The Second Trimester of Pregnancy

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.