Welcome to your second trimester. All the hard work involved in making your baby and helping it to form has been done. Its essential organs and body systems should be in place and ready to keep growing and maturing. In your second trimester, your baby will increase its size 3-4 times and will look more and more like the little person it will become.
For most women, their second trimester comes as a welcome relief. The exhaustion and nausea which has been so consuming in the first seems to settle and there is almost a return to their normal state of well-being. However, there are still some big differences.
Has anyone seen my waist?
You may find it is getting harder to hide the reality of your pregnancy at this stage. When women start to show is highly individual and depends on their overall size and stature, if they've had children previously, how accurately they have estimated their dates and even the tone of their abdominal muscles. At the start of the second trimester, the uterus is just starting to rise up from the central pubic bone. Until then, it has been protected within the pelvis but now becomes too large to accommodate and needs to lift up and out.
Don t worry if you still can t feel anything when you're poking around on your tummy. How big you are outwardly, at this early stage of your pregnancy and second trimester is not an indication of your baby's growth or wellbeing.
Your physical changes in your second trimester
- That stuffy nose which has been irritating you is likely to hang around for a few more weeks. Try to limit the amount of time you spend in low humidity environments and air conditioning. A bowl of water or humidifier in the room can help make breathing easier.
- Your size and shape is going to change in the next few months. There's no way of getting around this. Everywoman will carry differently and lots of people will tell you it is possible to determine the sex of your baby from how much your tummy sticks out. But, although there is no scientific proof to support this theory, there is no harm in having a little fun.
- Get ready to feel Braxton Hicks Contractions from around week 26. These are painless uterine contractions which are designed to prepare your uterus for labour and increase its blood flow. You may be conscious of them earlier if you have had a baby previously.
Your emotional changes in your second trimester
- Take note of where you put things throughout the next few weeks. One of the more common symptoms heralding the start of the second trimester is pregnancy amnesia . Don t think you're losing your marbles, or your hand bag for that matter. Aim to not do too much at once and learn to laugh at yourself. A sense of humour helps.
- In the wee small hours and quieter moments you might find yourself worrying if the baby will be alright and how you will cope if it isn t. There is sense in the second trimester that there is no going back. There are no guarantees or iron clad contracts when it comes to baby making, but be reassured, nature is very clever and gets it right most of the time.
Hints for your second trimester
- Get used to the idea of attending regular ante-natal appointments. These will be at your GP s, if you have arranged share care, a public hospital ante-natal clinic, or with a private obstetrician. Routine checks and getting an appropriate ultrasound are usually attended at each visit as a means of screening for potential problems. It is common for pregnant women to have their weight, tummy size, blood pressure and urine checked at each visit. This is usually every 4 weeks or so throughout the second trimester.
- Think about your diet and if you are eating as well as you could be. You don t need to eat for two, just really well for one. Make sure you are getting lots of carbohydrates and protein, iron and calcium in your diet. Remember, everything you eat will eventually find its way through to your baby and will help them grow.
- Expect yourself to start gaining weight through your second trimester. Most women find their weight remains stable in the first trimester or even drops in response to their appetite changes. Don t stress too much if you are gaining weight but remember that a healthy gain is between 10-12 kilograms. Gaining over this amount can cause pregnancy and labour complications.
Let's look at your baby's changes in your second trimester.
Your baby is the size of your clenched fist. Its eyelids are fully formed but are still fused over their eyes. They ll stay this way throughout the second trimester.
This week your baby can swallow and will soon become adept at swallowing the amniotic fluid and recycling it through its kidneys. This may sound less than tasty, but is a vital means of determining if they will have renal problems. It also helps their lungs to develop.
Your baby is almost 13 centimetres long this week. It is moving quite actively now and has alternating periods of rest and activity. All that movement helps your baby's muscles to grow and consolidate the network of nervous system pathways linking their brain, spinal cord and muscles.
Your baby's trunk will begin to straighten out and its legs are getting longer. This week your baby has eyebrows and eye lashes, to match its hairy little body. Don t worry though, unless your baby comes early, all that fuzz, known officially as lanugo , will be lost.
If this is your first pregnancy, you will probably be aware of your baby's movements by now. If you have been pregnant before, it is possible to feel movements or quickening from around 14 weeks.
This week your little one is the size of a mango. Or perhaps, not so little after all. A white oily coating known as vernix caseosa is forming on its skin around now; another means of protecting that tender skin.
Your baby is around 21 centimetres long. It is possible to see what sex your baby is on ultrasound now, if not for the past couple of weeks. Your uterus is at the half way mark and will now reach up to your navel.
Your baby is the length of a banana this week. Its arms and legs look as if they are in proportion with each other and those kicks you are feeling are less random and sudden. They seem to be stronger and more intentional than they have been.
Your baby is hearing a lot of muffled noises by now so get into the habit of talking to it, playing music and having your partner chat away through your tummy wall. This will pay off when the baby is born and it responds to his voice.
In the next month, your baby will double their weight. They will fill out to fit their skin and lay down all important fat. You ll probably notice you are getting bigger by now.
Your baby is around 22 centimetres long. The amniotic fluid is being sucked in and out of its lungs in a breathing motion. Lots of energy is going into baby growth, with fat deposits being laid down. There's also hair forming in all the right places, especially eyebrows, eyelashes and on their head.
Air sacs are forming in your baby's lungs, in preparation for their first breaths. There's lots of lung development happening this week and although you are still doing all the breathing for your baby at the moment, they ll need to be ready to breathe on their own from the moment of birth.
Your baby's eyes can actually see and you may find they are more active when you are out in bright sunlight. They are able to respond to touch through the abdominal wall and will move in response to gentle pressure on your tummy wall. Your baby is roughly the same size as the placenta this week.
Lots of movements and activity this week with regular bursts of kicking and stretching. Your baby is still practicing breathing though if they were born this week, they would most certainly need help to breathe. Watch and feel for your tummy jumping rhythmically. It could be your baby is hiccoughing.
For more information see Pregnancy or Week by Week.
Last Published* November, 2021
*Please note that the published date may not be the same as the date that the content was created and that information above may have changed since.