Second Trimester: Everything You Want to Know

2nd-trimesterThe second trimester is often the favorite trimester. Morning sickness comes to an end, your pregnant belly starts to grow and become more visible, and you find out the gender of your baby – if you so wish. Everyone knows that you’re pregnant, and most of the worries about miscarriages are behind you.

Pregnant women usually experience a burst of energy in the second trimester, and you start to feel more comfortable planning for your baby’s impending arrival. It’s also when you will start planning your baby shower.

Right now, your baby is growing faster! Between 16 and 22 weeks, your doctor will order an ultrasound to determine the gender of your baby, and you’ll be surprised at how big your baby is now!


What Happens in the Second Trimester?

The second trimester of pregnancy is from weeks 13 to 27. It’s quite an exciting time! Your baby starts to grow at a faster rate – if you can believe it. A lot of development happened in the first 12 weeks, but the second trimester really goes fast!

Your baby comes into the second trimester around 3 inches long, and he will be around 2lbs by the end of the trimester. Crazy!

For now, you’ll continue to visit your OBGYN or midwife once every 4 weeks. During your visits, your doctor will start to measure your fundal height, which is the size of your belly. She will use a measuring tape to find the distance from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus. The measurement of your fundal height helps to make sure the baby is growing.

Not only is your baby growing in size, but he is also gaining skills. By 18 weeks, he can yawn and hiccup. Soon, you’ll start to feel those hiccups. By 20 weeks, your baby is doing some serious dance moves in there, and you’ll be able to feel movement soon!


Common Changes in Your Body in the Second Trimester

The Second Trimester of Pregnancy

Are you wondering what changes you might expect in your second trimester? Here are some common things to expect!

Backaches

You start to put on more weight in the second trimester, and that weight starts to put pressure on your back. Your back might feel achy and sore. While it might be frustrating, it’s quite normal.

Changes in Your Breasts

Your breasts are preparing for breastfeeding! The first trimester brings breast tenderness, but the second trimester brings more breast growth. Don’t be surprised if you go up a bra size or more. Make sure you also increase your bra support to help you feel more comfortable.

Bleeding Gums

A lot of pregnant women develop swollen, tender gums. Pregnancy causes an increase in hormones, which sends more blood to your gums. That causes them to be more sensitive and they can bleed easier than before.

Don’t worry! Your gums will go back to normal once your baby arrives. While you wait for that, make sure you use a softer toothbrush and floss gently. Make sure you take good care of your teeth during pregnancy and get your teeth cleaned. Gum disease can cause premature labor and low-birth weight.

Heartburn

You may have finally escaped morning sickness, but now you have to deal with heartburn. Heartburn is caused by a hormone in your body called progesterone, which causes certain muscles to relax. That includes the ring of muscle in your lower esophagus.

This muscle keeps food and acids down in your stomach where they belong. With the muscle relaxed, it allows these acids to come back up into the esophagus. Try to eat smaller, frequent meals and avoid spicy, greasy, and acidic foods.

Headaches

One of the most frequent problems during pregnancy is headaches. You can take acetaminophen if you want, but you can’t take ibuprofen or aspirin during pregnancy. Try to get enough rest because tiredness can increase your headaches. Deep breathing will help, or try a visit to the chiropractor.

Frequent Urination

In the first trimester, frequent urination was caused by the increased blood flow to and around your uterus as the baby started to grow. Now, your uterus is coming out of the pelvis, so you might notice a bit of a relief when it comes to frequent urination.

Don’t get used to it though! It’ll come back soon as your baby gets bigger and presses on your bladder.

Congestion and Nosebleeds

Hormones cause a lot of troubles during pregnancy. Hormonal changes lead to the mucous membranes in your nose to swell, leading to a stuffy nose. You might start to snore, even if you’ve never snored before in your life!

You might also notice your nose is bleeding. While that can be from dry air, pregnancy nosebleeds is a real issue because of the swelling of the membranes. You can use saline drops to help clear congestion and use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.


