The Second Trimester of Pregnancy

by Shannon Bartlett

Second Trimester of PregnancyWelcome to the "honeymoon" phase of pregnancy. You're probably feeling hungrier, more alive and with your new curves you might feel sexier than ever.

Your baby's been busy growing, too. The organs will mature during this trimester and your baby will practice breathing and swallowing. Even the kidneys are getting some practice. Everything is growing so fast that by the end of the second trimester your baby will almost double in length!

See how your wee one changes in the week-by-week view of fetal development, or click to learn more about pregnancy at 15 weeks, 16 weeks, 17 weeks, 18 weeks, 19 weeks, 20 weeks, 21 weeks, 22 weeks, 23 weeks, 24 weeks, 25 weeks, 26 weeks or 27 weeks. If you're a member, you can customize your dates and follow along with the Pregnancy Calendar, too!

During the second trimester, your hormones even out, and your mood stabilizes about the same time your belly begins to pop out! Let's see what's going on right now!

Feeling Your Baby Move

Sometime this trimester you'll feel your baby's motions. Your little one has been moving, twirling and kicking for weeks, but now has grown large and strong enough for you to feel and "see" what's going on in your womb.

At first you'll probably notice a fluttering sensation, like the inside of your belly's being gently stroked with a paint brush. You might not even be sure you're feeling the baby yet.

Soon after the "butterflies," you'll get some solid kicks that convince you this tiny child has dreams of a soccer career or plans to specialize in dance. When you see a foot push out or your belly undulate, it's a nifty reminder of the miracle inside you.

Your Body

Pregnancy Symptoms: You might notice you have more energy and feel better about now. Many women notice that around week 16 of pregnancy the waves of nausea and fatigue come to an end. If they haven't yet, give it some time. If the nausea doesn't end, it's best to consult your healthcare provider for options.

As your body and baby continue to grow, you could experience additional symptoms like skin changes, swelling, backache, stuffy nose, heartburn, constipation and hemorrhoids. Other pregnancy changes like your shoe size getting larger and vision changes might surprise you as well.

Your Emotions: When your bump pops out and you feel the baby move, your pregnancy begins to feel more exciting and real. You might also find yourself wondering if you'll be a good mother and how parenthood will change you (if at all). How different will things be when this baby is born? You'll have to wait and find out!

Physical Changes: Finally! You no longer look a like you've put on a few pounds. People can actually tell you're pregnant! Break out the maternity clothes and show the world you've got a baby on board. Most women this trimester feel pregnant, but not so big as to be uncomfortable -- yet.

Weight Gain: If your pregnancy started out at a normal weight, your midwife or doctor will probably suggest you gain approximately one pound a week during the second trimester.

Your Baby's Development

Fourth Month:
At the beginning of this month, your baby is about four inches long and weighs just over an ounce. By the end of this month, the baby has stretched out to 8 to 10 inches long and will have gained about six ounces. The face continues to develop and tiny ear buds form.

Fifth Month: During this month, the internal organs continue to mature. Your baby grows muscle and stores fat under the skin. Even body hair starts to grow. You'll notice your tiny acrobat is much more active now. Sleep and wakeful periods occur at regular intervals. The ears can hear your heart beating and even muffled sounds outside your body. By the end of this month, the baby is about 10 to 12 inches long and weighs about a pound.

Sixth Month:
If you could peek at your baby, you'd see the skin covered with a fine, soft hair and vernix, a waxy substance that protects the baby's skin. This month your baby focuses on brain develop, but that's not all. Each baby develops unique fingerprints. Baby girls form eggs in their ovaries during this month. Your baby's almost fully formed now, but needs a few more months to get ready for the outside world. By the end of the sixth month, your baby is around 11 to 14 inches long and weighs about one to one and a half pounds.

Prenatal Appointments

Your midwife or doctor will schedule an appointment every four to six weeks during this trimester. Around 20 weeks of pregnancy you'll be introduced to a new measurement called fundal height. This measurement goes from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus and is performed to see if you're progressing on schedule.

Several tests will be offered during the second trimester, including alpha-fetoprotein test, amniocentesis and a glucose tolerance test. You might also be offered a test that you've been anticipating anxiously -- an ultrasound to determine the baby's gender!

Second Trimester Concerns

Preterm labor: Common symptoms of preterm labor are lower back pain or menstrual-like cramps, a sense of pressure, blood or fluid coming from your vagina and a change in vaginal discharge from a creamy white to thin and mucous consistency. Contact your healthcare provider if you're experiencing any of these symptoms and are concerned. You might be asked to come into the hospital to be monitored. If your cervix is changing you could be having preterm labor.

Gestational Diabetes:
Two percent to five percent of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes. With obesity on the rise, GD could affect 18 percent of pregnancies. Expectant moms can help control gestational diabetes by eating healthy foods, exercising and, if necessary, using medication.

Take advantage of the practical, thought-provoking and entertaining resources we've gathered up on pregnancy. Whether you'd like a peek at your baby's development, wonder what's happening with your body or want to meet up with others sharing this stage of pregnancy, we have what you're looking for.