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Second Trimester of Pregnancy

Second Trimester of Pregnancy
Your Baby's Fourth Month

Week 15 - Week 16 - Week 17 - Week 18


The placental membrane allows exchanges to occur more freely between mother and fetus. The fetus grows, becomes more human-looking and tends to become more independent. The placenta: a more permeable barrier.

The placenta is now entirely functional. It takes up 20 to 25% of the area of the uterus. From the 6th month of development, it has completely replaced the corpus luteum by secreting more and more hormones; in this way, it provides mother and fetus with more estrogen and progesterone, a capacity that is specific for human beings. The fetus is now less sensitive to harmful substances than the embryo was.



Week 15 - (13 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

Rapid growth of your baby continues at this point. The skin is very thin and you can see the blood vessels clearly underneath. The scalp hair pattern is developing while fine hair (called lanugo) covers the baby's body. Your baby is approximately 12-14 cm (3.7 to 4.1 inches) and weighs about 50 grams (1.75 to 2 ounces).

Your baby's taste buds already look like a mature adult's and doctors have learned that the amniotic fluid that surrounds it can smell strongly of curry, cumin, garlic, onion and other essences from a mother's diet. Your baby's bones continue to harden and retain calcium very rapidly. At this point in the pregnancy the placenta will begin to take on the job of hormone production to sustain the pregnancy, which was the job of your ovaries up to this point. Your baby's eyelids are now firmly shut, and will stay closed until the third trimester.

Your Body:

Your regular clothes may begin to feel a little snug now so don't try to force your body into them. You can wear elastic top pants such as stretch pants or sweats until you can either invest in or borrow some proper maternity clothing. If all else fails, borrow some of your partner's clothes if needed or just unzip your pants. If you plan on doing an amniocentesis (a test that can indicate any abnormalities in the baby) you should schedule it now as these are normally done between 16 and 18 weeks.

Week 16 - (14 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

Your baby's nails are well formed and some babies are even in need of having their nails trimmed at birth. Your baby is emptying his or her bladder every 40-45 minutes. The limb movements are becoming more coordinated and vigorous. The head is erect and the legs are developed. Both the gender and muscle movements are easily detectable with ultrasound. Your baby is approximately 4 inches long and weighs about 80-85 grams (3 ounces).

Your Body:

You may begin to feel baby's movements as his bones begin to harden. These first feelings have been said to feel more like "butterflies" then actual fetal movement - thus being called 'fluttering.' Another common name for these movements is "quickening". However, if you have a thick uterus, are overweight, or this is your first pregnancy, you may not feel these first movements yet. Don't worry. As your baby moves his muscles more frequently and vigorously, and he still has lots of room to move, you will be more aware of your baby's presence very soon.

Your heart continues to increase the blood volume output to supply the baby with oxygen. Your enlarged heart is pumping about 20 percent more blood than it did before you were pregnant. This volume will actually continue to increase throughout your pregnancy and will result in an increased heart output of 30-50 percent by the time of delivery. However, this increase in blood volume may lead to a stuffy nose or even nose bleeds on occasion. As your blood volume increases it affects your estrogen level that leads to swelling of the nasal membranes, resulting in the stuffy nose or nosebleeds.

Week 17 - (15 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

Your baby will begin to form fat this week. The fat begins to deposit under his skin and in important in heat production and metabolism. At delivery, fat will account for 2-6 percent of your baby's total body weight. This will help him maintain his body temperature when he is born. Your baby is approximately 5 inches long and weighs in at about 140-145 grams (5 ounces). This means that the baby now weighs more than the placenta.

If you were to get an abdominal x-ray, your baby's skeleton would be visible. His movements become stronger and more frequent now. Reflex movements are fully functional as baby will regularly suck and swallow and loud noises outside the uterus may actually cause the baby to startle.

Your Body:

Your uterus has grown and is now about halfway between your pubic bone and navel (about an inch or inch and a half below your belly button). Your bodily secretions may increase due to the increased blood volume. So if you have increased nasal congestion or runny nose, increased sweating or increased vaginal discharge this is normal and nothing to worry about. Rest assured, this increase in body secretion will go away after the birth of your baby.

As baby goes through some growth changes (getting bigger and begins to add fat deposits under the skin) you may find yourself "growing" too. Average weight gain to this point in pregnancy is about five to ten pounds, but don't worry if you are a little off. If this is your second or more pregnancy, you will gain differently than if it is your first.

