The Most Amazing 280 Days - Part 4
Welcome to your second trimester! Let’s continue to walk through these amazing 280 days together, week by week...
Week 13 - 196 days to go
This week the organs of the body are actively developing. The liver starts to secrete bile and the kidneys start making urine that your little fetus ‘wees’ into the amniotic fluid. The sensory systems of smell and hearing have developed and are already connected to the brain. The eyes are now correctly placed at the front of the face but still tightly closed. All the nerve pathways are very immature still and feelings of pain, temperature and touch have not developed yet. This week fingerprints are formed! The arms and legs are now lengthening with the ankle joins moving and toes wriggling. Muscle control is developing and movements are still well cushioned within the amniotic sac. The left and right side of the brain are starting to connect and more complex movements are starting to develop. The fluid around baby is about 25mL now. You may see some actual movements on the ultrasound if you are lucky!
Welcome to your second trimester! Changes to your body are now more noticeable. Your nipples and areola have become darker. The tell-tale sign of pregnancy, a dark line down the centre of your tummy called the ‘linea negra’ starts to show. Your breasts become swollen and tender as they prepare to start producing milk for your baby. You may notice that your clothes are feeling tighter and you may prefer to slip into some maternity pants for a more comfy fit. You may be aware of the occasional sharp pain when you turn over in bed or lean, twist or reach for something during the day. This is caused by the round ligaments that supports your uterus and they can certainly let you know when they’re being stretched. Remember to brace your abdominal muscles before making any sudden movements to support your uterus. Nausea and vomiting should start to settle now. Try and focus on eating healthy foods from all the main food groups and snack on fruit and nuts instead of fast food or junk food.
Week 14 - 189 days to go
Your little fetus is now about 9cm tall and the size of a lemon. The placenta is providing all the nutrition required for growth and development and is larger than your little fetus at this stage. The brain is developing fast and the central nervous system is becoming organised and the nerve fibres insulated. The circulatory system is now able to make and break down clots. The red blood cells carry haemoglobin to transport oxygen to every cell and even some white cells have developed to help fight infection. That very special rooting reflex is evident. This means that if a hand brushes past a cheek the head will turn in that direction and a sucking action may be triggered as the muscles in the mouth are now active. This week it may be possible to tell if you are having a girl or a boy.
This is a good week to start to focus on your diet and exercise. Fatigue should no longer be keeping you in bed or lying on the couch. Walking at a brisk pace will support your body and your placenta to work efficiently. Please don’t overdo your exercise regimen and make sure you are still able to talk while walking or exercising. Your body shape is changing, and you are more likely to feel bloated before a typical pregnancy bump is noticed. Your uterus can already be felt on examination by your midwife so don’t worry – this is exactly how a healthy pregnancy progresses. You may also notice that your nose is congested making breathing noisy and it’s not uncommon to get nosebleeds that settle quickly. Your own blood supply is increasing to meet the needs of your baby.
Week 15 - 182 days to go
Your little fetus has grown another cm this week and now measures just over 10cm. The bones are forming right down to the tiny bones in the ears. This week sounds will be heard and this means your voice and your partners voices will be heard for the first time. Brothers and sisters’ voices will also start to be heard so let everyone have their own special time to chat to baby! The spinal cord is now fully formed with nerves leaving between every vertebra. The neck has lengthened, and the thyroid gland is starting to function. The arms have lengthened enough for the hands to meet in front of the face. Now at last, it is actually possible to identify if your little fetus is a boy or a girl.
You will be feeling a lot better this week and almost ‘normal’ again. It is still usually a little early to be feeling movements yet so it’s reassuring to visit your midwife and hear baby’s heartbeat again. You might start to notice the first signs of your ‘pregnancy brain’ emerging where you become a little more forgetful and possibly disorganised with the simplest of things at home or at work. Rest assured, this will pass after the birth. Your placenta is now much larger than your little fetus and the outer cells of the placenta are burrowing deeply into the uterine arteries to increase the supply of oxygen and nutrition your growing baby needs. Now is a good time to start sleeping on your side so if you wake up in the night and you are on your back, gently roll onto your side and pop a pillow between your knees.
Week 16 - 175 days to go
If your little fetus were to jump on the scales today, on average he/she would weigh approximately 100g!! This week you could see a smile or frown if you have a scan but don’t worry, these new facial muscles are starting to move, and the expression is more like a reflex than an emotion. The skin has become a deep pink in colour and is still very fragile as there is very little underlying fat or tissue. You may catch a glimpse of either the eyes moving under the closed eyelids or even some thumb sucking happening at this point in time. The lungs are developing quickly now and producing both fluid and mucous that passes into the amniotic fluid with each breathing movement. No actual breathing occurs but the muscles of the chest wall can make it look like real breathing is happening. Both the urine and lung fluids that pass into the amniotic fluid are completely free of waste products – these all leave the fetus via the cord and through the placenta.
Now you may find it difficult to hide your pregnancy bump. Your baby is the size of a mango and definitely pushing upwards towards your belly button. You may start feeling some stretching pains low down in your groin area or to the side of your uterus. Be careful with lifting, twisting, stretching and bending as you might have a sudden sharp pain as your ligaments stretch. Remember to pull in your tummy muscles and tighten up your pelvic floor muscles before you make any sudden movements. If this is a second or third baby, you might start to feel some fluttering movements, but it would be most unusual to feel anything if this is a first pregnancy. Your baby is quite active now and can be on the move for up to 5 minutes at a time. This is also a good time for you to think about joining a pregnancy pilates or aquanatal class to start strengthening your body before the third trimester starts.
Only 168 days to go!!!
280 Days - Part 1 click here
280 Days - Part 2 click here
280 Days - Part 3 click here
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