Trimester 2

Changes in Your Body
Most women find the second trimester of pregnancy to be easier than the first trimester, but it is important to stay informed about your pregnancy in this stage too. While you might notice that symptoms like nausea and fatigue are going away, you will see other new, more noticeable changes to your body. Your abdomen will expand as you gain weight and the baby continues to grow. And before this trimester is over, you will feel your baby beginning to move! Many of the other symptoms you had in the first trimester might also continue, like constipation or leg cramps, so it is important to keep doing all of the healthy things you have already learned to help prevent or treat those symptoms. Here are some things you might experience during this trimester:

Aches and Pains
As your uterus and abdomen expands, you might feel pains in your abdomen, groin area, or thighs. You also can feel backaches or aching near your pelvic bone from the pressure of the baby's head, your increased weight, and the loosening joints in these areas. Lying down, resting, or applying heat can help resolve some of these aches and pains. If pains do not get better after rest, it is best to call your health care provider.

Shortness of Breath
As your baby gets bigger inside your body, there will be increased pressure on all of your organs including your lungs. You might begin to notice that you are short of breath or might not be able to catch your breath. Try taking deep, long breaths and try to maintain good posture so your lungs have room to expand. You might be able to breathe more freely at night by using an extra pillow or by sleeping on your side.

If you sleep on your left side, you will relieve pressure on major blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the fetus. If you have high blood pressure, it is even more important to be on your left side when you are lying down.

Stretch Marks and Other Skin Changes
You might have heard stories from family members or friends about the dreaded stretch marks from pregnancy. Stretch marks are brown, red, pink, or purple streaks in the skin, usually over the thighs, buttocks, abdomen, and breasts. They are scars caused by the stretching of the skin, and usually appear in the second half of pregnancy. Only about half of all pregnant women get stretch marks though. They can start out as pink, reddish brown, or dark brown streaks, depending on your skin color. While creams and lotions can keep your skin well moisturized, they do not prevent stretch marks from forming. Most stretch marks fade after delivery to very light lines.

Besides stretch marks, you might notice other skin changes in the second half of your pregnancy. You might notice that your nipples are darker than before becoming pregnant, or that you have a dark line on your skin that runs down your abdomen from your belly button to your pubic hairline, called the linea nigra. You also might have blotchy brown pigmentations on your forehead, nose or cheeks. These skin changes are called melasma or chloasma. They are more common in darker-skinned women. These skin changes are caused by pregnancy hormones, and most of them will also fade or disappear after delivery.

Tingling and Itching
Tingling and numbness of the fingers and a feeling of swelling in the hands are common during pregnancy. These symptoms are due to swelling of tissues in the narrow passages in your wrists, and they should disappear after you deliver your baby. It also is common to feel itchy as your pregnancy progresses. Pregnancy hormones and your stretching skin, especially over your abdomen, probably are to blame for most of your discomfort. About 20 percent of all pregnant women have some kind of itching. And many pregnant women also get red and itchy palms and soles of their feet. Only in rare cases do pregnant women develop a condition called cholestasis of pregnancy, which is itching along with nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice and fatigue. This condition is a sign of a serious liver problem. In general, itching most often goes away after delivery. In the meantime, you can relieve itching with moisturizers. You can also use only gentle soaps, and avoid hot showers or baths that can dry your skin. Try not to get overheated since heat rash can make the itching worse.

Changes in Your Baby
By the 26th week, your baby will weigh about 1 ¾ pounds and be about 13 inches long. With this growth comes the development of your baby's features, including fingers, toes, eyelashes, and eyebrows. Around the fifth month, you might feel your baby move! By the end of this trimester, all of your baby's essential organs like the heart, lungs, and kidneys are formed.


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