Week 18 - (16 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

Your baby is growing rapidly. His bones are continuing the ossification (hardening) process and the pads of the fingers and toes are formed. He even has his own set of fingerprints developing as well. Your baby is approximately 5.5 inches and weighs about 200 grams (7.5 ounces).

Your baby can kick, swallow, and sleep. He also is developing his stomach, intestine and colon and the intestines collect meconium (the initial stool a baby will pass after birth. If the baby is a boy, the prostate will begin to develop this week as well. The skin is still a bit pink and transparent and his ears still stick out from his head. The four-chambered heart begins to build up muscle cells and is pumping between 25 and 30 quarts of blood per day.

Your Body:

You may find that sleeping is increasingly difficult as your body grows. Several things you may want to try is to prop yourself with pillows to help you find a more comfortable sleeping position. Perhaps you may want to invest in several firm pillows or a pregnancy pillow to help you get comfortable. Also, try doing pelvic tilts before bed and always urinate before laying down.

You may be getting light-headed, dizzy or even feel faint from time to time. This is normal and is only cause for concern if it happens frequently (more then several times daily) or severely (causing you to pass out and fall). This condition is referred to as "postural hypotension" and occurs because your cardiovascular system isn't reacting as quickly as it did before pregnancy. Postural hypotension most commonly occurs when you go from one position, such as sitting, to another position, such as standing, too quickly. The best thing to do is to move slowly when changing positions. Move to the edge of the sofa or chair and allow yourself to get steady before slowly standing.

Your Baby's Fifth Month

Week 19 - Week 20 - Week 21 - Week 22

This is the month when fetal movements become more coordinated and more vigorous.

The head, which is more prominent than the body at the beginning of the Second Month, continues to grow. The large protruding forehead takes up half of the face. The outline of the chin and neck form and separate from the trunk. The rounded protrusion of the eyes appears as a pigmented black spot, without eyelids, and connected to the brain by the optic stalk which later becomes the optic nerve. The buds for the deciduous or milk teeth form.



Week 19 - (17 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

This is an impressive week for growth! Your baby weighs approximately 250 grams (8-9 ounces) and is about 22 cm or 6 inches long.

If you are having a girl, her ovaries now contain primitive egg cells. Lanugo (a covering of fine soft hair) appears all over the baby's body. This fine hair will remain until birth draws nearer. Sometimes you can still see some on the baby's face and ears after birth. Also apparent is vernix, a milky white covering that protects your baby's skin from an aquatic environment. Can you imagine how wrinkled you'd get if you were in water for nine months? The placenta continues to grow and offer nourishment for your baby while the permanent teeth buds are forming behind the already formed milk teeth buds. Growth becomes rapid now and your baby begins to store iron for the production of red blood cells. Your baby can even dream (REM sleep)!

Your Body:

Pregnancy mask, dry itchy skin, and flaky skin are common in pregnancy and are due to hormonal changes. Don't worry, after pregnancy your skin will return to whatever is normal for you. To help, try using lotions and oils to help with the dry, flaky and itchy skin. Also, a healthy diet and drinking lots of water will help to ease in skin irregularities.

Also, as you are getting close to the half-way mark in your pregnancy, you may want to start looking into childbirth education and classes such as Lamaze. These classes can help ease any anxiety you have, help you understand what is happening to your body, while also helping you prepare for labor and delivery. There are various medical research reports that indicate women who have taken childbirth classes have an easier, less stressful birth experience. To find out about classes in your area contact your local hospital or ask your doctor at your next visit.

Week 20 - (18 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

Over the last four weeks, your baby has grown an incredible amount, and has just about quadrupled his weight. He's big enough that you should be feeling "fluttering" or "quickening" quite regularly now. In fact, from his movements you may be able to tell if your baby is awake or asleep. Your baby is anywhere from 25 - 28 cm or 6.5 inches long and weighs 285-300 grams or 10-11 ounces.

Your baby has started to practice breathing motions, even though his lungs are not yet mature enough to breathe enough air to allow him to survive outside your body. Lanugo (the fine hair) covers your baby's whole body, and hair on the scalp is beginning to grow. Your baby's ears are fully functional now and he enjoys the sound of uterine noise. All the organs and structures of your baby are formed and your baby is now entering a period of simple growth. And you may be getting ready to be a grandma already: If your baby is a girl, her uterus is beginning to develop!

