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Second trimester of pregnancy

Weeks 13 to 28 of the pregnancy are called the second trimester. Most women feel more energized in this period, and begin to put on weight as the symptoms of morning sickness subside and eventually fade away. The uterus, the muscular organ that holds the developing fetus, can expand up to 20 times its normal size during pregnancy.

Although the fetus begins to move during the first trimester, it is not until the second trimester that movement, often referred to as “quickening”, can be felt. This typically happens in the fourth month, more specifically in the 20th to 21st week, or by the 19th week if the woman has been pregnant before. It is common for some women not to feel the fetus move until much later. During the second trimester, most women begin to wear maternity clothes.

At the beginning of the second trimester, babies are about 3 1/2 inches long and weigh about 1 1/2 ounces. Tiny, unique fingerprints are now in place, and the heart pumps 25 quarts of blood a day. As the weeks go by, your baby’s skeleton starts to harden from rubbery cartilage to bone, and he or she develops the ability to hear. You’re likely to feel kicks and flutters soon if you haven’t already.

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.

Although you should be feeling better now, big changes are still taking place inside your body. Here’s what you can expect.


Week 13

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Your baby weighs around 25g.

Your baby’s ovaries or testes are fully developed inside their body, and the genitals are forming outside their body. Where there was a swelling between the legs, there will now be a penis or clitoris growing, although you usually won’t be able to find out the sex of your baby at an ultrasound scan at this stage.


Week 14

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At 14 weeks, the baby is about 85mm long from head to bottom.

Around now, the baby begins to swallow little bits of amniotic fluid, which pass into the stomach. The kidneys start to work and the swallowed fluid passes back into the amniotic fluid as urine.


Week 15

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Around this time, your baby will start to hear – it may hear muted sounds from the outside world, and any noises your digestive system makes, as well as the sound of your voice and heart.

The eyes also start to become sensitive to light. Even though your baby’s eyes are closed, they may register a bright light outside your tummy.

 

Week 16

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The muscles of the baby’s face can now move and the beginnings of facial expressions appear. Your baby can’t control these yet.

The nervous system continues to develop, allowing the muscles in your baby’s limbs to flex. Around this time, your baby’s hands can reach each other – they can form a fist, and hold each other when they touch

Some women start to experience an increased sex drive around this time, possibly due to pregnancy hormones or increased blood flow to the pelvic area. Some women don’t, and this is perfectly normal.

You’ll notice a small bump developing as your womb grows and moves upwards. If you’ve been feeling the urge to pass urine more often over the last few months, it’s because your womb was pressing on your bladder. This should ease off now. See your doctor if you notice any pain when you urinate. Urinary infections can happen in pregnancy and it’s important to treat them quickly to reduce the risk of kidney infections.


17 to 20 weeks

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By the time you’re 17 weeks pregnant, your baby is growing quickly, and now weighs around 150g. The body grows bigger so that the head and body are more in proportion.

The face begins to look much more human, and eyebrows and eyelashes are beginning to grow. Your baby’s eyes can move now, although the eyelids are still shut, and the mouth can open and close.

The lines on the skin of the fingers are now formed, so the baby already has his or her own individual fingerprints. Fingernails and toenails are growing and the baby has a firm hand grip.

The baby moves around quite a bit, and may respond to loud noises from the outside world, such as music. You may not feel these movements yet, especially if this is your first pregnancy. If you do, they’ll probably feel like a soft fluttering or rolling sensation.

Your baby is putting on a bit of weight but still doesn’t have much fat so if you could see your baby now it would look a bit wrinkled, although it will continue to put on weight for the rest of the pregnancy and will ‘fill out’ by the last few weeks before birth.

By 20 weeks your baby’s skin is covered in a white, greasy substance called vernix. It’s thought that this helps to protect the skin during the many weeks in the amniotic fluid.

At 20 weeks pregnant, you’re halfway through your pregnancy. You will probably feel your baby move for the first time when you’re around 17 or 18 weeks pregnant. Most first-time mums notice the first movements when they are between 18 and 20 weeks pregnant.

At first, you feel a fluttering or bubbling, or a very slight shifting movement, maybe a bit like indigestion. Later on, you can’t mistake the movements and you can even see the baby kicking about. Often you can guess which bump is a hand or a foot.

You may develop a dark line down the middle of your tummy and chest. This is normal skin pigmentation as your tummy expands to accommodate your growing bump. Normal hair loss slows down, so your hair may look thicker and shinier.

 

21 to 24 weeks

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By 21 weeks your baby weighs around 350g. From about this stage onwards your baby will weigh more than the placenta (which, until now, was heavier than your baby). The placenta will keep growing throughout pregnancy, but not as fast as your baby.

Around this time, the baby becomes covered in a very fine, soft hair called ‘lanugo’. The purpose of this isn’t known, but it’s thought that it may be to keep the baby at the right temperature. The lanugo usually disappears before birth.

Your baby is beginning to get into a pattern of sleeping and waking, which won’t necessarily be the same as yours. When you’re in bed at night, feeling relaxed and trying to sleep, your baby may be wide awake and moving about.

The lungs are not yet able to work properly, but your baby is practising breathing movements to prepare for life outside the uterus. Your baby gets all its oxygen from you via the placenta, and will do so until it is born.

By the time you are 24 weeks pregnant, the baby has a chance of survival if he or she is born. Most babies born before this time cannot live because their lungs and other vital organs are not developed enough. The care that can now be given in neonatal (baby) units means that more and more babies born early do survive.

But for babies born at around this time, there are increased risks of disability.

Your womb will begin to get bigger more quickly and you will really begin to look pregnant. You may feel hungrier than before – try to stick to a sensible, balanced diet, and make sure you know what foods to avoid.

Not everybody gets stretch marks, but if you do develop them they will probably start becoming noticeable when you’re around 22 to 24 weeks pregnant. They may appear on your stomach, breasts and thighs. At first they look red and then fade to a silvery grey. Your breasts may start to leak a little pre-milk – this is normal.


25 to 28 weeks

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The baby is moving about vigorously and responds to touch and sound. A very loud noise may make him or her jump and kick, and you’ll be able to feel this.

Your baby is regularly passing urine into the amniotic fluid. Sometimes the baby may get hiccups and you can feel the jerk of each hiccup.

The baby’s eyelids open for the first time and he or she will soon start blinking. The eyes are almost always blue or dark blue, although some babies do have brown eyes at birth. It’s not until some weeks after the birth that your baby’s eyes become the colour that they will stay. You can find out more about your baby after the birth.

By now your baby’s heart rate will have changed to around 140 beats per minute. This is still considerably faster than your own heart rate.

Your baby’s brain, lungs and digestive system are formed but not fully mature – they’ll spend the rest of your pregnancy developing so that they work properly when your baby is born.

By 28 weeks, your baby weighs around 1kg and is perfectly formed. The baby’s heartbeat can now be heard through a stethoscope. Your partner may even be able to hear it by putting an ear to your abdomen, but it can be difficult to find the right place.

Your baby continues to put on weight as more and more fat appears under the skin.

You may get indigestion or heartburn, and it might be hard to eat large meals as your baby grows and takes up some of the space where your stomach normally is. You may also find you are quite often getting tired.

You may have some swelling of your face, hands or feet. This might be caused by water retention, which is normal (try resting and lifting up your swollen feet to ease it). Be sure to mention any swelling to your doctor so that he can take your blood pressure and rule out a condition called pre-eclampsia, which can cause swelling.

It is now recommended that all pregnant women receive a pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination during their third trimester (ideally at 28 weeks). A combination of antibodies being passed through the mother’s bloodstream and the reduced risk of the mother contracting the disease makes this an ideal time to administer the vaccine.

Changes in Your Body-Second trimester of pregnancy

 

First trimester 

 

Third trimester 

 

 

Pregnancy Symptoms Alarming Symptoms

 


 

Related Topics

 Ovulation

 Overdue Pregnancy 

 Overdue Delivery Procedures

 

 


 

References:

http://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/

http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/first-trimester-of-pregnancy#1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pregnancy

http://www.mayoclinic.org/

http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/

http://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy

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