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Second Trimester Pregnancy Health Feed

Pregnancy Changes

Pregnancy Changes

Pregnancy brings a variety of changes to the body. They can range from common and expected changes, such as swelling and fluid retention, to less familiar ones such as vision changes. Read on to learn more about them.

Hormonal changes:
Hormonal changes during pregnancy
The hormonal and physiological changes that come with pregnancy are unique.

Pregnant women experience sudden and dramatic increases in estrogen and progesterone. They also experience changes in the amount and function of a number of other hormones. These changes don’t just affect mood. They can also:

Create the “glow” of pregnancy
Significantly aid in the development of the fetus
Alter the physical impact of exercise and physical activity on the body
Estrogen and progesterone changes

Estrogen and progesterone are the chief pregnancy hormones. A woman will produce more estrogen during one pregnancy than throughout her entire life when not pregnant. The increase in estrogen during pregnancy enables the uterus and placenta to:

Improve vascularization (the formation of blood vessels)
Transfer nutrients
Support the developing baby
In addition, estrogen is thought to play an important role in helping the fetus develop and mature.

Estrogen levels increase steadily during pregnancy and reach their peak in the third trimester. The rapid increase in estrogen levels during the first trimester may cause some of the nausea associated with pregnancy. During the second trimester, it plays a major role in the milk duct development that enlarges the breasts.

Progesterone levels also are extraordinarily high during pregnancy. The changes in progesterone cause a laxity or loosening of ligaments and joints throughout the body. In addition, high levels of progesterone cause internal structures to increase in size, such as the ureters. The ureters connect the kidneys with the maternal bladder. Progesterone is also important for transforming the uterus from the size of a small pear — in its non-pregnant state — to a uterus that can accommodate a full-term baby.

Pregnancy hormones and exercise injuries

While these hormones are absolutely critical for a successful pregnancy, they also can make exercise more difficult. Because the ligaments are looser, pregnant women may be at greater risk for sprains and strains of the ankle or knee. However, no studies have documented an increased rate in injury during pregnancy.

A pregnant woman’s entire posture changes. Her breasts are larger. Her abdomen transforms from flat or concave to very convex, increasing the curvature of her back. The combined effect shifts the center of gravity forward and may lead to changes in her sense of balance.

Weight gain, fluid retention, and physical activity

Weight gain in pregnant women increases the workload on the body from any physical activity. This additional weight and gravity slow down the circulation of blood and bodily fluids, particularly in the lower limbs. As a result, pregnant women retain fluids and experience swelling of the face and limbs. This water weight adds another limitation on exercise. Learn about natural treatments for swollen hands.

Many women begin to notice slight swelling during the second trimester. It often continues into the third trimester. This increase in fluid retention is responsible for a significant amount of weight gain women experience during pregnancy. Tips for easing swelling include:

Rest
Avoid long periods of standing
Avoid caffeine and sodium
Increase dietary potassium
Weight gain is usually the primary reason that the body can’t tolerate prepregnancy levels of exercise. This even applies to the seasoned, elite, or professional athlete. Round ligament strain, increased size of the uterus, and pelvic instability from laxity of the ligaments may lead to increased discomfort during exercise.

Tip: for fun, take a photograph of yourself from the side profile early in your pregnancy, using your best posture. Take another photo near your due date and compare these side profiles. The changes are remarkable, aren’t they?

Senses
Sensory changes
Pregnancy can dramatically alter how a woman experiences the world through sight, taste, and smell.

Vision changes

Some women experience vision changes during pregnancy, characterized by increased nearsightedness. Researchers don’t know the precise biological mechanisms behind changes in vision. Most women return to prepregnancy vision after giving birth.

Common changes during pregnancy include blurriness and discomfort with contact lenses. Pregnant women often experience an increase in intraocular pressure. Women with preeclampsia or gestational diabetes may be at an elevated risk of rare eye problems, such as retinal detachment or vision loss.

Taste and smell changes

Most women experience changes in their sense of taste during pregnancy. They typically prefer saltier foods and sweeter foods than non-pregnant women. They also have a higher threshold for strong sour, salty, and sweet tastes. Dysgeusia, a decrease in the ability to taste, is most commonly experienced during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Certain taste preferences may vary by trimester. Although many women experience a dulled sense of taste for a short period of time postpartum, they typically regain full taste capability after pregnancy. Some women also experience a metallic taste in the mouth during pregnancy. This can aggravate nausea and may indicate a nutrient imbalance. Learn more about impaired taste.

At times, pregnant women also report changes in their sense of smell. Many describe a heightened awareness and sensitivity to a variety of odors. There’s little consistent and reliable data indicating that pregnant women actually notice and identify certain odors and intensity of odors more than their non-pregnant counterparts. Nevertheless, the vast majority of pregnant women report a perceived increase in their own sensitivity to odors.

Changes related to childbirth
Breast and cervical changes
Hormonal changes, which begin in the first trimester, will lead to many physiological changes throughout the body. These changes help prepare the mother’s body for pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.

