You’ve made it to the second trimester! This is what most women consider to be the best trimester. Here is what you can expect from weeks 13 to 28.
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How is my baby and my body developing during this time period?
The second trimester is usually the best because you have finally started to show but you aren’t so big that it is uncomfortable. Hopefully, your morning sickness has dwindled and your energy levels are back up. Your uterus is shifting upwards in your abdomen which means less trips to the bathroom!
Your baby is doing a lot of developing this week. They are forming bones, developing their vocal cords, and working on his/her insides. Up until now, their intestines have been growing inside the umbilical cord, but now they are moving to the appropriate spots inside Baby’s body.
The second trimester also comes with an increased sex drive. Enjoy this time because as your belly gets bigger, you may not have as much energy as you do now. You will also want to be sure to continue taking your prenatal vitamin for folic acid so your baby can develop their nervous system and spinal cord. You can also get this from other foods like whole grains, leafy greens, and milk but you will want to make sure to get at least 600 mcg per day. Speaking of milk, you will want to increase your calcium intake to help with baby’s bone development. It can also be a natural way to suppress heartburn.
Your baby is now the size of an orange! They now have hair starting to grow on their head and a bit of peach fuzz growing all over their body to help keep them warm. The color of Baby’s hair might change after birth. Our baby was born with a little bit of brown hair but it all fell out shortly after birth and his blonde hair started to grow in after a week or two. Baby is now producing meconium which is the black tar-like poop they will have for the first few days.
If you start to feel any sharp pain in your lower belly (especially when coughing or sneezing), try not to worry. This is most likely round ligament pain and is caused by the ligaments stretching as your belly gets larger. You will also want to wash your hands a little more than normal, stay away from sick people, and eat lots of vitamin-rich foods. Your body suppresses it’s immune system during pregnancy so it doesn’t try to fight off the baby, but this opens you up to other colds and the flu.
Your baby is practicing for life on the outside. They are working on breathing, sucking, and swallowing so they can survive on their own after birth. He or She is also moving more inside your belly, but it’s likely you won’t feel any of these movements for a few more weeks.
Week 15 was when I had my dentist appointment and found out about pregnancy gingivitis. Your pregnancy hormones can make your gums more inflamed and you might notice more bleeding while brushing your teeth. But don’t let that stop you, it is extremely important to keep up dental care during your pregnancy and now is the perfect time to make sure your dentist visit is scheduled! You should also start noticing a difference on the scale as baby starts to get bigger. A good rule of thumb is 1 pound per week, but if your doctor or midwife doesn’t seem concerned about your weight gain then you are probably doing just fine!
By 16 weeks your baby can now hear inside the womb! Studies have shown that they can actually recognize familiar songs and it can help calm them after birth (crazy, right??). Pick a lullaby that you love to sing and you can start singing to your baby at home, in the shower, or in the car on the way to work.
By now you might be showing, but don’t worry if your bump doesn’t look like someone else’s. Some women have a very pronounced bump by now and others still have a fairly flat stomach – both are totally normal and you have nothing to worry about. What you can look forward to is people are going to start asking you uncomfortable questions. I got asked all kinds of strange questions like “how often do you pee during the day”, “are you planning an epidural”, “are you planning to go natural”, “have your boobs gotten bigger”, and “can I touch your stomach”. (Hopefully people will actually ask you the last one instead of just reaching out and grabbing your belly). People are weird, and apparently personal space and privacy doesn’t exist when you are pregnant.
As baby starts to get bigger, you will begin to notice more aches in your body. Now is a great time to start sleeping with a pregnancy pillow to help keep your hips aligned and take the pressure off your back. Make sure you have a supportive chair at work, a good mattress at home, and you keep up the walking. This was about the time I started seeing a chiropractor for sciatic pain and it was truly amazing. I highly suggest finding a chiropractor, but make sure they have worked with pregnant women and are comfortable with it. Studies have shown that chiropractic care during pregnancy helps with delivery because your body is properly aligned. You can also join a pregnancy yoga class to help with aches and pains (cat and cow positions are great for sciatic pain).
Baby is moving around even more now! Not just with kicks and punches, but he or she is also yawning, hiccupping, and possibly thumb sucking now.