Your Body:

Congratulations -- you are halfway through your pregnancy!

As the baby and uterus grow, some moms report a little trouble breathing, or taking deep breaths, as their lungs become cramped with the internal organs. While not a serious complication, it can be uncomfortable. Once your baby "drops" or engages into the pelvis (which happens about four to six weeks before your due date) this will be relieved.

If you haven't yet, you might want to start coming up with some of your favorite baby names. It might help to look through family history for ideas or pay attention to names when you watch movies or read books. Don't forget: When thinking about a baby name, be sure to pay attention to the initials your baby will have. You wouldn't want to try to personalize something for your baby, only to realize that your baby's initials spell -- or sound like -- something you all won't be happy about down the road. (Think TOE, CRP, COW, HOR, GAG, BRF).

Week 21 - (19 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

Your baby is still pretty active and continues to move all over in the amniotic fluid. However, towards the end of this trimester the baby will begin to settle, usually in a head down position. Your baby is beginning to show evidence of eyebrows and eyelashes and the hair on his scalp is much more visible. He wakes and sleeps in regular intervals, similar to what a newborn would do. This may be apparent to you in his movement patterns. He regularly ingests and absorbs large quantities of the amniotic fluid and excretes urine. Your baby is approximately 27-30 cm (10-10.5 inches) and weighs about three quarters of a pound.

Your Body:

You are probably much more emotionally stable now, as hormone levels have gotten to a more level production. You are probably showing now so be sure to invest in some comfortable maternity clothes. Your uterus is about one-half inch above your belly button so don't be surprised if you're "inny" becomes an "outy." Average weight gain is about 10 - 15 pounds; but again, don't be concerned if you are a little off. As long as you are eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water, don't pay too much attention to the calories or number on the scale. Your ankles and feet may be swelling or be swollen by the end of the day. The water you drink will help so be sure to get plenty. Also, plan to rest for at least 30 minutes with your feet up in the evening.

Sex is something that many pregnant couples don't feel comfortable discussing at length. However, sexuality can change a lot during pregnancy. While in the first trimester you may not have any interest in sex (usually from being nauseated, having sore breasts, or you are just too tired), in the second trimester libido is usually increased.

Pregnancy Symptoms You May Experience
  • Breast Changes, tenderness, fullness, darkening of the areola

  • Frequent Urination

  • Constipation

  • Indigestion or heartburn

  • Occasional headaches

  • Stretch Marks (cocoa butter can help with these)

  • Itching

  • Round ligament pains
Week 22 - (20 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

The baby is getting bigger and continuing to practice for life outside the uterus. This week your baby has fully developed eyelashes and eyebrows and the hair on your baby's head is continuing to grow as his brain begins a rapid growth process. The fetus has fully formed fingerprints and loud noise can "wake up" the baby. He may begin kicking and turning around, too. Your baby's heartbeat can be heard with a stethoscope. His nose is taking on a more defined shape as cartilage (the soft bone) appears. If you baby is a boy, the testes have begun to descend from the pelvis into the scrotum. Your baby is approximately 30-32 cm (10.8 inches) and weighs about one pound.

Your Body:

As your baby continues to grow and fill out, so will you. You're belly will become more prominent and may offer some obstacles you didn't really think of before. For example, those turnstiles at the malls, well, you may have to use your hand to turn them or even go through backwards. You will probably continue to gain weight steadily now, but the majority of it is your baby, not you. As you gain, the extra weight may be taking a toll on your back. Try wearing some comfortable low-heeled shoes and remember to rest with your feet raised above your hips. Overall, you're still feeling pretty good and active in this second trimester.

You are probably getting all kinds of input as to what sex your baby is. People will often offer their opinion using different myths or old wives tales. While some people find this fun, others find it annoying. Be sure to let everyone know how you feel about these "games." You can do it in an easy, non-offensive manner by letting them know that you don't want to know the sex of the baby until its born or that you're waiting until your ultrasound to find out for sure. Have you decided whether you want to find out the gender of your baby?

Pregnancy Symptoms You May Experience
  • Breast Changes, tenderness, fullness, darkening of the areola

  • Frequent Urination

  • Constipation

  • Indigestion or heartburn

  • Occasional headaches

  • Stretch Marks (cocoa butter can help with these)

  • Itching

  • Round ligament pains

  • Hemorrhoids
Your Baby's Sixth Month

Week 23 - Week 24 - Week 25 - Week 26 - Week 27


The sensory faculties of the fetus now begin to develop. This month marks an awakening of attention and muscle development.

