Second Trimester | Fit Pregnancy

Second Trimester

Testing 1-2-3

It goes with the territory: When you’re pregnant, you can’t help but worry about the health of your baby. Fortunately, there are a host of prenatal tests that can help ease your fears and make even a healthy pregnancy less stressful. Following is a rundown of the tests you’re most likely to undergo; see the chart at right for detailed information.

Screening tests

Do You Need A Doula?

Wouldn’t it be great if someone you trust volunteered to be on hand — even sleep on your couch — in case you went into labor in the middle of the night? What if that same person offered to walk in the woods with you in the last weeks of your pregnancy or adjusted her vacation plans to be with you during your baby’s birth?

My doula (pronounced doo-lah), Sue Ann Higgens, did all this and more when I was expecting my first child.

(Don't Worry) Eat Happy

now, more than ever, taking care of yourself is top priority. With your baby developing inside you, you know you should get the most out of what you’re eating. You also know that you need extra calories for your baby’s development. But there may be something you haven’t thought about: Avoiding foods that make you sick or that harm your growing baby is also an important part of the equation.

The Incredible Shrinking Brain

We were on our way to the auto-repair shop. My husband led the procession, his car freshly smashed from a minor spin-out. I was following closely behind in our second car. We stopped at a red light. When the light turned green, my husband hesitated for a moment. Because I was living in a separate universe I call “Planet Pregnant,” I didn’t. The front end of my car fused slowly into the rear end of his.
    Although no one was hurt and the damage was slight, we ended up putting two cars in the shop that afternoon instead of just one.

DVT

DVT

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in the venous system. The clot may stay in one area, such as the legs, causing pain and swelling; or it may migrate to another part of the body and become life threatening. Most serious of these scenarios is a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot that lodges in the lung. Since you have a history of DVT, you are at slightly greater risk of developing it during your pregnancy.

Prenatal Exercises

Prenatal-Exercises

If you're not having any complications, you can and should exercise every day for about 30 minutes, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. You can exercise at a similar intensity to your prepregnancy level as long as you stay well-hydrated and avoid overheating. A good rule of thumb is to not increase intensity or duration beyond what you are used to doing so you don't overexert yourself. Stop immediately if you feel lightheaded or have contractions or bleeding. Using the "talk test" is an easy way to monitor your intensity while exercising.

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.

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