Second Trimester Symptoms

May 26, 2009

Many pregnant women enjoy the second trimester of pregnancy much more than the first or third trimesters. Some pregnant women find that the more unpleasant pregnancy symptoms (such as morning sickness) from the first trimester are less of a problem as the pregnancy moves into its second stage. New symptoms will, however, manifest themselves in the second trimester. For many pregnant women, the beginning of the second trimester is the time at which other people start to notice the pregnancy without being told - that (slightly at first) protruding pregnancy belly and the bigger breasts will start to give you away!

New Pregnancy Symptoms

Some of the possible second trimester symptoms will be noticeably different to those of the first trimester. Remember that not all women experience all of these symptoms and the severity of the symptoms varies from pregnant woman to pregnant woman. The new symptoms include:

Growing Belly – in the second trimester the growth and expansion of your uterus (to accommodate your growing baby) takes off. This makes your abdomen begin to stick out and grow rounder and fuller. You will begin to gain weight (perhaps up to four pounds per month for the rest of the pregnancy).

Darkening Skin – as your blood circulation increases, you may experience some changes in the color and texture of your skin. Some women call this the “pregnancy glow.” The skin may darken on your face and nipples and in a line running from your navel to your pubic bone. Some women find that their skin gets drier or smoother.

Stretch Marks – because your belly begins to grow and you start putting on weight in the second trimester, you may find that you start to develop stretch marks at this time. (Check out our page on third trimester symptoms for more information on stretch marks).

Nasal and Gum Problems – your increased blood circulation means that more blood passes through your mucous membranes, which can restrict the movement of air in your nasal passages - this may even cause snoring! Some pregnant women feel congested and have nosebleeds at this time. Your gums may also become softer which could lead to some slight bleeding when you are cleaning your teeth.

Braxton Hicks Contractions – these contractions are a “practice run” for your uterus. They help your uterus build up strength for labor. Braxton Hicks are usually painless and intermittent and you might feel them in your lower abdomen or groin. If the contractions get painful or become regular you should contact your doctor right away.

Vaginal Discharge – in the second trimester many women notice an increase in a thin, white, vaginal discharge. This discharge is acidic and is thought to kill off bacteria in the vagina or cervix which could be harmful to the pregnancy. If the discharge changes color (to green or yellow, for example) or causes itching or irritation, speak to your doctor right away.

What's Happening With You And Your Baby During The Second Trimester?

Breathlessness – some women find themselves slightly short of breath during the second trimester. This is because your lungs are processing significantly more oxygen which your bloodstream then carries to the placenta and your growing baby. This may cause you to breathe a little faster or feel breathless at times.

Bladder and Kidney Problems – pregnancy hormones slow down the flow of your urine. Your growing uterus may also block the passage of your urine as it exits your body. Both these factors can lead to bladder and kidney infections. If you experience any symptoms of infection (increased urination, a burning sensation when urinating, back or abdominal pain) see your doctor right away.

Colostrum Leaking – some pregnant women find that colostrum begins to leak from their breasts as early as the second trimester. Although inconvenient, this is nothing to worry about. Your body is preparing itself to breast feed your baby.

Heartburn and Constipation – although some pregnant women have digestion problems in the first trimester, these may become more pronounced in the second trimester. At this stage, all the food you eat is pushed through your digestive system more slowly to allow your blood to absorb nutrients for the baby. This can lead to heartburn and constipation.

Cramps – because the expanding uterus may put pressure on the veins returning blood from the legs, some pregnant women experience leg cramps during the second stage of the pregnancy. Also, some of your first trimester symptoms will stay with you into the second trimester (although the degree to which they affect you may change).

Morning Sickness – many pregnant women find that morning sickness eases off as they enter the second trimester of the pregnancy.

Libido Issues – some women notice an increase (yes – that’s increase!) in their sex drive at this stage of the pregnancy, possibly due to the increased levels of blood and fluids in the pelvic area. Other women, however, may not feel interested in sex at all.

Even Bigger Breasts – the increase in your breast size may continue to impress you! At this stage, the milk glands in your breasts are expanding and, hopefully, you will lose some the tenderness that you experienced in trimester one. You may go up by as many as two cup sizes.

Dizziness – you may find that the dizziness you experienced in the first trimester continues into the second. The blood vessels dilate during the second trimester which could cause you to feel dizzy even if you didn’t before.

Urination – you may be one of the lucky women who find that pressure on the bladder actually decreases in the second trimester as the uterus moves out and expands forward rather than internally. This could provide you with some relief from all those trips to the bathroom.

The Next Stage of Pregnancy

Many of the symptoms from the second trimester continue into the third trimester and become, as you would expect, even more pronounced. Details are provided on our page on third trimester symptoms.

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