The second trimester has begun! Your baby’s face is fully formed and he grimaces and sucks his thumb. Your belly is growing and you may now have your second ultrasound scan.
Your baby’s face is completely formed! The eyes and ears have finally moved to their final position. The palate is almost fully developed, and the vocal cords, larynx, esophagus, and windpipe are ready to function. What’s more, your baby now grimaces like a little monkey, frowning, squinting, maybe even smiling, and sucking his thumb, which prepares him for feeding after birth. With any luck, you will be able to see these exciting facial expressions during your next ultrasound scan.
Your baby’s neck and hands are getting longer and he looks more and more proportionate. He now measures 3.4 inches/8.7 cm – the size of an apple – and weighs 1.6 oz/45 grams.
Your baby is starting to grow fine, downy hair (called lanugo) all over his body. Lanugo is meant to keep the tiny body warm until the baby accumulates enough fat in the following months of pregnancy, and most of it will go away until birth. If your baby is born covered with fuzz, don’t worry – it will soon disappear. Hair has also started growing on your baby’s head, and ultrafine eyelashes and eyebrows are beginning to appear too.
Your little ones’ organs are functioning! The intestines have moved further into the abdominal cavity; the liver is secreting bile that will aid baby to digest her food, and her pancreas is producing insulin, a super important hormone which controls the sugar level in baby’s blood, keeping it from getting too high or too low.
The second trimester has begun! Most chances are that your nausea is completely gone, you’re no longer exhausted, feeling like an emotional wreck or running to the bathroom every now and then. Your belly is finally starting to show – just a little but – not enough to give you back pain yet, but enough to let the whole world know what an exciting thing you are experiencing. You look great, feel great and life is generally good. If you’re not as tired as you used to be, use the opportunity and start (or go back to) a healthy exercise routine.
Obviously, some symptoms are still there. You may feel bloated or gassy, and the only (and partial) remedy is to eat small, frequent meals, avoid fatty, acidic and spicy foods and drink a lot of fluids. You might also experience a dull ache or sharp, jabbing pains in one or both sides of your lower abdomen, especially when coughing or suddenly changing your position. This occurs when round ligaments that connect the front part of your womb to your groin stretch to support the increasing weight of your growing uterus – not pleasant, but nothing to worry about.
Many pregnant women suffer from pregnancy rhinitis (stuffed-up nose). This happens because the hormone progesterone increases blood circulation to the nose, causing its mucous membranes to swell. Unfortunately, there’s nothing much to do about it, and this annoying symptom will go away after delivery.
There are still two trimesters to go, and you still have much on your plate. Have you done the second-trimester screening? How about a name for the baby? It’s time to start making a list!
1. How to Pick a Name for the Baby?
Have you already started to think about a name for your baby? Now this one might prove tricky. Many parents-to-be can’t decide upon a name for months, and some babies spend the first days, or even weeks, of their life without a name until mom an dad finally reach an agreement. Grandparents often have their opinion, which tends to make things even more complicated.
Some parents pick a name just because they like the sound of it, others think the meaning is important, and some prefer waiting until their baby is born to see which name suits her. But meanwhile, take a deep breath, sit down and make a list of possible names using online resources – there are many, and exploring is fun!
2. What is the Second Trimester Screening?
It’s time for your second-trimester screening! You may be offered a maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein (MSAFP) screening or multiple marker screening. MSAFP measures the level of a protein called alpha-fetoprotein, which is produced by the fetus. Abnormal levels indicate the possibility of Down syndrome or a neural tube defect such as spina bifida. The test is not conclusive, only telling you how likely is that the baby has a certain condition. The results can then be confirmed by an ultrasound scan or amniocentesis.
MSAFP is often part of what is known as the triple screen test, that also checks levels of the hormones hCG and estriol. When a marker called inhibin-A is added to the screen, it is known as the quad screen(also called the multiple marker, quadruple screen or AFP4). The quad marker picks up about 75%-90% of Down syndrome cases and 75% of neural tube defects depending on the mother’s age, but it is still possible to get a false-positive result.
Your baby has developed vocal cords and fingerprints and keeps growing. You’re about to start the second trimester of pregnancy, and your fatigue and morning sickness is probably subsiding. 13 Weeks Pregnant – Fetus Your baby keeps growing and developing, now measuring 2.9 inches/ 7.4 cm, the size of an apple and weighs about 0.9...