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Baby Development During the Second Trimester

Baby Development During the Second Trimester
My future baby. Positive pregnant woman looking at her belly while drinking tea in the office

By Chelsea Skaggs, Postpartum Together

 As you enter the second trimester, there is a new wave of excitement. You are becoming more noticeably pregnant and hopefully finding relief from the first trimester symptoms.  During the second trimester weeks (weeks 14-27), your baby continues to develop and you will even start feeling the baby kicks! Learn more about the changes of the second trimester which is often referred to as the golden trimester. 

When is the Second Trimester?

The average length of pregnancy is 40 weeks. This means each of the three trimesters is 13 weeks long. To find your estimated due date and determine where you are in your pregnancy,  add 40 weeks to the date of your last menstrual period.  The second trimester begins at week 14 and ends at 27 weeks. This means that the months of the second trimester are months 4, 5, 6, and the beginning of month 7.   

  • Q: When does the second trimester start? 
  • A: The second trimester starts at week 14 of pregnancy. 
  • Q: What is the length of the 2nd trimester?  
  • A: The second trimester is 13 weeks long. 
  • Q: Will I feel better during the second trimester? 
  • A: The majority of women report improved symptoms during the second trimester. First trimester symptoms like morning sickness usually subside and you are likely to have more energy during this time.  

 Baby Changes in the 2nd Trimester  

During the second trimester of your pregnancy, fetal development is rapid as he/she starts to resemble a baby and develop many features! This is the time when many families have an anatomy ultrasound and learn the gender of the baby. Just as mom is likely to have more energy during the second trimester, you baby is energetic too and you will likely begin feeling the moves and kicks during this time. Not only are your baby’s organs and systems developing, but small details like fingerprints and eye movement are also happening!  

  • Q: When will I feel baby kick? 
  • A: Feeling baby kicks or a flutter is different for every mom. If it is your first baby, you can expect to feel the baby’s movement around 18 weeks. If this is not your first baby, you may notice it earlier, closer to 14 weeks. There is no hard and fast rule but you should feel your baby’s movement in the second trimester.  
  • Q: When can you see a baby’s gender on an ultrasound? 
  • A: Most second trimester anatomical ultrasounds happen around 20 weeks. By this time, the baby’s genitals are developed to the point of identification. It is possible for your baby to be in a strange position or very active during a scan which can make it difficult to identify gender.  
  • Q: What is the anatomy ultrasound for? 
  • A: During the anatomy scan, usually between 18-21 weeks, your team is looking at your baby’s development. They will look at heart development, brain development, the spine, facial features and more. This is an important scan to help best prepare for your baby’s birth and needs.   
  • Q: When can my baby hear me read or sing to him? 
  • A: On average, babies start to hear sound around 18 weeks and continue to grow more sensitive to sound. Your baby may start responding to sound by the end of the second trimester. 
  • Q: How big is my baby at the end of the second trimester? 
  • A: You baby will be around a foot long by the end of the second trimester. You baby will weight close to 2 pounds.   
  • Q: Can a baby born in the second trimester survive? 
  • A: In developed countries such as the United States, viability (50% chance of survival) is between 22-24 weeks of gestation.

The Fourth Month of Pregnancy 

 As you start to feel better in the second trimester, your baby is hard at work with development. During the fourth month, your baby is busy developing the reproductive organs, learning to urinate, and producing the first bits of meconium (baby poop). Your baby is also learning to move the eyes more and can hear you from outside. Start those favorite storybooks!  

The Fifth Month of Pregnancy

Your baby seems to be at the salon during the fifth month as she is growing eyelashes, eyebrows, fingernails and toenails. Instead of a mud facial, though, your baby is starting to develop vernix, which is a white, creamy film that covers your baby’s body to protect the skin. Your baby is also developing more reflexes like the sucking reflex, which means he will be sucking his thumb in utero.   

The Sixth Month of Pregnancy

By the sixth month of pregnancy, your baby has his own unique fingerprints and footprints. His sleep patterns are growing and so are his lungs. . Do not be surprised if you are feeling those hiccups.   

What to Do When You are in the Second Trimester of Pregnancy

  • Q: Can I drink coffee during the second trimester? 
  • A: Throughout pregnancy, around 2 cups of coffee per day is believed to be a safe amount. 
  • Q:  Can I still exercise in the second trimester? 
  • A: Movement and exercise is recommended for moms throughout pregnancy. With more energy in the second trimester, it is a great time to keep moving. Listen to your body and modify your movement to accommodate your growing body. It is a great time to prioritize exercises that help you prepare for delivery such as focus on the core and pelvic floor.  
  • Q: Should I get genetic screening during pregnancy? 
  • A: Genetic screening is a personal decision for each family. It will likely be offered during the second trimester. If you have a family history of birth defects or other complications, your doctor may recommend screening. Screening can help prepare you and your baby for birth and any special care after birth.  
  • Q: Is it safe to have sex during the second trimester? 
  • A: Go for it momma! As long as you are not under medical restrictions, sex is safe throughout pregnancy and can be great with the second trimester energy.  

Symptoms of the Second Trimester of Pregnancy

Throughout the second trimester, your symptoms will change. No two pregnancies are exactly the same. During this time you may experience: 

  • Ligament pain 
  • Varicose veins 
  • Dizziness 
  • Gum pain 
  • Leg cramps 
  • Congestion 
  • Swelling 

Staying Healthy in the Second Trimester

 During any part of pregnancy, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that mothers stop any smoking, alcohol consumption, drug usage, and avoid X-Rays. Continue to see your obstetrician or midwife regularly. Exercise in ways that allow you to feel good in your changing body and prepare your body and mind for your upcoming birth.  

The second trimester is an exciting time for your baby’s development and with more energy; you can focus on taking care of yourself too! Enjoy those first kicks, the funny hiccups, and the chance to see your growing baby during your ultrasound and appointments!  

About The Author

Casey Christiansen

Casey supports the PR team at Zulily.

1 Comment

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    Can someone recommend High-waisted bikinis? Cheers xxx

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