Eating Right in the Second Trimester

The Second Trimester of Pregnancy

Are you feeling relieved that nausea and morning sickness is gone? Your appetite will make a reappearance in the second trimester, and you want to start focusing on eating healthy. Babies need all the right nutrients and vitamins to grow healthy, and the placenta takes the nutrients out of your body to give to your baby. So, for both of you to start healthy, you need to eat right.

Eating healthy doesn’t mean counting calories and avoiding fats. Your baby needs plenty of healthy fats to grow properly. Pregnant women need to focus on eating a well-balanced diet fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and good fats.

You’ve probably heard the saying “eating for two,” but that doesn’t actually mean you need to eat double the amount. In the second trimester, you should aim for 340 more calories, with an average between 2,200 and 2,900 healthy calories per day. No, those calories shouldn’t be a pan of brownies.

The general recommendations for pregnant women are:
  • Protein: 70 to 100 grams per day, which is 2 to 3 servings of meat, legumes, or other sources of protein.
  • Calcium: 1,000 milligrams per day, around 3 to 4 servings per day.
  • Iron: 27 milligrams per day, or 2 to 3 servings of whole grains, lean proteins, or leafy green veggies.
  • Folic Acid: 600 to 800 milligrams, or 2 to 3 servings of fruit, whole grains, legumes, or dark leafy green veggies.
  • Vitamin C: 85 milligrams per day, or 3 servings of fresh fruits and veggies.

Week 13

Welcome to the second trimester! You left the first trimester, and, hopefully, you’re starting to feel a bit more human. Your baby has a lot of growing to do in the next few weeks, and it’s pretty amazing.

Your baby is around 2.9 inches long, weighing .81 ounces, about the size of a lemon.

 

What’s Happening in Week 13
  • Vocal Cords Form: Now is the time that your baby develops his vocal cords. He’s getting ready to keep you up all night crying. Isn’t he thoughtful?
  • Kidneys Start Working: The development of working kidneys is a big milestone. Now, your baby starts to pee into the amniotic fluid. Yes, that sounds gross, but it’s not! For the rest of your pregnancy, your baby will be swallowing his amniotic fluid and urine.

Don’t Be Worried About Sex During Pregnancy

Now that you’re feeling better, you might notice an increased sex drive. That’s completely normal! You felt nauseous and gross for weeks, and now you’re starting to feel more like yourself. Plus, all those hormones increase your desire for sex.

Don’t worry. Unless there is a health problem or risk, sex during pregnancy is totally safe! No, your partner won’t be able to feel or touch the baby.

Babies are totally safe, cocooned in amniotic fluid. Plus, your body creates a mucus plug in your cervix that prevents anything from getting close to your baby. The mucus plug will fall out right before you go into labor. So, get in touch with your pregnant wild side.

  • Your Week 13 Belly
If you didn’t gain any weight during the first trimester (normal), you’ll start to gain some weight in the second trimester. It’s very normal in the first trimester to gain about a pound per week. That recommendation may be a bit more or less depending on your current BMI.
The second trimester brings growth in your baby bump as well. You will want to start considering purchasing some maternity clothes to accommodate your growing bump.

Week 14

You’re officially four months pregnant, and you have five months to go. Even though you don’t feel it, your baby is making movements all the time. These movements are smooth and fluid, as he learns how to use the muscles. Soon, you’ll be able to feel them, but for now, he is just practicing.

Your baby is 3.5 inches long and 1 ½ ounce, around the size of a peach.

 

What’s Happening in Week 14
  • Growing Lanugo: Newborns are born with lanugo. That’s not some fancy dinner dish! It’s a layer of thin, downy hair that covers your baby’s entire body. Some babies have a lot of lanugo, whereas others have less. In week 14, your baby starts to grow the lanugo in preparation for birth.
  • Facial Movements: Your baby’s facial muscles are starting to develop. He can frown and squint. Smiling will come later.

Stay Active

pregnancy 2nd trimester

Since you’re feeling a bit perkier now that the first trimester is over, it’s time to get active! Get out your gym shoes and some comfortable yoga pants. Pregnant women should get 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. That means you want to try to do something every day, even if it’s taking a walk around your neighborhood or trying some yoga from a DVD.

