There are many exciting moments in a woman's pregnancy, but reaching the halfway point is perhaps one of the most anticipated. For some, that middle marker means a reduction in morning (or all day and night) sickness and really hitting their stride with the whole mom-to-be thing. That being said, there are some second trimester red flags you need to know about. I'm sure you've already Google searched every single possible symptom and recoiled in sheer terror when scanning the message boards filled with horror stories. But amidst all the myths and self-diagnosing, there are actually a few legit issues that should warrant your concern.
Having hyperemesis gravidarum — a fancy term for really awful morning sickness — throughout the entirety of my pregnancy was completely unexpected. But looking back, if I had known the warning signs to look out for, I'm confident I wouldn't have had so many "I need to find the nearest bathroom now" kinds of moments. That's why being knowledgeable about all the best and worst case scenarios isn't scary, it's educational. So whether you're a first-timer or going through the motions again, get informed by checking out these red flags you need to know about during the second trimester.
1. Your Gums Are Bleeding
It's completely normal to have the occasional irritated spot after flossing, but bleeding gums shouldn't be ignored while pregnant. As Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat, the dean of the school of dental medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, told Parents, periodontal disease can cause bleeding gums in pregnant women which makes them, "eight times more likely to deliver their babies prematurely." Before you rush out and buy a cart full of toothbrushes, Jeffcoat noted that, "a basic cleaning in the second trimester can cut the risk for premature delivery in half." So if your gums aren't looking as healthy as they used to, you might want to schedule an appointment with your dentist.
2. You Find Urinating Uncomfortable
Everyone is familiar with the comedic trope about moms-to-be having to use the restroom ever five seconds, but painful urination is no laughing matter. According to the Mayo Clinic, if it hurts or is difficult to urinate, you may have an infection. But what is it about the second trimester that makes you more susceptible to this? As the Mayo Clinic noted, "hormonal changes slow the flow of urine, and your expanding uterus might get in the way — both factors that increase the risk of bladder and kidney infections." Call your physician if you experience an aching back, fever, or pain while urinating to rule out the possibility of an infection.
3. You're Extra Thirsty
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), unusual thirst and frequent urination are symptoms of gestational diabetes, which typically develop in the second trimester. Though it's not an uncommon complication, feeling extra thirsty while you're pregnant is a red flag that shouldn't be ignored.
4. You're Extra Puffy
Swollen ankles, weight gain, and feeling a little tight is to be expected during the second trimester. But if you seem to have puffed up quite quickly, there could be cause for concern. According to the experts at What To Expect, sudden and severe facial swelling is a sign of preeclampsia, which is a form of high blood pressure that's dangerous during pregnancy. If your facial puffiness is also accompanied by vision changes or swelling anywhere else on your body, a visit to your doctor is in order.
5. You're Feeling Pressure
It's not unusual to be all kinds of uncomfortable in the second trimester. Obviously your body is expanding beyond its normal limits, so a bit of pain and pressure is to be expected. However, intense pressure or pain in your pelvis is a huge red flag, especially in your second trimester, as the medical advisory board at the Baby Center reported. If you feel like something is pushing down in your lower abdomen, this could be a sign of preterm labor. Don't hesitate calling a medical professional since any signs of labor before 37 weeks is considered preterm and potentially dangerous.
6. You Experience A Tearing Sensation
It can be difficult to tell which pregnancy pains are normal and which are dangerous. OB-GYN Dr. Robert Wool told The Bump, that feeling a tearing sensation in your back or abdomen along with vaginal bleeding is a red flag. He noted that uterine contractions, lower body pain, and bleeding of any kind are signs of placental abruption — when your placenta separates from your uterus. Your placenta is how your baby receives all of its nutrients, so if you suspect placental abruption, don't ignore that red flag.
7. There's Less Movement
The second trimester is when most women begin to feel their baby moving around. As your little one begins to grow, so do the kicks, hiccups, and somersaults in your womb. That's why a decrease in fetal movement is a warning sign, as Dr. Donna Dizon-Townson, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, told Parents. Less frequent kicks could signal that your baby is in distress. Even if you think you're just overreacting, it's always a good idea to double check with a health physician.