As you enter the final weeks of your second trimester, it’s time to think ahead. Do your nesting now, while you’re still small and limber enough. Design and outfit the nursery, shop for baby clothes and gear, and line up help for your baby’s first few months. You’ll need it!
Here’s a look at what’s happening with your baby – and your body – this month.
By this point in your pregnancy, you’ve gained between 16 and 22 pounds. Your baby is big enough that you should regularly feel her wriggling around in your uterus. She may move in response to music or the sound of your voice. You might even feel the light pulses of her hiccups!
At this point in your pregnancy, you should be gaining about 1 to 2 pounds per week. That works out to about 2,200 calories per day, but make sure they’re from healthy food sources like whole grains, lean protein, fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and healthy oils.
The bulge in your maternity pants is growing as your abdomen rapidly expands. The pressure from this expansion might turn your previously “innie” bellybutton into an “outie.” Don’t panic about the pop – your navel should go back to its original position soon after you deliver.
Your baby measures about 13 ½ inches, and weighs 2 pounds. Fat is starting to fill in her face and body. Soon, she’ll have a pair of adorable chubby cheeks. Her hair is also filling in. How much she’ll have at birth is hard to tell. Some babies are born with a thick head of hair while others are nearly bald.
Your baby’s eyelids are open now, and her eyes are taking on the color they’ll have when she’s born (though that color might change from their initial blue after the first few months of life). Her nostrils have also opened up, and the nerves in her ears are processing sounds. Tiny air sacs called alveoli have formed in her lungs. Eventually those alveoli will move oxygen from her lungs into the bloodstream, and carbon dioxide back out of the lungs, but they’re not quite ready yet. Your baby is swallowing amniotic fluid, which will help her lungs develop.
Congratulations! You’ve officially made it into your third trimester of pregnancy. You’re in the home stretch. Much of the heavy lifting is still ahead, but you also can look forward to seeing your baby for the first time in just a couple of months. You’ll get to know your baby’s personality over these next few weeks by his movements, which will be more noticeable as he grows. Your doctor might ask you to keep track of your baby’s kick counts — how many times he moves. Most babies move about 10 times every two hours. If the kicks noticeably slow, call your doctor.
Your once uninterrupted slumber may be punctuated by a lot of tossing and turning, as your growing uterus makes you more uncomfortable, and puts more pressure on your bladder. Try sleeping on your side with a body pillow to take the pressure off your belly. Before bed, do something relaxing like meditating or getting a massage from your partner to help you drift off. Your growing womb is also putting pressure on your ribcage, which may lead to heartburn and indigestion. Eating smaller, lighter meals can help relieve the burn.
Your baby now measures over 14 inches long and weighs about 2 ½ pounds. He still has a lot of weight to gain. By his due date just a few months away, he’ll have put on another 3 to 6 pounds.
All of your baby’s major organ systems — lungs, digestive, and brain — are fully formed. Yet they still have a bit of maturing to do before he’s born. Baby’s brain has been smooth up to this point, but it is starting to develop wrinkles and folds as neurons multiply and the cortex folds to accommodate a larger surface area.
As you grow bigger, you might find it harder to get around. Don’t use your increasing size as an excuse to stop exercising. You can – and should – keep active throughout your pregnancy, although you’ll need to modify your moves. Avoid high-impact exercises like jogging and jumping rope, which are hard on your joints. Also stay away from sports where you could fall, like rollerblading and horseback riding. And, skip the sit-ups in the latter part of your pregnancy. Lying on your back puts too much pressure on the main blood vessel that sends blood to your heart.
September 19, 2016
Janet O’Dell, RN