What to Expect During Your Second Trimester

The second trimester includes the fourth, fifth, and sixth month of your pregnancy. During this period, you can expect the following:

Monthly visits to your doctor or health care provider

During these monthly visits talk to your doctor about any concerns or symptoms you have had or that you are wondering about. Even if you may think they are insignificant, your doctor will want to know. Remember, there are no silly questions.

Your doctor will measure the size of your abdomen by measuring from the top of your uterus to your pubic bone in centimeters. The number of centimeters will usually equal the number of weeks you are into your pregnancy.

The doctor will listen for the baby’s heartbeat with a device called a Doppler.

Your baby will start kicking or moving at about 20 weeks, so it is good to tell your doctor when you notice movement. It has been described as a fluttering or tickling feeling.

Your urine will still be tested for levels of sugar and protein. You will also be checked for signs of gestational diabetes, which is a form of diabetes that is temporary and can occur during pregnancy.

Pelvic exams are generally not required in the second trimester, unless there is a concern from your doctor or health care provider.

Other tests that may be offered

During your second trimester optional tests may be offered

  • Blood tests to check for disorders such as spinal bifida or Downs syndrome
  • An ultrasound to check on your baby’s growth and development
  • If the results of your blood test or ultrasound are a concern to your doctor, he may want to do a test that is more invasive called amniocentesis.

Some physical changes to your body during your second trimester

  • Larger breasts as your milk producing glands inside your breasts grow bigger
  • A bigger belly as your uterus expands for the baby. You may gain about 4 pounds per month.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions strengthen your uterus. They are painless contractions that happen in your lower abdomen and groin area.
  • Skin color changes due to increased blood circulation -- darker colored skin around the nipples, on your face, and on the line that runs from your belly button to your pubic bone (some don’t experience these).
  • Increased blood circulation in your mucous membranes cause the lining of your nose and air way passage to swell, resulting in snoring, congestion, and nosebleeds. The extra blood circulation may also cause bleeding in your gums while brushing and flossing.
  • Expanding blood vessels will cause occasional dizziness and maybe lower blood pressure. Try not to stand for long periods of time and don’t stand up too fast after sitting or lying down.
  • Leg cramps caused by the pressure from your uterus to the veins that return the blood from your legs
  • Heartburn and constipation is caused from a slower digestive process that allows nutrition to reach your baby.
  • Shortness of breath
  • A normal vaginal discharge that is thin and white
  • Increase chance of bladder and kidney infections due to slower flow of urine and an increase in size of your uterus. Call your doctor if you suspect either one of these two infections.

During your second trimester, you will experience an increase in uncomfortable situations, and that is why you need to have a basic understanding of what is normal and what is not. Also remember, your health care provider is there for both you and your baby.

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