We all know that exercise is recommended for everyone, but it has some great benefits for pregnancy. It helps to reduce your side effects, increases your energy, helps you gain a healthy amount of weight, prevents gestational diabetes, and might help make childbirth easier. All of those are some awesome benefits!

So, what type of activities should you try? You want to do whatever you enjoy, but remember your center of gravity has changed. Try to avoid activities that have a higher chance of falling, like skiing. A few ideas to try are:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Hiking
  • Your Week 14 Belly
This week, you might start noticing some round ligament pain. Your round ligament goes from the front of your uterus into your groin area. As your uterus moves up and grows with your baby, the ligaments have to stretch, which can cause sudden and sharp pains. Youch!
Round ligament pains are normal, so don’t be alarmed. Try to avoid sudden movement. Stretch your hips throughout the day and exercise. You can use a heating pad on low, a warm bath, or some Tylenol to help ease the discomfort.

Week 15

In week 15, your baby is becoming cuter, as his ears and eyes migrate to their rightful places on his face. At one point, those cute ears were on his neck, and his eyes were on the side of his head!

He’s busy in there right now, practicing movements, breathing, sucking, and swallowing. All of these things help him prepare for life outside of the womb. 40 weeks may seem like forever away, but your baby will take advantage of every moment to grow and develop in order to survive outside the womb.

Your baby measures 4 inches long and weighs around 2 ½ ounces, close to the size of an apple.

 

What’s Happening in Week 15
  • Working Joints: The smooth, fluid movements that your baby can make are because of their developing joints. Joints allow your baby to move his arms and legs in different ways.
  • Translucent Skin: As weird as it might seem, your baby’s skin is thin and see-through right now. Later, as more baby fat develops, his skin becomes more opaque.
  • Seeing Light: Your baby’s eyes are still shut, but he is starting to be able to see light. If you shine a flashlight on your belly, your baby will try to move away from the light. This stage is the beginnings of working retinas and corneas.

Handling Sicknesses During Pregnancy

Pregnancy sickness

Getting sick during pregnancy is never fun, but chances are you’ll get at least a cold. Your immune system is weaker right now, so you have to be diligent. Here are some tips!

  • To help stop getting sick, eat healthy foods and remember to take your prenatal vitamins. Take a probiotic as well to keep your gut healthy.
  • If you’re sick, rest often and drink a lot of fluids.
  • Run a humidifier and gargle with salt water to help with sore throats.

Some medications are pregnancy safe but speak to your OBGYN to determine the right ones to take.

  • Your Week 15 Belly
In the 15th week, your uterus is about four to five inches below your belly button. That means it may not be visible to everyone else yet that you’re pregnant. Every woman develops a pregnant belly different, and each pregnancy is different for each person.
On average, most women have gained around 5lbs at the 15th week of pregnancy. That’s an average, so don’t freak out if you haven’t gained anything or if you’ve gained more. Your OBGYN will let you know if your weight gain becomes a concern.

Week 16

If you peek in your womb right now, your little baby might be sucking his thumb – so cute! Thumb sucking starts as early as 16 weeks. His little heart is beating fast and strong, pumping around 25 quarts of blood per day.

His backbone and muscles in his back are getting stronger, so he is starting to straighten out his head and neck. Those developing facial muscles are still at work. If you had a uterus window, you would see frowns and squints, along with eyes moving side to side but still closed.

Your baby is around 4.5 inches long and 3 ½ ounces, close to the size of an avocado.

 

What’s Happening in Week 16
  • Taste Buds: He is forming taste buds as tiny pores form on his tongue. Every day, your baby tastes and swallows amniotic fluid, as practice for when he makes his arrival. Your digestive system is separate from your baby, but the molecules of the food you eat go into the amniotic fluid. It can give the fluid a unique taste.
  • Umbilical Cord: The umbilical cord is your baby’s lifeline, and it’s fully developed. A normal umbilical cord has one vein and two arteries that help your baby grow. The cord is insulated by a thick goo called Wharton’s jelly. Weird, right? The jelly helps to protect the vessels and stop the cord from kinking.
  • Nails Grow: In the 16th week, little nails start to grow on your baby’s toes and fingers. They won’t fully grow until around 34 to 35 weeks.
  • Working Ears: Your baby can hear your voice now that little bones are developing in his ears. Sing and talk to your baby, mama! He can hear you now.

