The Second Trimester Screening: Week-by-Week Growth Chart of the Second Trimester
The journey of childbirth is truly an enlightening one. It is that passage for a woman that leads her to the door of an enigmatic and everlasting life-change which she basks in and revels in for the entirety of her soul’s existence. The first trimester of pregnancy makes her feel the heartbeat of budding life inside her, and her body is now ready to be in the next phase of this journey and to further the existence of the newborn life taking place within. Like the first one, the second trimester is also thirteen weeks long, and every week, there are new and exciting developments in the formation of the baby.
A Week-by-Week Growth Chart of the Second Trimester
The second trimester starts with week 14.
By week 14, the baby’s neck is more defined, and eyelids are fused over fully developed eyes. It can mutely cry due to vocal cord development, and nails are growing on the fingers and toes. The baby’s taste buds are formed by Week 15, and it can sense light. Its scalp hair pattern is forming along with the ears, which are still very low on the head.
In week 16, the baby’s head is erect, slow eye movement occurs, ears are close to reaching their final position, and limb movements become more coordinated. Toenails begin to develop by 17 weeks as the baby’s skeleton changes from soft cartilage to bone.
By 18 weeks, the baby’s genitals are formed, which can be seen on an ultrasound. Ears move to their final position on the head and begin to stand out from the sides, and the baby starts to hear. At week 19, a greasy, waxy substance called vernix caseosa that helps its delicate skin from getting abrasions or scratches is formed. At the halfway point of pregnancy in week 20, the baby’s movements are quicker, continuously sleeping and waking. It is about 160 millimeters and 320 grams now.
In week 21, the eyebrows grow, it starts kicking and sucking its thumb. Intestines are developed enough that small amounts of sugar can be absorbed from the amniotic fluid and passed through the digestive system to the large bowel.
By week 22, reproductive parts continue to develop. In a boy’s case, testes begin to descend from the abdomen and uterus, and ovaries are in place for girls, along with vaginal development. Movements become more forceful by week 23, and ridges form in the palms of the hand and soles of the feet, which are the basis for creating prints.
The baby may also start hiccupping.
At week 24, the inner ear is developed, and the baby gets a sense of whether it is upside down or right side up. The baby’s skin is wrinkled, translucent, and is pink to red. In week 25, the baby might be able to respond to familiar sounds like voices with movements. The baby spends its sleep with Rapid Eye Movements (REM).
At week 26, the baby’s lungs begin to develop, and it inhales and exhales amniotic fluid, which is a good practice for breathing. In the last week of the trimester, the baby’s eyes open, and they start blinking, the nervous system continues to mature, and the baby keeps gaining fat. It weighs less than 2 pounds.
Tips to Deal with Nausea During Pregnancy
-For most women, the nausea is over by the first trimester. However, if you are one of the unlucky few who still have sickness in the second trimester, then here are some tips for you.
-Eat your meals early, and also try to eat a light snack right before bed. It is also a good idea to have a bit of nocturnal nibble if you happen to wake up in the middle of the night to pee.
-Try wearing sea-band wristlets – readily available at medical stores.
-Tread gingerly. Ginger can help a case of the queasy. So, stock up on staples made with natural ginger, such as ginger ale, ginger snaps, ginger tea, ginger candies, crystallized ginger, ginger biscuits, or ginger drinks.
-When life gives you morning sickness, make lemonade. Another trick of the queasy trade is lemons. Suck on lemons or have lemonade. It’ll help with nausea.
Changes in the Female Body in the Second Trimester
While the second trimester of pregnancy is the most comfortable for many females, there are marked changes in the body. The breasts and abdomen will grow in size due to the expanding uterus, and this is a good time to invest in maternity clothing. You will experience ‘Braxton Hicks Contractions,’ i.e., tightening of the uterine muscles. It may make your belly feel very hard and cause discomfort. They are irregular and should go away in a few minutes. There are chances of developing a Urinary Tract Infection due to hormonal changes slowing the flow of urine. The growing uterus pressing on the stomach can cause food and acid up to the esophagus, causing heartburn and acidity.
Nasal congestion, nosebleeds, and bleeding gums might occur due to increased blood flow to mucous membranes in the nose and mouth. Teeth might feel loose, stomach, back, pelvis, and hip pain because they all support the growing belly. Ankles, hands, the face may swell because of more fluid retention for the baby, and you might have leg cramps while sleeping due to the pressure the baby puts on the nerves and blood vessels that go to your legs. Other conditions include stretch marks, constipation, and changes in pigmentation on the face and stomach.
Some Do’s & Don’ts for Second Trimester
· It is essential to make good food choices for the second trimester. Protein is necessary for the baby’s growth during this time; therefore, you need to increase your soy products, eggs, chicken, fish, and meat.
· Calcium and iron supplements are also necessary.
· Avoid eating spicy food to prevent heartburn.
· It is essential to exercise and keep yourself active, preventing back pain and boosting energy and stamina.
· Gaining weight at a steady pace, i.e., at about 2 kg per month, will help nourish the baby and bring about its optimal growth.
· Due to swollen gums and loose teeth, it is necessary to have dental visits as bleeding gums can release bacteria in your bloodstream and affect the fetus.
· Ensure that you wear comfortable clothes and moisturize your stretched skin.
· Some strict no-nos include sleeping on your back, which can cause your uterus to press on your spine, causing back pain. It is always advisable to sleep on the left side.
· Do not wear high heels. Avoid high-impact sports like tennis, football, basketball, and horse riding.
· Don’t smoke or consume alcohol, caffeine and avoid getting stressed.
The second trimester is another critical period where the fetus is developing into a proper human, and utmost care needs to be taken by the mother. The journey is not as challenging as the first trimester. Still, it comes with its own sets of adventures and is a crucial precursor to the most crucial trimester, i.e., the third trimester, and ultimately, the main event!