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By this stage you will feel reinvigorated. Your energy is back and you will feel your baby move for the first time. By now, you will feel really pregnant and look like a pregnant woman too.

The baby // Developments
Your baby's organs are fully developed and functional and his face really starts to look like a baby's one. During this month he will grow to be 6 to 7 inches long and 1/4 to 1/2 pound in weight. By now he is also developing the reflexes that later will allow him to swallow. His hair, eyebrows and lashes are growing and his body is covered with a downy hair called "lanugo", that will usually disappear before he is born.
Sometimes you can fin your baby's gender during the routine second-trimester ultrasound scan. But if you want to know for sure you may have an amniocentesis or a choronic villus sampling (genetic tests).
This month is marked by two big events: hearing your baby's heartbeat and feeling him move. At first his moves will seem like a flutter but soon you will feel him stretching and kicking. The baby moves much of the time, folding his arms and legs and making facial expressions. He swallows amniotic fluid and now that his kidneys are fully functioning, he urinates (the urine adds to the amniotic fluid). He practices breathing and gets all his nutrients from you through the placenta. Usually his movements increase after you've eaten and he may react with more movement to certain foods. Now you really feel that you've a growing being in your womb.

Your body // Changes
This stage is marked by an increased sense of energy and it his one of the recent appeared new effects of pregnancy. Some of the second - third trimester disconforts are:

Backhache
Almost every women experience backhaches during pregnancy and it is caused by the forward pull of the spine as the woman's center of gravity changes. You can prevent them by wearing good shoes, being careful when lifting anything and if your back is sore apply ice or heat.

Headaches
Caused by the increase of blood circulating in the woman's body and the rising levels of estrogen produced by the placenta. To avoid this symptom you must get plenty of sleep, eat often, get fresh air or take a warm shower to relax.
If you are having severe headaches is advisable that you talk with your practitioner. Severe headaches can be a symptom of preeclamsia (a dangerous complication during pregnancy).

Heartburn
This sensation can be caused by two things: the growth of the uterus against the stomach or by the relaxation of a muscular valve in the lower part of the esophagus. This states can lead to "reflux", that is responsable for the burning sensation under the breastbone. This symptom can begin in the early pregnancy but is more common in the thirth trimester. Some of the remedies for heartburn are simple things like taking a walk, drink plenty of liquids or eat smaller but more frequent meals.

Leg cramps
There are many theories about the causes of this symptom but there are mot certain answers. There is a suspicion that it may be caused by the need for more calcium or the increase of weight that causes a decrease of blood circulation in the legs. But this are only suspicions, no studies have confirmed it yet. To reduce leg cramps you should put your feet up as often as possible, walk with a certain frequency and stretch as often as possible. To stop it flex your foot by pulling your toes toward your knee.

Varicose veins
They may occur in the legs, vulva or tights during the pregnancy due to the increase of the blood's flow and the compression of the blood vessels by the uterus. Also known as varicosites, they are responsible for a feeling of discomfort but they will recede after the child is born. To prevent varicosites, you may wear support stockings and try not to stand for long periods of time.

Constipation
This symptom appears due to the increase of progesterone that slows the digestive system. Constipation may disappear in the third trimester, but if you're taking iron tablets or if you are prone to constipation be more careful and try to watch your fluids intake and take a diet rich in fiber.

Hemorrhoids
Caused by the increase of the pelvic blood flow and the pressure of the growing uterus, this condition consists in the dilation of the rectum's veins. You may experience bleed or/and hurt, especially after the baby is born. If you have hemorrhoids inform your practitioner.

Minor bleeding or bruising
During pregnancy, as we referred before, an increase of the blood flow occurs. This both with the hormonal changes, that also affect the capillaries make appearance of bruising, nosebleeds or bleeding gums common things to happen. Always talk to your practitioner to assure yourself that this symptoms are all within normal limits. Some studies indicate that a slight increase of vitamin C can reduce bruising.

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Swelling of hands and feet
In result of the increase of blood and other fluids levels, swelling or edema may occur. You may notice that your hands or feet are swelled. Sometimes, the swelling exacerbates or even initiates "carpal tunnel syndrome" that his characterized by numbness and pain in the wrists. Be careful, swelling can be also a sign of "preclampsia", so inform your practitioner about any swelling taking place in your body.

Disturbed sleep
You may have some sleeping problems, specially during the late pregnancy due to the increase of your body eat or the frequent trips to the bathroom. To avoid this trips try to decrease the ingestion of liquids in the evening.

Lightheadeness or dizziness
The fall of the blood pressure may cause lightheadness or a feeling of faintness when women stand up too quickly. Anemia and low blood sugar can also be the cause of this symptoms. Let your practitioner know if you've fainted and when you feel dizzy, sit down and lower your head to your lap and don't forget to eat frequent meals during the day.

Stretch marks
They appear most often on the breasts and abdomen and usually they are white or reddish streaks. They are caused by the stretching of the skin and are more usual in the light-skinned women. You may recur to lotions, oils or creams to prevent stretch marks.

Dry, itching skin
As your abdomen's skin stretches a sense of dryness and an itching can appear. Use a lotion to calm it. But there is other skin condition that you must have major concern. Itīs called "pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy" (PUPPP) and is characterized by itchy, reddish, raised patches on the skin. They appear more commonly on the abdomen during the first pregnancy. It can be bothersome but it does not represent risk to either mom or baby and it disappears after birth.

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