious change in a pregnant women.
Most women will have said goodbye to morning sickness, and as their appetite returns they are more likely to put on extra weight. It is important to keep an eye on what you are eating, as well as how much you are eating though. You cannot exaggerate or forget about the importance of sticking to a healthy eating routine.
Backache – it is normal to feel some pain in your back during the second trimester. After all you are gaining extra weight and this puts more pressure on your back.
It is important to try to sit up straight as much as possible, while making sure that strenuous activities are avoided.
Always avoid picking up heavy things or carrying a certain weight as this could lead to more pain and discomfort in your back. It is also important to start wearing comfortable shoes with low heels.
Headaches – many women suffer from headaches during pregnancy. This may be quite a problem as it is not recommended to take any aspirin while being pregnant.
So if you experience frequent headaches make sure to make it a point to get plenty of rest and to try some relaxation techniques which could help a bit.
Bigger breasts – during the first trimester it is normal to have sore breasts. This soreness and breast tenderness should be less evident now during the second trimester. However your breasts are most likely becoming bigger as they are preparing for breastfeeding.
It is therefore normal to experience breast enlargement, and to make sure that you wear a bigger sized support bra which can make you feel more comfortable.
Changes in the skin – skin changes are normal due to the changes in the hormone levels. Some women may develop brown marks on their face (known as the mask of pregnancy), whereas others may notice a dark line down the middle of their abdomen.
Others may notice reddish lines, which may also look purple in some cases, in areas such as the breasts, thighs and abdomen. These are basically stretch marks which emerge as the skin is accommodating the growing belly.
It is also important to remember that your skin is much more sensitive to the sun while you are pregnant.
Spider and varicose veins can develop at this time due to the increase in circulation as a result of the excess blood. All of these changes are quite normal, and they will generally fade once you deliver the child.
Applying sunscreen is recommended, and there may be some creams and ointments which can be used to soften the skin, reduce itchiness and hide certain marks.
Frequent urination – as already noted in the first trimester, many pregnant women feel an urge to visit the bathroom much more often. This tends to be less of a problem for some women during the second trimester, but it will most likely continue during the third trimester.
Discharge – it is normal to notice a thin vaginal discharge of a milky white color at this time. Should the discharge be foul smelling or rather yellowish, greenish or bloody, make sure to consult your doctor though.
Heartburn – due to an increase in progesterone, you may experience heartburn problems. This hormone will lead to a relaxation of certain muscles, such as the ring of muscle in the lower esophagus.
This usually works to keep acids from food down in the stomach, but now it is less effective than before, thus leading to heartburn. Eating smaller meals more frequently might help a bit.
You can also try chewing gum to alleviate heartburn.
Constipation – this is also as a result of the increase in the progesterone. Physical activity may prove helpful in reducing this problem. You should also make sure to drink more fluids and to increase the intake of fiber.
Hemorrhoids – due to extra blood flowing in the veins you may develop hemorrhoids. Sitting in warm water daily may help a bit.
Bleeding gums – several women develop swollen gums during the second trimester. Due to hormone changes there is going to be more blood in the gums. They become more sensitive and prone to bleeding more easily as a result. It is important to use a softer toothbrush and to be gentler when brushing or flossing your teeth so as to limit the bleeding as much as possible.
Stuffy nose – hormonal changes also affect your nose. Basically the mucus membranes lining your nose may swell, and as a result you may experience a stuffy nose. This could in turn lead to snoring as well as nosebleeds.
Natural methods such as saline drops may be helpful if you are experiencing these problems. It is better than resorting to a decongestant while you are pregnant.
An increase in hair growth – some women experience a boost in their hair growth. Apart from thicker hair, some pregnant women may notice hair sprouting out in places where there wasn’t any hair before. This could include the face, back and arms.
After you have gone over these symptoms, you are probably ticking away those you are actually experiencing, while feeling a bit better about the fact that you are not experiencing some of them at least. Pregnancy symptoms are totally normal, and you need to put up with them.
It is however important to keep an eye on symptoms which may be more preoccupying and which you might wish to discuss with your doctor.
These include any rapid or exaggerated weight gain, any bleeding, or cases where you experience severe dizziness. Any cramping or severe abdominal pain should not be attributed with normal symptoms either.
The baby’s development during the second trimester
Your baby is growing a lot during this trimester. You will be able to see this thanks to an ultrasound.
Your baby’s face will look more human as the ears stand out, and some hair may have started to grow too. The eyebrows and the eyelashes will appear, as well as the oil glands. The baby’s legs will lengthen and start moving, and the teeth will be developing too.
It is amazing how many changes occur during the second trimester actually!
Your baby will be able to hear your voice, and you will be able to feel some quickening around the 20th week. Quickening is when you can feel your baby move! This is an excellent time to start bonding with your unborn baby.
The second trimester is a very exciting phase in your pregnancy. Apart from the growth of your baby, and your tummy, you are going to feel quite better from certain symptoms which were making your life a bit difficult during the first trimester.
As you are now getting even more used to the idea of having a child, you are going to feel more excited and enthusiastic about carrying out certain preparations, before your grow more tired and much bigger in the third trimester.
You should actually make use of the second trimester to buy the things you need to welcome your little one into this world. You should start preparing the nursery, the clothes, and certain requirements such as the cot, the pram, and the nappy changer, and so on! Well, as you know there is quite a list of things to buy, and various things to see to!
So make sure you see to them during the second trimester when most of the symptoms are rather inconsequential and minimal.
How was your second trimester of pregnancy?
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Also published on Medium.