Your Second Trimester: What's Going On

Congratulations on reaching your second trimester, which many women say is the most comfortable period of a pregnancy. Morning sickness usually subsides, 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, your little one 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.

  • Eat more fiber, including prunes, bran cereal, and salads.

  • Exercise daily. Exercise improves blood circulation to all your organs, including the intestines and strengthens your muscles. How long or how intensely you exercise depends on your own fitness level, but try to walk for at least 15 minutes each day.

  • Don't take an over-the-counter laxative without checking with your healthcare provider first.

Help for Hemorrhoids

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 or cramping 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 health 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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