Unique Challenges of Second Trimester CF Pregnancy
Last updated: October 2021
The second trimester of pregnancy is often thought of as the golden period for many moms-to-be. After a rough few months of morning sickness, food aversions, and fatigue that is common in the first trimester, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. The second trimester is also before women really start to become uncomfortable with a large bump.
However, that’s not true in every pregnancy, even though this is generally the easiest part of pregnancy, there may be other considerations to think about in the second trimester of pregnancy, especially with CF.
Pressure on lungs
A growing pregnancy bump is always an exciting sight. However, into the second trimester when growth really picks up, many moms begin to experience shortness of breath from the pressure on their lungs. That’s true even more so in moms with CF who already experience breathlessness or reduced lung function and are much more attuned with minor changes in breathing.
In my experience, it’s not earth-shattering to feel the increased pressure on my lungs from my bump, but it does remind me to slow down and take more breaks. Walking up a flight of stairs is definitely a noticeable change, for instance. Unfortunately, until the baby drops, it only gets more cramped in there.
Slow weight gain
Healthy weight gain is vital to supporting the growing baby and keeping mom healthy in the process. Many women with CF have issues gaining the recommended 25 to 35 pounds in pregnancy.1 The second trimester is when weight gain really starts to pick up.
In my experience, I gained weight well in my first pregnancy, but really struggled in my second pregnancy. I was at a complete plateau throughout the second trimester with weight gain even though I was eating and taking enzymes and insulin as prescribed. In the end, the baby is growing normally, but it’s still a concern for me who needs the extra weight postpartum.
At the end of the second trimester many moms, especially those who have children already, begin to experience Braxton-Hicks contractions. Braxton-Hicks are “practice contractions” that don’t necessarily hurt but cause an uncomfortable tightening sensation throughout the belly.2 The frequency and strength of Braxton-Hicks contractions is unique to each person. In both my pregnancies, Braxton-Hicks have been a daily nuisance - all day, everyday. It can get a bit draining to have that tightening sensation throughout the day interrupting your activities and sleep.
In the end, each part of pregnancy has its unique joy and difficulties. The good news is that the difficulties are temporary and soon enough will be well worth it!
Have you ever been pregnant with CF? What was the more difficult part? Share with us below!
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