Your Body in the Second Trimester of Pregnancy
Many women say that during the second trimester of pregnancy, they’ve never felt better. They have more energy and some of the discomforts of the first trimester have disappeared. The second trimester can be an exciting time. Now you’re starting to show, your baby is growing rapidly, and you’ll be able to feel her kick.
During the second trimester of pregnancy, your body will continue to change.
- As the uterus grows larger, the fundus (top of the uterus) is likely to be level with your navel (belly button). This happens at about 20 weeks. By the sixth month (24 to 28 weeks), your belly will feel fuller and appear rounded. The pressure on the bladder decreases, so you won't need to urinate as frequently. The uterus will continue to crowd the organs that control digestion and elimination, meaning that constipation, gas, and heartburn may continue. You may need to eat smaller, more frequent meals.
- The growing and rising uterus also causes the abdominal organs to push on the diaphragm, the muscular wall between the abdominal cavity and the chest. This may make you feel like you can't catch your breath (known as “shortness of breath”).
- Pressure on major arteries by the uterus can restrict blood flow to and from your lower body. This results in swelling and pressure on your leg veins, and may even cause hemorrhoids and/or varicose veins. Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time, and make sure to engage in regular physical activity. Ask your health care provider about other comfort measures.
- Overall blood volume will continue to increase, and by the 20th week of pregnancy you will have about 50 percent more blood circulating in your body. You may have heart palpitations (as your heart works harder to pump the extra blood around your body), faintness or dizziness, stuffy nose and/or ears, headaches, increased vaginal discharge and saliva, and swelling in your hands, feet, and face. At this point you may become anemic, and your health care provider may prescribe an extra iron supplement. Take it with an acidic juice (like orange, tomato, or cranberry) and on an empty stomach for better absorption. Be sure to keep up your intake of fluids and fiber to avoid constipation.
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Childbirth Connection is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1918 as Maternity Center Association. Our mission is to improve the quality of maternity care through research, education, advocacy and policy. Childbirth Connection promotes safe, effective and satisfying evidence-based maternity care and is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families.
Most recent page update: 9/9/2010