8 Surprising Ways Your Pregnant Body Changes During the Second Trimester

Caroline Olney | Feb 23, 2015 Pregnancy

If you're pregnant, you've likely noticed that your body is not functioning in the same way it used to, right? As you move into your second trimester, these changes become more pronounced ... and more mysterious. Here are some of the most surprising things happening underneath the skin that are causing all those pesky changes on the skin (we're looking at you, spider veins). 

What were some of the biggest changes in your body during you second trimester?

 

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  • You produce 50 percent more saliva.

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    The amount varies by woman, but by early in your second trimester you'll probably notice that there's way more saliva in your mouth. Some women produce as much as 1.5 extra liters per day! Yes liters. When it becomes that excessive, doctors label the condition ptyalism gravidarum. No wonder you have to pee all the time!

  • Your ligaments and arteries become looser and more elastic.

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    A hormone called relaxin peaks in your bloodstream after about 14 weeks of pregnancy. Its primary job is to relax (appropriately named, eh?) your uterine walls so that your growing baby will fit inside you, but it also loosens your arteries to accommodate for all the extra blood in your system. Unfortunately, it also relaxes muscles you might not want relaxed – like the one that’s supposed to prevent heartburn.

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  • Your blood pressure drops.

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    The rapid growth of blood volume causes blood vessels to dilate, which in turn drops your blood pressure significantly. Though you'll start to notice a drop in the first trimester, BP usually hits its lowest number in the middle of the second trimester.

  • Your body burns energy even when you're resting

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    Though it'll peak in the third trimester, your Basal Metabolic Rate (or BMR) will jump significantly at 15 weeks. That's a fancy name for a simple concept: it's just the amount of energy your body uses when you're not moving around or doing anything. The results of this are widespread -- you might notice hot flashes, increased appetite, and increased exhaustion. 

  • Your lungs will shrink.

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    By the halfway point in your pregnancy, your lung volume will start to decrease. By the time you reach term, they’ll be about 20 percent smaller than they were before your pregnancy. Weird, right? Most of these changes comes from the shifting of your organs and the elevation of your diaphragm. 

  • Your body requires twice as much iron.

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    Iron is in charge of making red blood cells, which in turn ferries oxygen throughout your body. Since you're breathing more and inhaling more during pregnancy, you'll need 30 milligrams of iron a day. In your non-pregnant state, you only needed 15. Time to pull a Popeye and load up on spinach.

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  • Your hair starts getting gorgeous

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    All the hormonal changes in your body may have some unfortunate side effects, but they will help you grow that thick, luscious mane you've been coveting. Before pregnancy, about 90 percent of your is growing at one time, while the other 10 percent rests then gradually falls out. By the time you're in your second trimester, less of your hair rests at one time, meaning less falls out.

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  • Your ligaments stretch out.

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    Specifically, your round ligaments, which support the uterus, stretche quite a bit to accommodate your growing uterus. Consider this: your uterus goes roughly from the size of a pear to the size of a beach ball, and these short, little ligaments have to strech with it. Though this is really important for the comfort of your baby, it also means sharp pains for you in the form of round ligament pains, which tend to peak in the second trimester.

2nd trimester

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