The second trimester of pregnancy begins at 13 weeks and lasts up to 28 weeks. With the beginning of the second trimester, the initial risk, doubts and discomfort begin to subside.

This is the best period of pregnancy for the mother, as she does not have to bear the discomfort and settling down process of the first trimester, nor the weight and fullness of third trimester. This is the time of being relaxed in anticipation of motherhood.

Changes in the baby

After spending the first trimester in developing the major organs and endocrine system, it is time now for the baby to focus on growth. The important changes taking place in the baby include:

  • Proper functioning of heart, with heartbeats audible to stethoscope
  • Voluntary movements of limbs
  • Growth of hair on head, eyebrows and eyelashes
  • Growth in length from 3 inches to 12 inches
  • Increase in weight reaching up to 2 pounds
  • Movement of the baby visible on belly when the baby kicks
  • Awareness of sounds
  • Eyes open and baby begins to blink
  • Lips begin to show sucking action
  • During the 17th week, the fetus curls into the iconic position with bowed head and in drawn limbs
  • A silky fetal hair called lanugo covers the skin
  • 32 permanent tooth buds appear on the jaw

Changes in the mom to be

The mother experiences the first contact with her baby during the 20th week of pregnancy, when she feels the movement of the tiny life inside her womb. The second trimester is easy on the body and mind of the mother, seeing that she gets used to the hormones and morning sickness subsides. Some noticeable changes in the mother during second trimester are:

  • Rising of the uterus decreasing pressure on the bladder
  • Expansion of uterus up to belly button
  • Leg cramps, heartburn, constipation, varicose veins and swelling in some cases
  • Weight gain of 3/4 pound a week
  • Secretion of colostrums from the breasts
  • Appearance of stretch marks due to the increasing belly size
  • Readiness in breasts for lactation
  • Itching around the abdomen
  • Breathlessness due to pressure on lungs
  • Lower back pain at times caused due to the fetus pushing against the lower back

Tips for the 2nd trimester

The mother to be can relax and enjoy anticipating happy motherhood during the second trimester. Healthy habits will aid in the rapid growth taking place inside the body of the mom to be. The mother should:

  • Maintain healthy diet
  • Take prescribed prenatal vitamins
  • Exercise moderately if approved by doctor
  • Remember to take AFP test to detect chromosomal abnormality of fetus
  • Cope with stretch marks by applying oil, cream or prescription ointments
  • Try to get enough sleep
  • Rest on side to improve blood flow to baby, in addition to preventing swelling
  • Combat anemia with food rich in iron and protein such as red meat, chicken, seafood, beans, leafy green vegetables and iron-fortified whole-grain cereal
  • Use pillows for support
  • Avoid over the counter medications for pain.