Your second trimester is an incredibly important time in your baby’s development. You might be able to find out your baby’s sex at your scan – which is normally at 20 weeks of pregnancy – if you want to find out, that is. Here's what else you've got to look forward to week by week.
When does the second trimester start?
Your second trimester of pregnancy is the three months in the middle of your pregnancy, it starts on week 13 and ends after week 27.
Baby's growth in the second trimester:
By the end of this trimester, your baby will grow hair and become able to swallow and hear things around her. She will even have tiny fingernails and fingerprints.
Week 13: Your baby's vocal chords begin to develop
During week 13, your little one will start developing bones in her arms and legs and her intestines, which up until now have been growing inside the umbilical cord, will move to their permanent address in your baby’s abdomen.
Your baby's vocal chords begin to develop and your baby is beginning to make urine and release it into the amniotic sac, making amniotic fluid.
Week 14: Baby's skin is covered in a downy 'fur coat'
Your baby’s skin is now covered in hair that keeps them warm until they build more fat in the third trimester.
Eyelids, eyebrows, eyelashes, nails, and hair are formed. Your baby will start to use her facial muscles to smile and grimace and will have fully developed genitals.
Week 19: Fat is beginning to develop on your baby's body
This week, fat is starting to develop on your baby’s body, although she’ll still look pretty skinny.
She’ll also be covered in a waxy substance, medically referred to as vernix caseosa. This is greasy and white and made up of hair, oil and dead skin cells. It might not sound too appealing, but it does an important job protecting your baby’s soft and sensitive skin from the amniotic fluid she’s living in.
For girls, the uterus and vaginal canal are forming.
Choices and decisions during your second trimester
It’s time for a few important decisions. Do you want to know your baby’s sex or would you prefer to keep it a surprise? Who do you want as your birth partner? Where would you like to give birth? Don’t rush, and give it all a lot of thought.
Remember to keep up with your antenatal appointments this trimester - you will have a few. At week 16, you’ll be told about the anomaly scan, which you’ll be offered at 18-20 weeks. The anomaly scan checks the physical development of your baby.
If you work, you must tell your employer about your pregnancy at least 15 weeks before the beginning of the week your baby is due. You will need a MAT B1 form – find out more here.
Even though it may seem ages before the baby will arrive, start looking for good childcare if you are planning to go back to work.
Do some maternity clothes shopping. Maternity clothes can be stylish as well as practical – check out our Maternity Fashion section to see for yourself. Stay active – check out our section on exercise during pregnancy for top tips and advice, including the best pregnancy fitness DVDs. Oh and don't forget to think about investing in a pelvic floor trainer.
This is an amazing time when you start feeling the life inside you moving and reacting to your voice. Make the most of it and encourage your partner to do the same.
Your body changes
Hopefully, during your second trimester, your morning sickness has stopped. Your growing bump will start putting some extra pressure on your back and you are going to feel it. To soothe any aches, try sleeping on your side. Many pregnant women find they get stretch marks. Don't worry, these are completely normal.
You might experience bleeding gums, so make an appointment with your dentist. You may also start seeing varicose veins – that is because of the extra blood flowing in your system. This can be helped by having a more active lifestyle and regularly lifting your legs above your heart level. The now-familiar heartburn and constipation are likely to remain, however, they can be helped by physical activity too.
The second half of your pregnancy is the time pre-eclampsia can strike. Watch out for its symptoms and call your midwife or GP in case you have any of them for
medical advice. Symptoms for pre-eclampsia during pregnancy includes:
- High blood pressure
- Problems with vision
- Severe pain under ribs
- Rapidly increasing swelling of the face, hands or feet
- Strong headache or heartburn that don’t go away with usual medicines
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