As our baby continues to develop, the vocal cords begin to form. The face is looking more and more human each day as the eyes begin to move closer together instead of being on the sides of the head and the ears move to a normal position. It would be possible now to determine the baby's sex by looking at the genitals if we could only get close enough. (We usually can't "guess" via ultrasound until around the 16th week.) The intestines move farther into the baby's body; the liver begins to secrete bile and the pancreas begins to produce insulin. A very busy week indeed!
Changes in Mom: Welcome to the second trimester! This is the most comfortable and enjoyable stage of pregnancy. Most of the difficult early symptoms are over (or soon will be), and your tummy isn't getting in the way yet. If you're still feeling tired, listen to your body and REST. It's working hard right now!
Our baby is a whopping 3 1/2 inches long and is 1 to 2 ounces. S/he begins to practice inhaling and exhaling movements. The eyes and ears continue to move and develop, the neck is still getting longer, and the baby's chin no longer rests on his/her chest. The hands are becoming functional, and the baby is beginning to learn to move/use them (probably more reflex than anything). At this point, our little one is receiving all of his/her nourishment from the placenta.
Changes in Mom: By now, pregnancy hormones are leveling off. This means less nausea, less frequent urination and less exhaustion. What a relief! However, you may be experiencing some constipation since those darned hormones have relaxed your bowel muscles causing them to work slower and less efficiently. Your uterus is also pressing on your bowel. Be sure to increase the fiber in your diet if constipation becomes a problem.
If you have an ultrasound now, you may notice your baby sucking his/her thumb. The bones are getting harder each day. The baby's skin is very thin and transparent; you can see blood vessels through the skin. Lanugo, a very fine hair, covers the body and will continue growing on the baby until around the 26th gestational week of pregnancy.
Changes in Mom: Your uterus will begin rising past your hipbones any time now. You can feel it about three to four inches below your navel. During your appointments, your care provider will be measuring "fundal height" to make sure your baby is growing consistently and adequately. Fundal height is the distance from the top of the uterus (fundus) to the pubic bone.
If you haven't already, you may begin to feel movement as the baby's bones harden. If you are somewhat overweight, have a thick uterus, and/or if this is your first pregnancy, you may not be feeling baby yet or feeling baby regularly. Don't panic! You will soon. The legs are now longer than the arms, and s/he is moving those arms and legs frequently, especially since there's still lots of room to move within the uterus.
Changes in Mom: Do you have a stuffy nose or nosebleeds? As mentioned before, your blood volume increases 40% - 50%. This affects your estrogen levels which in turn swells your nasal membranes. This increased blood volume also causes your heart to work harder to support your pregnancy. This isn't a problem for a healthy heart.
This is a period of rapid growth as the fat begins to form underneath the baby's skin. Baby and placenta are about equal in size now. The tiny heart is pumping as much as 25 quarts of blood a day! The reflexes are probably in place now as the baby sucks, swallows and blinks.
Changes in Mom: Your uterus is about 1 1/2 to 2 inches below your belly button. The baby is going through a growth spurt and chances are, you may be gaining too! Average weight gain is between five and ten pounds at this point.
Our little one is nearly half a pound now and very human looking. Pads are forming on the fingertips and toes, and the eyes are looking forward rather than out the sides of the head. Meconium, the baby's first bowel movement, is accumulating within the bowel. If your baby is a boy, his prostate gland is beginning to develop.
Changes in Mom: Feeling dizzy, lightheaded or faint are normal during pregnancy. These symptoms aren't harmful unless they occur frequently or severely. "Postural hypotension" is low blood pressure due to a change in position and happens frequently in pregnancy because your cardiovascular system doesn't react as fast.
Along with the lanugo, vernix caseosa forms on your baby's skin. Vernix is a white cheesy substance that protects your baby's skin from its aquatic environment ~ imagine how your skin would look if you sat in water for nine months! The placenta continues to grow and nourish the baby.
Changes in Mom: You may be noticing several skin changes. These are hormone-related and will disappear after delivery. You may have the "mask of pregnancy" - blotchy patches on your forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. Itchy skin is also very common. Your skin may be dry and flaky in certain areas and many pregnant women develop rashes, particularly on the stretched skin. You can't prevent stretch marks but lotions or oil can ease the dryness and itching. Drinking lots of water and eating a healthy diet will go a long way in reducing dryness.
We're halfway through the pregnancy, and the baby has as much sleep and awake time as a newborn. The scalp hair begins to grow. If your baby is a girl, her uterus is starting to develop.
Changes in Mom: Your uterus is at your navel now. You may experience some tenderness as your belly button becomes an "outtie" from the uterus pressing on it. The line between your navel (linea nigra) and pubic hair has darkened; it will fade after delivery.
The rapid growth phase begins to slow down this week. The heart grows stronger this week, and the legs are reaching their relative proportions.
Changes in Mom: Over halfway there, and you're probably showing now. Your uterus is about 1/2 inch above your belly button. The average weight gain is between 10 and 15 pounds at this point. If you're eating a healthy diet, don't count pounds and calories too strictly. Emotionally, you're probably feeling more stable and comfortable.
The baby is probably close to a pound and very thin but very developed. The eyelids and eyebrows are now formed, and the brain begins rapid growth. If your baby is a boy, his testes have begun their descent from the pelvis to the scrotum.
Changes in Mom: Your uterus is nearly an inch above your navel. You'll probably be gaining weight more steadily now as your baby continues to fill out. The extra weight may begin to take its toll on your back. Wear low heeled shoes (flat shoes can strain your back as much as high heeled shoes) and avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. When you sit, use a footstool to raise your knees higher than your hips.
Your baby weighs about a pound now! The body is becoming better proportioned each day, and the bones of the middle ear begin to harden. If born now, your baby has a chance for survival. Let's hope, however, that the baby stays put for several more weeks!
Changes in Mom: Your baby still has room to move around so you're probably feeling kicks, jabs, flips and flops. You may even see your abdomen move. Your uterus is about 1 1/2 inches above your belly button. If you're having some wild mood swings, don't fret. They're normal even if they don't feel normal. Try to be good to yourself when you're feeling blue.