The Second Trimester - You and Baby

January 25, 2012

I'm Not Sick! I'm Pregnant!

One morning, around 13 weeks into your pregnancy, you wake up and find something has changed dramatically. You may have to think about it for a moment, or you may realize immediately that you're not nauseated. Your stomach feels normal. As a matter of fact, you're feeling pretty good. Welcome to the honeymoon phase of your pregnancy - the second trimester.

The Second Trimester - Changes in You

This trimester is a time of firsts for you as you experience the next level of pregnancy. You've gone from feeling horrible to feeling fine and there are more changes on the horizon. Here's what you can look forward to in this trimester, which is weeks 13 through 28 as your body continues to grow and change:

· A few body aches and pains in the back, abdomen, groin or thighs

· You may get some stretch marks on your belly, breasts, thighs or bottom. Lots of hydration and body cream can help to keep your skin lubricated, although it may not do much in terms of preventing stretch marks

· The skin around your nipples will darken

· A line on the skin on your belly from the navel to the pubic line may appear

· You may develop a pregnancy mask - patches of darker skin, usually over the cheeks, forehead, nose or upper lip, often on both sides of the face

· Carpal tunnel syndrome, tingling or numbness in your hands

· Itching on the belly, palms of your hands and soles of your feet. If this is accompanied with loss of appetite, vomiting and jaundice, call the doctor - it could be a liver problem

· Your feet, ankles, fingers and face may begin to swell somewhat. If you suddenly puff out and gain a lot of weight very quickly, call the doctor immediately - it could be preeclampsia

While these things don't sound like much fun, you may appreciate knowing that while all of this is happening on the outside of your body, your baby is having a serious growth spurt.

Baby's Changes in the Second Trimester

By the time you hit your second trimester, your baby has gone from a cluster of cells to a tiny individual with functioning organs, nerves and muscles. By week 14 the baby is about four and a half inches long from head to toe and weighs about 45 grams. Although you can't feel anything yet, your baby is playing hard in there. You'll be able to feel these movements, called quickening, at around week 17 or so.

Do You Want to Have The Prenatal Screenings?

In this trimester of pregnancy your healthcare provider may offer you the opportunity to take some tests. If you are over 35 or if you've had previous test results that were cause for some concern, an amniocentesis may be recommended to determine if the baby has Down syndrome or Edward's syndrome. Another screening test that may be offered is the Maternal-Serum Alpha-Fetoprotein (MSAFP) screening that is also used to detect potential problems. It is important to be aware that these tests are screenings and do not present conclusive proof of a defect or problem. Some women just don't want the stress of these tests and are going to be happy with the baby regardless and other women will feel a sense of relief in knowing.

Baby's First Pictures-Ultrasound

By the time you hit 20 weeks you will be ready for your first real peak at your baby.  You'll have an ultrasound to check on the baby's development - and you'll be able to keep the pictures.  It is at this time that you'll get to see just how busy that baby is in your womb, and you may be able to find out whether you're baby is a girl or a boy. Some women like to know, others don't. If you're carrying a girl, she already has six million eggs in her ovaries - but the amount will decrease to one million by birth. If you're having a little boy, his testicles are descending from his abdomen. Your baby is waking and sleeping at regular intervals and hair is growing on his or her head.

Where Did I Park?--Pregnancy Hormones

Toward the end of this trimester your baby is at his or her peak of activity. If there's a loud noise the baby may jump. And, baby can identify your voice - how amazing is that? You are probably finding yourself to be a bit of a klutz now, dropping things and crashing around. That's because your joints are loosening to allow for delivery of the baby in just over a couple of months. Can't remember where you parked the car? They say pregnancy forgetfulness may be due to hormones.

At the end of this trimester you and baby have grown a lot. Just a short time left and you'll be holding that little miracle in your arms.

Learn more about pregnancy week-to-week in this section.

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