Breast changes

Pregnant women’s breasts often undergo a series of significant changes during pregnancy as their bodies prepare to supply milk to the newborn baby. Pregnancy hormones that affect skin pigmentation often darken the areola. As the breasts grow, pregnant women may experience tenderness or sensitivity and notice that the veins are darker and the nipples protrude more than before pregnancy. Some women may develop stretch marks on the breasts, particularly if they undergo rapid growth. Many women will also notice an increase in the size of the nipple and areola.

Small bumps on the areolas often appear. Most women will begin producing, and even “leaking,” small amounts of a thick, yellowish substance during the second trimester. This substance is also known as colostrum. In addition to producing the colostrum for the baby’s first feeding, milk ducts in the breasts expand in preparation for producing and storing milk. Some women may notice small lumps in the breast tissue, which can be caused by blocked milk ducts. If the lumps don’t disappear after a few days of massaging the breast and warming it with water or a washcloth, a doctor should examine the lump at the next prenatal visit.

Cervical changes

The cervix, or the entry to the uterus, undergoes physical changes during pregnancy and labor. In many women, the tissue of the cervix thickens and becomes firm and glandular. Up to a few weeks before giving birth, the cervix may soften and dilate slightly from the pressure of the growing baby.

In early pregnancy, the cervix produces a thick mucus plug to seal off the uterus. The plug is often expelled in late pregnancy or during delivery. This is also called bloody show. Mucous streaked with a small amount of blood is common as the uterus prepares for labor. Prior to delivery, the cervix dilates significantly, softens, and thins, allowing the baby to pass through the birth canal. Learn more about the stages of labor and how they affect the cervix.

Hair, skin, and nails
Changes in the hair, skin, and nails
Many women will experience changes in the physical appearance of their skin during pregnancy. Although most are temporary, some — such as stretch marks — can result in permanent changes. In addition, women who experience some of these skin changes during pregnancy are more likely to experience them again in future pregnancies or even while taking hormonal contraceptives.

Hair and nail changes

Many women experience changes in hair and nail growth during pregnancy. Hormone changes can sometimes cause excessive hair shedding or hair loss. This is especially true in women with a family history of female alopecia.

But many women experience hair growth and thickening during pregnancy and may even notice hair growth in unwanted places. Hair growth on the face, arms, legs, or back can occur. Most changes in hair growth return to normal after the baby is born. It’s common, however, for hair loss or increased shedding to occur up to a year postpartum, as hair follicles and hormone levels regulate themselves without the influence of pregnancy hormones.

Many women also experience faster nail growth during pregnancy. Eating well and taking prenatal vitamins adds to the growth hormones of pregnancy. Although some may find the change desirable, many may notice increased nail brittleness, breakage, grooves, or keratosis. Healthy dietary changes to increase nail strength can help prevent breakage without the use of chemical nail products.

“Mask” of pregnancy and hyperpigmentation

The vast majority of pregnant women experience some type of hyperpigmentation during pregnancy. This consists of a darkening in skin tone on body parts such as the areolas, genitals, scars, and the linea alba (a dark line) down the middle of the abdomen. Hyperpigmentation can occur in women of any skin tone, although it’s more common in women with darker complexions.

In addition, up to 70 percent of pregnant women experience a darkening of skin on the face. This condition is known as melasma, or the “mask” of pregnancy. It can be worsened by sun exposure and radiation, so a broad-spectrum uva/uvb sunscreen should be used daily during pregnancy. In most cases, melasma resolves after pregnancy.

Stretch marks

Stretch marks (striae gravidarum) are perhaps the most well-known skin change of pregnancy. They’re caused by a combination of physical stretching of the skin and the effects of hormone changes on the skin’s elasticity. Up to 90 percent of women develop stretch marks by the third trimester of pregnancy, often on the breasts and abdomen. Although the pinkish-purple stretch marks may never fully disappear, they often fade to the color of surrounding skin and shrink in size postpartum. Stretch marks can itch, so do apply creams to soften and reduce the urge to scratch and possibly damage the skin.

Mole and freckle changes

The hyperpigmentation caused by changes in hormones during pregnancy can cause changes in the color of moles and freckles. Some darkening of moles, freckles, and birthmarks can be harmless. But it’s always a good idea to see a dermatologist or physician about changes in size, color, or shape.

Pregnancy hormones can also cause the appearance of dark patches of skin that are often unpreventable. Although most skin pigmentation changes will fade or disappear after pregnancy, some changes in mole or freckle color may be permanent. It’s a good idea to have a skin check for potential skin cancer or pregnancy-specific skin conditions if you notice any changes.

Pregnancy-specific rashes and boils

Small percentages of women may experience skin conditions that are specific to pregnancy, such as puppp (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy) and folliculitis. Most conditions involve pustules and red bumps along the abdomen, legs, arms, or back. Although most rashes are harmless and resolve quickly postpartum, some skin conditions may be associated with premature delivery or problems for the baby. These include intrahepatic cholestasis and pemphigoid gestationis.

Circulatory system
Circulatory system changes
The following are common during pregnancy:

Huffing and puffing while climbing stairs
Feeling dizzy after standing quickly
Experiencing changes in blood pressure
Because of rapid expansion of the blood vessels and the increased stress on the heart and lungs, pregnant women produce more blood and have to utilize more caution with exercise than non-pregnant women.