Is Caffeine Safe During Pregnancy?

Is Caffeine Safe During Pregnancy

We all love a cup of coffee in the morning and maybe a soda when we go out to dinner, but you might wonder if caffeine is safe during pregnancy.

The answer is yes but in moderation. Caffeine has some negative points that you need to consider.

Negative points of caffeine
  • Caffeine is a stimulant and a diuretic, both of which can cause your blood pressure and heart rate to increase.
  • Too much caffeine can cause you to urinate too often, causing dehydration.
  • Caffeine does cross the placenta to the baby, and your baby’s metabolism is still developing. It can cause problems with your baby’s sleeping patterns.
  • Studies show that caffeine can cause birth defects, premature labor, reduced fertility, and low-birth weight.
  • Too much caffeine has been linked to an increase in miscarriages.

So, all of this sounds bad, right? Most issues seem to be caused when caffeine is consumed in excess. Right now, the March of Dimes states that, until more testing is done, pregnant women should limit their consumption to less than 200 mg of caffeine per day. That’s about one 12oz cup of coffee.

  • Your Week 16 Belly
You may or may not have an OBGYN visit this week. If so, the doctor will measure your fundal height. Your fundal height measurements should equal your pregnancy week, plus or minus two, in centimeters. So, if you go to the doctors this week, your fundal height should be between 14 and 18 centimeters.
In the next few weeks, your baby is going to have a drastic growth spurt. That small bump is going to become more noticeable – yay! – and you will start to notice movement.

Week 17

Your baby has grown so much! Baby fat is starting to form, turning your baby isn’t the chubby cutie you want. His heart is regulated by his brain rather than random beats It’s beating at 140 to 150 beats per minute. He’s still working on all of those skills!

Your baby weighs five or more ounces and measures five inches long. He’s the size of an onion.

 

What’s Happening in Week 17
  • Developing Bones: As your baby developed, the baby’s arms and legs were made of cartilage, but now that cartilage is turning into bones. Those bones will continue to harden and fuse throughout pregnancy and the early years of life.
  • Sweat Glands: Your baby is developing sweat glands, even though babies don’t actually sweat until after they’re born. Even after birth, it takes a few weeks for those glands to start working correctly.
  • Sucking and Swallowing: These are two very important skills that your baby is working hard to master. He spends his days practicing sucking and swallowing to get ready for life outside the womb. It’s important because he will need those skills to breastfeed or drink from a bottle.

Feeling Movement

Soon, you’ll be able to feel your baby’s movements, or you might have felt them already. Everyone is different, and waiting for those first flutters feels like ages. Some women are able to feel them as early as 14 to 15 weeks, but a majority of women will definitely feel something between 17 weeks to 22 weeks.

These early movements are called quickening, and they feel like gas or queasiness at first. Soon, you’ll figure out what they really are. It’s crazy, but for thousands of years, those movements are how women determined that they were really pregnant!

  • Your Week 17 Belly
It’s interesting how different every pregnant belly is. If you’ve had more than one baby, look back at your previous pregnancies. Is your belly different? Probably so!
There is no wrong or right baby bump! Don’t try to compare yourself to other people. That can be discouraging, especially since you can’t do anything to change it. Your belly grows as it wants.

Week 18

pregnancy second trimester1

You have 22 weeks left! While that seems so long, we all know that time flies while we’re having fun. You’re nearing the time when you’ll find out what your baby’s gender is. Are you planning a special way to announce?

Now is the time to also focus on baby shower plans. Figure out who is hosting, pick a date, and nail down a location. Most women want to have their baby shower between 29 and 34 weeks, so get prepping! Those weeks will come fast.

Your baby is around 5.5 inches long and 6.5 ounces, the size of a cucumber.

