Many women love the second trimester. You're getting over morning sickness and fatigue is fading away. Your belly isn't big enough to get in the way. Some women practically glow through this stage of pregnancy!
But if you don't, don't worry about it 😉 Pregnancy is different for everyone. You might enjoy the quiet secret of the first trimester or relish the heightened anticipation of the third. No matter how you feel, pregnancy is a unique experience. Be thankful for it!
During this trimester you'll feel your baby move! Enjoy this special trimester!
Baby's intestines begin to move from the umbilical cord, where they formed at the beginning of the first trimester, into the abdomen! Your baby's vocal cords form this week. The liver and gall bladder begin to function.
Even though baby's systems are starting up, you're still keeping everything going for him or her. All of the nutrients you take in move through the placenta to your baby. It's a myth that your baby will steal your nutrient reserves – baby might get something, but it's going to leave both of you without what you need for healthy growth. Be sure that you are eating a good pregnancy diet.
You probably still have to pee a lot – go when you need to!
Does your skin seem more sensitive? It may be. During pregnancy your skin gets more sensitive even as your nails and hair grow stronger. Choose gentle skin care products. Hats, scarves, and silks can protect sensitive skin from sunlight.
Baby is three inches long. He or she is more active and can swallow a little bit. Baby is also practicing inhaling and exhaling, so there's fluid in the lungs. A Doppler will pick up your baby's heartbeat at this point, but if you prefer to wait for a fetascope it will be about four weeks before you can hear it.
Your veins may have taken on a darker, lacy pattern across your breasts and abdomen, and the area around your nipples (the areola) may have darkened. You might also be noticing a little “pooch” where your belly is starting to protrude!
Start thinking about what care provider (if any) you want to attend your baby's birth. The prenatal care pages have information on each kind of care provider. You may only see your care provider once or twice this trimester, so good self-care is essential.
Your baby's head is now sitting on his or her neck (rather than on the shoulders). Your baby can turn his or her head and open his or her mouth! He's moving around and his movements are smoother than they were – but they're still a bit “jerky.”
Your baby spends most of his or her time floating around inside your uterus. He or she moves quite freely in the amniotic fluid and enjoys turning flips and swimming all over.
Your baby's growth is still very rapid in the second trimester. Continue to eat well. Eating several small meals throughout the day is the best way to keep your energy up – you may have already been doing this to keep ahead of morning sickness!
Even if you're still eating three meals a day, have healthy snacks between each meal and before bed – you'll know you're getting everything that your child (and you) need. Visit the pregnancy diet pages for more information on why your prenatal nutrition is so important.
You may be noticing more of a “baby belly” by now, or you could still be barely showing! Some women are ready for maternity clothes and others prefer comfortable, loose-fitting versions of their everyday clothes. Your care provider now measures your fundal height, or the height of your uterus in your abdomen. They do this by measuring from your pelvic bone up to the top of the uterus (the “fundus”).
Has your care provider suggested amniocentisis? Consider the procedure carefully, as there are physical risks involved as well as complex emotional implications.
Baby completely fills the uterus now. Lanugo, a soft fuzz on your baby's body, begins to form this week. Your baby also has fingerprints! It's easy to tell if your baby is a boy or a girl now, and some mothers start to feel baby movements.
Your uterus begins to rise up out of your pelvic cavity over the next few weeks. You may feel the ligaments that support your uterus stretching. Some sharp pains are normal with this stretching, but if you're worried or they persist, call your care provider.
You might feel some flutters now! This first baby movement feeling is called “quickening” and it's one of the most exciting events of pregnancy. It becomes increasingly real to you that you're going to have a baby! Some women find it hard to see themselves holding a real baby until their baby is actually in their arms – and that's ok too.
You may be offered various prenatal screening tests, such as the triple or quad screen. These tests can indicate there's a potential for a problem with your child. However, there is a high rate of false positives and the tests often brings unnecessary worries. Weigh your options carefully.
Your veins are pumping more blood and may become more pronounced – they can form a beautiful pattern across your pregnant belly and breasts. Put your feet up every day so that the pressure on the veins in your legs is relieved. If they start bulging, support hose can help – bulging veins are called varicose veins.
