Take a look at each week of your pregnancy, from conception to birth, with our comprehensive email newsletters.
Welcome to your second trimester. All the hard work involved in making your baby and helping it to form has been done. Its essential organs and body systems should be in place and ready to keep growing and maturing. In your second trimester, your baby will increase its size 3-4 times and will look more and more like the little person it will become.
For most women, their second trimester comes as a welcome relief. The exhaustion and nausea which has been so consuming in the first seems to settle and there is almost a return to their normal state of well-being. However, there are still some big differences.
You may find it is getting harder to hide the reality of your pregnancy at this stage. When women start to “show” is highly individual and depends on their overall size and stature, if they’ve had children previously, how accurately they have estimated their dates and even the tone of their abdominal muscles. At the start of the second trimester, the uterus is just starting to rise up from the central pubic bone. Until then, it has been protected within the pelvis but now becomes too large to accommodate and needs to lift up and out.
Don’t worry if you still can’t feel anything when you’re poking around on your tummy. How big you are outwardly, at this early stage of your pregnancy and second trimester is not an indication of your baby’s growth or wellbeing.
Let’s look at your baby’s changes in your second trimester.
Your baby is the size of your clenched fist. Its eyelids are fully formed but are still fused over their eyes. They’ll stay this way throughout the second trimester.
This week your baby can swallow and will soon become adept at swallowing the amniotic fluid and recycling it through its kidneys. This may sound less than tasty, but is a vital means of determining if they will have renal problems. It also helps their lungs to develop.
Your baby is almost 13 centimetres long this week. It is moving quite actively now and has alternating periods of rest and activity. All that movement helps your baby’s muscles to grow and consolidate the network of nervous system pathways linking their brain, spinal cord and muscles.
Your baby’s trunk will begin to straighten out and its legs are getting longer. This week your baby has eyebrows and eye lashes, to match its hairy little body. Don’t worry though, unless your baby comes early, all that fuzz, known officially as “lanugo”, will be lost.
If this is your first pregnancy, you will probably be aware of your baby’s movements by now. If you have been pregnant before, it is possible to feel movements or “quickening” from around 14 weeks.
This week your little one is the size of a mango. Or perhaps, not so little after all. A white oily coating known as vernix caseosa is forming on its skin around now; another means of protecting that tender skin.
Your baby is around 21 centimetres long. It is possible to see what sex your baby is on ultrasound now, if not for the past couple of weeks. Your uterus is at the half way mark and will now reach up to your navel.
Your baby is the length of a banana this week. Its arms and legs look as if they are in proportion with each other and those kicks you are feeling are less random and sudden. They seem to be stronger and more intentional than they have been.
Your baby is hearing a lot of muffled noises by now so get into the habit of talking to it, playing music and having your partner chat away through your tummy wall. This will pay off when the baby is born and it responds to his voice.
In the next month, your baby will double their weight. They will fill out to fit their skin and lay down all important fat. You’ll probably notice you are getting bigger by now.
Your baby is around 22 centimetres long. The amniotic fluid is being sucked in and out of its lungs in a breathing motion. Lots of energy is going into baby growth, with fat deposits being laid down. There’s also hair forming in all the right places, especially eyebrows, eyelashes and on their head.
Air sacs are forming in your baby’s lungs, in preparation for their first breaths. There’s lots of lung development happening this week and although you are still doing all the breathing for your baby at the moment, they’ll need to be ready to breathe on their own from the moment of birth.
Your baby’s eyes can actually see and you may find they are more active when you are out in bright sunlight. They are able to respond to touch through the abdominal wall and will move in response to gentle pressure on your tummy wall. Your baby is roughly the same size as the placenta this week.
Lots of movements and activity this week with regular bursts of kicking and stretching. Your baby is still practicing breathing though if they were born this week, they would most certainly need help to breathe. Watch and feel for your tummy jumping rhythmically. It could be your baby is hiccoughing.
For more information see Pregnancy or Week by Week.