By now, you should experience some relief from pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness or fatigue, which disappear from week 13. This is probably the best time to know the gender of your baby; simply go for an ultrasound scan between the 18th and 22nd week of pregnancy. By this period, the genital organs of the baby are grown and distinguishable. Let’s move on to discussing what happens in each week of your second trimester. Month 4
Week 13: At the beginning of the second trimester, the pressure from the uterus begins to subside due to the thickening of your waistline. The eyes now move away from the sides of your baby’s head, drawing closer. The developed pancreases can now produce insulin to regulate blood sugar levels for your baby. The intestinal system also becomes functional as the sex organs are becoming fully developed. The baby is about 3 inches long and weighing 0.7-0.8 ounces.
Week 14: At this point, the eyes and ears shift to the right places, and your baby’s chin lifts from the chest as the neck elongates. By this week, your baby still measures 3 inches long and weighs about an ounce. An ultrasound scan can depict the baby sucking the thumb and making other facial expressions such as squinting and frowning. The liver should by now start to produce bile and the red blood cells. The baby may also swallow amniotic fluid into the stomach, and the kidneys are functioning to excrete the swallowed fluid as urine.
Week 15: Now, the fetus is about 4 inches long and measures 1.75 ounces. You may experience sharp pain as the ligaments, which support the uterus continue to grow. The baby develops fine hair that covers the skin to regulate the body temperature; this hair stays until the baby is born. He or she begins to detect various sounds such as your breathing, the heartbeat and speaking tone. Your developing baby may not move a lot but continues to suck the thumb and making faces. The hands grow longer than the head, as fingers and toes elongate.
Week 16: By now, the baby is about 4 ¾ inches long and weighs 3.9 ounces. You may start to feel the baby’s movement, which becomes evident between 16th -20th week. When seen on an ultra sound scan, the baby should be protecting the eyes from bright lights with the hands. The fetus can breathe through the amniotic fluid, and can pump about 25 quarts of blood daily from the developed circulatory system. Your baby also begins to accumulate fat underneath the skin, which acts as insulation. Month 5
Week 17: Your pregnancy is very noticeable as the uterus pushes the intestines up and outwards to the sides of the stomach. You may experience sciatic nerve pain in the legs, from the pressure exerted as your baby grows. The baby is now weighing close to 150 grams and being 5 ½ inches long , with body parts now becoming more proportional to the baby’s size. The mouth should open and close by now, together with the eyelids. The fetus’ face looks a lot like a human face; the eyebrows and eyelashes start forming. Your baby’s heartbeat is irregular but controlled by the brain with speeds ranging between 140-150 beats per minute. Your baby will also develop unique patterns on their fingers and toes (what will become fingerprints). The fetus continues to accumulate the adipose tissue, composed of accumulated fat, and the vernix, which forms under the skin to offer protection. He or she should have a skeleton formed from bone; well, these are soft at this time in order to facilitate smooth delivery. If it is a boy, the prostate glands should develop during this week.
Week 18: The fetus’s nerves start developing a protective covering of myelin; this is important for their nervous system to grow and function well after delivery. As the baby develops bones, they begin to harden starting from the legs to the inner ears. The baby now responds to noise increases, where he or she starts to kick, reacting to noises as the brain transmits and receives nerve signals. The baby’s size doesn’t change as much, and the growth rate remains slow for now and weeks to come. Common movements that the baby makes include bending the limbs and joints, crossing the legs and doing somersaults. They will also be kicking, twisting, tumbling and rolling around and at times, they will hold the umbilical cord. They can also yawn, hiccup and swallow! If your baby is a girl, the uterus and the fallopian tube are now fully developed.
Week 19: The baby is now weighing 7 ounces, and is about 7 ½ inches. The arms and the legs are now proportional to your baby’s body. For girls, the ovaries should start producing eggs. The baby is now active, especially when you are sitting, relaxing or lying down. In some cases, the baby may be startled by extremely loud noises from the surrounding. The bones and the muscles are now hard enough to facilitate their movements.
Week 20: This week signifies the middle of your pregnancy and you may experience shortness of breath as the baby grows. Your baby is producing a sticky dark-green substance known as meconium, composed of amniotic fluid and cell loss that the baby swallows with the digestive secretion. The baby has hair on the scalp, and the lanugo hairs are still covering the body. The ears are fully developed by now, so it’s advisable to rest at calm environments. The baby measures about 7 ½ inches and weighs close to 11 ounces. Month 5
Week 21: The uterus continues growing, now moving about ½ inch outwards, above your belly button. The fetus now weighs 11 ounces and is about 8 inches in length, being the size of a banana. By now, the blood circulatory system is fully functional, as the digestive enzymes continue acting on the amniotic fluid your baby keeps on swallowing. The intestines can contract and expand as required. At this point, the toenails and fingernails are fully developed, covering the tips of your baby’s toes and fingers.
Week 22 The baby is now weighing about a pound, measuring about 11 inches long. However, he or she appears very thin due to lack of fatty tissue, with the skin appearing wrinkled. The internal organs are growing fast and the eyes are fully developed. The eyebrows and eyelids are distinguishable, apart from the iris that lacks the pigment. Your baby’s liver should produce enzymes to breakdown bilirubin, formed after red blood cells are broken down. The bilirubin from your baby’s blood passes through the placenta into your blood. The baby is now learning the sense of touch by rubbing various body parts such as legs, neck, face, and torso.
Week 23: The baby now weighs slightly more than a pound, almost reaching 11.4 inches in length. The skin of your baby now changes from colorless to pigmented, and starts to develop fat layer. However, the skin remains quite loose due to the rapid growth of the skin as compared to fat. The sensory levels of your baby increase and the kicking and punching are more evident than before. Although the eyes are still shut, the baby uses hands and feet to respond to the sense of touch.
Week 24: At this point the baby is grown to almost one foot long and weighs about 1 ½ pounds. During this week, your baby’s lungs develop branches and other cells responsible for production of surfactant. This substance is needed to bulge the air sacs of your baby’s lungs after delivery. If the substance is not produced by now, the baby would have breathing problems. To practice the breathing process, your baby inhales some amniotic fluid into the lungs. By now, your baby is considered viable and with a chance of survival if he or she was to be born prematurely. Month 6
Week 25: The baby’s growth rate is high as he or she gets to 13 ½ inches in length, weighing over 1 ½ pounds. From now, the baby starts to plump up and builds fat deposits under the skin, to achieve the human figure. You therefore feel hyperactivity of the baby as these changes take place, such as turning, somersaults and wriggling around. The baby also tends to get excited towards certain voices or sounds. Thus, singing for your baby could make a difference.
Week 26: You now experience more contractions similar to menstrual cramps, and pain as your baby stretches the uterus. The baby now weighs about 2 pounds and close to 14 inches in length. The eyelids, which had remained closed now start to open and blink, exposing the bluish eyes. The circulatory system is very developed, as the umbilical cord continues to thicken and get stronger to support supply of nutrients. If your baby is a boy, the testicles move into the scrotum during this week, a process that takes 2/3 months to complete.
Week 27: As the eyes are opening, the retina layers form and the membrane covering the eyes separate into eyelids. The baby may start to practice waking and sleeping patterns, thus you should try resting most of the time. Your baby may start to hiccup resulting from the maturing and working of the lungs on their own. As the baby has developed taste buds, eating of spicy food has been found to cause hiccupping though on a temporary basis.