Your baby's weight increases many times over in the next week, but he or she is still very light. The structure of your baby's body is becoming more and more like that of a newborn, and the function is very similar.
The placenta and umbilical cord provide outside support, but most of baby's internal structures are working like they will at birth. Your baby's umbilical cord has a lot of pressure going through it – it's much like a water hose. The placenta is close to your baby's size this week, but baby will grow faster than the placenta from here out.
Get into the habit of changing positions slowly. Changing positions too quickly can cause dizziness or nausea, especially as you get farther along.
The placenta is now taking over hormone production from your body. This means the hormones needed to sustain your pregnancy aren't being produced by you – some researchers believe this is what causes morning sickness to let up.
You may be considering an amniocentesis in the next couple of weeks. The procedure has some risks to your baby, so weigh the pros and the cons very carefully.
Feelings about prenatal tests can be very complex and nerve-wracking. Be prepared for all aspects of the tests. Remember you don't have to take any test you don't want to (and most are NOT proven to improve pregnancy outcomes).
Meconium is building up in your baby's intestines. It's a tarry waste material that builds in your baby's bowels while he or she is in the womb. After birth, this will be the first thing that your baby needs to clear.
Nursing right away and continuing to nurse frequently in the first few days after birth is the best way to help your baby clear the meconium – and the best way to establish a strong breastfeeding relationship for you and your child.
This week your baby's eyes and ears are moving to their proper positions. The pads on your baby's fingertips and toes are beginning to form, along with the finger and toe prints.
Is pregnancy becoming more real? Have you felt baby move yet? Are you thinking about what you'll need for baby yet? How about where your baby will sleep? A co-sleeper or family bed is a good way to keep your baby close to you in the early days.
Remember, it's normal to feel very excited about your pregnancy and parenting, and it's also normal to feel ambivalent.
If you are worried about a certain procedure or feeling you have, research it on your own. Talk to your midwife or your doctor. Never be afraid to ask for a second opinion on something you're not sure of.
Your baby increases in length to around 7-8 inches long in the next couple of weeks and continues the same rapid growth after that! If your baby is a girl, tiny egg cells begin forming within her ovaries. Girls are born with all the eggs they'll ever have!
Your baby's placenta continues to grow in diameter now, but it won't get any thicker.
Your weight gain averages about a pound a week. It might be uneven and come in spurts, but generally averages to around a pound a week. Don't get worried about your weight, however. All women are different. Continue the excellent prenatal nutrition you began in your first trimester. Eat the food you need, salt your food to taste, and drink plenty of water.
If you find yourself worried about your weight, stop weighing yourself – your baby needs your excellent nutrition. If you want to cut something out of your diet, cut out processed foods.
If you begin having a lot of swelling and suddenly gain a lot of weight, contact your care provider immediately – these are warning signs of pre-eclampsia. Remember, excellent prenatal nutrition is a good way to ensure that you and your baby stay healthy.
Your baby begins to grow eyebrows this week 🙂 He or she is starting to store up some fat – called “brown fat.” This fat is special. It keeps baby warm by providing insulation to the baby. This kind of fat is specialized to infants and most of it is gone by adulthood.
Hair is starting to grow on baby's head, and vernix is building up on the skin. Vernix is a thick creamy substance that will protect your baby's skin in the womb. Your baby's skin is separating into different layers. This is the layer that contains your baby's freckles, fingerprints, and any birthmarks he or she may come with!
Your baby girl's uterus is fully formed this week. Your baby's bones continue to harden, leading to stronger movements. Your uterus continues to stretch as your baby grows.
You may feel your baby moving this week (if you haven't yet). Some moms describe the feeling as “flutters.” Others say it feels like tiny bubbles popping inside them. It's exciting no matter what it feels like to you! Some women don't feel their babies moving until later, it depends on each mother.
You might develop a linea nigra. This dark brown line of pigment runs down over the center of your abdomen. Some women have it go from bust to the bikini area, others have it shorter, and some have it all the way from their neck down. Some women don't have it at all.
