Pregnancy Trimesters – The Second Trimester

The shock and excitement of the first trimester are coming to an end, you’re entering the second stage of pregnancy and now you’re waiting to see what forms of development your baby and your body are going to go through next and what should you be experiencing as a result. Will there be more of the morning sickness or will you get to take a few relaxing breaths after that almost constant nausea? We have all your second trimester related answers summed up in this blog! 

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The second trimester starts around 13-14 weeks of pregnancy and lasts until the 26-27 week period. During this phase, most of the unwelcome signs of pregnancy will start to disappear. You’ll experience lesser morning sickness symptoms; the thought of food will finally seem appealing again! Your breasts will still be big but will feel less tender than they did during the first trimester. Your energy levels will also start to pick up and your belly will start to show your pregnancy more clearly. 

Baby’s Growth During the Second Trimester:

The baby develops more quickly during this period. The fetus who weighs about 3 ounces during the beginning of the trimester, will grow to weigh about 1-2 pounds by the end of the trimester. Around the 21st week of pregnancy, you should be able to feel him move around and start kicking. Other major parts of the body also start to form during the second trimester.

Bones, Hair, and Nails: 

The baby’s hair starts to grow by week 16th and by the 22nd week, the baby also develops lashes and eyebrows during this stage. He also develops lanugo (the coat consisting of fur that will help him get warmth until the next trimester) and vernix caseosa (protects the baby from amniotic fluid inside the uterus). Both these layers shed off before the baby is born.

Heart:

By the 17th week, the baby’s brain starts to regulate his heartbeat, meaning it doesn’t beat spontaneously anymore. And you’ll be able to hear it through a stethoscope by week 20. By the 25th week, capillaries are formed to carry oxygenated blood throughout the baby’s body.

Senses:

The baby’s tiny eyes and ears slowly move to their correct positions and by the 22nd week, his eyes start opening slowly, meaning he can see as well as hear and smell things.

Brain:

In addition to controlling the heartbeat and inducing kicks, by the end of the second trimester, the brain initiates for the baby to start blinking too.

Digestive System:

The digestive system had formed fully by the end of the first trimester, meaning now the baby has a fully functioning digestive system. He can even taste the food you eat through the amniotic fluid lining in your uterus; this is the time he adapts taste preferences for when he is born hence this is one major reason, apart from gaining energy your own self, for you to be eating a high amount of fruits and vegetables during pregnancy. 

The baby still gets his nutrition through your placenta, but all the food he tastes means he’ll also be peeing a lot.

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If the fetus is male, the testes begin to form in the scrotum, if it’s female then eggs begin to form in the ovaries. The fetus now develops regular sleep and wake patterns.

Changes in Your Body:

Certain symptoms of pregnancy disappear during the second trimester, e.g. morning sickness and fatigue, while certain others persist e.g. food cravings, heartburn, and constipation. Some symptoms also start to appear for the first time, with the growth of your belly and the development of the fetus. Following are the symptoms that may start during the second trimester:

Congestion

Do you have a habit of snoring? No? Then you may start to for the first time because of the increased blood flow in your mucous membrane. The good news is, there are OTC medications available that are safe to be taken during pregnancy.

Gum Sensitivity

Your gums may become sensitive and can even bleed, which can be a sign of ‘Gingivitis’; it’s not a serious problem but might develop into one if left untreated.

Dizziness

One recurring problem during this stage is dizziness. It happens because your hormone levels rise and blood vessels relax and widen. This increases the blood flow toward your baby but decreases the return of blood in your veins, lowering your blood pressure and causing you to feel dizzy. The growth of the uterus further puts pressure on your blood vessels, causing dizziness.

Leg Cramps

Another common problem faced by women during this period is the increase in leg cramps. This can occur due to the increase in weight and changes in blood circulation. Moreover, a lack of calcium and other important nutrients can also easily add up to making the leg cramps more profound.

Round Ligament Pain

Sharp pain or jab is often felt in the lower belly or groin, on either one or both sides. The round ligament is an area in your pelvis that attaches a part of your uterus with your groin. During pregnancy, as the baby grows, the ligament stretches and is prone to be strained. Sudden movements may tighten it quickly and causes a jabbing sensation in the groin. 

Varicose Vein

Enlarged veins that commonly occur in the legs, although it can also occur in the buttocks or vaginal areas during pregnancy. It happens because during this stage blood volume increases whereas the rate of blood flow from the pelvis to feet decreases Fortunately if you didn’t have the condition before pregnancy then it should fade away or shrink after pregnancy. Hemorrhoids are another kind of varicose vein that can occur in the rectum as a result of constipation.

