Pregnancy- The Second Trimester
Alhamdulillah. You have completed the 1st trimester. As you enter your 2nd trimester, the worse of the nausea and fatigue is usually over for most mothers. The baby has yet to grow big enough to cause discomfort. For most mothers this is the best trimester. So take advantage of this time to plan and read up for the delivery.
As your pregnancy proceeds, there are still changes to your body. Here’s what to expect:
Backache. As the baby continues to grow, the additional weight gain begins to exert pressure on your back, stretching the ligaments of your pelvis and making you feel achy and sore. To help relieve the pressure, use a chair with good back support and sit up straight. Sleeping on the side also helps when a pillow is between the legs. Put fashion and vanity aside temporarily and wear comfortable, low heeled shoes with good arch support. Rubbing and massaging the sore spots also helps.
Nasal and Gum problems. Hormonal changes and increased blood flow cause swelling of the mucus membrane throughout the body, including the nose and resulting in congestion, snoring and nosebleeds. Before reaching out for a decongestant please consult your doctor. Safer options include using saline wash. A humidifier to moisten the air may help. Nosebleeds can be stopped by pressing on nostril while keeping head straight, do not tilt head back. For the same reason, bleeding gums may also be frequent occurrence, maintain oral hygiene using a soft toothbrush.
Dizziness. The dilating blood vessels due to hormonal influence cause a drop in blood pressure. Occasional dizziness may result. Always rise slowly after sitting or lying down. Lying on the left side will aid in restoring blood pressure.
Spider and Varicose veins. To meet the needs of the growing baby, blood circulation is increased. This excess flow can cause tiny blood vessels known as spider veins to form, which will fade away once the baby is born. The growing baby can also exert pressure on legs and slow blood flow to the lower body, resulting in swollen and blue or purple veins in the leg known as varicose veins. While there is no way to avoid them, they can be prevented from getting worse by using support socks, moving frequently and resting legs on a stool when sitting down.
Leg Cramps are common as pregnancy progresses and usually occurr at night. They can be prevented by stretching calf muscles before bed. Keep fit and drink lots of fluid. If it does occur, relieve it by stretching the muscle of the affected leg.
Hemorrhoids. These are veins that form around the anus, which may swell up during pregnancy due to increased blood volume and increasing pressure from growing uterus.They may itch and cause discomfort. Sitting in a warm bath or sitz bath may help. Seek medical advice before reaching out for OTC medications.
Vaginal discharge or leucorrhoea, a thin, white vaginal discharge is normal. Wear a panty liner to avoid discomfort but never a tampon, as this may introduce germs into the vagina. If the discharge changes color to greenish, yellowish, bloody or becomes offensive smelling, or causes irritation or itching then seek medical advice as it may indicate a vaginal infection.
Bladder and Kidney Infections. While the frequent urination of the 1st trimester may abate as the uterus moves out of the pelvis,giving you respite from frequent toilet visits, the slowing of urine flow may cause another problem: increased risk of urine infection. If you experience symptoms of burning sensations when you urinate, have fever, abdominal pain or backache then please consult your doctor. Untreated urine infections increase the risk of pregnancy complications.
Skin Changes and Stretch Marks. As the pigment bearing cells increase, you may notice brown marks on the face, breast or inner thighs which will fade away post delivery. The skin is also more sensitive during this period so do use sun blocks. There may also be a faint dark line down your abdomen, the linea nigra, which will also fade away.As skin stretches to accommodate your growing womb, itchiness may ensue. Moisturizing may help relieve it.
During the second trimester, an ultrasound will be performed between the 20th and 24th week to check on your baby’s growth and development. You may also find out the gender of your baby if you wish. You may also listen to your baby’s heartbeat via Doppler during regular checks.
Remember to bring up any doubts and concerns with your doctor.