Congratulations on entering your second trimester! At this stage of pregnancy, most families start to celebrate. The risk for miscarriage has greatly reduced and the odds are in your favor that you will carry the baby full term. Also gone will be the morning sickness and the fatigue that you may have experienced in the first trimester, and you should start to feel a boost in your energy levels .
For some women, a baby bump may begin to appear in this stage of pregnancy—but you may not need the maternity jeans just yet. The baby is still small in size, but as he or she grows the uterus grows as well, and has now risen outside of the pelvic bones and is starting to grow up and out into the abdomen.
If you feel your belly rumbling more—it’s not in your head. Even though you only need about 500 extra calories every day, your body may be telling you otherwise. This is due in part to the baby’s utilization of your vitamins and minerals, and those lovely hormones. In an attempt to avoid gaining excess weight, remember to use common sense.
- Eat several smaller meals, every two to three hours
- Don’t skip breakfast
- Avoid high-fat or processed foods
- Drink plenty of water through the day and with meals
- Eat fruits, vegetables and plenty of lean or grilled meats
- Now is the time to resume your prenatal vitamin. Take it with food if it makes you nauseated.
Check with your doctor and see how they feel about any weight gain or loss you are experiencing.
By now, your baby is growing at a steady pace. Your little peanut is measuring approximately 2-1/2 to 3 inches and they weigh about .7 ounces (that’s almost ¾ of an ounce). By the end of this week the baby is fully formed—with all body parts fully formed and functioning organs. The head is still a bit larger than the rest of the body, but that will soon change. The baby’s eyes are starting to come closer together and the intestines and the organs are moving into their final positions. The baby’s pancreas is starting to secrete insulin which will help baby regulate their sugar levels both in the uterus and after birth.
Baby’s bones are still soft and a bit flexible but as the weeks progress they will harden. It is imperative at this stage to keep taking your prenatal vitamins and eat healthfully to provide your baby with the needed nutrients to grow properly. By now, your baby will be moving frequently—stretching legs and flexing arms as they grow and develop. Don’t expect to feel these tiny movements, however. Most moms don’t know their baby is moving for a few more weeks. The placenta is functioning fully now and the baby is receiving oxygen, vitamins, minerals and proteins from the mother’s blood supply. The placenta also works as a filter that removes waste products from the baby and helps to prevent chemicals, drugs and other dangerous substances from crossing over. Not everything can be filtered by the placenta though—and it is very important to discuss any medications with your doctor—and of course, stop smoking, drinking or doing drugs if you haven’t already.
Changes With Your Body
At week thirteen, the uterus will continue to grow up and out of the pelvis. You may begin to notice that your waistline is starting to get bigger. Many women experience round ligament pain as the body structures change and the uterus grows. Round ligament pain occurs when the ligaments that surround the uterus stretch. These can be sharp pains in the abdomen that come with a dull achy feeling in the lower abs. This usually happens when you make a sudden movement like getting up or changing positions.
Some tips to remember with round ligament pain include:
- Move and change positions slowly
- Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for severe soreness—ask your doctor
- Try warm compresses or a heating pad just over the painful places—not your entire belly
- Notify your doctor if the pain changes, your leak fluid or you feel regular contractions
What To Expect
While many of your first trimester troubles should be leveling off, you may still have bouts with heartburn, headaches and occasional nausea at this stage of pregnancy. Remember to manage your symptoms by eating frequent small meals, drink small amounts of liquid after your meal—not with it. A light exercise routine like swimming or walking may reduce you heartburn as well. Remember to stay away from heavy, greasy foods that could contribute to your digestive troubles.
During your thirteenth week and beyond, there will be many changes in your body. While your breasts may have been sore earlier on, they will soon begin to grow as hormones change the breast tissue in preparation for lactation—or making milk to feed the baby after delivery.
These personal changes can leave couples wondering if intimacy is okay. Sexual intercourse during pregnancy is completely safe. If you find that sex makes you uncomfortable, you and your partner may need to find alternate positions to promote comfort. Many women also report an increase in sexual libido during their second trimester thanks to a surge in the hormone progesterone.
Get plenty of rest and stay hydrated—even though you may be feeling better, try not to overdo it on activities. Focus these very important weeks on caring for yourself so that you can provide your baby with the best environment to grow and develop in.