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The second 3 months of pregnancy – the second trimester

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During the next 3 months of your pregnancy, the second trimester, you will probably put on about 6 kilograms, even though your unborn baby will only weigh about 1 kilogram by the end of this part of your pregnancy. The other weight will be in the placenta, your uterus, breasts and extra blood.

There is another topic which has information about the next stage of your pregnancy.

Towards the end of your pregnancy you might like to look at the topics in the section The birth.

The second 3 months

  • During this 3 month period some tests may be done, especially if you are over 35 or there is a family medical problem.
  • You will probably also have an ultrasound scan to check on your baby’s growth and health.
  • You will need to go to regular antenatal checkups with your doctor or midwife.

Many women find that they feel great during this stage of their pregnancy. Much of the tiredness and morning sickness of the first trimester is behind you, and your baby is not yet so big that you are feeling exhausted from carrying it around.

Remember to continue being careful with your diet, exerciselook after yourself and rest as much as possible.

Hair and nails

Many women find that their hair is thicker during pregnancy - this is because not so many hairs fall out during the pregnancy. If this happens for you, you will notice that you lose more hair than usual two or three months after your baby is born, until your hair returns to normal.

Some women also find that their fingernails become stronger and grow more quickly, while others find that their fingernails become softer and break more than usual. These changes are probably caused by changes in hormone levels during pregnancy.

Food cravings

Around eight out of 10 pregnant women experience cravings for at least one particular food. Some crave sweet foods while others want more salty snacks, spicy foods or fatty foods.

Between 50 and 80 per cent also find that they want to avoid some foods they previously enjoyed - they may find that the smell of some foods become unbearable.

Have a look at the topic Food cravings.

More information

There is more detailed information about the development of a baby and the changes experienced by a pregnant woman:

 Raising Children Network site

There is also a section for fathers on the Raising Children Network site

Pregnancy, birth and baby website 
http://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/ 

Week 13

  • You
    If you have had morning sickness early in your pregnancy, this will usually settle about now - but some women will feel sick through their whole pregnancy. Talk to your midwife or doctor if morning sickness is still a problem for you.

    From now on your uterus will grow larger and your abdomen will become more noticeable.
     
  • Your baby
    Your baby is now fully formed and looks like a tiny human being. Most of your baby’s internal organs are working.

Week 14

  • You
    Your uterus is now the size of a large grapefruit. A dark line down the centre of your abdomen may start to appear. This is called the Linea nigra. It is a dark pigmentation of your skin, and will usually fade after your baby is born.
     
  • Your baby
    Your baby now has eyebrows and a small amount of hair on his or her head and measures about 12 cm long. Babies get all of their nourishment from the placenta – they also drink some of the amniotic fluid around them and can pass urine.

Week 15

  • You
    There is more blood in your body now because your baby needs more oxygen as it is growing. Your heart will need to work 20 per cent harder to pump this extra blood around your body.

    Some women find that they may forget things, have trouble concentrating and become clumsier.
     
  • Your baby
    The hair on your baby's head and eyebrows is becoming coarser. If your baby has an inherited (genetic) tendency for dark hair, pigment is now forming in hair follicles.

Week 16

  • You
    At your antenatal visit, the doctor will feel your abdomen to check the size of your uterus, which has now risen out of your pelvis. You will have your blood pressure checked and hands and feet checked for swelling at each visit from now on.

    For information have a look at the topic on Antenatal visits.
     
  • Your baby
    A fine downy hair (called lanugo) begins to form over a baby's body and they will begin to develop eyelashes. At this stage, babies may even find and suck their thumb! Your baby is now about 16 cm long and weighs about 135 g.

Week 17

  • You
    Some women find their nose becomes blocked up and sometimes bleeds for no obvious reason. This is a common problem during pregnancy and is probably because of pregnancy hormones, which cause the delicate nasal membranes to soften and swell.

    If your nose does become blocked, try not to blow it too hard, as this can cause nosebleeds. Many over the counter cold medicines are not suitable to use during pregnancy but some nasal spray products may be useful (check with your pharmacist to see which are best during pregnancy). Steam inhalations can be a good alternative for clearing your nose.
     
  • Your baby
    Your growing baby has now pushed up the top of your uterus and this can be felt between your pubic bone and navel. From now on, your baby weighs more than the placenta (the afterbirth).

Week 18

  • You
    You may notice your nipples are leaking small amounts of fluid, which is called colostrum. This is a sign that your breasts are developing so you will be able to feed your baby. Many women do not notice any fluid during pregnancy but will find colostrum appears when their baby is born.
     
  • Your baby
    Your baby will now be about 19 cm long and weigh about 170 g. Your baby is able to kick, grasp and suck.

