Although the waters may have been rough during the first trimester, many will find sailing through the second trimester to be a calm and peaceful journey. This is partially due to the slowing down of the rapidly changing river of hormones and changes to a woman’s body. But don’t be fooled, there is still an amazing journey taking place for both the baby and the woman’s body.
BODY CHANGES FOR THE MOTHER
The second trimester has begun, spanning from 13 weeks through 27 weeks gestation. As a woman embarks on this stage of her journey, she may notice that her belly and breast size are starting to increase. This increase can lead to some itching of the skin as it begins to stretch accommodating the growing baby and increase in amniotic fluid within the uterus.
A woman may also notice a clear sticky (sugary) discharge from her nipples. This is called colostrum, and it will be an amazing first food for the baby once born. The second trimester will bring an increase of fluids flowing through her body. Along with an increase of amniotic fluid, her blood volume will also increase about 30 percent by the end of the second trimester. This is to support the needs of the growing baby within.
Fun fact: Did you know that a baby requires amniotic fluid to assist in lung development? Yep, its true! This is only one important reason to stay nice and hydrated when pregnant.
BODY CHANGES FOR THE BABY
Over the next few weeks, this new little human will be traveling through a beautiful sea of changes. By 14 weeks, the baby has begun making urine, developing red blood cells inside its spleen, its bones are beginning to harden, and the sex organs are developing externally on the baby’s body. As the baby reaches 18 weeks, he or she has begun to experience sounds, like its mother’s heartbeat. The baby has the ability to slowly move its eyes, has a functioning digestive tract, and is developing tiny toenails. This is also around the time many women will start to feel tiny kicks or movement known as quickening.
Fun fact: this tiny human is pumping 100 pints of blood through its body daily!
As the journey continues through to 24 weeks, the baby has developed a layer of vernix (white cheesy substance) and lanugo (tiny hairs) all over its skin to protect the skin from the amniotic fluid. He or she is building a layer of brown fat in the neck region; this is to help provide calories to the infant after birth as they establish a feeding routine and the mother’s milk supply is established. The baby’s skin is still slightly translucent with a pink or reddish tint that is caused by the babies vascular (veins) system, and it has set the pattern for his or her unique finger/footprints. He or she has also begun the pacifying practice of thumb sucking, and hiccups can be common.
By the time the baby reaches its destination of 27 weeks, it has gone through so many changes. His or her lungs are preparing themselves for birth by producing a slippery soapy like substance called surfactant. Surfactant helps to keep the alveoli (tiny air sacs) in the baby’s lungs from sticking together and allowing them to fill with air at birth.
A few fun facts:
- Did you know that a baby will practice breathing? It’s true! He or she will do this by breathing in its amniotic fluid.
- The baby is now experiencing wake sleep cycles that include REM (rapid eye movements) which is associated with dreaming.
- The baby can hear noises outside of the women’s body. This is a great time for moms and dads to talk to and share their favorite music with their baby (aka bonding)!
STAY TUNED: THE THIRD TRIMESTER
This ends the second trimester journey! Join us in the coming weeks as we sail forward into the third trimester. If you missed our blog post detailing the first trimester, you can read it here. For more educational and practical information about the pregnancy journey, we encourage you to sign up for Life’s Choices’ free prenatal classes. Learn more about our free class options here:
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.” –Psalms 127:3-4