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    Second Trimester of Pregnancy

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    As you enter your second trimester of pregnancy, the morning sickness and fatigue that plagued you during the last three months should be fading, leaving you feeling more energetic and like your old self again.

    The second trimester is, for many women, the easiest three months of pregnancy. Take the time now, while you're feeling better and your energy is up, to start planning for your baby's arrival.

    During the second trimester, your baby is growing quickly. Between your 18th and 22nd week of pregnancy you'll have an ultrasound so your doctor can see how your baby is progressing. You also can learn the sex of your baby, unless you'd rather be surprised.

    Although you should be feeling better now, big changes are still taking place inside your body. Here's what you can expect.

    Changes in Your Body

    Backache. The extra weight you've gained in the last few months is starting to put pressure on your back, making it achy and sore. To ease the pressure, sit up straight and use a chair that provides good back support. Sleep on your side with a pillow tucked between your legs. Avoid picking up or carrying anything heavy. Wear low-heeled, comfortable shoes with good arch support. If the pain is really uncomfortable, ask your partner to rub the sore spots, or treat yourself to a pregnancy massage.

    Bleeding gums . About half of pregnant women develop swollen, tender gums. Hormone changes are sending more blood to your gums, making them more sensitive and causing them to bleed more easily. Your gums should go back to normal after your baby is born. In the meantime, use a softer toothbrush and be gentle when you floss, but don't skimp on dental hygiene. Studies show that pregnant women with gum disease (periodontal disease) may be more likely to go into premature labor and deliver a low-birth-weight baby.

    Breast enlargement . Much of the breast tenderness you experienced during the first trimester should be wearing off, but your breasts are still growing as they prepare to feed your baby. Going up a bra size (or more) and wearing a good support bra can make you feel more comfortable.

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