What to Expect During My Second Trimester: Common Symptoms and How to Manage Them
Good news! The nausea and fatigue that once plagued you should be lifting. Women often refer to the second trimester as the easiest months of pregnancy. There are some high energy, radiant times ahead! We have already discussed the cravings, along with the constipation and heartburn that may all worsen during the second trimester. Take a look at a few more symptoms you might be experiencing entering your second trimester.
Increased weight gain adds pressure to your back. To avoid adding additional stress, be sure to make these small lifestyle changes. Sit up straight and use a chair with good back support. Sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs. Avoid lifting and carrying heavy objects. Wear comfortable shoes with arch support. If that nagging back pain is still driving you nuts, invest in an occasional pregnancy massage which should help you to find relief.
Braxton Hicks Contractions
Usually very weak and unexpected, Braxton Hicks contractions are considered warm ups for delivery. Do not be alarmed. But, if they become frequent or painful, call your doctor as this may be a sign of preterm delivery.
Swollen tender gums develop from hormones causing widespread inflammation throughout the body. Increased blood flow to your gums may increase sensitivity. Use a soft tooth brush, but don’t slack on dental hygiene. Women with gum disease increase their risk of preterm labor and delivering a low birth weight baby.
Hopefully the achiness of your breasts has subsided, but the same cannot be said for their growth. The increase in fat along with the preparation of milk to feed your baby may boost your bra size. Do not be surprised if you go up at least one size! Continue to wear that supportive bra.
Congestion and Nosebleeds
Hormones cause the mucus membranes in your nose to swell which can lead to a stuffy nose and more frequent nose bleeds. Decongestants are not recommended. Instead, try saline drops or a nighttime humidifier to moisten the nasal passages and clear out that congestion.
Another result of hormonal changes is leukorrhea, a thin and milky white vaginal discharge. If bothersome, use a panty liner. Avoid tampons which are a pathway of germs into the vagina.
A boost in hair growth from pregnancy hormones may increase the thickness of the hair on your head, while also sprouting growth on your face, arms, and back. Though unpleasant and challenging, shaving and tweezing are the best and safest options.
Headaches, the most common symptom of pregnancy, can be treated with rest, and deep breathing. Though drugs are not recommended, if you feel you need an over the counter pain reliever, acetaminophen may be your best bet. But, be sure to clear this with your doctor first.
As a result of the chronic constipation most women experience beginning early in the pregnancy, hemorrhoids are likely to develop. These are swollen, enlarged veins around the anus which are worsened by the increased pressure applied from the growing uterus. They can become itchy and uncomfortable. Sitting and soaking in a warm tub or sitz bath may bring some relief. You may also ask your doctor if over the counter hemorrhoid ointment is safe for you to use.
Leg cramps are common during pregnancy, especially at night. Stretch your calf muscles often, participate in light physical activity, and be sure to stay hydrated. A hot shower or warm bath may bring relief when experiencing a cramp.
At around 20 weeks of pregnancy, the halfway point, you may start to feel small movements in your belly referred to as quickening. If you have not experienced this, do not be alarmed because some women do not experience it until around 6 months of pregnancy.
Extensive skin changes occur during pregnancy. If you’ve heard of the pregnancy glow, you know changing hormones make the skin appear flushed and glowing. The not so nice symptoms include an increase of the pigment melanin, which results in brown marks on the face, and the well known dark line that travels down the middle of the abdomen called the linea nigra. These markings will fade after pregnancy, but, if they’re bothersome, you can cover them with makeup in the meantime. Your skin has increased sun sensitivity, so be sure to apply sunscreen everyday, and avoid extending time in the sun especially during the hours of 10 am to 3 pm. Another pregnancy blunder includes stretch marks, which commonly appear on the abdomen, breasts, and thighs. Moisturize daily to soften the skin and prevent itching. Many stretch marks will fade after delivery.
Spider and Varicose Veins
Increased circulation providing blood flow to your baby can cause tiny red spider veins on the surface of your skin. Pressure on your legs from your growing baby slows blood flow and may cause swelling, and a blue or purplish color to your veins. These veins are referred to as varicose. Elevate your legs often and try to stay moving to avoid this development. Both should fade once your baby is born.
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