 

What’s Happening in Week 18
  • Gender: By now, your baby’s gender can be determined on an ultrasound. This typically happens between 16 and 20 weeks. Ultrasounds can be wrong though! The only foolproof way to determine is with a blood test. However, this is still such an exciting time!
  • Nervous System: His nervous system is developing myelin, a fatty substance that insulates the nerves. The process is called myelination. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is. It protects the nerve cells and speeds up the communication between them. Myelination is important for your child’s developing brain.

Are You Glowing Yet?

Everyone says that pregnant women glow, but there is a good chance you feel like you’re not. The pregnancy glow everyone talks about is caused by an increase of blood flow and the HCG hormone that can make some women look dewy.

Pregnancy brings one lovely thing – breakouts. Some women, instead of glowing, have breakouts because of oily skin. Lovely, right? Talk to your doctor about acne products because some aren’t safe for pregnancy.

There are some side benefits to pregnancy that will make you feel lovely.

  • Thicker Hair: Your hair strands will start to thicken, and you might not lose as much hair as before. You’ll feel like one of those girls in the shampoo commercials in the shower. Enjoy it, because postpartum hair loss is a real thing.
  • Fast Growing Nails: Taking your prenatal vitamins regularly also helps to make your nails grow faster than before. Get yourself a manicure (and pedicure)!
  • Larger Breasts: Your breasts are busy getting ready to breastfeed! Milk ducts start to prep for your baby’s first meals by filling up with colostrum, which is thick, yellowish milk. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly have more cleavage than before.
  • Your Week 18 Belly
By 18 weeks, you should have gained around 8lbs, give or take. However, you might wonder how that’s possible since a full-grown baby weighs 6 to 8 pounds at birth. The placenta weighs two pounds at birth, and by the end of your pregnancy, you’ll have four pounds of extra blood.

Week 19

You’re so close to the halfway point of your pregnancy, and that’s so exciting!

Your baby is 6 inches long and 8 ounces, the size of a mango.

 

What’s Happening in Week 19
  • The Five Senses: Your baby’s brain is hard at work developing receptors for the five senses – touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight. All of these are important when he enters the world!
  • Vernix: Have you ever seen pictures of new babies covered in a white goo? That protective coating is called vernix caseosa, or cheesy varnish. Yum!

Vernix is actually really important for your baby, so let’s take a moment to learn about it!

In the summer when you spend too long in the pool, your fingers prune up and become wrinkly. Vernix prevents that from happening to babies. Their skin doesn’t wrinkle from all of the time spent in amniotic fluid. Vernix also helps to make the process through the birth canal easier and contains antibacterial properties to protect your baby.

Dealing With Stretch Marks

You might as well embrace the idea that you’ll get at least one stretch mark. By 19 weeks, you’re slowly getting better, and chances are you don’t have any yet. They’re on your horizons.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to prevent your stripes of honor. Your skin type, heredity, and weight gain have the most to do with whether or not you’ll end up with stretch marks. Of course, you can try different skin screams to see if they help. Staying hydrated and using lotion isn’t a bad idea since there is a chance it will work for you.

  • Your Week 19 Belly
Your pregnant belly is rapidly expanding at this point. Your uterus no longer fits inside of your pelvis, and your fundal height is between 17 and 21 centimeters. It should be nearing your belly button. You should have gained around 9lbs, give or take, and should continue to gain around one pound per week.

Week 20

Yay! You made it to the official halfway point of your pregnancy. Around this time, you should feel pretty good, know the gender of your baby, and those first movements are happening. What an exciting and fun time in your pregnancy!

Your baby is 6.5 inches long and 10 ounces, the size of a sweet potato.

 

What’s Happening in Week 20
  • Meconium: Have you wondered if your baby poops in utero. It does happen, but not until closer to delivery. Right now, your baby is building up his first poop for you, so thoughtful! A baby’s first poop is a dark, sticky substance called meconium. It looks nothing like normal poop.

Around 20 weeks, his digestive system is growing and working, and he starts to develop meconium because he’s swallowing amniotic fluid.

Some babies do pass meconium before birth or on the way out. It can cause a health risk because inhaling meconium can lead to infections. Meconium is a dark greenish-black, tar-like poop that’s gross and will stick to your baby’s butt. What a great introduction to changing diapers for new parents!

