The second trimester of pregnancy extends over week 13 through week 27. During this time, most women will start to look pregnant and begin wearing maternity clothes. Fortunately, second trimester is also the time when women are free from most of the discomfort of the first trimester. Morning sickness, fatigue and breast tenderness disappear. Women feel more energetic and begin to put on weight.
During the second trimester, more precisely in the 20th week, the uterus can expand up to 20 times its normal size. Uterus is the muscular organ that holds the fetus.
Here are some physiological changes that take place through the second trimester:
- During the early stage the fetus grows to just over two pounds
- Towards the end of the second trimester, the fetus is about twelve inches long
- At the end of the 16th week, the top of the uterus will be halfway between the mother’s belly button and the pubic bone.
- By the end of 27th week, the top of the uterus will be about one inch above the belly button.
It is during the second trimester when you will feel the movement of the baby. Some of the typical changes in the body that you may experience include:
- There will be a noticeable growth of your abdomen.
- The skin of your abdomen and breasts will become tighter. As your skin stretches, you will also feel itchy.
- You may feel round ligament pain. This is a stretching or pulling sensation on either side of your abdomen that can be sharp and severe.
- You will feel hungrier.
Some women experience symptoms of heartburn, dizziness, swelling in the face, hands, and ankles, and backache. Most of these discomforts are transient and minor in nature.
Pregnancy is also a physiological journey. During the second trimester, a woman appears strong enough to face the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth. Some women, however, may experience a lowering of self-esteem as the belly grows. If you are one of them, the best way for you to cope with your body image is to share your concerns with your partner.
Now the baby is well on its way. It is best that you focus on making healthy lifestyle choices that will benefit both you and the baby.
Prenatal care during second trimester
Prenatal care is very important during all the three trimesters. Here is what you can expect during your visit to the health care provider:
- Listen to your baby’s heartbeat. Your obstetrical practitioner will use a Doppler instrument for this purpose. This instrument works by bouncing harmless sound waves off the fetal heart. The rebound of the sound waves is affected by motion. Therefore, a beating heart creates a change in sound that is picked up by the receiver in a Doppler.
- Track your baby’s growth. Your doctor will measure your abdomen from the top of your uterus to your pubic bone. This way he will be able to gauge the baby’s growth.
- Assess fetal movement. During the second trimester, you will notice your baby kicking inside you. At first the kicks will be few and far in between. Once you are feeling the kicks regularly, pay attention to them. Tell your doctor if you feel a decrease in kicking movement. He may perform a non-stress test or a biophysical profile to check your baby’s condition.
- Expect routine lab tests like urine and blood examination. The doctor will want to test your sugar, protein, and iron levels. If you have Rh-negative blood, he may test you for Rh antibodies.