Your baby begins to develop sleep habits. His or her sleeping or waking patterns are similar to what they'll be as a newborn. Baby might be more active at night, or you may just notice the movements more since you're winding down from your own busy day.
Your baby's legs are close to the proportions they'll be when he or she is born. The bones in baby's body are getting harder and baby is getting stronger this week. Baby can still move about in the amniotic fluid.
Your baby is practicing for digestion after birth. His or her digestive tract begins making rhythmic “practice” movements as your baby's body gears up for the changes to occur in only a few short months!
Your body is replacing the amniotic fluid frequently – every few hours. Your uterus is growing even more and you'll notice more of a “baby belly.”
Your hair and nails may also be stronger. Many women love the next few weeks of pregnancy. Continue to pamper yourself and your baby.
If you haven't already, now is the time to begin making plans for your baby's birth. Plan a natural birth to give your baby the most natural start. It's also very good for you! Taking the time to prepare yourself now will help make your natural birth a reality.
Congratulations! This is a big week for you and your baby! You're at the half-way point to 40 weeks. Some babies arrive before 40 weeks and some come at 41 or even 42 weeks. Good nutrition and excellent prenatal care are the best way to keep your baby in as long as he or she needs to grow optimally. Going past your due date isn't a bad thing. 40 weeks is only an average!
Your baby's brain begins a rapid phase of growth this week that continues through early childhood. Your baby is very thin right now, and in the next weeks and months starts to increase brown fat production and develop more “padding.” Your baby's hair is un-pigmented – it's completely white. Pigmentation will develop later.
Your baby boy's testes are descending into the scrotum this week. If you've chosen to find out your baby's gender, you can tell by ultrasound by this week. In fact, you may have already found out.
Many couples enjoy the surprise of not knowing, and some babies are very shy in front of the ultrasound “camera.” Ultrasound is a relatively new technology and has not been studied thoroughly for risks, so do your research. You can have a healthy pregnancy and a natural birth without ever having had an ultrasound (routine ultrasound does not improve pregnancy outcomes).
Keep pampering yourself – put those feet up!. Some minor swelling is normal during pregnancy and putting up your feet is the best way to relieve it. Don't stop drinking water to try to stop swelling – you need all the water you can get.
If your swelling is severe, call your health care provider. Salt your foods to taste (salt is vital because it helps your blood supply expand for your baby) and give your body time to rest. Go to the bathroom as often as you need to. A good prenatal yoga routine can help you keep your body flexible and everything moving as it should. Prenatal yoga is also very gentle on you.
Take the time to relax – you deserve it. Kick those feet up, take a soak in a good warm (not too hot 😉 bath. Drink plenty of water, eat well, and enjoy your pregnancy.
The inside of your baby's ear is beginning to form, though it's not known if babies can interpret sounds that they hear at this point. Your baby is moving into a period of weight gain, and will double his or her weight within the next few weeks. The fat being stored now is still brown fat and it will pad your baby's neck, chest, and crotch areas.
Have you felt your baby move yet? These light first movements are called “quickening.” With your baby's length and weight increasing rapidly in the second half of your pregnancy, your diet is still critical. Focus on a good protein intake. Many studies have shown that pregnant women must have a high protein diet – protein is what builds your baby.
If you have any concerns or special health issues that need to take diet into account, speak to an expert specializing in prenatal nutrition. Sadly, many doctors and some midwives brush off the importance of prenatal nutrition. But you know it's vital to you and to your baby eat well!
You might feel some aching or pelvic pain because of your growing uterus. Contact your care provider if anything concerns you, such as sharp pain that doesn't go away. You can expect some soreness and aches. You may also begin feeling some lower backache. Gentle exercise can really help this, especially prenatal yoga positions.
Your baby is around 10 inches long and weighs about a pound now. He or she gets even longer by the end of this month. Your baby's skin is wrinkled right now, but throughout this month it becomes smoother. A lot of the weight that your baby is putting on is from muscles and bones that are developing. Aside from the brown fat deposits, baby does not have much fat yet.
Your baby still has room to move around in flip in your uterus. He or she is working hard moving about each day and you may be recognizing a definite pattern of movement now. Does your baby respond to sound or touch? Some babies react more to loud sounds. Some become shy when other people touch your belly!