Heartbeat and blood volume during pregnancy

During the second trimester of pregnancy, the mother’s heart at rest is working 30 to 50 percent harder. Most of this increase results from a more efficiently performing heart, which ejects more blood at each beat. Heart rate may increase up to 15 to 20 percent during pregnancy. It’s not uncommon to approach 90 to 100 beats per minute in the third trimester. Blood volume increases progressively during pregnancy until the last month. The volume of plasma increases 40-50 percent and red blood cell mass 20-30 percent, creating a need for increased iron and folic acid intake.

Blood pressure and exercise

There are two types of circulatory changes that may have an impact on exercise during pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones can suddenly affect the tone in blood vessels. A sudden loss of tone may result in the feeling of dizziness and perhaps even a brief loss of consciousness. This is because the loss of pressure sends less blood to the brain and central nervous system.

Additionally, vigorous exercise may lead to decreased blood flow to the uterus while diverting blood to muscles. However, this has not been shown to have a long-term impact on the baby. Furthermore, there’s evidence to suggest that individuals who exercise have improved blood supply to the placenta at rest. This may be beneficial to placental and fetal growth and weight gain.

Dizziness and fainting

Another form of dizziness can result from lying flat on the back. This dizziness is more common after 24 weeks. However, it can happen earlier during multi-fetal pregnancies or with conditions that increase amniotic fluid.

Lying flat on the back compresses the large blood vessel leading from the lower body to the heart, also known as the vena cava. This decreases blood flow to and from the heart, leading to a sudden and dramatic decline in blood pressure. This can cause dizziness or loss of consciousness.

After the first trimester, it’s not recommended to do exercises that involve lying on the back due to the impact from blood vessel compression. Lying on the left side may help relieve dizziness and is a healthy position for sleep.

Women experiencing any of these conditions, particularly during exercise, should consult their doctor.

Respiratory and metabolic changes
Respiratory and metabolic changes
Pregnant women experience increases in the amount of oxygen they transport in their blood. This is because of increased demand for blood and the dilation of blood vessels. This growth forces increases in metabolic rates during pregnancy, requiring women to up energy intake and use caution during periods of physical exertion.

Breathing and blood oxygen levels

During pregnancy, the amount of air moved in and out of the lungs increases by 30 to 50 percent due to two factors. Each breath has a greater volume of air, and the rate of breathing increases slightly. As the uterus enlarges, the room for movement of the diaphragm may be limited. Therefore, some women report the feeling of increased difficulty in taking deep breaths. Even without exercise, these changes may cause shortness of breath or the feeling of being “air hungry.” exercise programs may increase these symptoms.

Overall, pregnant women have higher blood oxygen levels. Studies have shown that pregnant women consume more oxygen at rest. This does not seem to have an impact on the amount of oxygen available for exercise or other physical work during pregnancy.

Metabolic rate

Basal or resting metabolic rate (rmr), the amount of energy the body expends while at rest, increases significantly during pregnancy. This is measured by the amount of oxygen used during periods of total rest. It helps estimate the amount of energy intake required to maintain or gain weight. Changes in metabolic rates explain the need to increase calorie consumption during pregnancy. The body of a pregnant woman slowly increases its energy requirements to help fuel the changes and growth taking place in both the mother and baby.

Metabolic rates increase substantially by just 15 weeks’ gestation and peak in the third trimester during the greatest growth phase. This increased metabolic rate may put pregnant women at a higher risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Although the metabolic rate may drop slightly as the pregnancy reaches term, it remains elevated over prepregnancy levels for several weeks postpartum. It will remain elevated for the duration of breastfeeding in women producing milk.

Body temperature changes

An increase in basal body temperature is one of the first hints of pregnancy. A slightly higher core temperature will be maintained through the duration of pregnancy. Women also have a greater need of water during pregnancy. They can be at higher risk of hyperthermia and dehydration without caution to exercise safely and remain hydrated.

Hyperthermia – overheating during pregnancy

Heat stress during exercise creates concern for two reasons. First, an increase in the mother’s core temperature, as in hyperthermia, can be harmful to the baby’s development. Second, loss of water in the mother, as in dehydration, can decrease the amount of blood available to the fetus. This can lead to increased risk of preterm contractions.

In non-pregnant women, moderate aerobic exercise causes significant increases in core body temperature. Pregnant women, whether they exercise or not, experience a general increase in base metabolic rate and core temperature. Pregnant women regulate their core temperature very efficiently. Increased blood flow to the skin and the expanded skin surface release increased body heat.

It’s been shown that pregnant women do not have as much of an increase in body temperature during exercise as those who are not pregnant. However, pregnant women should avoid exercising in non-breathable clothing and in very hot or humid conditions, since the impact of hyperthermia can be severe. The following may help reduce the risk of overheating while exercising:

Use fans during indoor activity
Exercise in the pool
Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
Dehydration

Most women who exercise for 20 to 30 minutes or who exercise during hot and humid weather will sweat. In pregnant women, loss of bodily fluids from sweat can decrease the blood flow to the uterus, the muscles, and some organs. The developing fetus needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients carried through the blood, so injury may result from a lack of fluid.

