The second trimester of a woman’s pregnancy is full of upheavals. The fetus develops quickly and its first movements become noticeable, while your belly is visibly rounded. Fetal growth, 2nd-trimester exams, well-being, and health: everything you need to know to approach this period serenely.
The baby in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy
During the second trimester of pregnancy, the fetus continues to develop and begins to take on the appearance of a very small human being.
From the 4th month, its proportions adjust and all the organs are formed, even if some like the lungs are not yet operational. The thyroid gland, on the other hand, begins to produce the hormone of the same name, which is essential for its growth. Hair and nails appear and touch is one of the first senses to activate. The fetus moves but its movements are not necessarily noticeable, because of the space it has.
In the 5th month, growth continues and requires a lot of energy from the fetus: it multiplies the sleep phases to recover. When he is awake, he moves a lot and the mom can now feel his kicks and spin. It also becomes more sensitive to vibrations and noise and is not insensitive to music and voices.
In the 6th month, the fetus weighs about 700 grams for 28 centimeters. His brain development accelerates at the rate of 250,000 divisions of nerve cells per minute. A sheath envelops the spinal cord, the digestive tract is formed, the immune system appears and the teeth fill the inside of the gums. His eyebrows take shape, he moves his legs and arms, sucks his thumb, and grabs his umbilical cord. He perceives the different sounds and reacts to familiar voices. His eyesight is narrowing, and he can now open his eyes, cry, and even have hiccups because he is now breathing.
Mom’s 2nd trimester of pregnancy
At the 4th month, while the fetus is taking shape, the discomforts of early pregnancy such as nausea fade or disappear completely.
You have more energy and can take better advantage of your rounded belly. This change is sometimes accompanied by intestinal disturbances and pain in the lower abdomen. It is also at the beginning of the 2nd trimester that stretch marks and the “pregnancy mask” can appear. At the 5th month, your physical transformation and your weight gain follow their course, with sometimes some inconveniences (back pain, increased sweating, feeling of heavy legs, shortness of breath, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, constipation, swelling of the feet and hands).
During the 6th month of your pregnancy, fatigue increases, and insomnia can disturb your rest even more. Your weight gain is around six to eight kilograms compared to your initial weight, explaining frequent back and leg pain. Your belly contracts and relaxes; this phenomenon, called “Braxton Hicks contractions,” is a sign that your body is already preparing for childbirth. Mood side, your emotions cross the roller coaster. Happy and fulfilled or sad and anxious, you change from one minute to the next or almost. If doubt and apprehension are completely natural feelings before giving birth, they should not overwhelm you. Don’t hesitate to talk about it if you feel like you’re losing ground.
2nd-trimester examinations and procedures
The second trimester of pregnancy marks the start of monthly prenatal examinations until delivery. Carried out by a doctor or midwife, they help prevent various risks by controlling the weight gain and tension of the expectant mother, as well as the size of her uterus. A urine exam, vaginal examination, and monitoring of the fetal heart rate are also on the program. Among the steps of the 4th month, this is the time to inform your employer that you are expecting a happy event. If you are not required to do so by law, this will allow you to make arrangements to attend your medical appointments.
During the 5th month, you must perform your 2nd ultrasound: the morphological examination. It is during this long-awaited meeting that you will be able to know the sex of your child if you wish. The doctor will also make sure that the fetus is developing normally, that its organs are working, and that the position of the placenta is normal. It is also a good time to find out about your maternity stay and how to take care of it.
During the 6th month, place the 4th monthly prenatal examination, with the same checkpoints as in the previous months. You will also be screened for gestational diabetes, the O’Sullivan test. If your results are abnormal, follow-up by a dietitian may be considered.
And especially …
The beginning of the second trimester of your pregnancy is often associated with awareness, with an increasingly visible belly and the movements of the future baby which become perceptible. For your well-being, alcohol and tobacco are still prohibited. On the other hand, do not hesitate to drink a lot of water and to balance your diet, to avoid excessive weight gain and the onset of gestational diabetes, while providing the fetus and your body with the necessary energy.
To stay fit and take care of your well-being, try gentle sporting activities, such as walking, yoga, or swimming. Sport is indeed recommended, in moderation and on the condition of choosing suitable activities, because it helps relieve tension and gently work your muscles.
If you are tired, do not hesitate to reserve nap moments when you come home from work, after meals, or on weekends. Swap your heels for comfortable shoes and sneakers, which will relieve your back and legs. And above all: share your joys and doubts as much as possible with your spouse, who can sometimes feel a little excluded from this exclusive relationship that binds you to your future child. On the practical side, you can start sharing your birth list with those around you, fall for their first slippers and look into the choice of strollers and other car seats.