You’re entering the second trimester (week 13-28) of your pregnancy! It’s an exciting time as unpleasant things that happened during the first trimester may begin to fade—such as nausea and exhaustion. And as that baby bump grows, you’ll start getting more attention (“no, thank you, please don’t rub my belly”) However, the second trimester can bring about a whole new list of emotions and changes.
Dr. Narinder Brar, DO, a Banner Health OBGYN at Arizona Maternity and Women’s Clinic Inc. and Dr. Salina Baldwin, DO, a Banner Health OBGYN, share some physical and emotional changes you can expect during your second trimester.
With less nausea and mood swings, you may have renewed energy. You can use this time to check into childbirth classes, pediatricians and taking time for yourself, like exercising, meditating and self-care.
“This is also a great time to assess, discuss and prepare for a healthy birth,” Dr. Brar says. “They can also check the hospital they are planning to deliver at for birthing classes. The provider should be able to answer and guide the patient for the information needed.”
As your uterus grows and pregnancy hormones slow down your digestive tract, your favorite foods could now be a source of pain and heartburn. You can prevent this by eating several small meals a day in place of three large meals.
Dr. Baldwin suggests eating foods such as whole grains and vegetables and says you should try to stay away from heartburn-triggering foods like citrus-rich fruits, spicy entrees and fried foods. “If you are still having heartburn troubles, taking something like Tums or Maalox are OK to take to ease the burn,” Dr. Baldwin says.
Fetal movement during pregnancy begins in the second trimester, typically around 16-20 weeks of gestation. The first perception by mother is described as quickening. It is a sensation similar to a flutter. The frequency of movement increases from morning to night. Dr. Brar says if you are concerned about decreased fetal movements, the best thing to do is contact your provider immediately.
As your body prepares for the big D-day (Delivery Day), your uterus will be preparing too. You may start to experience false labor, or Braxton Hicks contractions. These are like little fire drills and shouldn’t be too concerning. They are usually irregular and not consistent and can last anywhere form 30 seconds to 2 minutes. If your contractions are more consistent and painful, Dr. Baldwin says to contact your provider immediately.
With all the changes your body is going through, it’s bound to affect your emotions and anxiety, and these may just manifest into some very vivid dreams. While these vary woman to woman, if these become distressing or worrisome, Dr. Brar suggests discussing with your provider. “One-fourth of pregnant women can experience crazy dreams, so your provider may be able to suggest an intervention.”
As your hormones continue to change and your belly starts to grow, you may start to notice some other not-so-fun changes, such as melasma and stretch marks.
Some women develop the mask of pregnancy, which consists of dark blotches on your face. This pigmentation is believed to be the result from increased level of melanocyte stimulating hormone. But Dr. Baldwin has some good news. “Usually after pregnancy, these spots begin to disappear,” she says.
You may also notice some red and pink lines appear on your abdomen, thighs and breasts. This is caused by elastic fibers below the skin tearing. There’s no way to completely prevent them, but they should fade after pregnancy.
“Massaging oil or lotion daily to your troubled areas may help,” Dr. Baldwin says. “Although, you may just have to chalk it up to heredity. Some women are more prone than others.”
When to Contact Your Doctor
This may be your easiest three months of pregnancy, but if you experience regular contractions, leakage of fluid or vaginal bleeding speak with your physician as soon as possible.
“The goal is to have a healthy and safe outcome both for the patient and the newborn,” Dr. Brar says. “Conditions that require contacting your doctor include vaginal bleeding, leakage of fluid per vagina, decreased fetal movements, contractions, headaches not responsive to acetaminophen, vision changes and persistent abdominal pain.”
Here’s to a wonderful second trimester and birth. For any questions or concerns, contact your provider.
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