This is the most comfortable time throughout pregnancy and is the best time when the expectant mother feels the joy of carrying her child. By this time the morning sickness and other symptoms of the first trimester generally subside and the foetus begins growing in size. The HCG hormone levels which cause most symptoms in the first trimester also stagnates and forms a plateau on account of which the symptoms diminish.
However, each pregnant body responds to this stage differently. Though this is described as the most comfortable stage by most women and gynaecologists, the need for care and attention doesn’t diminish. There are certain conditions which may develop on account of the growing weight of the baby and in some cases the symptoms of the first trimester prolong into the second trimester too. Some characteristics of the pregnant body in the second trimester are:
1. Larger breasts
It is right from this stage that the fat starts being accumulated in the breasts and these glands prepare for colostrums and milk secretion for the baby after birth. Though the tenderness developed in the first trimester generally disappears, the breasts grow in size and feel much more bulky. Supportive bras are a must to retain their shape. Right from this stage, hand and chest exercises to gain firmness and avoid further enlargement is important.
2. Skin problems
Due to the hormonal changes, spots, rashes and darkening due to pigmentation can appear on the skin of the face and other areas. Fungal infections are also seen in certain areas below the breasts and the groin. Generally the line below the naval to the pubic one shows darkening. These symptoms are not very harmful but may only reduce the beauty of the mother. However these can be minimised by taking a good supply of vitamins and minerals.
3. Nasal and gum problems
The increase in blood flow in the pregnant body may cause bleeding gums. Also rhinitis worsens which leads to accumulation of mucus and secretions in the nasal cavity which may lead to snoring. Gargling and antihistaminics can avoid this problem.
4. Leg cramps
This can be reduced by stretching exercise. Walking regularly can also help. Keeping the legs raised would also give fast relief from the condition and massaging with essential oils like lavender or grape seed oil would alleviate the condition. Increasing the calcium intake of the body helps in avoiding these symptoms.
5. Stretch marks
These are not harmful to the lady but may put her off on account of ugly scars and signs. These may be minimized by massaging with wheat germ oil.
The increase in blood pressure may further aggravate the complications of haemorrhoids and stroke. Hence the control of hypertension is mandatory. Lemon balm, chamomile and lime flower are certain natural products helpful in this condition.
To aid the expulsion of waste from the intestine, higher fibre content is required. Linseed oil and natural laxatives in form of wheat bran and water are helpful.
In order to ensure the blood supply to the mother and the baby good iron stores are required in the mother’s blood. Hence food with high iron content like green vegetables, dried fruits, sunflower seeds, back strap molasses and eggs are useful.
Some other herbs which can be useful in this trimester are :
• Red raspberry tea which is a source of iron and calcium
• Alfa alfa rich in iron
• Psyllium rich in fiber
• White oak bark avoids haemorrhoids
• Ginger helps reduce morning sickness
Another way in which relaxation and well being can be achieved in this trimester is by accupuncture by a specialist. This helps in the birth of a healthy child. Certain points are to be pressed which will help in the healthy pregnancy and certain points are not to be touched at all since this could lead to early labour. Hence the skills of a specialist are mandatory.