Trimesters: Second Trimester
At week thirteen, you enter the second trimester of pregnancy. The second trimester lasts until week twenty-one.
Second Trimester Changes in Mom
Many mothers say this is the time they feel the best. The side effects of the hormonal changes that were evident in the first trimester are starting to abate and your body is starting to show outward signs of there being a new life inside.
- Body aches: back, abdomen, thighs, groin (consider seeing a chiropractor)
- Stretch marks
- Skin around nipples may start to darken
- A visible line from the belly button to pubic area may appear
- Patches of dark skin may appear on your face, aka “pregnancy mask”
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Itching on abdomen, palms, and soles of feet (call doctor if you experience nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice, or increased fatigue with the itching…it can be signs of a more serious condition)
- Swelling in feet, ankles, and face (call doctor if you experience sudden or extreme swelling…it could be a sign of a more serious condition)
- Breast tenderness may decrease but size may increase
- Appetite may return and foods that you didn’t like during first trimester may become more appealing
- Belly will start to look more like a pregnancy bump
- Heartburn and constipation may continue (make sure you are eating plenty of fiber and drinking lots of water…see your care provider for possible suggestions including some medications that may help)
- Nasal congestion
- Sensitive gums and maybe some light bleeding (see dentist if you easily bleed…see your dentist regularly, regardless)
- Leg cramps (caused by a deficiency in calcium or magnesium…make sure you are eating a healthy diet and taking vitamins…see nutritionist or care provider if issue persists)
- Dizziness or light headed (make sure you are eating small meals, frequently and drinking lots of water)
- Aching in lower abdomen, aka “round ligament pain”
- Varicose veins and/or hemorrhoids
- Weight gain (approximately 14 lbs)
- Better nights rest
- Increased energy
- Frustration at looking heavier but not pregnant
Some women lose interest in sex during pregnancy while others, their desire increases. Sex in pregnancy will not harm or emotionally effect your baby. If you are in the mood, go for it. If you are not, make sure you communicate well with your husband. Consider trying a few new positions that may make sex more comfortable for both you and your husband as your body changes.
Do not worry about your husband no longer finding you physically desirable. Your husband loves you. Most men enjoy exploring the new changes in their wife. Just make sure you two are communicating regularly and openly.
If you are having apprehensions or you feel that things may not be as clear as they were before, consider seeing a marriage counselor. This doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with your marriage. It can just be a good opportunity to have a marriage check up just as you go to your doctor for regular check ups. A couple friend of mine do this once a year. They have a great marriage and attribute a part of that due to their annual marriage “check ups.”
Second Trimester Changes in Baby
During the second trimester, your baby’s organs are starting to function and move into their proper place.
- Size of a peach
- Bones are forming in the arms and legs
- Intestines are moving into place
- Placenta is growing larger
- Vocal chords are forming
- Nose and lips are completely formed
- Baby is now producing urine
- About the size of a clenched fist
- Baby is constantly moving and the movement is becoming more controlled and smooth
- Lanugo (a soft hair) is forming all over body to keep him warm
- Roof of mouth is forming
- Intestines are producing meconium
- Facial muscles are forming so baby can wince and grimace
- All organs, muscles, and nerves are working
- Liver is beginning to secrete bile
- Pancreas is beginning to produce insulin
- Size of a large naval orange
- Hair is starting to sprout
- Tastebuds are formed
- Eyes and ears are in the right places
- Baby is practicing breathing motions, sucking, and swallowing
- Weighs 3-4 ounces and is 4-5 inches long
- Spine and back muscles allow him to straighten more
- Baby is working on frowns and squints
- Eyes are practicing side-to-side movements
- The tiny bones in the ears are formed so he can hear your voice
- You may be able to feel some slight fetal movements
- Baby is playing with umbilical cord, sucking thumb, and kicking amniotic sac
- About the size of the palm of you hand
- Baby’s brain is now regulating his heartbeat
- Body fat is beginning to form
- Size of a chicken breast
- Fingerprints have appeared
- Teeth are starting to form
- Baby can become startled at loud noises
- Retinas are becoming light sensitive
- Baby is beginning to yawn
- Nerves are being covered in myelin, nervous system is maturing
- About the size of a large mango
- Vernix covers baby (vernix protects the baby’s skin from the acidic amniotic fluid)
- A girl will start producing eggs in her ovaries
- About the size of a small cantaloupe
- Sweat glands are forming
- Immunities are starting to transfer from you to baby
- External genitalia are formed so you may be able to determine your child’s gender on ultrasound…if he/she is cooperative
- A girl’s uterus is fully formed and vaginal canal is starting to form
- A boy’s testicles are starting to descend
- About as long as a large carrot