In most conditions, uterine oxygen consumption is constant during exercise and the fetus is safe. However, exercising can be dangerous for women with pregnancy-induced hypertension. That’s because this condition limits uterine blood volume as the vessels clamp down and deliver less blood to the area.

If you’re cleared for exercise during pregnancy, be sure to follow common-sense tips. Avoid excessive heat and humidity and rehydrate, even when you’re not thirsty.

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Pregnancy Care

Pregnancy Care

Pregnancy care

Getting good care before, during, and after your pregnancy can help your baby grow and develop and keep you both healthy. It is the best way to be sure your little one gets a head start on a healthy life.

Prenatal care

Good prenatal care includes good nutrition and health habits before and during pregnancy. Ideally, you should talk with your health care provider before you start trying to become pregnant. Here are some things you will need to do:

Choose a provider: you will want to choose a provider for your pregnancy and childbirth. This provider will provide prenatal care, delivery, and postpartum services.

Take folic acid: if you are considering becoming pregnant, or are pregnant, you should take a supplement with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. Taking folic acid will decrease the risk of certain birth defects.

You should also:

Talk with your provider about any medicines you take. This includes over-the-counter medicines. You should only take medicines your provider says are safe to take while you are pregnant.

Avoid all alcohol and drug use and limit caffeine.

Quit smoking, if you smoke.


Go for prenatal visits and tests: you will see your provider many times during your pregnancy for prenatal care. The number of visits and types of exams you receive will change, depending on where you are in your pregnancy:

    First trimester care
    Second trimester care
    Third trimester care

Talk with your provider about the different tests you may receive during your pregnancy. These tests can help your provider see how your baby is developing and if there are any problems with your pregnancy. These tests may include:

    Ultrasound tests to see how your baby is growing and help establish a due date
    Glucose tests to check for gestational diabetes
    Fetal echocardiography to check the baby's heart
    Amniocentesis to check for birth defects and genetic problems
    Nuchal translucency test to check for problems with the baby's genes
    Tests to check for sexually transmitted disease
    Blood type testing such as rh and abo


Depending on your family history, you may choose to screen for genetic problems. There are many things to think about before doing genetic testing. Your provider can help you decide if this is right for you.

If you have a high-risk pregnancy, you may need to see your provider more often and have additional tests.

What to expect during pregnancy

Your provider will talk with you about how to manage common pregnancy complaints such as:

    Morning sickness
    Backaches, leg pain, and other aches and pains during pregnancy
    Problems sleeping
    Skin and hair changes
    Vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy


No 2 pregnancies are the same. Some women have few or mild symptoms during pregnancy. Many women work their full term and travelwhile they are pregnant. Others may have to cut back on their hours or stop working. Some women require bed rest for a few days or possibly weeks to continue with a healthy pregnancy.

Possible pregnancy complications

Pregnancy is a complex process. While many women have normal pregnancies, complications can occur. However, having a complication does not mean you will not have a healthy baby. It means your provider will monitor you closely and take special care of you and your baby during the remainder of your term.

Common complications include:


    Diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes).
    High blood pressure during pregnancy (preeclampsia). Your provider will talk with you about how to care for yourself if you have preeclampsia.

    Premature or preterm changes in the cervix.
    Problems with the placenta. It may cover the cervix, pull away from the womb, or not work as well as it should.
    Vaginal bleeding.
    Early labor.
    Your baby is not growing well.
    Your baby has medical problems.


It can be scary to think about possible problems. But it is important to be aware so you can tell your provider if you notice unusual symptoms.

Labor and delivery

Talk with your provider about what to expect during labor and delivery. You can make your wishes known by creating a birth plan. Talk with your provider about what to include in your birth plan. You may want to include things like:


    How you want to manage pain during labor, including whether to have an epidural block
    How you feel about episiotomy
    What would happen if you need a c-section
    How you feel about forceps delivery or vacuum-assisted delivery
    Who you want with you during delivery


It is also a good idea to make a list of things to bring to the hospital. Pack a bag ahead of time so you have it ready to go when you go into labor.

As you get close to your due date, you will notice certain changes. It is not always easy to tell when you will go into labor. Your provider can tell you when it is time to come in for an exam or go to the hospital for delivery.

Talk with your provider about what happens if you pass your due date. Depending on your age and risk factors, your provider may need to induce labor around 39 to 42 weeks.

Once labor begins, you can use a number of strategies to get through labor.

What to expect after your child is born

Having a baby is an exciting and wonderful event. It is also hard work for the mother. You will need to take care of yourself in the first few weeks after delivery. The type of care you need depends on how you delivered your baby.

If you had a vaginal delivery, you will likely spend 1 to 2 days in the hospital before you go home.

If you had a c-section, you will stay in the hospital for 2 to 3 days before going home. Your provider will explain how to care for yourself at home as you heal.

If you are able to breastfeed, there are many benefits to breastfeeding. It can also help you lose your pregnancy weight.

