Pregnancy week 17 – 20: the start of second trimester
Congratulations and welcome to the second trimester -you’re almost at the halfway mark!
Many pregnant mums call this the “honeymoon period” as their energy levels seem to bounce back during this time. Also, your dresses from pre-pregnancy days might start to feel tighter, so you might want to swap them out for dresses with an elastic waistband or opt for maternity wearto accommodate your growing bump. Many maternity dresses double up as nursing dresses for convenient access when breastfeeding or pumping.
Your baby’s growth will be measured during gynae visits to ensure that your baby’s size is healthy during the second trimester.
Week 17: Pear
Your baby is now the size of a pear! His heart is now beating at a regulated pace of 140 to 150 beats per minute, twice the speed of an adult’s. What’s your week 17 baby doing in the womb? Certainly not slacking off, for sure. Your baby is practising essential movements to prepare for life outside the womb, such as sucking and swallowing.
Their identity will start to be more prominent as swirls and creases start to form on their fingers and toes – yes, those are fingerprints and toe prints!
As your baby grows bigger and heavier, you’ll feel hungrier and hungrier, like you could really eat a cow! To prevent massive weight gain, try this instead of binging – have more frequent snacks of healthy food in smaller quantities. When planning your meals, make sure that your meals contain the essential nutrients for pregnancy and take note of the foods to avoid. You might also feel your back achingas the second trimester of pregnancy also marks more obvious weight gain. Get a cushion to support your back if your job is deskbound.
During the second trimester, pregnant mums should continue staying active, and consider prenatal exercises when given the green light by their doctors.
Week 18: Sweet Potato
Your little one at week 18 is now big enough for you to feel most movements he makes. All those twists, rolls, kicks and punches could be strong enough to take you by surprise. You may even feel your baby’s hiccups. Other mummies have described baby hiccups as “bubbles” or a fluttering feeling.
Inside, your baby’s reproductive system is forming and the fallopian tubes and uterus are in proper position for girls and for boys, his genitals will be visible from the next visit.
Some pregnant mums’ feet and ankles start to swell during the second trimester. This is a sign of water retention as your body needs more fluid to support you and your growing baby. To alleviate the effects, keep your legs elevated and avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time.
Lines that start appearing on your belly are stretchmarks and while they are mostly genetic, you can use stretch mark creams to keep the skin moisturised as much as possible to minimise the effects.
Week 19: Mango
Vernix caseosa, a protective covering that prevents your baby from coming out wrinkly at birth, starts to form. A mix of dead skin cells, lanugo and oil, it is your baby’s first anti-wrinkle cream. Your baby’s lungs are developing and the main airways are forming this week.
You could be suffering from constipation due to the pregnancy hormones and iron supplements. Increasing your intake of fluids and fibre may help your condition. Feeling dizzy at times? That’s due to the growing pressure on your blood vessels from your uterus that reduces blood flow and causes you to feel faint. Once you experience such symptoms, sit or lie down immediately to prevent yourself from getting hurt.
Week 20: Banana
Welcome to Month 5! One of the cute things your baby can now do in-utero is sucking her thumb. This sucking reflex is useful for her to self-soothe when she enters the world.
You may be feeling out of breath at times due to your uterus pushing up against your lungs. However, you can still attempt simple exercises at home to keep fit and stay healthy.
Is your husband feeling left out? He doesn’t have to be, as there are many ways that he can help you with the pregnancy.
Are you enjoying your second trimester too, mummies? Do share how different it was from your first trimester!