Second Trimester | Fit Pregnancy

Second Trimester

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal-Yoga

"Yoga works on many levels--physical, energetic and spiritual--to bring about a profound transformation that is unmistakable and potent," says Patty Slote, a yoga instructor at The Movement Center in Portland, Ore., who specializes in prenatal yoga. The poses focus on pregnancy-related concerns: toning the pelvic-floor muscles, opening the hips and pelvis, increasing breathing capacity, improving postural alignment and encouraging relaxation.

Why Exercise Abs?

Why-Exercise-Abs

While doing abdominal exercises now won't give you abs of steel, they will strengthen your core (and back) and make you aware of all the muscles you will use during the pushing phase of labor. Strengthening your core muscles also can help relieve pregnancy-related back pain.

No Lying on Back?

No-Lying-on-Back

After your first trimester, lying supine (on your back) can cause your enlarged uterus and baby to compress your vena cava, the major vessel that returns blood to your heart. This reduces the amount of blood your heart has to pump back out, which can lower your blood pressure and reduce blood flow to the placenta, Shashoua explains. It also can cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded or nauseated.

Lifting Weights

Lifting-Weights

"Strength training is not only safe, it is actually very important during pregnancy," Shashoua says. "Women who stay fit and strong during pregnancy are able to get through the 1 to 3 hours of pushing that is sometimes required to deliver a baby better than those who aren't as strong," he explains. "It also helps women feel better about themselves." Regardless of her strength-training experience, a pregnant woman may initiate or continue a program, Shashoua adds.

Staying Hydrated

Staying-Hydrated

"There's a big link between dehydration and uterine contractions," Shashoua says. "The hormone released during dehydration is very similar to one that causes contractions." He says experiencing contractions is the most common reason pregnant women stop exercising, so drink well before, during and after your workouts.

Flu Shots

Flu-Shots

Pregnant women are at higher risk of suffering from pneumonia and other complications of the flu, so you are specifically encouraged to get the influenza vaccine (so are the elderly, health-care workers and people with compromised immune systems). Getting immunized also may help protect your baby: The antibodies generated by the vaccine cross the placenta, so it's likely that the baby will have some degree of protection following birth. Ask your doctor about thimerosal-free vaccines.

Cold Weather

Cold-Weather

Yes, you can safely enjoy being outdoors, watching your child's first venture on the slopes. In fact, because most pregnant women's bodies run a bit hotter than before pregnancy, you may even be more comfortable than usual. Just be sure to drink plenty of water to head off dehydration and altitude sickness. And be extra careful while walking in the snow; your shifting center of balance makes it easier to take a tumble. You're also more susceptible to sunburn during pregnancy, so use plenty of sunscreen and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. This goes for your child, too.

Increased Vaginal Discharge

 Increased-Vaginal-Discharge

All mucous membranes, including those in the vagina, produce more fluid in response to the increased estrogen of pregnancy. As long as the discharge is whitish and creamy in texture, you're probably fine. However, if the discharge has an unpleasant odor or is pinkish, or if you are experiencing vaginal itching or burning during urination, your doctor will need to make sure you don't have a vaginal infection. Also call your doctor if there is a sudden increase in discharge, regardless of its color or texture.

RH Disease

RH-Disease

Rh disease is a possibility only when a mothers blood is Rh-negative, the father is Rh-positive and their baby is Rh-positive. Under those circumstances, if a pregnant woman's circulating blood is exposed to fetal blood cells such as during a medical procedure, an abdominal trauma or, most likely, during delivery her immune system may respond by producing antibodies to destroy the Rh-positive cells. Without treatment, this could put a developing baby at risk for serious anemia and other complications.

Using Paint Primer

Using-Paint-Primer

From the description of the precautions you took--wearing gloves and painting in a well-ventilated room--your baby is likely to be just fine. Although no studies specifically confirm this, experts believe that a pregnant woman's limited exposure to household or hobbyist paint (particularly acrylic paint--which, along with tempera or watercolor, is recommended over oil-based paint) shouldn't be a problem. My greater concern relative to paint is twofold:

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