What Symptoms Can Soon-to-be-Moms Expect during the Second Trimester?
The second trimester is the period between Week 13 and Week 27 of pregnancy. Also coined as the ‘honeymoon period,’ the second trimester for most of the women is one the most comfortable three months of the entire gestational period. As you move towards the second trimester, your body gets used to the hormonal and physical changes that were causing problems in the initial three months.
With early pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness & fatigue gone, you will start feeling like your old self again. At this stage, your baby is not big enough to cause discomfort and this will keep you at ease physically. Second trimester is the perfect time when you can enjoy your pregnancy and plan for your baby’s arrival.
However, significant fetal development occurs during the second trimester and your body will also undergo significant physical changes, starting from increased belly size to stretch marks.
Here is a list of some common physical changes that will help you keep a tap on what physical changes to expect during the second trimester:
- Growing belly and breasts: As your body and uterus expand to make space for the growing baby, your abdomen will grow in size, and so will your breasts. Now is the time to pull out those maternity clothes and full support bras.
- Braxton Hicks Contractions:Braxton Hicks Contractions is referred to the tightness in your abdomen area (uterus) that you will start feeling with the beginning of the second trimester. These contractions are also termed as ‘false labor’ and is a way for the body to prepare for actual labor. These contractions can be felt for approximately 30 to 60 seconds or can even continue for two minutes. You are more likely to feel these contractions after some physical activity.
Braxton Hicks Contractions is quite normal at this stage, however, please consult your doctor if the contractions become painful and regular as it can be a sign of preterm labour.
- Skin Pigmentation: In the second trimester, changes in your skin will become more visible. Your skin pigmentation will change, and you will notice brown patches on your forehead, cheeks, and neck. You might also see these brown patches around nipples, buttocks, etc.
These patches are known as chloasma, melasma or mask of pregnancy and often fades away post-delivery. Chloasma occurs due to the production of tanning hormone, melanin, that protects your skin from ultraviolet rays. However, do visit a dermatologist if pigmentation is severe.
- Stretch Marks: Pregnancy causes your skin to stretch faster than usual as your body expands to fulfill the need for extra space for fetal development. Your weight gain also adds up, and the result is the stretch marks. You will start noticing stretch marks as reddish or purple lines around your abdomen, breasts, buttocks or thigh region. The intensity of these stretch marks will fade away post-delivery.
Eating a healthy diet, drinking lots of fluid, hydrating your skin with your favourite moisturizer or coconut oil can help. Using products with ingredients like avocado peptides, beeswax, shea butter, pomegranate, and baobab helps in reducing the intensity of stretch marks and also combats itchiness.
- Nasal Problem: Increased circulation of blood causes tenderness in mucous membranes resulting in stuffiness and nosebleeds. Saline drops or rinsing with water can help in getting rid of this congestion. However, drinking more fluids, using a humidifier, and using petroleum jelly around the edges of nostrils can help moisten the skin and reduce nasal issues.
- Dental Problem:Fluctuation in hormones during pregnancy, decreased level of calcium and Vitamin D, results in sensitive gums causing bleeding during brushing or flossing. Frequent vomiting, craving for sweet food and retching while brushing teeth also leads to weakening of tooth enamel and causes cavities. However, using salt water rinse or softer toothbrush can help. Do consult with your dentist if bleeding or cavities increases.
- Dizziness: Pregnancy hormones results in the change of fluid and blood circulation in the body that causes dizziness. Drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding prolonged physical activity can help. When feeling dizzy, lie down on your side.
- Leg Cramps: You are more likely to get cramps in your legs, especially during the night. You can avoid them by doing mild stretching, staying physically active, drinking ample fluids, and wearing comfortable shoes. When feeling a cramp, opt for a hot shower, ice massage to soothe calf muscles.
- Vaginal Discharge: You will experience a white, sticky, or clear vaginal discharge instead of your period during the nine months of your pregnancy. This discharge is also known as leukorrhea and is normally healthy. Increased level of estrogen during pregnancy results in increased blood flow to the pelvic region, causing increased vaginal discharge.
This discharge is essential during pregnancy as it helps in removing dead cells from the vagina, protects the birth canal from infections, and helps maintain healthy bacterial balance in the vagina.
However, if the discharge is accompanied by a strong smell, colour, pain, or itchiness, please consult your doctor as it can happen due to vaginal infection.
- UTI (Urinary Tract Infection): UTI is common during pregnancy, especially between a period of week 6 to week 24. If untreated, UTI can become severe, resulting in kidney infections. Kidney infections may result in early labor and low birth weight of the baby. UTIs can also cause low mental development rate in your unborn child and in some cases, can even lead to miscarriage.
Visit your doctor immediately, if you have pain while urination, notice itchiness in your vaginal area, have a fever or backache.
Not to be missed: Prenatal care during the second trimester
During the second trimester, prenatal care is more focused towards baby’s growth and also covers any discomfort that you might be facing. Generally, to evaluate the mother’s health, doctors check weight, urine, blood, vitamin/iron/mineral level, and size of the belly.
Doctors also check for preeclampsia,a pregnancy complication that is accompanies high blood pressure and organ damage (mainly liver & kidney). Preeclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy and if untreated can be fatal to both mother and the baby.
To order to check your baby’s health, the doctor will ask you to undergo an ultrasound scan and a few other prenatal screening tests.
However, if you are feeling any unusual change in your body or symptoms, visit your doctor and get discomforts diagnosed immediately.
Questions you should ask your doctor:
- What kind of physical changes should you expect?
- What kind of emotional changes should you expect?
- Are the physical changes in your body normal?
- Is there any lifestyle change that you can make to ease the process?
- Is it safe to have sex during the second trimester?
- What is stem cell banking?
- What makes stem cell banking essential for your baby?
There are several stem cell banking companies that offer early bird enrolment for stem cell banking. But it is vital to choose the one that ensures the safety of your baby’s stem cells along with your entire family’s health. LifeCell International is India’s premier community stem cell bank that offers stem cell protection for the baby and entire family at the cost of single enrollment.
More than anything else, don’t forget to enjoy this golden period. Utilize this honeymoon period and prepare yourself for the changes that future awaits.