Second Trimester:
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Your second trimester spans from week 13th to 28th. This is the time when most women prefer to break the news of their pregnancy to their family and friends as the risky first 3 months of pregnancy have successfully passed. During this time, your baby bumps noticeably grows and you start to look and feel more pregnant. You may also notice that your energy levels have improved compared to the first trimester. You will feel relieved during the second trimester if you have been experiencing fatigue, anxiety and sickness during your first trimester. During this time, you will notice your baby bump slowly growing. The movements of your baby also become elaborate.


Week 13 to 16:
13th week: Your baby is growing fast as is your baby bump. This time period can be truly exciting as you will be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time during your antenatal appointment. At this stage, your baby weighs about 25g . Although you are still not able to feel your baby move, be assured that they are very active and dancing around in your uterus. As the time passes by, their random jerky movements develop into slower and more coordinated ones. Your baby can reach their hand to their mouth and sometimes they can also be spotted doing what appears to be yawning and breathing.


At this time, your baby only sleeps for a few minutes but as the time goes by, you will notice them sleeping for longer. You may also be to spot a pattern in their sleep-wake timings. By this time, your baby’s genitals, i-e ovaries or testes have formed inside the body and the bud between their legs start taking the shape of a penis. Feeling constipated or bloated during this time is normal as hormonal surge affects all your systems. Headaches, cramps, indigestion, heartburn and dizziness are some other symptoms frequently reported by women. You may or may not have weird craving, which is normal, either way! Hormones are to be blamed for this yet again as they sharply affect your sense of taste and smell.


14th week: Your baby has become as big as a kiwi fruit by this time. The length from their crown to heel is 85mm. your baby has started swallowing amniotic fluid that goes through their stomach and kidneys and is excreted as urine. From 14th week onwards, your baby’s heartbeat is regularly monitored using a hand held fetal heart rate monitor, also called a hand held Doppler. It is placed on your tummy to detect the heartbeat. Around this time, you may get penetrating pain all over your tummy that gets worse with activity. This pain is called 'round ligament pain' and there is nothing to worry about. It's just your reproductive system adjusting and making room for the baby. Some women also start producing colostrum, yellowish discharge from the breasts around this time. Colostrum is what is produced before you start producing milk for your baby. You may also notice an increase in your sex drive.


15th week: Your baby is now the size of a pear. The sense of hearing has developed and your baby now may be able to hear your voice, the soothing sound of your heartbeat and the random noises from around the environment. They may also be able to sense the presence of light. At this stage, your baby is covered in fine hair called lanugo. This hair will disappear before they are born as long as they are not delivered premature. This week, your baby may start getting hiccups. Later on, you will also be able to feel it when they get them. you may notice that the skin on your growing bump has become itchy. It is because of your skin stretching as uterus increases in size. You can make use of hypoallergenic moisturizers and oils to relieve the symptoms. As immunity is suppressed during pregnancy, you may get yeast infections. It is best to consult your ob-gyn if you notice any symptoms


16th week: Do you feel a little sensation in your belly somewhat like a flutter? It may be your baby moving. However, if you have not felt anything yet, there is nothing to worry. You will be able to feel your baby move very soon. The nervous system of your baby develops further imparting them more incredible ability. They can flex their muscles, make a fist and even grab and pull on their umbilical cord. If you could look at your baby’s face, you may be able to spot them showing some facial features such as a frown. However, these movements of facial muscles are not voluntary yet. Your baby is now about the size of a lemon. You may notice varicose veins and cramping in legs around this time. Also, try to avoid lying on your back for long periods of time as it can cause low blood pressure and dizziness.


Week 17 to 20:
17th week: Your baby is now as big as an orange. There are about 12cm long and weighs around 150g. Their tiny eyelashes and eyebrows have started to grow. If you could take their hand in your, you would notice that they already have unique fingerprints. Before this point, their head was heavier than the rest of their body but now, their body has started to grow further and proportions have started to even out. Your baby’s eyes are still shut and will not open until 26th week. They can, however, move their eyes. The placenta continues to grow further with the baby to meet their nutritional needs effectively. You may experience some unpleasant symptoms such as constipation and heartburn during this time. Your baby bump is becoming more noticeable as the days pass. Keep your diet nutritious. You do not need to eat for two, just healthy!


18th week: Your baby has grown to 14 cm this week, about the same size as a bell pepper. Your baby is able to hear sounds all around them. They can even respond to music and other sounds. Some mothers make their baby listen to music while they are still in the womb and after delivery, the same music helps them comfort and sleep. As you bump grows, your waist disappears .


19th week: Your baby’s length is now comparable to that of a banana and their movements have become far more elaborate. You can even feel them kicking you! Your baby is growing fast and gaining weight. However, they do not have much fat as yet which is why they look a bit wrinkled at this point. The skin would not appear taut until a few weeks before delivery. Although your baby will not shed their milk teeth until they are six or seven, their permanent teeth have already started to appear behind their milk teeth in their gums. Because of increased blood flow throughout the body, you may feel warmer than usual. Sweating is also excessive and frequent. Keep your clothing light and airy.


