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Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond

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Second trimester: Your changing body

Your changing body, 2nd trimester diagram

For many women, the second trimester is their favorite.

You may be feeling less nauseated and more energetic. You may be starting to tell family and friends that you're pregnant.

Even if the pregnancy is not visible to others, you may no longer feel comfortable in your regular clothes. If you are going to travel, the second trimester is usually the best time to do it.

Physical changes

Breast changes

As you think about infant feeding, you can be assured that your body is doing what is needed to get ready to feed your baby. You do not need to do anything special to prepare your nipples. Simply wash them with water when you are in a bath or shower and dry them with a towel. You do not need to rub, roll or pinch your nipples to toughen them.

Although most women have nipples that stick out when the breast is stimulated, some women have nipples that stay flat or even "tuck in." This is called having inverted nipples. If you want to test for this, you can gently pinch each nipple at its base. Having inverted nipples only affects the first few weeks of nursing because breastfeeding makes even inverted nipples stick out during a feeding.

Skin changes

The hormones of pregnancy cause changes to your skin.

  • Chloasma or the mask of pregnancy

    You may notice blotchy brown areas on your face. Because the sun makes them worse, be sure to wear sunscreen. A hat is also helpful. This discoloration will fade after your baby is born.

  • Linea nigra

    You may discover a thin brown line growing up the center of your belly toward your belly button. If this is your first baby, the line will grow upward at about the level of the top of your uterus. If you've already had a baby, the whole line may appear at once. This, too, fades after your baby is born.

  • Spider veins

    You may see spidery veins on the upper part of your body or your legs. The increased estrogen of pregnancy causes small blood vessels to grow in the skin. They don't cause problems and won't grow into varicose veins. They will fade, but may not go away entirely, after your baby is born.

  • Stretch marks

    As your growing pregnancy stretches your skin, it is likely that stretch marks will appear on your abdomen and possibly breasts. These are caused by the separation of tissue just under the skin. At first they appear as brown or purplish lines. They will fade over time but do not disappear. Lotions and oils can make your skin feel more comfortable, but they won't prevent stretch marks.


 

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, sixth edition, preg-ahc-90026, ISBN 1-931876-25-8

First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 08/22/2011

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts