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The Second Trimester - What's Happening?

The second trimester of pregnancy is when many mothers begin to feel like themselves again. It’s also the best time to begin educating yourself on your options, improving your diet, and getting some exercise. So…. What’s happening?


The Second Trimester: Weeks 14-27



FOURTH MONTH:


Mama’s Symptoms 

  • If you had bad morning sickness and/or food aversions, your appetite should be coming back now (and probably in full force!!) Try to control your food cravings by making healthy options.

  • You have probably noticed that your breasts have begun to change! They are slowly preparing for breastfeeding.

  • Crazy hormones may be causing dry/itchy eyes.

  • Your hair and nails are growing much faster (due to prenatal vitamins)

  • You may be noticing a bit of forgetfulness (AKA pregnancy brain)

  • If it’s not your first pregnancy, you might feel some movement by now – otherwise, you should be feeling some “flutters” soon!

  • Your baby bump is probably beginning to show!


Baby’s Development

  • Week 14Size of a lemon (3.5”)   The arms have lengthened, and your baby is now able to suck their thumb!  The kidneys are now making urine.  Lanugo is growing (peach-fuzz hair) all over their body to help keep your baby warm.

  • Week 15Size of an apple/orange (4”)  Even though you might not feel it yet – your baby is getting hiccups!  They are moving a lot more now, and are able to make their first facial expressions.

  • Week 16Size of an avocado (4.5”)  Your baby can hear your voice!  They are now growing eyelashes and eyebrows.  Taste buds are forming. Their circulatory system is already pumping about 25 quarts of blood each day!!

  • Week 17Size of an onion  (5”)   Cartilage is turning into bone.  Your baby is now starting to put on some layers of fat.  The umbilical cord is growing stronger!

  • Week 18Size of a bell pepper  (5.5”)   Your baby is now hiccuping, yawning, swallowing, and sucking their thumb!!  They are also rolling around and kicking.


To-Do

  • If you have decided to schedule a sonogram – you can determine sex of the baby around 18-20 weeks.

  • Have you thought about announcing your pregnancy to family/friends/coworkers yet?

  • If you plan on returning to work after birth – it’s a good time to start looking into caregivers (nanny, babysitter, daycare, etc).

  • If you are planning on staying at home after birth – make sure that you have a good budget plan for when the baby arrives.

  • Make a budget to allow for baby-related expenses (maternity clothing, OB/midwife fees, doula care, photography, setting up a nursery, car seat/stroller, diapers, baby clothing, etc) – along with any changes in your family’s income after baby arrives.

  • It’s probably a good time to look into getting maternity clothes, and I highly recommend getting a belly band to help hold up your pants before you're ready to transition to maternity pants!

  • You should probably start sleeping on your left side, and not your back – your enlarged uterus puts pressure on major veins, which causes your heart to work harder.



FIFTH MONTH:


Mama’s Symptoms

  • If this is your first pregnancy – you should finally start to feel flutters and kicks by now.

  • Your energy is probably starting to return to normal – or at least closer to it.

  • Your nipples are getting much larger and darker, in preparation for breastfeeding.

  • Your libido is increasing!!  You may have also noticed an increase in vaginal discharge.  Vaginal walls also soften during pregnancy, in preparation for stretching during childbirth.

  • Braxton Hicks contractions are common during the second and third trimester – your uterus will occasionally tighten as it is preparing for labor.  Some women don’t even feel it – just sit down and drink some water, and hopefully they will pass.  (If not – call your care provider immediately)

  • Your skin may be getting dry and itchy due to stretching.  The uterus is now at the level of your belly button!!


Baby’s Development

  • Week 19Size of a tomato (6”, about 1/2 lb)  Baby is developing vernix caseosa – a greasy, white protective skin coating.

  • Week 20Size of a banana  (6.5”, about 2/3 lb)  Your baby’s taste buds are now working – baby can now taste what you eat!! Your cravings may become stronger as baby is swallowing and tasting amniotic fluids.

  • Week 21Size of a carrot  (10.5”, about 3/4 lb)  Baby’s digestive system is developing, and they are starting to produce meconium (that first tarry black poop!)  Baby girls have already developed a lifetime supply of eggs in their womb (about 6 million!)   Hands are developing, and then fetus can flex its fingers.

  • Week 22Size of a spaghetti squash  (10.5-11.5”, about 1 lb)   Your baby’s facial features are now recognizable. Baby is developing a sleep cycle, sleeping over 12 hours per day – usually when mommy is active.


To-Do

  • If you are going to hire a doula – you should start looking into your options, reading testimonials, and interviewing them to find someone who you are comfortable with. (Find local doulas at Doulamatch.net, or search the Kansas Doula Collective!)

  • You should be researching your options for birth, and many parents like to write a birth plan to help communicate their wishes with their birth team.

  • Make sure that you are drinking enough water!! (1/2 your weight in oz… for instance, if you weigh 180, drink 90+ oz of water per day). Your blood volume is increasing every day!!



SIXTH MONTH:


Mama’s Symptoms

  • Constipation, gas, and bloating are your new companions – eat more fiber!!

  • Hemorrhoids are also common – due to added pressure on the digestive tract.

  • Heartburn can be caused by hormone fluctuations – be sure to watch what you eat, keep your head above your chest, and avoid fatty foods (red meat, cheese, avocados, etc).

  • Backaches are more frequent due to a change in your center of gravity.

  • Your uterus is now the size of a soccer ball!!  Your skin may be itchy skin from stretching – be sure to keep it moisturized.

  • Make sure that you are doing pelvic floor exercises! At this point you might leak a little bit of pee when you sneeze. This is totally normal… be sure to visit the bathroom frequently, and stock up on panty liners!


Baby’s Development

  • Week 23Size of a grapefruit  (11-12”, about 1-1.5 lb)  Your baby’s face is now fully formed!! Baby is listening to your voice and heartbeat, and is starting to hear other sounds from outside the womb.

  • Week 24Size of an ear of corn  (11-13”, about 1-1.5 lb)   Baby’s skin is starting to become more opaque, and small capillaries begin to form.

  • Week 25Size of a cauliflower (13-15”, about 1.5-2.5 lb)  Your baby is developing more fat and hair!

  • Week 26Size of a head of lettuce  (14-15”,  about 1.5-2.5 lb)  The eyes will open soon!!  Your baby’s immune system is developing, and baby is getting your antibodies.  They are beginning to practice “breathing” in amniotic fluid as the lungs are maturing.

  • Week 27Size of a rutabaga  (14-15”, about 2-2.5 lb)  Baby’s brain is rapidly developing, which is why mother’s nutrition is especially important at this stage! Make sure that you are getting extra Omegas, either by taking supplements or including fish in your diet (such as salmon – avoid too much tuna due to the mercury content!)


To-Do

  • Now is a good time to start setting up space for a nursery.

  • Have you selected your birth place yet? It’s a good time to schedule a tour if you haven’t already. You might want to review this list of questions, and choose the ones that are most important to you.

  • If someone is throwing you a baby shower – start your baby registry!  (If you are hiring a doula, asking for contributions toward doula care can be a great addition to your registry – don’t forget to print inserts for your baby shower invites.)

  • Start thinking about names, if you haven’t already.

  • If you are planning to return to work – It’s a good time to think about making plans for your maternity leave!!

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