• Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters, each lasting 3 months, or approximately 13 weeks. Weeks 13-28 comprise the second trimester. This trimester, for most people, is the most enjoyable and is the time when you are over morning sickness (hopefully), the risk of miscarriage is slim, and you are not yet feeling overly large or uncomfortable. It’s your golden period, so enjoy!

    Your Body
    Most changes that began during the first trimester will continue.

    1. 1. Morning Sickness should end. Fingers crossed here.
    2. 2. The vaginal discharge – watery & white – that began during the first trimester will continue.
    3. 3. Your breasts will become larger and may become more sensitive. This can be enjoyable for some, while others feel almost too sensitive.
    4. 4. Your belly will be larger (more obvious and you won’t look like you just overdid it at lunch!)
    5. 5. Contractions – You might begin to experience mild contractions called Braxton Hicks contractions. If they become painful and regular call your Obstetrician. If they are irregular and mild you do not need to worry – it’s your body warming up for the main event.
    6. 6. Stretch marks – Hormones, bigger belly and bigger you mean stretching of your skin. The tendency to get stretch marks is genetic and related to weight gain. Though there are many products that claim to prevent/eliminate stretch marks you have to remember that the stretch marks happen below the surface of the skin. So, while moisturizing can’t hurt and might minimize the appearance of stretch marks (and many people swear by Vitamin E Oil, cocoa butter and other creams) if you are genetically predisposed to have stretch marks you probably will.
    7. 7. Itching – Stretching skin can itch so moisturize regularly – it helps!
    8. 8. Skin changes – Your circulation will increase and you will become more sensitive to the sun (use sunscreen!). You may also have darker pigmentation on your face and on the line between your belly button and your pubic bone. Freckles and moles may appear darker.
    9. 9. Heartburn – The hormones of pregnancy slow down normal digestion and your growing uterus leaves room for little else – combined you are more likely to experience heartburn during your second and third trimesters.
    10. 10. Gums- Your gums will have more circulation and swelling so are more likely to bleed with brushing. Be gentle and floss regularly.
    11. 11. Nose – The inside of your nose may become more sensitive and swollen leading to congestion and possibly nosebleeds. Use a humidifier in your room at night and when you blow your nose, do so gently.
    12. 12. Muscle cramps in your legs – Your uterus is getting bigger and putting pressure on many areas, including the veins for your lower body. This can lead to muscle cramping, especially at night. Taking a calcium supplement, stretching and walking may all help.
    13. 13. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Tissues in your wrist may swell leading to a tingly numb feeling in your hands and fingers. A wrist splint can help alleviate these symptoms.
    14. 14. Urinary tract infections – It’s your hormones slowing the urinary system and your uterus, again, putting pressure on your bladder and ureters and slowing the flow of urine which can lead to urinary tract infections. If you have fever or burning with urination you should contact your doctor.
    15. 15. Yeast infections – If you begin to have thick, foul smelling vaginal discharge, contact your doctor.
    16. 16. Shortness of breath – You now know that your uterus is crowding everything else, and your lungs are no exception. So becoming short of breath more easily is to be expected. If you are having sudden shortness of breath or difficulty breathing you should contact your doctor immediately.
    17. 17. Dizziness when you stand or rise quickly – This is due to changes in your circulation so drink lots of fluid and take your time when getting up. If you are very dizzy, lie on your left side and your circulation will increase more quickly.
    18. 18. Constipation – It only gets worse with time so eat plenty of fiber and drink lots of water. Hemorrhoids can develop during the second trimester because of your increased blood flow and constipation so be vigilant about diet and exercise.
    19. 19. Back Pain – Your body is carrying more weight and there is more pressure on your back. Stretch when you can and you might consider a pregnancy yoga class.
    20. 20. Swelling of extremities – this can happen as your body holds on to more water. Talk to your doctor to discuss normal versus abnormal changes.

    Your Baby
    During the second trimester your baby is getting bigger. You should begin to feel movements, which is an incredibly comforting and wonderful part of your pregnancy. Your baby’s ears are much more developed, bones are becoming stronger and harder, and your baby’s skin is covered with a fine layer of thin hair. Your baby can now make sucking movements and can hear. Lungs have begun to form (they won’t be used until the first breath after birth), your baby has footprints and fingerprints, and s/he now has a cycle of waking and sleeping. By the end of your second trimester your baby should be approximately 12 inches long and weighs about 1 1/2 pounds.

    What You Need to Do

    1. 1. Look into childbirth classes.
    2. 2. Find a Pediatrician for your baby– ask your friends and Obstetrician for recommendations.
    3. 3. If you will need childcare early on begin investigating your options.
    4. 4. Continue to eat healthfully, take your folic acid and vitamins, and drink plenty of water.
    5. 5. Begin doing Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor.
    6. 6. Continue your exercise program, following the guidelines of your physician.

    -Monique Araya, MD, FAAP

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