Monday, May 30, 2016

12 Second trimester symptoms and how to deal with them:

The second trimester, often referred to as the best one, offers relief when it comes to some of the pesky first trimester symptoms like nausea and frequent urination (don't get too comfy, this will come right back with a vengeance).
However, there are a number of other symptoms you should be on the look out for, and some tips on how to deal with them if they do come for you.

For first trimester symptoms and tricks click here, and keep in mind that many of these do stay with you throughout.

12 second trimester symptoms that every expecting mom should know:

1. Back pain: Your center of gravity is no longer centered and there is increased pressure on your spine, which can cause pain. Often times though the discomfort is from sciatica which radiates up and down your legs, and there is a simple stretch you can do that does offer relief and helps you get some sleep at night. This one below is as simple as it looks but make sure to lean forward and press down on your knee. Sleeping with a pillow between your legs (and on your side, even though you are likely to lean forward towards your belly - which is okay, as the pillow will keep your belly slightly elevated, and stop your baby and bladder from being squished) is also very helpful. Topical creams like Bengay, Volini (in India), and peppermint oil are safe to use and can also offer relief (note: make sure the cream does not have any asprin in it and diclofenac containing sprays can only be used under 30 weeks of pregnancy).
The sciatica stretch that counts

2. Congestion: Still snoring or sneezing away? Sleeping on double pillows, using a vaporizer like Vicks, and trying to stay on your side can all bring relief. Talk to your doctor though if you remain congested for am extended period of time or if you have fever (which can be unhealthy for the baby). Turns out, while uncommon, it is possible to develop asthma during pregnancy, so don't shy away from talking to your physician about what is going on. (I've learned this the hard way after 5 bouts of the flu during my first trimester, fortunately, we managed to figure out that it was asthma - which I've never had before - and the inhaler has been my saving grace).

3. Morning sickness: can stay with you well beyond your first trimester, and in a few cases can hang out with your baby right till the end. While it wasn't so harmful in the first trimester, it can now stop you and your child from retaining the nutrients you need, so look into additional vitamins and supplements that can help you, and don't be afraid to take what you need intravenously (iron is often given this way, as it can increase your morning sickness when taken orally).

4. Breathlessness: This tends to be worse when lying down, and towards the end of the second trimester when your little one is likely to turn (head down) and then wedge their little feet into your diaphragm. Prenatal yoga can help with these symptoms and give you little coping mechanisms, as of course can lying down on your side (and falling asleep).

5. Carpel tunnel: While swelling and water retention in the hands and feet affects a majority of those who are pregnant (thanks to the increased blood flow and pressure from your growing uterus), in some cases it causes carpel tunnel in the wrist and ankles which can be identified by pain below the thumb or radiating up and down the wrist and arm. Quickest way to treat it is to immobilize the joint with the brace or support, and to use topical creams (which are much safer than painkillers though paracetamol and acetaminophen can bring quick relief too).

6. Tooth and gum pain: Yes, really. So, use a mouthwash after brushing if flossing is too painful to your sensitive gums. Gargling with hot water also does bring relief.

7. Leg cramps and restless leg syndrome: are both able to keep you up at night, and can be caused by hormonal changes and the increased pressure on your legs from your increased weight, and growing body (and baby). Crawling, tingling and burning sensations are also common in restless leg syndrome along with pain and mild cramps.  And yes, it can happen even if you are alcohol, caffeine and tobacco free and are regular with your prenatals. Soaking your legs in epsom salt (in a bucket or bath tub without immersing your entire body), can not only bring you relief but the magnesium can help you sleep better.
(Note: Anemia during pregnancy can exacerbate these symptoms so make sure to get that checked out by your doctor.)

8. Nesting: Itching to have your nursery done already, shop for baby clothes, laundry absolutely everything, organize the kitchen or start up that sterilizer? Use your little bursts of energy when they come, to get as much done this trimester, as it will become less safe to climb up into places and unfortunately, your comfort level will decrease in the third trimester as you begin to carry around even more weight.

9. Nightmares: It could be that scary movie you watched but it's more likely the hormones surging through your body (and brain). It helps to turn off the technology an hour or so before you go to bed. (Thought honestly, I'd rather deal with the nightmares than not read on my iPad before I sleep, but I have noticed that it does help to turn it onto night mode and read with less light. Also, reading is better for your sleep cycle than watching tv until you fall asleep). As a second time parent though, I would suggest you do whatever you want to do until the baby comes, because you are going to miss your time to yourself and your freedom to choose your own activities, once your little bundles of joy (and dictatorship) arrive.

10. Hair and Skin changes: There are a whole bunch of old wives tales that tell you about hair and skin changes, and how those tell about one gender versus another, including the horrible saying that girls "steal" their mother's beauty and make you put on more weight than boys. Don't buy into it ladies - your daughters are just as special as your sons, and somehow the symptoms fall on both sides of the spectrum for most. I've had wonderful skin this time around while I had acne with my son, but lovely thick hair the last time while I'm losing whatever I had left this time around (I blame the anemia not my child). For the curious though, below is one of the myths and their gender indication (courtesy: baby center).

More importantly: if you are losing your hair, there are hair vitamins that are safe during pregnancy, along with some serums (that have growth hormones and not minoxidil/rogaine). There are also acne creams that are safe to use during pregnancy.

11. Baby movement: As a second time mom, I must confess that this is not as fun as the first time around, specially since my ribs and bladder are now being used for target practice in the middle of the night. However, that doesn't mean the little flutters don't amaze me every time anyway. So enjoy the flutters, the movement and the little twitches of your belly as they occur, in the grand scheme of things it doesn't last long but is your little one's way of reminding you why you are sacrificing all that you are, and making sure you know they will have you on your toes with their arms cuddling you, really soon.

12. Unbridled Excitement:  Well ofcourse, you do have a new life inside of you!

Make the most of this time, moms, as your second trimester will be done before you know it and your little one will be out and about soon after.

More to come!

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