Be patient with yourself as you learn to breastfeed. It can take 2 to 3 weeks to get the hang of it. There is a lot to learn, such as:


    How to care for your breasts
    Positioning your baby for breastfeeding
    How to overcome any breastfeeding problems
    Breast milk pumping and storage
    Breastfeeding skin and nipple changes
    Timing of breastfeeding


If you need help, there are many resources for new moms.

When to call your health care provider

Call your provider if you are pregnant or think you are pregnant and:


    You take medicines for diabetes, thyroid disease, seizures, or high blood pressure
    You are not getting prenatal care
    You cannot manage common pregnancy complaints without medicines
    You might have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection, chemicals, radiation, or unusual pollutants


Call your provider immediately if you are pregnant and you:


    Have a fever, chills, or painful urination
    Vaginal bleeding
    Severe belly pain
    Physical or severe emotional trauma
    Have your water break (membranes rupture)
    Are in the last half of your pregnancy and notice the baby is moving less or not at all.


The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.

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Know Your Pregnancy Second Trimester Better

Know Your Pregnancy Second Trimester Better

6 Changes in your body you can expect during the second trimester of pregnancy

The second trimester (starting from the 4th and lasting through the 6th month) of pregnancy is considered to be the easiest for a woman. During this time, your energy is at its peak and instances of fatigue and morning sickness are less severe. Your baby, on the other hand, continues to develop inside your womb.

In addition to these, you can expect big changes within your body during the second trimester, which include:

1. Backaches: The additional weight that you gain during these past few months begins to bear down on your back, making it achy and tired. For relief from pressure, there are certain things that you can do such as using a chair that offers strong support to your back; sleeping on the side with a pillow placed in between your legs and wearing shoes that come with solid arch support.

2. Bleeding gums: Hormonal changes occurring during this period bring about a greater flow of blood to the gums, making them extremely sensitive and prone to bleeding. The gums don’t remain tender for long and return to their normal form after delivery. But during these three months, make sure to use toothbrushes with softer bristles and being gentle when flossing.

3. Congestion and bleeding of the nose: In addition to making your gums tenderer, hormonal changes also bring about the swelling of mucous membranes that line your nose. These changes can lead you to have a stuffy nose as well as may even cause your nose to bleed very easily. To clear any nasal congestion that may occur during this period, you should use natural methods or saline drops obtained from a chemist.

4. Hair growth: Pregnancy also sees your hair growing rapidly due to the action of the hormones on the hair follicles. Additionally, you also experience hair growth in places where hair is sparse. To remove unwanted hair, you should stick to tweezing or shaving, waxing and the use of depilatories aren’t recommended by medical experts as they aren’t considered safe for the baby.

5. White vaginal discharge: White vaginal discharge during this time is very common. The discharge ensures that harmful yeast or bacteria don’t breed in your private areas. But if the discharge takes on a foul smell and a green or yellow colour, you should immediately consult a gynaecologist as you may be down with a vaginal infection.

6. Leg cramps: A very common occurrence during the second trimester, leg cramps usually last through the last leg of pregnancy, which is the third trimester as well. The reasons behind their occurrence may be hormonal, weight-related or deficiency of magnesium and calcium. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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Pregnancy: The Second Trimester

Pregnancy: The Second Trimester

The Second Trimester: What You Need to Know

  • During your second trimester prenatal visits, your health care provider will continue to check on your and your baby’s health, including monitoring the fetal heartbeat.

  • The second trimester is the most physically enjoyable for most women. Morning sickness usually lessens by this time, and the extreme tiredness and breast tenderness usually ease up.

  • Your fetus has now developed all its organs and systems and will now begin to grow in length and weight.

  • You may be able to feel the movement of the fetus for the first time at around 20 weeks. This phenomenon is called quickening.

  • A fetus born at the end of 24 weeks may survive in a neonatal intensive care unit.

Prenatal Visits During the Second Trimester

During your second and third trimester prenatal visits, your health care provider may check the following, depending on your current medical condition and the health of the fetus:

  • Any current symptoms or discomforts

  • Your weight

  • Your blood pressure

  • Urine test. This is done to find albumin, a protein that may indicate pre-eclampsia or toxemia, and glucose (which may indicate hyperglycemia).

  • Growth, size and development of the fetus

  • Size of the uterus. After approximately 12 weeks of gestation, the uterus can be felt through the abdominal wall.

  • Height of the fundus (top of the uterus), starting at 20 weeks of gestation

  • Fetal heartbeat

The Second Trimester: What to Expect

The second trimester marks a turning point for the mother and fetus. You will usually begin to feel better and start showing the pregnancy more. Your fetus has now developed all its organs and systems and will now begin growing in length and weight.

During the second trimester, the umbilical cord continues to thicken as it carries nourishment to the fetus. However, harmful substances also pass through the umbilical cord to the fetus, so care should be taken to avoid alcohol, tobacco and other known hazards.

During the second trimester, both your body and the fetus continue to grow.

