women say the second trimester is the easiest. For most, nausea
has subsided and energy level is high. Passing the first trimester
reduces the risk of miscarriage and this may bring a sigh of relief.
A new mother-to-be has had some time to adjust to idea of being
pregnant, and is usually feeling more connected to the fetus. Fetal
movement is usually felt between the 18th and 22nd week of pregnancy.
During this trimester, mother's growing belly will announce the
development of the baby she is carrying.
following table is meant to answer questions related to second trimester
of pregnancy. These are common experiences and questions of women
during their 13th to 27th weeks of pregnancy.
About Your Second Trimester
happens during my prenatal medical visit?
will likely be seeing your health care provider once a month.
will have your weight and blood pressure checked at each
will have your urine tested for sugar and protein at each
fetal heartbeat will be monitored.
health care provider will feel the size and shape of your
uterus by pressing on your stomach.
fundus will be measured. This measures the size of the uterus
and where it is situated in your abdomen.
complaints or health concerns can be discussed at your medical
visits. Be sure to bring a list of your questions to your
prenatal medical visits.
tests will need to be done, and why?
(AFP) screening test. This tests helps to detect neural
tube defects which affect the spine and brain of the fetus.
- A blood
test to screen for diabetes is done between weeks 24-28.
A sugary drink is taken and the lab tests your blood sugar
levels at specific intervals. (Some women who are at higher
risk for developing diabetes during pregnancy are screened
antibody test is done for Rh-negative women.
blood counts to check for anemia.
ultrasound (sonogram) may be done around the 20th week to
view the baby and the position of the placenta. Certain
handicaps can be detected with ultrasound.
will my body change?
congestion. Hormonal changes can cause swelling of mucous
membranes, a stuffy nose, postnasal drip, and occasional
nose bleeds. Allergies may seem worse. Be sure to check
with your doctor before taking any medications to treat
vaginal secretions are normal. Report any foul, itchy or
sweating. This may be due to increased maternal blood volume.
shortness of breath is a result of hormonal changes which
affect the blood flow and muscles in the lungs.
can occur as the growing uterus crowds the stomach. Acid
reflux may occur.
gums. This is caused by hormonal changes. You may have some
bleeding from the gums when you brush your teeth. Use a
soft toothbrush and continue to brush and floss regularly.
aches are usually related to the stretching tummy and the
ligaments in the abdomen.
and foot cramps. Don't point your toes down when you stretch,
keep you feet flexed to reduce cramping.
marks. These common streaks occur as the skin stretches.
They can't really be prevented in most women, but they often
fade after pregnancy.
of the skin pigment may occur because of the pregnancy hormones.
Some women get darkening of the skin on the face, known
as the mask of pregnancy. Many women notice a dark line
down the middle of their abdomen. These color changes should
disappear shortly after the baby is born.
can become a problem. Relieve
constipation by drinking plenty of fluids, eating a
diet higher in fiber and getting regular exercise.
can result if constipation isn't resolved.
veins (swollen/bluish veins usually in the legs) occur in
some women. To help prevent this problem, avoid sitting
or standing for long periods of time, don't put on excess
weight, be sure to walk or do other regular exercise, try
wearing supportive pantyhose, and don't smoke.
may occur more frequently. Try to get enough rest and relaxation.
Be conscientious of good posture. Massage the neck, shoulders
and head. If you need a pain reliever, be sure to check
the safety with your doctor. Most over-the-counter pain
relievers are not recommended during pregnancy.
can occur as the enlarging belly affects your posture. Wear
supportive shoes, not high heels. Gain appropriate amounts
of weight, but not excess weight. Don't stand or sit for
extended periods of time. Do exercises
that are designed to improve muscle tone and posture during
a nerve in the hip/buttocks area (sciatic nerve) gets pinched
because of pressure exerted on it. Special stretching exercises
have some concerns.
Am I doing everything I can to insure this pregnancy continues
to go well?
during pregnancy. Unless your doctor has given you specific
instructions to curtail your sexual activity, sexual activity
is safe during pregnancy. You might have to get more creative
as the expanding belly gets in the way. If you have specific
fears or concerns, be sure to bring them up with your health
In general, it is safe to take the vacation that you have
planned. And it may be the last chance to do so before the
birth of the baby. Let your health care provider know some
of the details of your plans to make sure that you aren't
taking any unnecessary risks.
in sports and exercise. Fitness during pregnancy is important,
but keep it a low risk activity. Discuss exercise options
with your health care provider. Drink plenty of fluids and
don't exercise to the point of exhaustion or overheating.
Do safe exercises and exercises
that are designed for pregnancy.
If you think your job environment poses a risk to you or
your fetus, discuss it with your health care provider. However,
if you work in a safe environment and you don't have to
overexert yourself physically, and you don't have to stand
for long periods of time, then working during pregnancy
can be perfectly fine. Check with your doctor if you have
questions regarding your specific situation.
options. Towards the end of the second trimester, you may
want to sign up for childbirth and parenting classes.