Week 19

  • You
    Any time now, you may feel your baby moving or kicking, like a faint tickling or fluttering. If this is your second or third baby, you may have noticed these movements earlier.

    To read more about a test you may have at this stage have a look at the topic Ultrasound scans.
     
  • Your baby
    Your baby's first teeth are developing in the gums and so are the buds for permanent teeth.

Week 20

  • You
    The fundus (top of your uterus) is now at navel level and your doctor or midwife will palpate (feel) your abdomen to check the size of your uterus.
     
  • Your baby
    Your baby's skin begins to form a white, waxy coating called vernix. The vernix clings to the lanugo (the fine downy hair) all over your baby's skin, to protect it and hold in moisture.

Week 21

  • You
    Some women begin having problems with heartburn or indigestion, which is quite uncomfortable and annoying. You can relieve heartburn with an antacid liquid or tablets - please ask your pharmacist, doctor or midwife to recommend a product that is suitable to use in pregnancy. For more information on dealing with this have a look at the section Heartburn and indigestion in the topic Common health problems in pregnancy.
     
  • Your baby
    Your baby weighs about 340 g and is moving around freely within the amniotic fluid in your uterus.

Week 22

  • You
    Your gums may swell and bleed when you brush your teeth. The swelling is a result of more pregnancy hormones.

    Emotionally, you may have highs and lows and you may be more sensitive than usual. At this time of pregnancy your sleep patterns may change and you may find that you remember your dreams. You could have a look at the topic Emotional health – your feelings and worries.
     
  • Your baby
    Your baby is now about 25cm long and would fit into your cupped hands.

Week 23

  • You
    Some women get a stitch-like pain down one side of their abdomen. This is because your uterine ligaments are stretching as your uterus is enlarging. The pain will usually go away after you have rested and it is nothing to be worried about. However, if the pain does not go, or if you have any bleeding or vaginal discharge with the pain, then you should ring your doctor or midwife and talk about it.
     
  • Your baby
    Your baby is now forming a pattern of activity and sleep, and this may be different from yours! Your baby may be more active when you want to sleep.

Week 24

  • You
    You may also start noticing Braxton Hicks contractions, which is your uterus practising for labour. Your abdomen will feel hard when you have these contractions. This is a normal part of pregnancy and you may feel them occasionally from now on. If your contractions start to become stronger, increase in frequency and last longer, contact your doctor or midwife.
     
  • Your baby
    Your baby is rapidly growing now and their internal organs are all formed and mature, except for the lungs. If your baby was born at this stage it may be mature enough to have a chance of survival in a neo-natal intensive care unit.


    (Click on image to enlarge)

Week 25

  • You
    When you go to bed at night, you may get leg cramps. This is a common problem during pregnancy It is not serious and will not harm your baby, but it can become very uncomfortable for you. For information on dealing with cramps have a look at that section in the topic Common health problems in pregnancy.

Week 26

  • You
    You may notice a rhythmic beating low in your abdomen that may last for 15 to 30 minutes. This is your baby hiccupping!

    If you haven't already done so now is a good time to be expertly fitted for a supportive maternity bra. Choose one made of cotton with adjustable straps so it remains comfortable as your breast size grows, and fastenings with front opening for breastfeeding.
     
  • Your baby
    Your baby is now about 33 cm long and weighs about 500g. Your baby may now be able to open and close its eyes.

Week 27

  • You
    As your baby is growing quickly during this time, you are likely to be putting on weight fairly regularly from now until you are about 36 weeks pregnant. Keep doing your best to follow a healthy eating plan.
     
  • Your baby
    Your baby's skin is starting to change from being transparent (see-through) to opaque (can’t see through). It is very wrinkled, but protected and nourished by the covering of vernix.

Week 28

  • You
    At your antenatal check, your doctor or midwife will palpate (feel) your abdomen - your uterus will now be well above your navel.

    Remember to write down any questions you or your partner may have, as checkups are a good time to discuss queries or problems with the doctor or midwife. If you have a Pregnancy Record book you can use the spaces provided in it to write down your questions.
     
  • Your baby
    Your baby is now about 38 cm long, weighs around 900g. At this antenatal check-up, your doctor or midwife will check the size of your baby and can often feel certain body parts, such as head, bottom and limbs.

More information is in the topic 'The last 3 months – the third trimester'.

Resources

The Raising Children Network, a comprehensive Australian resource for expectant parents and parenting newborns to teens, has developed a resource for fathers to be which provides information on a range of issues related to pregnancy and fatherhood.
http://raisingchildren.net.au/dads_guide_pregnancy/dads_guide_to_pregnancy.html  

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The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see your doctor or midwife.

 

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