Feeling extra limber? Your body is now producing a hormone called relaxin which helps relax the ligaments to aid in opening up for birth. However, it doesn’t just target birth-related ligaments, all of your joints are loosening up which aids in back pain, a change in posture, and it also softens the muscles of the esophagus causing your heartburn. If the heartburn is causing you grief, you can try eating small frequent meals, make sure to chew your food completely, avoid spicy foods, sit upright for a few hours after eating, keep your head elevated, and cross your fingers that one of these tricks will work. If not, you can try drinking milk, chewing sugarless gum, and if those fail eating tums or other heartburn medications.
Now is a great time to make sure you are getting enough water throughout the day to help relieve muscle cramps. During the second trimester, most pregnant women get cramps or charlie-horses in their legs. Drink lots of water throughout the day and do some calf stretches before bed to help prevent this. Don’t be worried if you start to see some swelling in your feet or ankles, but be sure to bring it up to your doctor to rule out any other serious symptoms like preeclampsia.
Now that your belly is getting bigger, your underwire bra may start to get uncomfortable as it digs in. If you haven’t yet, now is a great time to switch to a nursing bra. Most of them will have adjustable straps to accommodate your changing rib cage. You will appreciate having these after delivery if you are attempting to breastfeed. I really enjoy these ones on Amazon because they are not just cheap, but also extremely comfortable and easy to latch and unlatch. You can read my full review of them here. You might have also noticed some stretch marks. About 90% of women develop stretch marks, so it’s totally normal. You can try creams or moisturizers to help with the itching, but there isn’t much you can do to prevent them all together.
You are halfway done! Have you felt any kicks yet? It’s totally okay if you haven’t, every pregnancy is different. Most women feel their first kicks between 18-22 weeks and I felt mine about halfway through week 20. At the beginning, they feel a little more like gas bubbles or flutters. You can usually tell the difference because they occur at the same spot every time. There are a lot of factors that go into when you will feel the baby (like size, muscle tone, baby’s position, etc.) so don’t worry if you haven’t felt anything yet – you will soon enough!
You should also be able to find out the gender at this weeks ultrasound, if you didn’t already find out using the SneekPeak test. As your baby gets bigger, your bellybutton may suddenly pop out! Mine never got to the point of being an outie, but it was pretty flat by the end of my pregnancy.
It’s time to mix up your palate. Not only is baby swallowing amniotic fluid to practice swallowing and digesting, but they also get nutrition and hydrate from it. The taste of your amniotic fluid is constantly changing depending on what you eat, and some research shows this can affect their taste preferences after birth. Growing this baby is a lot of work, and with it comes an increase in appetite. Carry healthy snacks with you for when you are starving but in-between meals. My favorite go-to snack was homemade trail mix as well as carrots and hummus. By now, the swelling in your feet may be getting worse, so it’s a great time to start putting your feet up whenever you get the chance. Purchase a foot stool for under your desk or find a way to recline during your lunch break to give those feet a rest.
Your baby has now hit the 1 pound mark and is about the size of a bell pepper. Your little one is growing fast and developing even faster. He or She has a strong grip now, their sight is improved to see light and dark better, and their muscles are getting stronger as they continue to kick you. You might start feeling contractions, but don’t worry – they are just Braxton HIcks. These are practice contractions to help your body prepare for the real deal when the time comes. Braxton Hicks will be inconsistent and will not get stronger and closer together like regular ones will. You can drink a big glass of water, take a shower, and relax to hopefully get them to reside.
Do you have a dark line running down the center of your belly? This is called a linea nigra and is very common during pregnancy. You can thank your pregnancy hormones for this, along with any other discolorations in your face, skin, or even nipples. These color changes should go away a few months after delivery. Pregnancy is a common time for a lot of women to get a UTI. Because the baby is pressing on your bladder, it can prevent you from emptying it all the way when you use the restroom. Try to lean forward while using the bathroom, don’t hold it, wipe front to back, and drink lots of water. UTI’s during pregnancy can present differently than before, so if you have any concerns AT ALL just check with your doctor.
Your baby is now viable outside of the womb (although we would prefer them to keep cooking for a while longer). Are your rings getting a little tight? Swelling in your hands is normal and a lot of women have to remove their wedding rings about now. After taking mine off, I would have about 10 heart attacks a day, thinking I had lost them so I had to find a replacement. I bought a fake ring at Target in a bigger size and a couple of silicon rings just as a placeholder until after the pregnancy. (Check out my full review of the Rinfit Silicon Rings here).