There's no evidence that your baby's behavior in utero will determine his or her behavior once he or she is born. So your little acrobat may actually be quite calm, or your sleepy little baby may keep you on your toes once born!
You may be worried about sex during pregnancy, especially now that your uterus is getting bigger. Sex is safe while you're pregnant, even in the second trimester and beyond. Enjoy!
Your baby is practicing reflex movements. You can see these after your baby is born. Some, like the “stepping” reflex are thought to help during the birth process.
Your baby's fingernails and toenails are growing more this week. When your baby is born they'll be quite long – you'll be clipping nails regularly! Click here for more on baby care basics.
Someone else can possibly hear your baby's heartbeat with an ear pressed against your abdomen. You can probably hear the heartbeat with a fetascope (which has no possible side effects like a Doppler does). It's a lot of fun to listen to your baby's heartbeat!
It is possible to rent hand-held Doppler units now, or even buy them, but remember that it's ultrasound technology and no real studies have been done to assess the effects of prolonged or frequent exposure. A prenatal listener or a fetascope (buy from a birth supply company, or ask your midwife where to get one) may be your best bet. Some smartphone apps can help you listen to your baby's heartbeat, too!
A pregnancy complaint that some women have is hemorrhoids. As with many things, diet can really help this. Eating greens may help. Enjoy at least eight glasses of water each day.
Getting moderate exercise every day also helps “keep things moving,” which eases problems going to the bathroom. Hemorrhoids often form from excess straining when you need to go. Don't strain – just relax. Ina May Gaskin's “Sphincter Law” works well for birth and going to the bathroom. Relax your jaw muscles and notice how your bottom muscles relax as well 😉 A relaxed bottom is best for pooping and for birthing. Read more about the Sphincter Law in Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. Elevating your feet on a little stool while you go to the bathroom can also help.
Your baby's nostrils have been plugged, but they're opening now! Your baby practices “breathing” through his or her newly opened nostrils. Your baby's lungs are also developing and tiny capillaries are forming within them (and all over baby's body). Your baby's visual and auditory brain patterns are noticeable now, meaning that baby can possibly hear, and pick up some differing shades of light.
Change positions frequently throughout the day to ensure good blood circulation for yourself. Rest as you need to throughout the day. A daily nap is a good habit to get in to. You can use your nap time to listen to a guided relaxation – if you're doing a birth hypnosis program, naptime will be a good time to practice along with your recordings.
Research the gestational diabetes test within the next couple of weeks. Consider this test carefully as it's unpleasant and some care providers feel it's totally unnecessary. Weigh the pros and cons of the test carefully before you make your decision about having the test done.
Your baby's lungs are developing rapidly, but they're not ready to breathe. Your baby's brain is also developing at a fast pace. The brain wave pattern of your baby's brain is very similar to what it will be when he or she is born, and sensory receptors are beginning to function more and more.
You're probably feeling your baby move very regularly now – and you know his or her activity patterns. Your care provider might want you to track your baby's movements for a short period of time each day. This is called a “kick count” test, and it involves counting your baby's movements until you reach ten movements within a certain time period. If your baby “fails,” you should go straight to a hospital. Some care providers don't feel that a kick count test is necessary – you know your baby's patterns and notice changes.
If you haven't felt your baby move for quite awhile, take action. Drink or eat something energizing, such as orange juice or fresh fruit and lie down on your left side. If you don't feel any movement, go to the hospital. Sometimes you may think your baby hasn't been moving, but he or she actually has been – you just didn't notice because you were busy. It's better to be safe than sorry if you are in doubt.
Babies born at this stage of fetal development have a slim chance at survival. However, your baby is far better off inside you. Continue to take great care of yourself. Eat a wonderful diet and get moderate exercise. Remaining healthy and active makes you feel great and is very good for your baby.
Congratulations, you've reached the end of your second trimester! You're ready to move into the third trimester and you're beginning to think more and more about labor and birth, and about preparing for your baby. Move into the third trimester to find out what's going on with your baby and your body next!
Photo by ben klocek