The First 9 Months – Stages of development

The Second Trimester

The second trimester (weeks 13 – 28) for most women is easier than the first. If you experienced symptoms such as nausea or fatigue, you might notice these going away. You will now see more noticeable changes to your body. Your abdomen will expand as the baby continues to grow. You will feel your baby beginning to move before this trimester is over.

Some of the changes you might experience as your body is adjusting to your growing baby are:

  • Body aches, such as back, abdomen, groin, or thigh pain
  • Stretch marks on your abdomen, breasts, thighs, or buttocks
  • Darkening of the skin around your nipples
  • A line on the skin running from the belly button to the pubic hairline
  • The “mask of pregnancy” is patches of darker skin, usually over the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip.
  • Numb or tingling hands
  • Itching on the abdomen, palms, and soles of the feet. (Call your doctor if you have nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice or fatigue combined with itching. The can be signs of a serious liver problem.)
  • Swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face. (If you notice any sudden or extreme swelling or if you gain a lot of weight really quickly, call your doctor right away. This could be a sign of preeclampsia.)

13 Weeks – The baby continues to grow rapidly. The feet look like miniature feet and have been kicking for about a month, but the mother can’t feel the movement yet.

14 Weeks – Now approximately 3 ½ inches long, the baby is able to find his or her thumb and suck it. The fingernails and toenails are beginning to grow. The baby can also swallow and urinate.

15 Weeks – The baby now has an adult’s taste buds and may be able to taste the mother’s meals.

16 Weeks – Muscle tissue and bone continue to form, creating a more complete skeleton. Eyebrows, eyelashes and fine hair appear. The gender of the baby might be seen on ultrasound at this stage.

18 Weeks – The baby has almost doubled in size in just two weeks and now weighs approximately 7 ounces. The skeleton is hardening and calcifying and is visible on ultrasound. The baby is developing reflexes such as blinking and frowning. Unique fingerprints and toe prints have formed.

20 Weeks – The pregnancy is about half over and the mother is beginning to “show.” The baby is more active and the mother might feel slight fluttering. The baby can hear and recognize the mother’s voice. Unique waking and sleeping patterns are starting and the baby even has a favorite position to sleep in. The baby is covered by fine, downy hair called lanugo and a waxy coating called vernix. This protects the forming skin underneath.

22 Weeks – From now until about 32 weeks, the baby feels pain more intensely than at any other time in development. At this stage the baby weighs about one pound and is about 11 inches long.

24 Weeks – The baby weighs about one and one-half pounds and inhales amniotic fluid in preparation for breathing. If the baby is a boy, his testicles begin to move from the abdomen into the scrotum. If the baby is a girl, her uterus and ovaries are in place and a lifetime supply of eggs have formed in the ovaries.

26 Weeks – At approximately two pounds now, the baby can react to sounds outside the mother’s body. Eyes can respond to light and permanent teeth buds are apparent in the gums.

28 Weeks – Continuing to grow, a baby born at this stage is capable of breathing air with the support of intensive care. The brain is developed enough to coordinate rhythmic breathing and regulate body temperature.