Swelling of Feet and Ankles

Around the fifth month of pregnancy, you may start noticing your feet are swollen. It’s not uncommon to have swollen feet during pregnancy, especially if you are on your feet a lot. It occurs due to an increase of fluid and blood in your body. While this can cause discomfort, the extra fluid is only preparing your body to be softer while giving birth and that’s exactly what you need. The fluid disappears gradually after you’ve given birth.

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All these symptoms are natural and generally felt among a majority of pregnant women. Although, if something starts to feel too unusual or causes a lot of discomforts, it’s recommended that you get your doctor’s opinion on what is happening and how to deal with it.

Gaining Weight During This Trimester:

The second trimester is when the baby goes through profound physical changes and growth and your body expands to make room for the life growing inside of you. If you started pregnancy with a normal weight, expect to gain up to 14 pounds in total during this period. Your appetite will increase, or come back if you suffered through nausea and a loss of appetite during the first trimester, in order to support the growth of your baby. 

Second Trimester To-Do Check-List

There are a few things that need to be done when you’re pregnant. So make sure you’re checking these items off your list to ensure having a healthy pregnancy and delivery. 

Schedule Checkups

It’s time for you to schedule regular check-ups with your doctor, during each check-up your weight and the size of your uterus is going to be observed in order to ensure everything is proceeding at a normal rate.

Look Out for These Symptoms

Although the second trimester should be easier than the first, you may experience some symptoms that will make you visit the doctor. These symptoms include heavy vaginal bleeding, gestational diabetes (discussed below) and fever above 102 F.

Check up on your Glucose Levels

About 1 in 10 women suffer from gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Hence, it is recommended that you get your blood sugar levels checked, to be sure of any abnormalities in the numbers, between weeks 24 till 28. Although, the extra amount of sugar in your urine doesn’t always imply gestational diabetes. But it does mean you need to go for further tests and if you do have the condition, you can be referred to a nutritionist who will help you maintain a proper diet.

Have a Prenatal Genetic Screening

It’s important for you to have tests that will identify whether your baby has any genetic conditions that could develop into chromosomal abnormalities such as neural tube defects or Down syndrome. If any of the tests come out positive your doctor can recommend further tests for better diagnosis. And while all of this may seem overwhelming or even frightening, it’s just to make sure you and your baby are safe and healthy.

Schedule a Level Two Ultrasound

Around 18-22 weeks, the doctor will measure the baby, check for the amount of amniotic fluid and if you want, they can even tell you the baby’s gender. Although this sounds exciting, make sure your doctor is the only one doing your ultrasounds and not someone else, in order to ensure authenticity and safety.

Make Prenatal Workouts A Priority

If you didn’t start on a regular workout during the first 3 months, it’s about time you start now with some pregnancy-friendly exercises. It’s not just good for your health but also your baby’s so put on your push up pants and get to work.

Consider Attending Childbirth Classes

While you don’t have to start attending childbirth classes just yet, this is a good time for you to look for what you’ll need and where you’ll have to go once the time does arrive. So look into your options and choose what’s best for you to prepare your mind.

Start Looking into Daycare Options

If you’re a working mommy and are planning for your maternity leave to be short after delivery, it’s good if you start looking into daycare options from this stage onwards. The reason we’d recommend it this early is that you will need to observe said daycares for some time before deciding you will leave your little one there for a whole day while you’re at work, so your baby needs the proper attention and care during that time too.

Buy Baby and Maternity Clothes

With your belly growing gradually and your baby arriving in a few months, it’s time you start making some wardrobe alterations and prep for your little one’s clothes as well. When it comes to maternity dresses, there’s a variety to choose from. May it be gowns, tops, pants, or even shapewear, these dresses will last you throughout the pregnancy period and even after you’ve delivered your baby. Make sure to visit this link Pregnancy and Maternity Clothes, to look into the options and variety.

Your baby also deserves the best of everything. So when it comes to clothes, be sure you’ve chosen the best variety of comfortable dresses, tops, onesies, and shoes available all over. And gear up on baby care items too as you may end up needing them suddenly. If you need more information on the subject or the products, visit Little Angel Baby Clothes

We know pregnancy is a trying time, but it’s also the most beautiful period of your life with the anticipation of the new life growing inside of you. You don’t need to have all the answers, just the right ones when you need them.

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