 

The Second Trimester: Changes to Your Body

The second trimester is the most physically enjoyable for most women. Morning sickness usually lessens by this time, and the extreme tiredness and breast tenderness usually ease up. These changes can be attributed to a decrease in levels of human chorionic gonadotropin hormone and an adjustment to the levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones.

The following is a list of changes and symptoms that may happen during the second trimester:

  • Appetite may increase.

  • You may be able to feel the movement of the fetus for the first time around 20 weeks. This phenomenon is called quickening.

  • The uterus grows to the height of the bellybutton around 20 weeks, making the pregnancy visible.

  • The skin on the belly may itch as it grows, and there may be pain down the sides of the body as the uterus stretches. The lower stomach may ache as ligaments stretch to support the uterus.

  • The need to urinate often may decrease as the uterus grows out of the pelvic cavity, relieving pressure on the bladder.

  • Your nose may become congested, and you may experience nosebleeds. This is due to the increase in hormones (estrogen and progesterone) and blood flow that affect the mucous membranes and blood vessels in the nose.

  • Your gums become spongier and may bleed easily. This is due to the increase in hormones (estrogen and progesterone) that affect the mucous membranes in the mouth.

  • Varicose veins and hemorrhoids may appear.

  • You may have a white-colored vaginal discharge called leukorrhea. (A colored or bloody discharge may signal possible complications and should be examined immediately.)

  • The increasing weight gain may cause backaches.

  • Skin pigmentation may change on the face or abdomen due to the pregnancy hormones.

  • Heart burn, indigestion and constipation may continue.

The Second Trimester: Fetal Development

 

Fetal growth from weeks eight through 40 is depicted visually in this chart.

Click Image to Enlarge

 

Now that all the major organs and systems have formed in the fetus, the following six months will be spent growing. The weight of your fetus will multiply more than seven times over the next few months, as the fetus becomes a baby that can survive outside of the uterus.

By the end of the second trimester, your fetus will be about 13 to 16 inches long and weigh about 2 to 3 pounds. Fetal development during the second trimester includes the following:

  • The fetus kicks, moves and can turn from side to side.

  • The eyes have been gradually moving to the front of the face, and the ears have moved from the neck to the sides of the head. The fetus can hear your voice.

  • A creamy white substance (called vernix caseosa, or simply vernix) begins to appear on the fetus and helps to protect the thin fetal skin. Vernix is gradually absorbed by the skin, but some may be seen on babies even after birth.

  • The fetus is developing reflexes, like swallowing and sucking.

  • The fetus can respond to certain stimuli.

  • The placenta is fully developed.

  • The brain will undergo its most important period of growth from the fifth month on.

  • Fingernails have grown on the tips of the fingers and toes, and the fingers and toes are fully separated.

  • The fetus goes through cycles of sleep and wakefulness.

  • Skin is wrinkly and red, covered with soft, downy hair (called lanugo).

  • Hair is growing on the head of the fetus.

  • Fat begins to accumulate in the fetus.

  • Eyelids are beginning to open, and the eyebrows and eyelashes are visible.

  • Fingerprints and toeprints have formed.

  • Rapid growth is continuing in fetal size and weight.

  • The 20th week marks the halfway point of the pregnancy.

A fetus born at the end of 24 weeks may survive in a neonatal intensive care unit.

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Pregnancy Second Trimester - 6 Changes to Look For

Pregnancy Second Trimester - 6 Changes to Look For

6 Changes in your body you can expect during the second trimester of pregnancy

The second trimester (starting from the 4th and lasting through the 6th month) of pregnancy is considered to be the easiest for a woman. During this time, your energy is at its peak and instances of fatigue and morning sickness are less severe. Your baby, on the other hand, continues to develop inside your womb.

In addition to these, you can expect big changes within your body during the second trimester, which include:

1. Backaches: The additional weight that you gain during these past few months begins to bear down on your back, making it achy and tired. For relief from pressure, there are certain things that you can do such as using a chair that offers strong support to your back; sleeping on the side with a pillow placed in between your legs and wearing shoes that come with solid arch support.

2. Bleeding gums: Hormonal changes occurring during this period bring about a greater flow of blood to the gums, making them extremely sensitive and prone to bleeding. The gums don’t remain tender for long and return to their normal form after delivery. But during these three months, make sure to use toothbrushes with softer bristles and being gentle when flossing.

3. Congestion and bleeding of the nose: In addition to making your gums tenderer, hormonal changes also bring about the swelling of mucous membranes that line your nose. These changes can lead you to have a stuffy nose as well as may even cause your nose to bleed very easily. To clear any nasal congestion that may occur during this period, you should use natural methods or saline drops obtained from a chemist.

4. Hair growth: Pregnancy also sees your hair growing rapidly due to the action of the hormones on the hair follicles. Additionally, you also experience hair growth in places where hair is sparse. To remove unwanted hair, you should stick to tweezing or shaving, waxing and the use of depilatories aren’t recommended by medical experts as they aren’t considered safe for the baby.

5. White vaginal discharge: White vaginal discharge during this time is very common. The discharge ensures that harmful yeast or bacteria don’t breed in your private areas. But if the discharge takes on a foul smell and a green or yellow colour, you should immediately consult a gynaecologist as you may be down with a vaginal infection.

