Second Trimester

As you enter your second trimester, your morning sickness should start to ease. By now you may have a little ‘bump’ and have started to feel some ‘flutters’ of movement from your baby inside you.

Developmental changes – 13 to 26 weeks

During the next 12 weeks your baby will begin to hear their first sounds from you and the surrounding world. Their eyes will open during this time and they will start blinking.

By the end of your second trimester your baby will weigh just less than 1kg and his or her heart rate will be approximately 110-160 beats per minutes.

Some typical changes you may notice during your second trimester include:

  • Indigestion and heartburn – due to both hormonal changes and your growing baby. Eating frequent, small meals can help.
  • Stretch marks – typically found on your stomach, breasts and sometimes thighs; they will first appear like red lines, but will fade to a silvery grey colour over time. Moisturising these areas can help relieve the itching associated with the stretching of skin.
  • Swelling – you may notice swelling in your hands and feet (most likely due to water retention). However, it is important to mention any swelling you have at your consultation to exclude a condition known as pre-eclampsia.
  • Your gums and teeth – your gums may have become red, swollen and more sensitive to brushing due to hormonal changes. Regular flossing as well as gentle brushing can relieve inflammation.
  • Lower back pain – as your baby grows, the additional weight puts strain on your back and pelvis, so try to put your feet up when you can, and apply a heat pack to your lower back to relieve symptoms.
  • Sleep – if possible, sleeping on your left side instead of your back is safer as it reduces the weight of your baby pressing on the inferior vena cava, a large vein that carries blood from the lower half of the body back to our heart. Sleeping on your side, with additional pillows between your knees may feel more comfortable as you progress into your second trimester.
  • Congestion – you may also feel ‘stuffed up’ in your nose, making it difficult to breath when sleeping. Saline sprays and elevating the head of your bed can help.

Nutrition

Unlike your first trimester, you will require slightly more calories in your second trimester – about 340 calories more than your normal daily needs (equivalent to a wholegrain sandwich and a piece of fruit). However, it is important to note individual energy requirements will differ for each woman.

Healthy eating during your pregnancy provides a good overview of what you should be eating, as well as what to avoid for optimal health during your pregnancy.

Tests and scans you can expect in your second trimester:

  • Morphology or anatomy scan – this is usually done around 18-20 weeks of pregnancy. This scan will look at your baby’s body as well as your placenta, cervix and the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby. If you wish, you can usually find out the sex of your baby at this scan.
  • Glucose tolerance test – this test is typically given to women between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy and tests for a type of diabetes called gestational diabetes (where a mother’s blood sugar levels are too high).
    • The glucose tolerance test is a fasting blood test (which means you don’t consume any food or drink, except water, from the night before the test).
    • The test involves a blood test before drinking a 75g glucose (sugar) drink. Then another two blood tests at 1 hour and 2 hours after consuming the glucose drink.
    • The test will measure how your body responds to the sugar in the glucose drink.
  • Test for anaemia – testing for anaemia or low iron is done via a blood test. Women with low iron may need to take an iron supplement, which is available at your local chemist. However, you should speak with Dr Hong or your GP first before taking any iron supplements.

Read on to find out what happens in your Third Trimester here.

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