- Baby is drinking amniotic fluid and can taste your recent meals in the fluid (evidence says that babies enjoy the same flavors mom ate while she was pregnant so make sure you are eating lots of healthy foods so baby will enjoy them as well)
- Cartilage is turning to bone
- Eyes and eyelids are fully formed
- Baby is mainly gaining weight from this point on
- You can feel him kicking
- Size of a small doll and about one pound is weight
- Eyelashes and eyebrows
- Baby can smell, see, and hear
- Eyes are beginning to open
- Fingernails are fully grown
- Sense of touch is developing and his grip is stronger
- Baby is mainly gaining weight and practicing movements
- Skin is saggy but will fill in nicely as fat continues to accumulate
- Baby’s brain is controlling the blinking of eyelids
- Developing waking and sleeping patterns
- Pigment is being deposited in the skin
- Unique hand and foot prints are being developed
- Capillaries are beginning to form
- Blood vessels are developing in the lungs
- Nostrils are beginning to open and baby is taking practice breaths
- Eyes are starting to open
- Hearing system is now completely formed and he will be more sensitive to sounds
- Alveoli are forming in the lungs and starting to produce surfactant
- Brain wave activity is increasing
- About fourteen and a half inches long and weighs almost two pounds
- Baby’s room is getting smaller so he take on a curled position referred to as the “fetal position”
- Baby can recognize your and your husband’s voices
- Babies born now have an 85% chance of survival
What To Do in the Second Trimester
You will probably start having very routine visits to your physician or midwife’s office. They will weigh you, measure your belly, and check the baby’s heart rate. An ultrasound around week eighteen to week twenty may be scheduled and they will likely recommend a gestational diabetes screening performed between weeks twenty-four and twenty-eight. It may also be recommended that you have some vaccinations including the flu shot.
Continue any research you haven’t completed during your first trimester. Have you found a pediatrician? If you work outside of the home, will you return to work? If so, who will care for your child while you are at work? Do you have some babysitter ideas lined up for when you need a break or a date night with your husband? Who will help you in the first few weeks postpartum?
You will probably need to start looking at expanding your wardrobe. Now is a great time to find yourself some of those adorable maternity clothes and show off your baby bump.
As your baby grows, side sleeping may make it easier. Sleeping with a pillow between your legs and one slightly under your baby bump may also increase comfort in bed.
Make sure you are eating well, small, and often. Do not fall for the old saying that you are “eating for two.” You do need to increase your calories but be careful about going over board. You really only need about 300-350 extra calories a day now. Your care provider may ask you to keep a weekly log of your weight gain, as well.
Also, make sure you are drinking lots and lots of water. You are probably going to be spending a lot more time in the bathroom but you and baby need the extra water. Drinking plenty of good, calorie and caffeine free beverages will keep you hydrated, improve any constipation, and will keep your baby in fresh, clean amniotic fluid.
Make exercise a top priority. If you haven’t signed up for a prenatal exercise class, do so today. If you are in the Grapevine, TX area, I highly recommend a prenatal dance class with my friend and fellow doula, Callie.
Find a childbirth education class and start deciding where you plan to birth.
Consider starting to write a rough draft of your birth plan. It is very unlikely that you will go into labor in your second trimester but, for peace of mind, you may want to consider a plan if the unlikely were to happen.
It may sound morbid, but it isn’t a bad idea for both you and your husband to create a will and consider who you want to care for your child if you two were unable to. Also, think about drafting a living will or advanced directive. This is what you want done or not done should you be unable to make a decision. For example, my sister had to fly a lot in dangerous areas of Alaska during her first pregnancy. She made sure that her husband and myself were clear that if anything happened, we were to make sure the hospital kept her alive long enough for her son to be born healthy. No one wants to think of such things but it will give you a peace of mind to have such plans in place in the “just in case.”
With all the serious talk out of the way, don’t forget the fun stuff. Take lots of pics of your changing bump. Consider taking a “babymoon” (a vacation just you and your husband…like a honeymoon before the baby). Start a baby registry for your friends and family to know what you need and want. Do you want to know the gender of the baby? What names are you considering?
Your second trimester is hopefully a more enjoyable time than the first few weeks. The third trimester is coming soon. Every day brings your baby closer to being held in your arms, gazing into his beautiful eyes, and hearing his sweet cry. God is forming this beautiful blessing in your own body. What an honor to participate in such an event!
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
If you are in the Denton, TX area and are interested in hiring a doula for your birth experience, contact me today to schedule a free consultation. If you enjoyed this article, you may be interested in checking out my Comfort Measures in Labor page.