While it is true that the first trimester of pregnancy carries some of the most serious potential pregnancy complications, the second trimester has its share of potential troubles. While it is certainly all right to breathe a sigh of relief when you hit your thirteenth week or so, the fact of the matter is that there are common complications in the second trimester of pregnancy that you should be aware of.
The first and probably the most disastrous complication that can occur during the second trimester of pregnancy is, of course, miscarriage. Having said that, the risk of miscarriage does lessen each and every day of your pregnancy, until it is almost non-existent by the end of pregnancy. While earlier miscarriages are typically caused by abnormalities with the fetus, miscarriages that happen in the middle of the second trimester and beyond are typically caused by problems like an infection or an abnormality with the uterus or the placenta.
An incompetent cervix is a relatively common complication in the second trimester of pregnancy. An incompetent cervix means that the cervix is weaker and it is softer than normal. With an incompetent cervix, as the baby grows and puts more and more pressure on the cervix, the cervix may dilate and shorten, and there may be a miscarriage, pre-term delivery, or the premature rupture of the membranes. There is no guaranteed way to know for sure if you have an incompetent cervix, either. An incompetent cervix is often addressed by having a cerclage, in which a stitch is placed around the cervix in hopes of preventing a miscarriage. Generally, a woman with an incompetent cervix will be put on bedrest.
Another relatively common complication in the second trimester of pregnancy is placental abruption. This occurs when the placenta separates from the uterus before it should. The risk of placental abruption is increased by smoking, drug or alcohol abuse, or when there has been trauma to the abdomen. There are several symptoms of placental abruption, including bleeding, cramping of the uterus, and tenderness of the uterus. Placental separation is typically managed with bedrest. If the separation is severe, where half or more of the placenta separates from the uterus, a miscarriage can occur.