Second Trimester of Pregnancy

Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 21 April 2021

Table of Contents :

  1. Second Trimester of Pregnancy
  2. Changes in Your Body 
  3. Emergency Symptoms 
  4. Baby’s Growth in the Second Trimester

 

Second Trimester of Pregnancy

 

Your pregnancy's second trimester lasts from week 13 to week 28, or months 4, 5, and 6. It's the middle phase of your pregnancy and you'll likely start to see your “baby bump" and feel your baby move for the first time. 

 

Morning sickness and fatigue that you might have had in the previous three months may diminish when you reach your second trimester. 

 

For several mothers, the second trimester is the most comfortable three months of pregnancy. Take advantage of the time you have now, when you are getting stronger and have more energy, to begin making plans for your baby's birth. 

 

Your baby grows rapidly during the second trimester. You'll get an ultrasound in the 18th and 22nd week of pregnancy so the doctor can see if your baby is developing well. You can even find out your baby’s gender at this stage of the pregnancy.

 

You may feel fine now, but your body is undergoing significant adjustments. 

Here's everything to expect.

Changes in Your Body

 

Achiness in your lower abdomen. You may have cramps or aches in your lower belly during the second trimester. Cramps occur when the uterus extends throughout pregnancy, putting strain on the muscles and ligaments around it. Your round ligament muscle cramps a lot during the second trimester as it extends. It starts as a dull ache in your lower abdomen and progresses to intense stabs of discomfort. Constipation, gas, or even sex may trigger minor cramps, which are perfectly common. Try a heated massage, relaxing stretches, changing your body position, or rubbing a hot water bottle covered in a towel to your lower belly to ease the aches.

 

Backache. Your back can become achy and swollen as a result of the extra weight you've gained in the past few months. Stand up straight and in a chair with strong back support to relieve pain. Sleep with a pillow tucked between your legs on your side. Picking up or holding something big is not a good idea. Wear stylish, low-heeled shoes with strong arch support. If the discomfort is unbearable, get your partner to massage the sore points or have a maternity massage.

 

Bleeding gums. Gums expand and become soft in about half of pregnant women. Hormone fluctuations cause more blood to flow to the gums, making them more vulnerable and sensitive to bleeding. After your baby is born, your gums should return to usual. In the meanwhile, clean with a smoother toothbrush and floss gently, but don't forget oral health. Pregnant women with gum disease (periodontal disease) are more likely to go into labour early and deliver a low-birth-weight baby, according to research.

 

Braxton-Hicks contractions. During the second trimester, you may feel the muscles in your uterus tighten for a minute or two. These aren't true labour contractions or symptoms, but just a common symptom. They can appear and disappear at random, and their rhythm and power may be erratic. Muscle contractions sometimes trigger more irritation than pain. Braxton-Hicks contractions may be triggered by sex, physical activity, dehydration, a full bladder, or even someone rubbing your baby bump. These contractions can be used to practise your labour breathing techniques. Take a warm bath, drink a warm herbal tea, adjust your body position, or drink more water to help you relax.

 

Breast enlargement. Your breasts are already developing as they plan to feed your baby, but all of the tenderness you felt during the first trimester should be gone. Wearing a good support bra and going up a bra size (or more) will help you feel more relaxed.

 

Congestion and nosebleeds. Hormonal fluctuations allow the mucus membranes that line the nose to swell, resulting in a stuffy nose and snoring at night. These modifications can also make it easier for the nose to bleed. Consult the doctor before taking a decongestant. Clearing obstruction with saline drops and other natural solutions can be a better option during breastfeeding. To hold the air moist, consider using a humidifier. Hold the head up straight (don't tip it back) and add pressure to the nostril before the bleeding ends.

 

Discharge. Early in your pregnancy, you may notice a small, milky white vaginal discharge (known as leukorrhea). If it helps you feel more comfortable, wear a panty liner, just don't use a tampon because it will bring germs into the vaginal area. Contact the doctor whether the discharge is foul-smelling, green, yellow or bloody, or if there is a lot of clear discharge.

