Monitoring your weight
During your second trimester you may notice your weight increasing more than the first trimester. Everyone will gain weight differently during pregnancy and this will also depend on your starting weight. Your doctor may monitor your weight, take measurements of your growing tummy to estimate your baby’s growth, and watch for signs of preeclampsia (a form of high blood pressure).
It’s important to keep your weight within the recommended range, otherwise you risk:
- putting extra stress on your heart, which is already working overtime to pump your increased blood volume;
- putting more stress on your joints, which pregnancy hormones have loosened;
- developing preeclampsia (high blood pressure) or gestational diabetes;
- a more complicated labour and birth.
At some stage your doctor may check your urine for protein, sugar or bacterial infection, to make sure everything is where it should be;
Maternal Serum Screening (MSS) test
This test is commonly offered in your second trimester. It measures the amount of four proteins in your blood and the results are combined with your age to identify your risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome, Edward Syndrome or neural tube defects.
Rhesus (Rh) antibody level test
This blood test is for rhesus-negative women. Most people have a specific protein in their blood called the Rh factor. Those who don’t are Rh-negative. Being Rh-negative isn’t usually a problem unless your baby is Rh-positive. If you are Rh-negative, your doctor will offer specific medication to avoid problems associated with this type of blood mismatch.
This test uses high-frequency sound waves to visualise the unborn baby. An ultrasound examination is performed in the second trimester to check the development of your baby’s spine, limbs, organs, brain and other structures. At this point you may also find out the sex of your baby if you wish.
This diagnostic test follows screening tests and those at risk will be offered an amniocentesis. An amniocentesis tests the fluid surrounding your baby to detect chromosomal and other genetic disorders, such as down syndrome, cystic fibrosis and neural tube defects. This is not necessary for all women and does come with associated risks so you should discuss with your obstetrician if you have any concerns.