So here you are, now in the beginning of the second trimester. All of the good things that have characterized the last week or two—increased energy, fewer trips to the bathroom, less breast tenderness, less morning sickness—should be continuing now. At the same time, you’re probably finally beginning to show, especially to the people who know you well.
This is a great time to reflect on all the good aspects of pregnancy. With your first trimester symptoms receding and before you get big enough that it becomes difficult, there is much to wonder at. Everything that’s happening up until now has happened to serve a greater purpose: giving your baby a perfect environment to grow and thrive into a newborn.
This is why the choices you make during pregnancy are important. Everything you do—from getting a CT scan to eating a healthy diet to taking your pregnancy vitamins—can influence your baby’s development. But it’s important to keep this in perspective! While you should do everything you can to make the best decisions for your baby, it’s also helpful to remember that no one is perfect, and normally developing babies can be resilient. Eating a few doughnuts or skipping your workout a few days to nap won’t cause the sky to fall. If you fall off the “pregnancy wagon” a time or two, don’t be hard on yourself. Just put it behind you and look forward to tomorrow and another opportunity to give your baby a great head start.
If you’re like many moms, you and your partner are probably wondering right about now: “Is it a boy or a girl?” The good news is that you can soon find out. In the next few weeks, it will likely become possible to identify the gender of your baby during a regular, non-invasive ultrasound. So what are your plans? Do you want to know or not?
Lastly, there is one symptom that might be new. It’s a type of pain called round ligament pain. As your uterus grows, it is supported by ligaments that cradle the uterus and connect to the groin and abdomen. As your uterus gets heavier, more strain is placed on these ligaments, and they become thinner. For some women, this can be accompanied by a throbbing pain in the abdomen or sharp pain upon movement. If you experience these types of pains, don’t worry! Round ligament pain is a normal symptom of pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about positions you can use, such as putting your feet up, to reduce it.
Your baby’s fetal age is now 12 weeks. He or she is now about 4 inches long and weighs an ounce—about the size of a lemon or small fist.
If you could see inside your womb, you’d notice that your baby is now stretching out. Instead of spending all his or her time curled into a little ball, your baby now has a more clearly defined neck that is supporting a more normally sized head. Similarly, the arms are more proportional now, although the legs are still likely smaller. Beginning now, it will become harder to make generalizations about your baby’s size. Some babies will grow faster in the second and third trimesters, which only makes sense when you think about the range of normal birth weights.
Finally, if you could get that womb-side view, you’d likely see more and more hair developing. Your baby may have hair on his or her scalp and even eyebrows. Also, your baby’s body will probably be covered with a downy type of hair called lanugo. This is a special type of fetal hair that protects your baby and helps to regulate temperature. In most babies, it disappears before birth, but some are born with a covering of fine hair left over from their time in the womb.
What else can your baby do now? You might be surprised. As more and more organ systems “come online,” your baby can move gracefully, make a wide range of expressions, produce urine and pee, create meconium (intestinal waste), reach out and make grabbing motions, and suck his or her thumb.
“You can’t ignore your regular healthcare maintenance!”
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, November 2018