Finally you have entered the first week of your second trimester of pregnancy. It is a time to celebrate for most women because the risk of a miscarriage reduces considerably at this point. You are most likely to carry your baby through the entire pregnancy quite safely after this. You will also start feeling remarkably better after this stage and the nausea and fatigue experienced by you in the previous stages will soon vanish. Physically, also you will feel more active in spite of your increasing size. Your baby is growing slowly now as the formation of all the internal and external organs is complete. The size of the fetus is small and there is sufficient room in your uterus for the fetus to expand. By this time the morning sickness symptoms will vanish for most women and the appetite will begin to increase as the baby is quickly absorbing all the nutrients and nourishment from the mother.
Your Symptoms: Constipation, heartburn, and indigestion are common secondary to increased progesterone.
Baby’s Development: The baby’s first white blood cells are being formed (to help him fight infection once he is born.) She is also developing sweat glands and has a more distinct neck.
Baby’s Size: 5.4 cm (size of a medium shrimp).
To Do: The risk of miscarriage is much lower at this point, so you may want to start telling your family and friends the good news.
The baby is now around 2 1/2 to 3 inches long and weighs about .7 ounces. By the end of the 13th week the baby looks like a tiny fully formed baby. The baby’s head is quite large as compared to the rest of the body, so after this stage the body starts catching up. The baby’s eyes grow closer together. The baby’s intestines also start moving further into the body after this stage and the little pancreas start producing insulin which will be vital for regulating the sugar levels later in life. The bones of the baby are changing from being soft and flexible to becoming harder. The baby starts making creeping and climbing movements which cannot be felt due to its tiny size in the womb. Fine whiskers of hair start appearing on the baby’s upper lip and eyebrows. The placenta is fully functional and supplies the baby with oxygen, vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins. It also removes the carbon dioxide and waste materials by filtering them through the placental tissues. The blood vessels of the baby and the mother even though separate remain incredibly close together. The placenta remains larger in size than the baby and allows most substances from the mother’s blood stream to cross over into the baby’s blood stream. This includes alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, medications, drugs and viruses which can affect the growth and development of the baby. The baby will pass its first bowel motion called meconium which is a black-green, tar like substance at this stage.
Changes with your body
The uterus grows upwards and out of the pelvis bones taking the pressure off your bladder. Your waistline will start thickening. As the uterus keeps growing you can feel some discomfort or aching in your abdomen. The ligaments that surround the uterus will stretch resulting in round ligament pain. This can be a brief but sharp pain in the abdomen with a dull ache in the lower abdomen that lasts for a short span. This pain usually occurs when you change positions or get up suddenly. However if you experience cramping, bleeding or vomiting you need to contact the doctor at once.
Round pigment pain can be reduced by relaxing while getting up or changing body positions while sitting or sleeping. In some cases a women might be diagnosed with an incompetent cervix, which is the result of a weak cervix that is open more than 2.5 cm during pregnancy. The risk of having an incompetent cervix is that the woman is likely to deliver the baby too early for it to survive. This problem is mostly uncommon. An incompetent cervix is the cause of miscarriage in the second trimester. The reasons for an incompetent cervix can be congenital disorders, cervical trauma or a previous D&C. There is a remedy called cerclage which can be used to stitch and close the cervix which is done mostly in the 14th and 16th week. This can help the women to carry her baby in her uterus till the entire term of pregnancy.
What to expect
You can expect stretch marks to appear on your abdomen, breasts, buttocks or hips. Gaining weight at a slow rate can decrease your chances of getting stretch marks during pregnancy and this can be done by eating a healthy well balanced diet and exercising regularly with proper advice. Although the morning sickness symptoms subside considerably at this stage, you might still experience heartburn in the center of the chest. This occurs when the valve between the food pipe and the stomach are not able to prevent the stomach acids from passing back into the food pipe. This irritates the lining of the stomach and causes heartburn. To prevent this and avoid heartburn one can have antacids with the advice of your healthcare provider or make necessary changes in your diet and lifestyle.
Eating small and frequent healthy and nutritious meals can also help along with increasing your intake of yogurt or having a warm glass of milk with some honey in it. You need to avoid heavy, greasy and fried food at all times of the pregnancy to prevent indigestion problems. You can expect changes in the size of your breasts by now as they grow larger and may feel lumpy or nodular due to the mammary ducts which start preparing for lactation. Colostrum is produced in the breast milk at this stage. The baby is now more flexible than before in the stomach and can move its head from side to side. Sex during pregnancy does not harm the baby as the baby is protected by the amniotic fluid in the womb and the mucus plug which seal your cervix and guards against infection. However, sex should be avoided if you have had a history of miscarriages, premature births, an incompetent cervix, partner is infected with some disease, your water has broken or you experience vaginal bleeding or discharge.