Your doctor may also be prescribing the glucose test right about now. It is typically done between weeks 24 and 28. This is done to test for gestational diabetes, which is a pregnancy specific form of diabetes. Some women hate the taste of the drink, while others (like myself) don’t think it’s that bad. For me, it just tasted like a flat orange soda – but it was extremely sugary so be prepared for that.
Your Baby’s nostrils have started working this week. They are able to breathe in amniotic fluid to help them practice the act of breathing. They will also start to develop the ability to smell different scents inside the amniotic fluid. Now is a great time to take care of some pregnancy checklist items (see below for a list) before your energy levels take a dip. You can also throw in some fun items like designing the nursery or deciding on baby names. Some parents love to share the Baby’s name as soon as they decide, while others want to wait until after he or she is born. Either way, just know it is your decision and don’t let others influence you to do anything different.
Your baby has finally opened those little eyelids! You can now shine a flashlight at your belly and see if they will react with a kick. This is also a big milestone for brain development. Your little one is now able to react to sounds with movements, kicks, or even changes in heart rate. As your body continues to loosen (thanks relaxin), your weight increases, and your center of gravity is shifting; you might find yourself to be more clumsy than normal. Just remember to take a little extra time going up or down stairs, and be careful on slippery surfaces like in the shower. I took a small tumble down the last 4 stairs towards the end of my second trimester, but luckily the baby was totally okay.
Baby is now able to recognize voices and might start to kick in response to hearing you talk. Now is a great time to start talking and signing to your belly on a daily basis. He or She will be able to recognize mom and dads voice. Your voice can actually help calm them during pregnancy and after birth.
You can also start doing kick counts to see when your baby is active and what their schedule looks like. You typically want to feel 10 kicks within 2 hours; but will most likely feel them in less time than that. This is a great time to sign up and start taking a multi-week birthing class. There are a lot of different types of classes, but check with your hospital for classes. Hospital specific classes will not only cover birthing techniques, but will also go over hospital policies, procedures, and medications. It is always a great idea to tour the hospital beforehand. This way, you aren’t trying to find labor and delivery while you are actually in labor.
You have made it to the end of the second trimester! Your baby is starting to position themselves for birth and will hopefully be head down at your next doctor’s visit. This will most likely be your last monthly visit; from here on it will be every 2 weeks until you hit the 36 week mark. A great goal for this week: research car seats. Most hospitals will not let you leave without one. You will have to decide between an infant seat and a convertible seat. The main benefit to an infant seat is that you can remove it from the car without waking a sleeping baby. You can read more about my review of our Chicco Keyfit 30 here.
The second trimester is a great time to take care of a lot of logistics while you are feeling well and have the added energy.
- Call your insurance and see how long you have to add baby to the coverage (normally it’s about 30 days)
- You can also look into the steps needed to get your insurance covered breast pump. For a list of questions and a complete guide, check out Episode 4 or read my blog post here.
- Start your registry and begin researching what items you want to add to it. For a complete guide to the top registries and all the perks that come with it, check out Episode 5 on my podcast or you can read my blog post here.
- Talk to your boss or HR to determine what needs to be done before maternity leave and discuss benefits while you are gone.
- Start a workout routine, even if it’s as simple as doing a few kegels and some squats every day.
- If you haven’t already, start looking into childcare options – they book up quickly in some areas! If you need help making that decision, check out Episode 7 on my podcast or you can read my blog post here.
- Find out the gender!! You should be able to determine the sex (if you want to know) at or around your 20 week ultrasound. Now you can start planning and shopping for that little girl or boy.
- When you get closer to the end of your second trimester, you can start looking for a pediatrician. I covered this in detail in Episode 8 and you can check out my blog here.
- Figure out baby shower logistics like dates, hosts (it’s okay to host your own), location, guests, food, and themes.
You are now two thirds of the way through your pregnancy! The second trimester is the best, because your baby is doing so much developing during this time. You are (hopefully) in a grace period between the first trimester morning sickness and the third trimester discomfort. As you work your way into the third trimester, just remember that you are almost finished. It won’t be long before you will be holding this bundle of joy in your arms!
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