6. Leg cramps: A very common occurrence during the second trimester, leg cramps usually last through the last leg of pregnancy, which is the third trimester as well. The reasons behind their occurrence may be hormonal, weight-related or deficiency of magnesium and calcium. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist.

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6 Changes You Can Expect During the 2nd Trimester of Pregnancy

6 Changes You Can Expect During the 2nd Trimester of Pregnancy

6 Changes in your body you can expect during the second trimester of pregnancy

The second trimester (starting from the 4th and lasting through the 6th month) of pregnancy is considered to be the easiest for a woman. During this time, your energy is at its peak and instances of fatigue and morning sickness are less severe. Your baby, on the other hand, continues to develop inside your womb.

In addition to these, you can expect big changes within your body during the second trimester, which include:

1. Backaches: The additional weight that you gain during these past few months begins to bear down on your back, making it achy and tired. For relief from pressure, there are certain things that you can do such as using a chair that offers strong support to your back; sleeping on the side with a pillow placed in between your legs and wearing shoes that come with solid arch support.

2. Bleeding gums: Hormonal changes occurring during this period bring about a greater flow of blood to the gums, making them extremely sensitive and prone to bleeding. The gums don’t remain tender for long and return to their normal form after delivery. But during these three months, make sure to use toothbrushes with softer bristles and being gentle when flossing.

3. Congestion and bleeding of the nose: In addition to making your gums tenderer, hormonal changes also bring about the swelling of mucous membranes that line your nose. These changes can lead you to have a stuffy nose as well as may even cause your nose to bleed very easily. To clear any nasal congestion that may occur during this period, you should use natural methods or saline drops obtained from a chemist.

4. Hair growth: Pregnancy also sees your hair growing rapidly due to the action of the hormones on the hair follicles. Additionally, you also experience hair growth in places where hair is sparse. To remove unwanted hair, you should stick to tweezing or shaving, waxing and the use of depilatories aren’t recommended by medical experts as they aren’t considered safe for the baby.

5. White vaginal discharge: White vaginal discharge during this time is very common. The discharge ensures that harmful yeast or bacteria don’t breed in your private areas. But if the discharge takes on a foul smell and a green or yellow colour, you should immediately consult a gynaecologist as you may be down with a vaginal infection.

6. Leg cramps: A very common occurrence during the second trimester, leg cramps usually last through the last leg of pregnancy, which is the third trimester as well. The reasons behind their occurrence may be hormonal, weight-related or deficiency of magnesium and calcium.

 

'Consult'.

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Pregnancy Trimester Wise Weight Gain

Pregnancy Trimester Wise Weight Gain

Being able to conceive and the prospect of bringing a new life into the world is something that is highly satisfying and full of joy. Mothers-to-be generally start to take extra care of their diet and make sure they eat right when they are pregnant so that the fetus does not have to suffer. Though it is important to eat healthy during pregnancy, a lot of women and/or their loved ones tend to get carried away and end up gaining more weight than they should.

The good news is that this is the time when those few extra kilos aren't the cause of concern. In fact, they're a healthy and necessary part of the process. But what exactly is normal weight gain during pregnancy? How much is too much weight or too little?

If you were underweight to start with, you might need to gain a few more kilos than the average mum-to-be. Women who don't put on enough weight during pregnancy are at higher risk of premature birth, having babies with low birth weight and other complications.

But if you were heavier before your pregnancy, you'll probably need to keep your weight gain in check. Being overweight or adding too many kilos during pregnancy can lead to complications such as high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, birth defects or having a big baby.

Today, where our modern lifestyles expose us to minimal physical activity, the risks of becoming overweight during pregnancy are higher, and some may mistake it for a healthy body. Not only does being overweight have adverse effects on the pregnancy, it may also lead to the birth of an unhealthy baby, which may leave long-term negatives in the body and health of the mother for her to struggle with, for a lifetime.

Some disadvantages of abnormal weight gain in pregnant women:
In order to be able to understand the importance of controlling weight gain in pregnancy, it may be essential to know what could go wrong if the weight is not controlled or kept under check. Here’s what could go wrong:

  1. The increasing weight may be one of the biggest reasons for developing long-term health problems such as diabetes and cholesterol that find an easy access to the body during the time of pregnancy.
  2. The chances of a normal delivery in obese women are highly minimal, as observed by experts around the world.
  3. In the case of disorders such as preeclampsia, it may become necessary to deliver the baby sooner than the regular time period, and it may also put the organs of the mother at great risk.
  4. Sleepless or tired nights may be common in the case of women who suffer from abnormal weight gain during pregnancy and this is something that may affect the journey and process of pregnancy as a whole.

How much weight to gain and when?

