The Second Trimester of pregnancy spans from week 13 to week 28, that is, the fourth, fifth and sixth months. This period is generally calm and peaceful as all the initial issues are taken care of and the mother is now used to the idea of carrying a baby inside her. After the tumultuous unforeseen changes and anxiety that is the hallmark of the First Trimester, the Second Trimester is comparatively peaceful and quieter and for many women, the most comfortable of all three trimesters. Most of the uncomfortable early pregnancy symptoms ease up or disappear.
Feelings of fatigue, morning sickness etc. is almost gone. During this trimester, the baby bump will grow in size and the movement of the baby inside the womb can be felt.
Baby’s Growth During Second Trimester
- By week 21 the baby will be able to move his arms and legs and in a few more week will be able to kick which can be felt and even seen on the belly.
- The baby puts on lots of weight and by the 28th week, i.e. the end of this trimester will be weighing at least 1 kg.
- By week 15, the baby’s tiny hairs begin to sprout and by week 22, he gets eyelashes and eyebrows. The skin is covered with a soft furry layer and by week 19, it is covered in a protective layer of oily dead cells called vernix caseosa.
- By week 17, baby’s heart begins to beat rhythmically, and is regulated by the brain. The heartbeats can be heard through a stethoscope by week 20.
- By week 24, the baby’s brain will make the eyes blink and will be able to control many other loco-motor functions.
- Since the baby’s digestive systems are formed, the baby starts to suck and swallow the amniotic fluid in the womb.
- By week 22, the baby begins to taste, smell, hear and see.
Second Trimester Ante-natal Check-ups
During this time several tests are carried out. Ultrasound scans, called the anomaly scan, is taken to see the baby’s growth and proper development. At 25 weeks, in case of first-time mothers and at 28 weeks, these scans are taken to check the size of the uterus, height of the fundus (top of uterus) and the baby’s heartbeats. Blood pressure is also checked and Urine tests are conducted.
Blood test for Glucose screening also needs to be done, since in about 10% of cases, gestational diabetes is detected. High sugar in blood needs to be managed through proper diet and medications.
Second Trimester Changes In The Body
Although some pregnancy symptoms may disappear, a few may persist, like constipation, heartburn etc. Some new symptoms may develop as the pregnancy hormones rise and the uterus continues to grow.
The body weight will keep increasing as the baby grows. One can expect up to around 7-10% increase in body weight.
It may start at about week 22 of pregnancy and lasts until delivery. This is caused by water retention in the body and can be managed to a large extent by drinking more water, keeping oneself active, avoiding long periods of standing and sitting.
These start to manifest during the middle of the trimester, They occur due to the deficiency of calcium and magnesium, so these supplements should be taken upon being prescribed by the doctor.
This is caused by the lowering of blood pressure since the body is pumping extra blood for the baby.
This is also known as round ligament pain and is caused by the extra weight required to support.
There may be incidences of varicose veins in the legs which will subside after delivery of the baby. Hemorrhoids will also shrink and go away post pregnancy.
Symptoms To Get Checked
Normally Second Trimester poses no complications as compared to the first trimester, however, some symptoms if they appear need to be checked out by the doctor to rule out complications. A few of these are:
- heavy vaginal bleeding
- severe abdominal pain with fever exceeding 101.5 F
- extreme thirst, frequent urination, extreme fatigue, snoring etc.
- sudden weight gain, severe swelling in the face and hands, changes in vision etc. to rule out preeclampsia, which is a dangerous pregnancy disorder characterized by high blood pressure and a large amount of protein in the urine.
Things to Do During Second Trimester
- Plenty of water, at least eight glasses, must be taken every day to keep the body hydrated. Water helps the blood in the placenta to carry nutrition to the baby.
- More intake of water helps in preventing Urinary Tract Infections, constipation etc. It also helps in oedema or water retention which causes the legs to swell.
- Gentle exercises, especially swimming is highly beneficial.
- Strict adherence to the diet, supplements, and vitamins must be ensured.
- The issue of where or in which hospital to have the baby needs to be finalized. It helps in being in touch with the Obstetrician.
- Working women need to plan and apply for their Maternity Leave.
Once the Second Trimester is over, there is smooth sailing during the Third Trimester. Before the family even realizes, it is time for delivery and the baby finally arrives