The fetus has become a small, vigorous being and can clench his fists and grip an object since he now possesses the grasping reflex. He now moves every day and manifests his presence so that if the mother no longer feels him move at any time during a 24 hour period, she should not hesitate to call her physician; however, the fetus may remain immobile for a few hours while sleeping.



Week 23 - (21 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

The body of your baby is getting plumper but his skin is still fairly wrinkled due to the lack of subcutaneous fat. He's starting to drink the amniotic fluid he's floating in, and his digestive system is mature enough to absorb nutrients. And not only is your baby starting to drink and taste, but all of his sensory systems are maturing as well. Your baby's face and body is looking more and more like those of an infant, the bones of his inner ear are beginning to harden and his pancreas is developing (the pancreas is very important in the production of insulin). Your baby's fingernails are almost fully formed and the lanugo (fine hair) that covers his body is getting more and more dark. Your baby continues to grow in preparation for the journey of birth. You baby is now more than 11 inches long and weighs over a pound.

Your Body:

Your baby still has lots of room to move around so the kicks, punches and movements you had felt before will continue. In fact, there will be times when you will be able to see your baby moving from the outside! This is a good time to get Dad to feel the baby moving, too.

You may find yourself having (or starting) mood swings. Don't worry; these are normal and will subside either late in your third trimester or shortly after the birth of your baby. These mood swings are from the rising hormone levels as your body readies itself for delivery.

Your regular doctor appointments will continue and he/she may palpate your abdomen. This palpation is the doctor's way of feeling the position of the baby. Your doctor will also continue the use of a tape measure to measure your fundal height (cm measured from the top of the pubic bone to the top of the uterus). Your fundus (top of your uterus) will be approximately one to one-and-a-half inches above your navel at this point. You may worry if you are a bit "too big" or "too small", don't. It is normal for you to be individual in your measurements as every mother is different. However, if you continue to worry, be sure to ask your doctor about your concerns.

Week 24 - (22 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

Your baby is almost completely formed. He is now between 1.25 and 1.5 pounds and is about a foot long.

He will continue to gain weight in muscles, developing organs and the deposit of brown fat. The purpose of the brown fat is to retain body heat. Newborns are notoriously bad at regulating body temperature at first. This is particularly a problem for a baby born early. Changes are occurring in lung development so that some babies are able to survive (with intensive care services). Surviving babies may have disabilities and require long-term intensive care. A good estimate is that a baby born now would usually stay in the NICU until their official due date.

Your baby is totally unaffected by the Braxton Hicks contractions (a usually painless tightening of the uterus not affiliate with labor) you may be having as well.

Your Body:

Your fundus (top of the uterus) will continue to grow and reaches approximately 1 ? to 2 inches above your navel. You may be becoming more aware of your baby's movement patterns and can tell when he/she is sleeping or awake. In fact, it is not a bad idea to sleep or rest when you feel your baby resting.

You may start feeling a tightening of your uterus or abdomen from time to time. Don't worry. This is normal and is your body "practicing" for the real thing. These are called Braxton Hicks contractions. Truth is, the uterus actually contracts at all phases of a woman's life. However, we rarely notice this unless our uterus is full -- like it is now.

At your doctor's appointments you will continue to be measured for fundal height, weighed and asked how you are feeling. Between your 24th and 28th week, your doctor may order a glucose tolerance test to check your body for gestational diabetes, which occurs in some women.

Week 25 - (23 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

The structures of your baby's spine are beginning to form while the blood vessels of the lungs develop as well. Also, his nostrils are beginning to open. Your baby now has fully formed fingerprints and his bones are continuing to harden. If your baby were delivered now it would have a chance of surviving with some of the greatest advances in medicine. The premature baby would survive and be in the incubator for few months. The taste buds of the baby are forming. He may be developing a weakness for sweets. He is about 13 inches long and weighs a pound and a half.

Your Body:

You are probably feeling very good about your pregnancy at this point. You are showing, people know and your overall health and energy have improved. Perhaps it is time to start thinking about what happens after baby comes. Is the nursery ready? Where will your baby sleep? Have you chosen baby names for both boys and girls (if you haven't learned the sex of your baby yet)? These little things need your attention, too. And, during the next few weeks you should take care of whatever is needed so you will be ready for your big day.