Don’t worry. Meconium doesn’t stink very much, and it will work its way out of your baby’s system within the first 24 to 48 hours.

The Big Anatomy Scan

This is the mid-pregnancy ultrasound that every mom looks forward to because it’s when you can determine the gender of your baby! The scan is used for more than gender determination (if you want to find out). Your baby’s entire anatomy is scanned to make sure he looks healthy and developing properly.

A few things anatomy scans look for include:

  • Four chambers of the heart
  • Amniotic fluid levels
  • Spine length
  • Kidneys
  • Bladder
  • Correct brain development

The list goes on! Your ultrasound technician has a lot of things to look for during the anatomy scan. So, sit back and enjoy watching your sweet baby move around.

  • Your Week 20 Belly
By 20 weeks, your uterus is at your belly button level. If you press down above your belly button at an angle, you’ll be able to feel the top of your uterus. Since your uterus is growing upwards, you should have a baby bump by now. It might not be as noticeable as you want, but it’s there!

Week 21

Pregnant woman standing next to window

19 weeks to go, isn’t that crazy? Those arms and legs are in proportion, ready to kick and dance in your uterus on your bladder. His liver and spleen are working hard to create blood cells and bone marrow spaces are starting to help as well.

While you might not be getting tons of sleep, your baby also sleeps as much as a newborn. He spends a great deal of his time asleep, and the rest of the time he is gearing up for his birth.

Your baby is 10.5 inches long and 12.5 ounces, the size of a banana

 

What’s Happening in Week 21
  • Change in Measurement: Until now, your baby was measured from butt to head, also known as crown to rump. Now, it changes from head to toe, known as crown to heel. It changes because your baby is finally starting to stretch his legs, which makes it easier for ultrasounds to get more accurate measurements. This is when those kicks start to become more noticeable!
  • Reproductive System: It’s crazy to think, but your baby is already developing their reproductive system to have babies one day. Males are developing their testes, while females develop ovaries and all of their eggs. At her birth, she will have all of her eggs in her body already created – about a million. That’s a grandbaby in there!
  • Eyelids: When it comes to her eyes, they’re still not open, but eyelids are on the developmental news this week. Soon, she will be able to blink and wink.

Is Your Nose Stuffy?

The second trimester brings congestion, and it can be so frustrating. Who wants to have a stuffy nose all the time?

As much as it’s frustrating, pregnancy rhinitis bothers 18 to 42 percent of pregnant women, so you’re alone in your suffering. Hormones are to blame, along with all of your other issues in pregnancy. Higher levels of estrogen make your nasal passages swell and increase mucus production.

You might be able to take decongestants, but be sure to speak to your doctor. Unfortunately, a lot of medications aren’t safe for pregnancy.

You can try other natural remedies like:

  • Staying hydrated
  • Running a humidifier
  • Taking a steamy shower
  • Trying a Neti Pot
  • Sleep with your head elevated on extra pillows
  • Use saline nose drops to clear your nasal passages
  • Your Week 21 Belly
At 21 weeks, you should still be gaining around 1 pound per week, give or take a few ounces. You probably feel as if your bump keeps getting bigger and bigger – it is! Now is a great time to take pictures of your growth because it will change each week. It’s exciting to see how your belly grows over the next 19 weeks.

Week 22

Your baby will hit the 1 pound mark this week – that’s a milestone. He’s busy in there, listening to everything you say. He loves all the sounds of the womb, like your beating heart and tummy digestive sounds. If you shine a light on your tummy, he will move away.

Your baby is 11 inches long and 1lb, the size of red bell pepper.

 

What’s Happening in Week 22
  • Grip, Vision, and Hearing: This week, your baby is making more strides with her sense of touch. She might hold onto the umbilical cord and practice opening and closing her fist. Her sense of sight is getting better, and she can perceive light much better than before, even with closed eyelids.
  • Facial Features: His eyelids and lips are becoming more distinct on his face. He is also sprouting hair on his head and eyebrows.

Say Hello to Braxton Hicks Contractions

While your baby is growing and developing, your body is already getting ready for labor. Braxton Hicks contractions are practice contraction that you might start to notice this early. These practice contractions feel like a tightening across your belly. Unlike true labor contractions, these are irregular and won’t increase in intensity.