Unlike the equation used to calculate your BMI, the process of putting on kilos is not an exact science. Your rate of weight gain will depend on a variety of factors, such as your metabolism, your activity level and your genetics. These vary by trimester:

  1. During your first trimester, your baby is still tiny, which means you don’t need to gain more than a total of 1 to 2 kilos. However, if you're suffering from morning sickness, you might not gain much (or might even lose a little). That’s OK, as long as your appetite picks up and you make up for those kilos in the second trimester.
  2. In your second trimester, your baby starts to grow in earnest. Your weight gain should pick up, if you started out pregnancy at a normal weight, you would gain a total of approx. 6 kilos by the end of this trimester.
  3. In your third trimester, baby’s weight gain will pick up steam, but yours may start to taper off for a net gain of about 4.5 kilos. Some women find their weight holds steady or even drops a kilo or two during the ninth month, when ever-tighter abdominal quarters can make finding room for food a struggle.

Gradual weight gain is as important as the number of kilos you gain, since your baby needs a steady supply of nutrients and calories to grow during his or her stay in the womb.

Tackling abnormal weight gain and keeping it at bay:
One of the most important things to do in order to keep abnormal weight gain at bay in the event of a pregnancy is to make sure that you are eating healthy. If you overtly indulge in fatty foods and junk items, you may be putting your body at the risk of gaining quick kilos. However, if you eat a balanced diet and make sure that you consult your gynaecologist for dietary advice, you may be able to keep excessive weight at bay. Light exercises such as swimming, walking or yoga can also help but you must make sure to take expert help and suggestions before performing any physical activity that may put yourself or your baby at risk. With the right help you may be able to go through a healthy pregnancy and achieve health and happiness for your baby.

You don't need to eat for two. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can make it hard to shift after your baby is born. 

Bear in mind that keeping active will help you to control your weight. Exercise is good for you during pregnancy. Staying active will also increase your chance of having a straightforward labour and birth.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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What To Eat During Pregnancy Each Trimester?

What To Eat During Pregnancy Each Trimester?

When you are pregnant, it is quite difficult to control what you eat. It is because as an expecting woman, you get a lot of cravings and want to eat the weirdest thing sometimes. But to conceive a healthy baby, you must maintain a healthy diet. A healthy baby requires all the essential nutrients for its growth and development within the womb and the mother’s body supplies the food. Hence, it is vital for the mother to eat right.

 The first-trimester diet -

During the first trimester, it is important to eat food substances that are rich sources of iron, vitamins and folic acid as these three nutrients are essential for the development of nervous system and help in getting relief from nausea. Those females who do not consume at least 600 mg of folic acid in a day, the chances for a baby of getting neural tube defects get increased. The fruits and vegetables that are rich sources of calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium are very important such as broccoli, spinach etc. Dairy products should be consumed such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. Protein is essential for bodybuilding and rich sources of protein such as chicken and eggs should be consumed. Fish can also be consumed however, not all fishes are advised during pregnancy, and it is better that you should check with your nutritionist for it. Carbohydrates are also required for energy metabolism and therefore, whole grain food substances should be consumed.

Further, there are foods that should not be consumed during pregnancy.

  1. Alcohol
  2. Raw or undercook chicken or meat
  3. Shellfish
  4. Oyster
  5. Fish like swordfish, shark, king mackerel & tilefish as they are high in mercury.
  6. Unpasteurized dairy products
  7. Raw or undone eggs
  8. Canned foods
  9. Herbal teas
  10. Licorice (mulethi)

Second trimester Diet -
Calcium and vitamin D is very important in this stage as baby needs strong bones and teeth. The brain development of the baby is required and hence woman should increase the intake of magnesium and omega-3 fatty acid. Again fruits (carrots, mangoes) and vegetables (broccoli, carrots, cabbage etc.) that are rich in folic acid, vitamin D, magnesium and calcium should be consumed. Dairy products rich in calcium and magnesium such as pro-biotic yogurt, low-fat milk, low-fat cream cheese etc. should be included in the diet. Foods rich in omega-3 like almonds, walnuts, seeds like flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds etc. and essential carbohydrate containing brown rice, fortified bread etc.

Third-trimester diet -
The third-trimester diet plan must include food items that are rich in carbohydrates and vitamin K such as leafy vegetables that helps in blood clotting. Vitamin K is very essential for the birth procedure and breastfeeding. Iron is required because it is responsible for preventing low birth rate and premature delivery. Food types such as protein-rich foods that contain iron and zinc, eggs, salmon and plenty of fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C and A should be included in the diet.

Hence, the following guidelines as per diet should be followed to avoid any complication during pregnancy and to have a healthy baby.

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Hi. This is my second trimester of pregnancy. And I am suffering form cough. Can anyone please suggest me any cough syrup that is safe also in pregnancy.

There are several reasons for cough. If it is mild cough and of recent onset it will go away on its own. Just avoid chilled, spicy,fried food. Do warm water gargles, If cough is severe or of long duration you must consult your local doctor and after proper examination he can prescribe necessary medicines.
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Can we eat grapes in pregnancy during 2nd trimester. someone told me that its harmful during pregnancy.

Can we eat grapes in pregnancy during 2nd trimester. someone told me that its harmful during pregnancy.
You can eat grapes during all stages of pregnancy without fear. Infact second trimester is the best time to eat lots there's no nausea like first trimester and there's no physical discomfort like it happens during last trimester.
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