The second trimester of pregnancy begins in the thirteenth week of pregnancy and ends at the beginning of week 28. This is often a woman’s favorite trimester of her pregnancy as the morning sickness often subsides, the belly begins to swell and a new rush of energy is experienced. Pregnancy development in the second trimester is a big time for both mother and baby.
By week 13 of your pregnancy, your baby has begun to move and kick even though you will not feel this movement for several more weeks. By weeks 15 and 16, your baby has grown skin around his body and makes small facial expressions. By 20 weeks of pregnancy, your baby weighs around 9 oz. and is about 6 inches long. After this halfway point the baby’s development really evolves. He develops taste buds, begins to hear sounds and even develops a sense of balance all before the second trimester ends.
Not only does a baby’s body change substantially in the second trimester, your body is certainly in for some major changes as well. Unfortunately, these changes are not always as pleasant. The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh warns that common changes include an increase in nose bleeds, sensitive gums, hemorrhoids, itchy skin, varicose veins and skin changes, such as skin flaps or discolorations. Additionally many women experience an increase in appetite as their bodies require more nutrients for their growing babies. On a positive note, as baby begins to grow out of the pelvic floor, you may feel a decreased need to urinate as the baby lifts off of the bladder.
The second trimester of pregnancy is one of the most exciting times for pregnancy milestones. Between 16 and 20 weeks gestation, a mother will feel her baby kick and move for the first time. These gentle flutters often go unnoticed at first but, by the end of the second trimester, become quite pronounced. It is also the 20-week point that constitutes the halfway point of a pregnancy. This is a very exciting time for any anxiously awaiting mother. Also, most women begin to show in the second trimester of pregnancy, which allows many pregnant women a new sense of excitement in their changing bodies.
In the second trimester of pregnancy, you will begin to see your physician or midwife monthly to track the progress of your pregnancy. The UAB Health System reveals that during these check-ups you will go through the traditional weight and blood pressure checks as well as a check of the baby’s heart rate and health. Most physicians will also take a urine sample at each appointment to check for high protein or sugar levels that may indicate preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. These appointments are typically fairly quick and straightforward. However, many physicians will give you at least one ultrasound towards the end of the second trimester. It is at this appointment that you will likely find out the gender of your baby.
The Mayo Clinic suggests following several practices to ensure healthy pregnancy development in the second trimester. This includes maintaining a healthy weight gain of around one pound a week, taking prenatal vitamins and abstaining from potentially harmful substances. It is also advisable to achieve moderate exercise, eat a healthy diet and manage all stress to avoid fetal harm. Following these simple instructions will allow for a healthy development through birth.