 

Dizziness. During the second trimester, the uterus contracts, pressing into blood vessels and making you feel dizzy. Low blood pressure or hormonal fluctuations during breastfeeding are two such factors. Make an effort not to stand for too long. Slowly rise from your chair or bed. Regularly consume meals and treats. For the remainder of your pregnancy, wear light clothing, take hot showers or baths, and avoid lying flat on your back.

 

Frequent urination. During the second trimester, the uterus will rise out from the pelvic cavity, allowing you a break from getting to go to the toilet all the time. During the third trimester of your birth, you'll get the urge to frequently urinate again. 

 

Hair growth. Hair development may be accelerated by pregnancy hormones, but not necessarily where you want it to be. Your hair on top of your head will thicken. You can even see hair growing in areas where it wasn't before, such as your ears, arms, and back. Shaving and tweezing aren't the most convenient choices, but they're your choices now. Many experts advise against laser hair removal, electrolysis, waxing, or depilatories during pregnancy since studies on their safety is yet to be completed. Check with the doctor and see what he or she suggests.

 

Headache. One of the most frequent pregnancy complaints were headaches. Try to find lots of rest and use calming methods including deep breathing to help you calm. While aspirin and ibuprofen should be avoided during pregnancy, your doctor may want you to take paracetamol if you're in incredible pain.

 

Heartburn and constipation. Your body produces more progesterone, which causes these symptoms. The ring of muscle in your lower oesophagus that usually holds food and acids down in your stomach, as well as the ones that carry digested food into your intestines, to be more relaxed by this hormone. To prevent heartburn, consume smaller, more regular meals during the day and avoid items that are greasy, salty, or acidic (such as citrus fruits). To relieve constipation, eat more fibre and drink plenty of water. Physical activity can also aid in the progress of the situation.

 

Hemorrhoids. Varicose veins, or swelling blue or purple veins that develop across the anus, are what haemorrhoids are. During pregnancy, these veins widen because more blood is flowing through them and the uterus is putting more pressure on them. Varicose veins are itchy and inconvenient. Sitting in a warm tub or sitz bath will help to relax them. Inquire with the doctor about using an over-the-counter hemorrhoid ointment.

 

Leg cramps. During the second trimester, the leg muscles can contract and cramp. This occurs a lot at night. What triggers them is unknown. Stretch the leg muscles before going to bed, workout regularly, consume magnesium-rich foods like beans or whole grains, consume lots of water, get the recommended amount of calcium, and wear comfortable shoes to avoid cramps. Stretching, ice, fire, or massage can help to relieve leg cramps.

 

Quickening. You may have begun to experience the first delicate flutters of activity in your belly by the midpoint of your pregnancy (20 weeks), which is known as “quickening." Don't worry if you haven't seen your baby moving yet. Quickening may not occur before the sixth month of pregnancy for certain people.

Skin changes. Since changing hormone levels trigger the skin on the face to appear flushed, pregnant women sometimes seem to be “glowing." Dark lines on the forehead (often referred to as the “mask of pregnancy") and a dark line (linea nigra) along the centre of the abdomen may also be caused by a rise in the pigment melanin. After the baby is born, both of these skin changes should fade. In the meanwhile, you could cover them with makeup. Since your skin is more vulnerable to the sun right now, use a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB protection) sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 any time you step outside. Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, a broad-brimmed cap, and sunglasses while out in the heat, particularly between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thin, reddish-purple lines can appear on your belly, breasts, or thighs. Stretch marks appear when the skin stretches to support your expanding stomach. Despite the fact that certain creams and lotions appear to avoid or remove stretch marks, there is no research to support this claim. Using a moisturiser on your skin can help smooth it and reduce itchiness. Once you deliver, most stretch marks can disappear on their own.