  • Your Week 22 Belly
Your uterus should be about an inch above your belly button. As your belly grows, you might develop an “outie” belly button. Don’t worry. It will go back to normal after your baby arrives, but it can feel weird at first.

Week 23

pregnant woman second trimester

You’ve entered the period of serious baby weight gain, and those movements will show how much your baby is growing. In the next four weeks, he will double his weight, and you’ll have a much larger belly.

Now, you can say you’re six months pregnant, with only three months left to go.  That’s 17 weeks, and it’s going to go fast.

Your baby is 11 inches long and 1.2lbs, the size of a grapefruit.

 

What’s Happening in Week 23
  • Practice Breathing: Now, your baby has blood vessels in his lungs that help him breathe. While in the utero, he will breathe in amniotic fluid, but they’re working to prepare for his entrance earthside.
  • That Beating Heart: Until now, if you wanted to hear your baby’s heartbeat, you had to use a doppler. Now, it’s so strong that you can hear it with a stethoscope!

Ouch - Leg Cramps!

Did you wake up to a horrible leg cramp? Welcome to the club where your legs cramp up and feel as if you might collapse if you stand up. Pregnancy weight gain and swelling make circulation of your blood harder, so that can lead to painful muscle cramps in the middle of the night.

A few ways to help prevent leg cramps include:

  • Staying hydrated by drinking 8 to 10 8-oz glasses of water each day.
  • Stretch your calf muscles each day.
  • Exercise often, even if it’s just a walk each day.
  • Don’t sit or stand for long periods. Alternate often.
  • Compression or support socks help improve blood flow.
  • Your Week 23 Belly
You should be steadily gaining weight at this point, around a pound per week still. The fundal height is between 21 and 25 centimeters. By now, you can definitely feel these baby movements, and your whole belly might be dancing when he gives you a kick!

Week 24

If you could peek at your baby, you would see white hair. As weird as it sounds, your baby has yet to develop pigment, so he has white eyelashes, eyebrows, and hair. That changes before birth!

Your baby is 11.5 inches long and 1.3lbs, the size of a pomegranate.

 

What’s Happening in Week 24
  • Lung Development: His lungs are creating a protein called surfactant. You might not have heard of it, but it plays an important role. Surfactant is a fatty substance that helps us breathe by making it easier to open the air sacs in our lungs. He will keep developing this until around 35 to 36 weeks. Premature babies can be given artificial surfactant to help them breathe.

Watch for Strange Cravings

Pregnant women are known for their strange cravings – pickles and ice cream anyone? But, if you have a craving for something other than food, you need to talk to your doctor.

Non-food cravings can be a sign of pica, and it can be dangerous. These cravings can make you want to eat things like dirt, clay, or salt. Pica is often a sign of low iron or other nutritional deficiency. Your doctor can run tests to figure out the problem.

  • Your Week 24 Belly
Your uterus should be around two inches above your belly button, and those pants are getting really tight. If you haven’t, now is the time to grab some new maternity clothes. You’ll want to get some comfortable leggings and pants, along with a few tops.

Week 25

pregnancy second trimester

Can you believe you have 15 weeks left in your pregnancy? That baby fat is coming on stronger, finally. Your baby is now viable. What does that mean? It means that if you go into labor and the doctors are unable to stop the birth of your baby, medical intervention can help your baby survive.

Your baby is 13 inches long and 1.5lbs, the size of an eggplant.

 

What’s Happening in Week 25
  • The Better To Hear You: Those ears have been working for awhile, but now, your baby can really hear! He is listening to you and knows the sound of your voice. He can hear loud sounds in the background, like the sounds of his siblings crying or his dad talking. Now is a good time to play music for him as well.

Glucose Screening 101

Between 24 and 28 weeks, your doctor will want you to have a glucose screening test to look for signs of gestational diabetes, which causes high blood sugar in pregnant women.

The test is simple. You’ll have to head to the lab and drink a really sweet drink that has 50 grams of glucose. Then, you wait one to three hours to have your blood drawn to see how your body handles the glucose.

