The second trimester is often called a honey-moon period of pregnancy. It is statistically the most comfortable period of the whole pregnancy. The symptoms and discomfort of the first trimester (nausea, fatigue) for most women subside, as they progress to 4th month. Sensitivity to the smell stays quite high, but the reaction for certain smells or views are not so strong anymore. As pregnancy is more visible outside and can be experienced stronger from the inside (“feeling” the baby) the majority of women starts feeling pregnant, and feeling it “real”. This is also the moment when most of women begin to show and talk about their pregnancy without fear and doubts.
As pregnancy progresses a Mum-to-Be gains some weight – not always only due to her baby, but also due to amniotic fluid, increased blood volumes, breast tissues and placenta.
As the uterus enlarges to to accommodate a growing baby the abdomen start to expand, accompanied often by change of the colour of the skin pigmentation, as well as first stretch marks. The statistics say that 50 % of women experience stretch marks, which usually fade naturally after delivery. Some women experience pains and aches in the abdomen, as well as in groin, legs and back (especially lower).
These pains are usually normal, and should be just signs that our baby is growing and the body adjusts to that. The symptoms can be released by a gentle massage, warm compresses on painful muscles or relax and breathing exercises. Pregnant women should avoid pain killers and medications, and consult with their doctors/ midwives which medication they can apply!
The medication is usually not needed though! Rest, massage, restorative exercises should be enough to help and relieve, or at lest to lower the discomfort. If a pain is severe or not bearable a pregnant woman should consult her care taker immediately! A good trained midwife or a doctor is the only right person to consult with abnormal sensations during pregnancy!
During the second trimester women start feeling their babies’ moves! Between 18th and 22nd week typically a baby starts being felt, and this sensation is often described as butterfly feeling at the very beginning.
By the end of the second trimester the movements are stronger and more pronounced. Whenever a woman is sitting or resting the movement will be experienced more frequently and strongly.
The growth of a baby causes the pressure of the neighbouring abdominal organs, as well as the lungs, so shortness of breath and increasing sensation of internal pressure are the most often complaints.
Maintaining a proper posture and breath exercises can bring some help here for sure. What we as yoga teachers want to teach first of all – is to listen to one own’s body, and to answer for their needs rather than finding solutions “outside”, or in the books.
The doctors start recommending sleeping on the left side, to avoid a pressure on inferior vena cava – a large vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the lower half of the body into the right atrium in the heart.
During the later pregnancy (24th weeks onwards) lying flat on the back may cause some women to feel dizzy, light headed, or breathless. This is not the problem in every pregnancy, but we try to avoid the possibility of it. The inferior vena cava lies on the right side of the body, and during pregnancy enlarged uterus naturally leans toward the right, so to avoid the compressing vena cava by uterus we lie on the left side.
As the pregnancy progresses women start feeling heavier and slower. Movements such as forward bends, fast walking or even long standing become really difficult. The body demands a lot of rest again, to get prepared for the final stages of pregnancy and the childbirth.