Your doctor may want to begin seeing you more often now. As the day grows closer he will want to monitor fetal heartbeat, movement and your fundal height, as well as check your overall health.

Week 26 - (24 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

Your baby's developed oil and sweat glands are now functioning. His fingernails, toenails, eyebrows and eyelashes are now fully present and will continue to grow until birth. The fetus can respond to sound and can hear you and those around you. Although we assume that the uterus is a quiet place, the baby has been surrounded by noise for a long time. Things like your heartbeat, digestion, other body functions and external noises are heard by the baby. In fact, you may feel the baby jump at a sudden noise. Your baby is now about 14 inches and weighs a little under two pounds.

The uterus also allows some light to be seen so your baby is aware of light and dark. Your baby's skin is wrinkled and translucent and may have a reddish color due to the presence of dermal blood vessels. Veins are visible through your baby's skin, although it is quickly changing from transparent to opaque. The following months will see increase in body fat. The lungs continue to mature with the development of "air sacs" and begin to secrete surfactant (a substance that will help your baby's lungs expand at birth. At this stage of development the various organs have formed. About 4 out of 10 babies born now may survive (with intensive care services).

Your Body:

As your baby continues to grow you will often find yourself with aches and pains from the pressure. These include back pain, pelvic pain and even pain in your sides or ribs. The best thing to do when this happens is to change your position or move around for a little while. Often, your movement is enough to cause baby to move thus releases the pressure and relieving the pain.

Finding a comfortable position for sleeping may feel like mission impossible! Between all the time spent going from the bed to the bathroom or kitchen you are going to need to get as much rest as possible. If you need to, invest in a body pillow to help you get into a comfortable position and it will help in supporting your legs and growing belly. Also, don't be afraid to nap during the day if you need to.

Your fundal height has reached approximately 2 to 2 ? inches above your navel.

Week 27 - (25 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

This week marks the beginning of the third trimester. The retina, which is important in the reception of light images, develops its normal layers by the 27th week of gestation. These layers are important in receiving light and light information and transmitting it to the brain for interpretation. Your baby's skin is very wrinkled from floating in water. This will stay this way until a few weeks after birth as your newborn fills out into a baby. Your baby is about 14.5 inches long, and weighs over two pounds.

Your Body:

Congratulations! You have officially started your third trimester. Way to go!

Your body will need an extra 300 to 350 calories each day. During this time you will continue to put on weight and will continue to do so until about your 36th or 37th week. You will notice that the weight you gain will be different in the placement then the weight you have gained to this point. As long as you are eating healthy and a well-balanced diet, the weight you gained during pregnancy is not considered fat or unhealthy, but instead, necessary for sustaining both you and your baby. Now is not the time to worry about the number on the scale and you should not diet while pregnant. If you are concerned with the amount of weight you are gaining - whether too much or too little - discuss it with your doctor.

You may be experiencing some shortness of breath from the pressure of your uterus on your rib cage. As your uterus grows, it places pressure on the rib cage and prevents your lungs from being able to expand completely. But don't worry. You and your baby are still getting enough oxygen.

Being in your third trimester it is important to recognize the signs of premature labor. Research shows that premature labor is more common in the summer months then other times of year due to dehydration in some women. So, be sure to continue to drink plenty of fluids.

If you have any of the following, be sure to call your doctor right away:
  • Bright red blood from your vagina

  • Sudden gush of clear, watery fluid from your vagina

  • Intense pelvic pain

  • Dull backache, usually in the lower back

  • Contractions or bad cramps (especially if more then 5 in one hour)

  • Pain during urination (could be an infection of the urinary tract, bladder or kidneys)

  • Swelling or puffiness of your face and hands (sign of preeclampsia)

  • Sharp or prolonged pain in your abdomen (sign of preeclampsia)
Pregnancy Symptoms You May Experience

  • Breast Changes, tenderness, fullness, darkening of the areola

  • Frequent Urination

  • Constipation

  • Indigestion or heartburn

  • Occasional headaches

  • Stretch Marks (cocoa butter can help with these)

  • Itching

  • Round ligament pains

  • Hemorrhoids



Copyright © www.babyart.org, 2006-2008: Pregnancy: Second Trimester of Pregnancy