A positive test doesn’t mean that you do have gestational diabetes. If it comes back positive, you’ll have to do the three-hour version of the test called the glucose tolerance test which gives your doctor a better picture of how your body processes sugar.

  • Your Week 25 Belly
Can you believe your uterus is the size of a soccer ball now? It is midway between your sternum and belly button, and you’ll continue to gain a pound or so each week.
Make sure you’re taking in the right calories. You don’t need to count calories, but your baby needs an extra 340 calories per day. That increases in the third trimester.

Week 26

You’re still in your sixth month of pregnancy, but that’s coming to an end soon. You might be wondering if your baby is cramped in there! Don’t worry, there is plenty of space for your child to grow and do somersaults. It just feels like you don’t have space!

Your baby is 14 inches long and 2lbs, the size of an acorn squash.

 

What’s Happening in Week 26
  • Sleep Routine: Around this time, your baby starts to develop regular sleeping and waking patterns. Unfortunately, it’s usually opposite of yours. Don’t be surprised if your baby is most active when you want to sleep. That’s because your movements throughout the day lull him to sleep.
  • Immune System: Now is the time that your baby is building an immune system to prevent infections after birth.

Watch That Blood Pressure

Blood pressure during pregnancy is tricky and important. If your blood pressure is low, it can cause dizziness and lightheadedness, especially if you stand up too fast. That typically goes away at birth.

High blood pressure is where some major issues lie. It can lead to severe problems, such as preterm birth and preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is dangerous for mom and baby, so your healthcare provider will check your blood pressure at every appointment.

Signs of Preeclampsia include:

  • Blood pressure above 140/90 on two occasions and blood pressure over 160/110 at least once.
  • Protein in urine
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Swelling in the face and hands
  • Vision changes, such as seeing spots or blurry vision
  • Persistent headaches
  • Vomiting in the second half of pregnancy.
  • Your Week 26 Belly
Chances are you’ve gained around 16 pounds, give or take. It sounds like a lot because your baby is only 2 pounds, but it’s not! You have to remember to account for extra blood, fluid, and the placenta.

Week 27

You made it to the last week of the second trimester. Next week marks the third and final trimester. Your baby still has a lot of growing to do before he is ready for birth. Around now, you might start noticing hiccups. It will feel like little, sudden jumps or flinches in your belly.

Your baby is 14.5 inches long and 2lbs, the size of a head of cabbage.

 

What’s Happening in Week 27
  • Opening Eyes: Those eyes are finally starting to open! When you shine a light on your belly, he will really be able to see the light. He spends time opening and closing his eyes.
  • Brain Development: He has an active brain! Brain tissue is developing and the brainstem is completely mature, controlling the heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. Those brain waves also create sleep cycles and dreams!

Dealing with Sleep Problems

Dealing with Sleep Problems

As your belly gets bigger and the heartburn never seems to rest, you might feel more exhausted than before. You aren’t alone in your problems. It’s absolutely normal for pregnant mothers to feel more tired than ever before in their lives. Over 75% of women report sleeping issues during pregnancy.

Here are a few tips to get you more shut-eye.

  • Create a regular bedtime and stick to it, even on the weekends.
  • Eat a small meal about one or two hours before bed. Don’t eat too close to bedtime or you risk major heartburn problems.
  • Make sure the room is cozy, dark, and comfortable.
  • Turn off the screens before bedtime, including your phone. Take a bath or read a book beforehand to calm your brain.
  • Nap if you can.
  • Try a pregnancy pillow to give you support. If you don’t have a pregnancy pillow, try sleeping with a pillow between your legs to support your hips.
  • Sleep on your left side for maximum blood flow to the baby.
  • Your Week 27 Belly
Are you feeling a lot of movement now? Your fundal height is between 25 and 29 centimeters. Don’t worry about the height because your doctor will check each visit.
It’s normal to have a weight spike around this time, but don’t stress about it unless your doctor says otherwise. Focus on eating healthy choices and exercising.

 

That’s it! You’re ready to enter the third and final trimester. Read our next guide to see what you have coming next.

Baby Advisor
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