What to Expect Your Second Trimester of Pregnancy
You’ve made it through your first pregnancy trimester, but there are still six months to go. By now, you might feel elated that you got through the first three months, yet terrified of what’s to come. Relax – women get through pregnancies every day with help from a great support system. At Women’s Medical Associates of Nashville, we’re here as part of that support system. Let’s look at some of the things you can expect during the next few months.
Weight Gain and Belly Growth
Pregnant women gain weight because their uteruses are expanding to make room for a growing fetus. During this time, the baby’s fat will accumulate and his or her skeleton will begin to form. Fat and bones increase the baby’s mass which in turn increases yours. By the end of the second trimester, the baby should weigh around 1 1/3 pounds. Your doctor will expect you to gain about 3–4 pounds a month during this time. If you were over- or underweight before pregnancy, talk to your doctor about adjusting weight gain estimates.
Don’t panic – this is usually not a sign of preterm labor. Rather, it’s your uterus “warming up” for the big day. Normal Braxton-Hicks contractions are short and come and go intermittently. They should not be extremely painful. If they are, or if contractions are constant or occur in a regular pattern, contact your doctor.
Skin Changes and Stretch Marks
Hormonal changes during pregnancy increase the melanin in your skin. A faint, dark line down your abdomen called the linea nigra is normal. You may notice dark patches on your face, limbs, or elbows. These are not harmful, but sun exposure can worsen them. Be vigilant, especially during a spring or summer pregnancy. Use plenty of sunscreen.
The second trimester is also when stretch marks occur. These pink or red marks can appear on your stomach, hips, thighs, or buttocks. They might be itchy, so use moisturizers and gentle lotions. Avoid soaking in hot baths, as this dries skin out.
Bladder and Kidney Infections
Your expanding uterus may disrupt your urine flow and affect how urine accumulates and moves through your body. If urination burns or is painful, contact your doctor immediately. Stay well-hydrated to prevent pain and possible kidney stones. You can drink cranberry or blueberry juices with the doctor’s okay; these are known to promote kidney health.
The fatigue you experienced during your first trimester is likely to transform into plenty of extra energy. Now is a great time to start childbirth classes or prepare the nursery with your partner’s help. Talk to your employer about maternity leave and benefits especially if you plan to go back to work after the birth. Keep your partner, family, and friends apprised of your emotions whether positive or negative, and get plenty of rest.