As you enter the second trimester of pregnancy, the morning sickness and fatigue that plagued you during the last three months should be fading, leaving you feeling more energetic and like your old self again.
The second trimester is, for many women, the easiest three months of pregnancy. Take the time now, while you’re feeling better and your energy is up, to start planning for your baby’s arrival.
During the second trimester, your baby is growing quickly. Between your 18th and 22nd week of pregnancy you’ll have an ultrasound so your doctor can see how your baby is progressing. You also can learn the sex of your baby, unless you’d rather be surprised.
Baby: Your baby is growing quickly! Eyes are moving into position, the ankles and wrists have formed, and though the head is still disproportionately big, the rest of the body is starting to catch up.
Mum-to-be: Your uterus has grown a lot. It’s filling your pelvis now and starting to grow upward into your abdomen. It probably feels like a soft, smooth ball. If you haven’t gained any weight yet because of morning sickness, you’ll begin to now as you start to feel better.
Baby: Your baby’s ears are shifting from the neck to the sides of the head, and the neck is getting longer and the chin more prominent. Facial features and unique fingerprints are all there. Your baby is beginning to respond to outside stimuli. If your abdomen is poked, the baby will try to wriggle away.
Mum-to-be: You’re probably wearing maternity clothes now. Your skin and muscles are starting to stretch to accommodate your growing baby. You may notice some constipation, because pregnancy hormones relax the bowel.
Baby: Your baby’s body is covered by very fine hair, called lanugo, which is usually shed by birth. Eyebrows and hair on the top of the head are beginning to grow, bones are getting harder, and the baby may even be sucking his thumb.
Mum-to-be: Your uterus can probably be felt about 3 to 4 inches below your navel. Sometime in the next five weeks you’ll be offered a blood test called the quadruple marker screening test to help screen for Down syndrome. You might also be offered amniocentesis, which tests a small sample of amniotic fluid withdrawn by an ultrasound-guided needle, between now and 18 weeks. You can talk with your doctor about what prenatal tests you may want.
Baby: You may be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat in the doctor’s office. Fine hair, lanugo, may be growing on the head. Arms and legs are moving, and the nervous system is working.
Mum-to-be: Within the next few weeks, you may start to feel your baby move, called “quickening.” It often feels like a gas bubble or subtle fluttering movement. As it happens more regularly, you’ll know it’s your baby. Your body is changing in many other ways. Increased blood volume to support your growing baby may produce nosebleeds, and you may notice your leg veins are becoming more apparent. Good news: Because your uterus is shifting, you may not have to urinate so much.
Baby: Your baby now has doubled in weight in the last two weeks. The second trimester is where fat begins to form, helping your baby’s heat production and metabolism. The lungs are beginning to exhale amniotic fluid, and the circulatory and urinary systems are working. Hair on the head, eyebrows, and eyelashes is filling in.
Mum-to-be: You’re showing more now, with a typical weight gain of 5-10 pounds. You may also be noticing that your appetite has grown.
Baby: Your baby’s rapid growth spurt is tapering off, but reflexes are kicking in. The baby can yawn, stretch, and make facial expressions, even frown. Taste buds are beginning to develop and can distinguish sweet from bitter. The baby will suck if its lips are stroked, and it can swallow and even get the hiccups. The retinas have become sensitive to light, so if a bright light is shined on your abdomen, baby will probably move to shield its eyes.
Mum-to-be: Your uterus, about the size of a cantaloupe, can probably be felt just below your navel. You’re most likely feeling the baby move by now. A mid-pregnancy ultrasound may be performed between now and 22 weeks to assess the baby’s growth and development and to verify the due date. If the baby is in the right position, the ultrasound may show whether it’s a boy or a girl. Your heart has to work 40% to 50% harder now to support your pregnancy.
Baby: Your baby’s skin is developing and transparent, appearing red because blood vessels are visible through it. A creamy white protective coating, called vernix, begins to develop on the baby’s skin.
Mum-to-be: As your baby continues to grow, you may be feeling some mid-pregnancy aches and pains by now — lower abdominal achiness, dizziness, heartburn, constipation, leg cramps, mild swelling of ankles and feet, and a backache. Dilated blood vessels might cause tiny, temporary red marks (called spider nevi) on your face, shoulders, and arms.
