Many people refer to the second trimester of pregnancy as the “honeymoon phase.” Months 4 to 6, or weeks 13 to 28, are typically the easiest in pregnancy. Most mothers-to-be find relief from first trimester morning sickness and their energy starts to resurface.
Although you will experience body changes during this period, most expectant mothers do not experience the same level of discomfort as they might during the last trimester. You should still be able to peep your toes when you look down and get out of bed without too much physical struggle.
Some of the changes during the second trimester can make battling illnesses more challenging, however. Scientists are still studying the effects that COVID-19, an infectious disease that primarily impacts the respiratory system, has on pregnancy. However, we do know that COVID-19 has the potential to greatly impact a pregnant person’s immune system.
Common COVID-19 symptoms
According to a study of pregnant women who were diagnosed with COVID-19, the most common early symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Body aches
Loss of taste and/or smell is a symptom that is commonly categorized with COVID-19, but only 6% of pregnant women surveyed experienced this phenomenon. Other possible symptoms can include:
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
Complications during the second trimester
Your body is continually changing during pregnancy. The second trimester can come with some noticeable physical changes. Many women begin having visible belly growth. Your growing uterus can shift organs around and put pressure on your lungs. You may find yourself short of breath completing everyday activities.
Another body change can occur in your nostrils. Pregnant women can experience rhinitis, which inflames your mucus membranes and can leave you perpetually stuffy. This can become exacerbated with COVID-19 symptoms.
The symptoms of COVID-19 you may experience while pregnant are not that much different than the ones you could experience when you are not pregnant. The biggest challenge for dealing with COVID-19 during pregnancy is the severity and the duration of your symptoms.
Those who contract COVID-19 while pregnant are at an elevated risk of experiencing severe illness. Pregnancy increased the risk of hospitalization, receiving intensive care, and being placed on a ventilator.
Early data is also suggesting that women who contract COVID-19 while pregnant have a higher risk of giving birth prematurely or needing a C-section. In some cases, women experienced pregnancy loss.
What to expect if you get COVID-19 during your second trimester
If you suspect you have COVID-19, get tested immediately and consult with your doctor. Your doctor can give you professional advice for managing your symptoms. Some common symptoms and ways to keep yourself comfortable:
Fever: Talk with your doctor about which fever-reducing medication may be safe to take while pregnant. Keep hydrated by drinking water and other liquids.
Cough or Sore Throat: Try to keep your throat lubricated by drinking lots of fluids. You can also suck on mints or candies to increase your saliva. Running a humidifier may also cause some relief for your throat. Check with your doctor about throat lozenges or cough medicines.
Congestion: Continue to hydrate. You can try avoiding dairy products. Using a humidifier, especially at night, may also help. Taking a shower or bath may help open your sinuses. Ask your doctor which decongestion medications may be safe to take while in your second trimester.
When to call your doctor
If you are questioning whether or not you should call your doctor, you should err on the side of calling. A quick call to your doctor can help ease your concerns for your health and your baby’s health.
You may prefer to monitor your symptoms before calling your doctor. Make sure you are keeping a close eye on your symptoms and the severity of each symptom. Regardless, you should immediately call your doctor or go to the hospital if you experience the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Fever of 101 or higher
- Ongoing pressure or pain in your chest
- Inability to keep food or liquid down for a prolonged period of time
- Cramping or pain in your abdomen
- Spotting or bleeding
Coming down with an illness while in your second trimester can be scary. Infectious diseases like COVID-19 can seem especially terrifying. Although symptoms may not vary much between non-pregnant and pregnant people, the severity and length of the illness can.
Always contact your doctor if you have any concerns or are experiencing symptoms.
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