At the beginning of the second trimester you may wake up to realize that something is missing — nausea. Not only can you down a meal, but your long-lost energy returns.
Your uterus is not yet big enough to cause some of the uncomfortable symptoms that may happen in the third trimester. On the other hand, it may be depressing that you feel huge and your clothes don’t fit, but no one seems to know that you are pregnant. Don’t worry, this stage is short-lived: Sometime during this next month, a total stranger will make your day by inquiring, “When are you due?”
One reason for the return of your energy is that the arduous work of fetal organ development is mostly complete. By week 14, your baby is four and one-half inches long from head to toe and weighs about 45 grams. He or she is quite active, doing somersaults in the amniotic fluid. You will probably feel these movements as a fluttering sensation that begins between weeks 18 to 22.
The second trimester of pregnancy may involve test-taking anxiety for some women. If you are over age 35, or had disturbing results from other tests, your practitioner will recommend amniocentesis, which checks for conditions such as Down syndrome. While one in 200 women experience problems as a result of the amniocentesis which could, potentially, lead to miscarriage, the odds of having a down syndrome child are higher. By making sure the technician performing this procedure has solid experience with good results, you can further lower your chances of complications.
A common blood test called the Maternal-Serum Alpha-Fetoprotein(MSAFP) screening, which is offerred to women between weeks 16 to 18, is also used to identify potential problems with the fetus. In some cases, results can be misleading and cause needless worry: 50 in 1,000 women will have poor results and only one or two of the original fifty will go on to experience actual problems. One common reason for unusual results is that the pregnant women is, in fact, carrying multiple fetus’. However, for many women, test results will bring great relief.
At about twenty weeks, your uterus will extend beyond the belly button. An ultrasound can clearly identify gender. If you are carrying a girl, she already has six million eggs in her ovaries. By birth, the amount of eggs will have decreased to one-sixth this amount.
By 22 weeks, your fetus weighs nearly one pound, and measures 10 and one-half inches head to toe. He or she more closely resembles a baby. Eyebrows and eyelashes begin to grow. And these teeny tiny pair of ears can actually tune in to mommy’s conversations.
Periodically, some women may feel their uterus tightening. These contractions, called Braxton Hicks, are harmless. You will probably continue to experience them throughout your pregnancy as your body prepares itself for birth. While Braxton Hicks are completely normal, if they occur more than four times an hour, call your practitioner. Differentiating between Braxton Hicks and the real thing is sometimes difficult. It’s a smart idea to familiarize yourself with the signs of preterm labor so your practitioner can use medical means to delay labor until a safe time.
By 24 weeks, rapid eye movement has begun. Does this mean your baby is dreaming of past lives? Weighing in at one pound, six ounces, and measuring 11 and one-fourth inches, head to toe, your baby now has a five to twenty percent chance of survival if born today. By the time your fetus weighs two pounds, odds of survival soar to seventy percent, although preemies are more susceptible to a host of problems.
Because of an increase in maternal estrogen and progesterone, pregnant women are more susceptible to dental problems. Don’t miss out on your six month cleaning. Although most practitioners believe that dental X-rays are safe, it’s probably best to delay them, if possible, until after the birth.
Between weeks 24 to 28, your baby is at his or her most active. More sensitive to the environment, your baby can respond to touch now and will jump in reaction to a loud noise, such as the pan of roast beef you just dropped. Why so klutzy? Water retention and loosening of joints are to blame. And forgetfulness can be attributed to hormonal changes.
By week 28, you’ve reached the end of the second trimester. Your little one measures 13 inches head to toe and weighs two pounds and four ounces. Your baby’s eyelids, which have been fused shut, begin to open. From this point forward, your baby will spend much time observing the womb.
The second trimester has been a great journey. Between your baby’s daily exercise routine and your burgeoning belly, you have tangible evidence that you are, indeed, carrying life inside of you. It’s hard to believe that in just a little over two and a half months, you will be holding that evidence in your arms!