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Second-Trimester Discomforts

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Your second trimester, the so-called Golden Age of pregnancy, may be the most comfortable period of all. Morning sickness has probably subsided, and you're not yet experiencing the physical stress of carrying a lot of baby weight. A few discomforts can develop, however. The most common second-trimester offenders are constipation, hemorrhoids, and round ligament pain.

Combating Constipation

The shift in hormones during pregnancy decreases the activity of your gastrointestinal tract. Also, as the baby grows, she pushes into your large intestine. All this can lead to constipation. Luckily, slight changes in your diet can do a lot to get things moving. Try to drink plenty of water —eight glasses a day is best. Eat more fiber, including prunes, bran cereal, and salads. And exercise daily. Exercise improves blood circulation to all your organs, including the intestines, and strengthens your muscles. How long or intensely you exercise depends on your own fitness level, but try to walk for at least 15 minutes each day. (For more information on exercising while pregnant, see Get Moving: Exercise During Pregnancy). Don't take an over-the-counter laxative without checking with your health care provider first.

Help for Hemorrhoids

Pregnancy may be the first time you experience this infamous discomfort. Hemorrhoids, enlarged veins in the rectum, commonly develop during pregnancy because of the increased pressure in that area. Because hemorrhoids tend to get worse as the baby gets bigger, treating them at the first sign of discomfort can help keep them under control later on.

Warm baths can help relieve the pain of hemorrhoids. You'll also want to avoid standing for long periods of time; standing a lot can make your circulation sluggish, which can worsen hemorrhoids. Preventing constipation can also help: The less you need to strain to pass a bowel movement (and the softer your stools), the better. If nothing you try on your own works, ask your provider about medication.

Round Ligament Pain

If you experience pain in your groin area, chances are it's the result of round ligament pain. As the uterus grows, the ligaments that hold it in place in your abdomen have to stretch. This stretching can cause pain in some women.

Unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do to ease round ligament pain. If the pain becomes intense, contact your provider. Groin or abdominal pain during pregnancy can also be a sign of a possible complication, so she'll need to rule out anything serious.



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