Baby: Your baby can hear sounds by now — your voice, heart, and your stomach growling, as well as sounds outside your body. The baby will cover its ears with its hands if a loud sound is made near you, and it may even become startled and “jump.” The baby is moving often, too — twisting, turning, wiggling, punching and kicking.
Mum-to-be: Congratulations! You’re near the midpoint of your pregnancy. Your uterus is just about even with your navel. Your waistline has pretty much disappeared. Bladder infections are more likely, because certain muscles in the urinary tract relax. Your breathing will deepen and you may sweat more than usual because your thyroid gland is more active.
What’s Happening Inside You At This Stage Of The Second Trimester?
Hair is beginning to grow on your baby’s head, and lanugo, a soft fine hair, covers his or her shoulders, back, and temples. This hair protects your baby and is usually shed at the end of the baby’s first week of life.Your baby’s skin is covered with a whitish coating called vernix caseosa. This “cheesy” substance, thought to protect baby’s skin from long exposure to the amniotic fluid, is shed just before birth.
You may begin to feel your baby move because he or she is developing muscles and exercising them. That movement is called quickening.
Baby: Your baby is steadily gaining fat to keep warm. Growth rate is slowing down, but its organs are still maturing. Your baby’s oil glands are making a waxy film, called the vernix caseosa, that covers the skin to keep it supple in the amniotic fluid. Buds for permanent teeth are beginning to form.
Mum-to-be: You’re starting to show! Your uterus is starting to extend above your navel. You’ve probably gained 10-14lbs by now.
Baby: Your baby’s muscles are getting stronger every week now, and the eyelids and eyebrows are developed. Your baby moves a lot and responds to sound, rhythm, and melody. If you sing and talk to your baby now, those sounds may later soothe your newborn.
Mum-to-be: Your uterus is still growing, and you’re probably feeling pretty good — no more morning sickness. You may still be getting leg and foot cramps, though, and mild swelling of your ankles and feet.
Baby: Your baby’s skin is still wrinkled because your baby still has more weight to gain. Fine hair, called lanugo, on the body sometimes turns darker.
Mum-to-be: You’ve probably gained about 12-15 pounds. While pregnant, you may notice an increase in vaginal secretions that are typically clear-to-yellowish with a faint smell. If the colour or odour changes significantly, check in with your health care provider to see if you have an infection. Does the small of your back ache? Lying down, getting massages, and applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to the area can help.
Baby: Your baby is starting to make white blood cells, which will help it fight off disease and infection, and may respond to your touch or sounds. If you haven’t felt the baby hiccup yet, you might now.
Mum-to-be: Expect to gain about a pound per week this month. Your health care provider may test you for gestational diabetes between this week and 28 weeks. The second trimester is almost over.
Baby: Your baby’s skin now becomes opaque instead of transparent. The baby’s body is still covered with folds, as it needs to grow into its skin. Heartbeat can be heard through a stethoscope or, depending on the position of the baby, by others putting an ear against your belly.
Mum-to-be: Besides your uterus growing upward, it may be getting bigger on your abdomen’s sides. You may have hemorrhoids, caused by increased blood flow, constipation, indigestion, and heartburn.
Baby: Your baby’s hearing is fully developed. As the baby reacts to sounds, its pulse increases.Your baby will even move in rhythm to music. Lungs are still growing but are not yet mature. Patterns of your baby’s brain waves appear like a full-term newborn. He or she also has patterns of sleeping and waking.
Mum-to-be: The baby’s constant movements should be reassuring. You’ll be putting on weight at the rate of about 1 pound per week now. You may be feeling some rib pain as your baby grows and pushes upward on your rib cage. The pressure may also be causing indigestion and heartburn. You may also feel stitch-like pains down the sides of your abdomen as your uterine muscle stretches.
Baby: Your baby’s hands are active. Thumb-sucking calms the baby and strengthens cheek and jaw muscles. Your baby can cry now.
Mum-to-be: You may see stretch marks as your uterus continues to expand. Most women have gained about 16 to 22 lbs by now. Your balance and mobility also may be changing as you grow larger.
Congratulations the second trimester is complete! You are more than half way there.