 

Spider and varicose veins. Your blood flow has improved in order to provide more blood to your rising infant. Spider veins are tiny red veins that develop on the skin as a result of excessive blood flow. When your baby is born, these veins should fade away. Pressure from your developing baby on your legs will often slow blood supply to your lower body, causing your legs' veins to swell and turn blue or purple. Varicose veins are what they're called. While there is no way to prevent varicose veins from developing, you will keep them from worsening by standing up and going during the day and propping up your legs on a stool if you have to stay for lengthy periods of time. For further protection, wear a support hose. Within three months after giving birth, the varicose veins should improve.

 

Urinary tract infections. In the second trimester, bacterial infections in your urinary tract or bladder, which sits on top of your uterus, are normal. They're affected by changes in the urinary tract or a rising uterus that makes emptying your bladder more difficult. Pressure or burning while peeing, a constant need to pee, cloudy or smelly discharge, pain during sex, lower belly pain, or signs of blood or mucus in the urine are also possible indications. Bladder infections will spread to the kidneys, resulting in early labour or low-weight infants, so make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. To detect the infection, they'll do a urinalysis and a urine culture, and then administer antibiotics to cure it.

 

Weight gain. By the completion of the first trimester, morning sickness is normally gone. Following that, the appetite can recover, and it will most likely increase. While the diet seems to be more appealing, keep track of how much you're consuming. During the second trimester, you will require an additional 300 to 500 calories a day, and you can add between 1/2 to 1 pound per week.

 

Emergency Symptoms

 

Any of these signs could indicate that your pregnancy is not going safely as planned. Do not wait for your next appointment before you seek help. If you have some of the above symptoms, contact the doctor right away.

  • Severe abdominal pain or cramping
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Severe dizziness
  • Rapid weight gain (more than 6.5 pounds per month) or too little weight gain (less than 10 pounds at 20 weeks into the pregnancy)
  • Jaundice
  • Vomiting
  • A lot of sweating

Baby’s Growth in the Second Trimester

 

Your baby will weigh up to 3 pounds and develop up to 16 inches in length during the second trimester. Its brain expands and evolves rapidly. In your belly, it will kick, move, turn around, swallow, suck, and hear your speech. 

 

The eyes and ears of your baby can move into their proper places on its head. Their eyelids have the ability to open and close. The infant has a regular sleeping and waking schedule. They grow lashes and brows. 

 

Your child's fingernails and toenails can grow. Separate the delicate fingertips and toes. Their fingerprints and toe prints become separate. 

 

On your baby's head, hair develops. The lanugo is a fine, downy fur that grows all over them. Their bodies are protected by the vernix caseosa, a smooth, white layer that is gradually absorbed into their flesh. 

At this point, your baby's placenta has completely grown. The placenta is an organ that provides oxygen and nutrients to the foetus during pregnancy. It also gets rid of pollution. Your foetus starts to accumulate fat on the body during the second trimester.

Sources

Referenced on  10.4.2021

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  5. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “Skin Conditions During Pregnancy."
  6. Tunzi, M. American Family Physician, January 2007; vol 75: pp 211-218.
  7. American Pregnancy Association: “Cramping During Pregnancy,” “Braxton Hicks Contractions,” “Dizziness During Pregnancy,” “Hair Removal During Pregnancy," “Pregnancy and Headaches,” “Urinary Tract Infection During Pregnancy.
  8. March of Dimes: “Backache," “Congestion and Nosebleeds."
  9. Department of Health and Human Services: “Varicose Veins and Spider Veins."
  10. American Academy of Periodontology. “Baby Steps to Healthy Pregnancy and On-Time Delivery."
  11. Silk, H. American Family Physician, April 2008; vol 77: pp 1139-1144.
  12. Tommys.org: “Second Trimester: Weeks 13 to 28.”
  13. Mayo Clinic: “What causes leg cramps during pregnancy, and can they be prevented?” “Placenta: How it works, what’s normal.”
  14. University of Rochester Medical Center: “Cholestasis of Pregnancy.”
  15. Australian Government: “Severe vomiting during pregnancy (Hyperemesis gravidarum).”
  16. Unity Point Health: “12 Things No One Expects During a Summer Pregnancy.”
  17. https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/second-trimester-of-pregnancy#1

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