20th week: The crown to heel length of your baby is now around 26cm, about as long as an A4 sized paper. Your baby’s skin is covered with a white, creamy substance called vernix. It serves the purpose of protecting your baby’s delicate skin while it is in the womb. During your anomaly scan, you may notice your baby suck on their thumb. It is important for them to practice their sucking reflex as it would help them suckle on your nipples after delivery. You may notice a dark vertical line going up your belly. This is discoloration of skin exclusive to pregnancy called linea nigra. It appears around this time. There’s nothing to worry about it, it will disappear spontaneously after delivery.


Week 21 to 24:
21st week: Congratulations! You are halfway through. Your baby has started to grow hair and now looks much more like the baby you will meet at the end of your term. Your baby is now as long as a carrot and weighs around 350g. during this time, your baby’s sense of hearing is developed further and this is the time you may want to talk and sing to your bump. The hair over their body, head, eyebrows and lashes continue to grow thicker. They also start to become more pigmented. Mild headaches due to hormonal fluctuations are normal during pregnancy. However, if you experience a headache that is unusually strong and does not subside even after a dose of paracetamol, it may mean you have high blood pressure. This can be a sign of preeclampsia. It is best to consult your ob-gyn for proper diagnosis. You may also suffer from cramps, indigestion, heartburn and swollen feet around this time.


22nd week: Your baby now weighs around one pound. From this point onwards, they start to weigh more than the placenta. Your baby’s organ systems are maturing rapidly. Their lungs are not yet ready to breathe in the air but they are still practicing breathing movements to be prepared for the outside world. All their oxygen requirements are fulfilled by the oxygenated blood supplied to them through the placenta. What you are eating during this period can affect your baby’s taste after they are born. So make sure to eat plenty of healthy food. You may start to develop stretch marks which are pink or purplish in color but eventually fade to silver and white. These can appear on your baby bump as the skin is stretched and also your breasts and thighs. Hormonal changes during pregnancy make the skin more prone to stretch marks. Your hands and feet may appear swollen due to the accumulation of edema fluid.


23rd week: Your baby is now as big as a large mango and about 30cm long. You may be able to feel tiny jerks when your baby has hiccups. The mellow fluttering and bubbling sensation in your belly is replaced by kicking by your baby. Over the next few weeks, the movements will become far more frequent and stronger as your baby grows bigger and more active. You may also be able to feel a pattern, for example, when you are off to bed, you may feel more movements compared to when you are up and working. Your movements can rock the baby to sleep. It is important to notice your baby’s patterns and routines so you can tell when there is something unusual and get in touch with your doctor. Their movements are an indication of their well-being. Your bump is growing bigger and bigger and your hormones are making your muscles and ligaments relax, in an attempt to prepare you for delivery. You need to take extra care of your back at this point. Cramps, headaches, indigestion and heartburn may continue to persist.


24th week: Your baby is now as big as a corn on the cob. You might have noticed your baby’s routine by now. Mostly, when you are in bed at night trying to sleep, they are wide awake and active, wriggling and kicking in your womb. This is the age of viability i-e there is a chance that your baby would be viable/survive if they are born now even though it is still very early. A baby born at this time will need a lot of help from the NICU as they are too fragile to survive on their own. You may notice a small increase in your vaginal discharge, thanks to the hyper developed glands. Milky fluid, mild smelling coming out of vagina is normal. However, if you notice unpleasant odor and yellow, greenish color, you should consult your healthcare provider. It may also be the time to get a whooping cough vaccination. The antibodies will be passed on to your baby helping them develop immunity too.


25th week: You can notice your baby respond to light, touch and sound now. They can show movements in response to a loud noise. Your baby pees now which passes into the amniotic fluid. Several organ systems such as lungs, brain etc. have developed but they cannot be called mature as yet. Your bump continues to grow rapidly, avoid eating junk food to keep yourself from gaining unnecessary weight. Cravings and back pain can become frequent. Some women also develop hemorrhoids/piles which resolve spontaneously after delivery.


26th week: If you could have a look at your baby, you would see them opening their tiny eyes. They will soon start blinking. The crown to heel length of your baby is 35cm around this time, roughly equal to the length of your forearm. Over the next few weeks, your baby will continue to develop more muscle and fat and appear less wrinkly. Leg cramps are usual around this time.


27th week: Your baby, curled up in your womb, appears the size of a cauliflower now. As you arrive at the end of the 2nd trimester, your family will be able to feel the baby's movements more easily. If your baby is stretched out, they will measure as long as 37cm. Compared to the previous weeks, your baby’s heartbeat has slowed down to about 140 beats per minute, although it is still a lot when compared to yours. The heartbeat can now easily be heard through a stethoscope and even your partner may be able to appreciate it if they put their ear on your baby bump.


28th week: Your baby now weighs 1kg! They have started to occupy more space in your womb now and as time passes, you may feel more uncomfortable and tired. Your baby continues to have on and off periods of activity and sleep that you will be able to appreciate well. Keep a close check on your baby’s movements. If you feel them slow down or disappear completely, consult your ob-gyn as soon as possible.


References:
[1] https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/how-big-is-your-baby-this-week/?slideId=slide_17985692-f931-4557-9e7c-c03ff3c09a82#slide_17985692-f931-4557-9e7c-c03ff3c09a82
[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/fetal-development/art-20046151
[3] https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Second_Trimester
[4] https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Second_Trimester
[5] https://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/youre-pregnant-now-what/stages-pregnancy
[6] https://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/youre-pregnant-now-what/stages-pregnancy

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