Pregnancy 101: Weeks 13 to 16
Welcome To The Second Trimester!
Good news: most women find that the second trimester (that’s weeks 13-28 for the uninitiated) is the easiest part of their pregnancy. With any luck, the next few weeks should see your nausea lifting, your appetite returning, and your baby bump blossoming. Say hello to the pregnancy glow!
Need To Know
By 16 weeks, your baby weighs around 100g or 3.5 ounces and has started performing more sophisticated movements like sucking, swallowing, grasping and grimacing. He or she can also now perceive light and sound from the outside world, so why not try talking or singing to your bump — you never know, you might get a response!
From around 16 weeks (or, occasionally, even sooner), many women start to feel the first flutterings of movement, which might feel like little ripples, bubbles or twitches in your lower abdomen. Second-time mothers tend to feel movement earlier than first-timers, and the position of your placenta will also affect how soon you feel that first kick. Don’t worry if you haven’t felt anything yet — anything up to 22 weeks is considered normal, so there’s still plenty of time!
Now that you’re in your second trimester, you’ll be seeing your healthcare provider for routine prenatal checkups more regularly: about every four weeks. As well as asking you how you’re feeling both physically and mentally, your doctor will check your weight, blood pressure and urine, listen in to your baby’s heartbeat using a handheld Doppler device, and feel your belly to get a sense of baby’s size and position. From around 20 weeks, they will also start to measure your bump (or “fundal height”) to check growth rate.
Average weight gain in the first trimester should only be about 1-5 lbs., but you can expect to gain about 1lb per week from now on. Don’t worry if you’ve struggled to gain — or even lost — weight over the past three months due to morning sickness, but talk to your doctor if you’re still not seeing a shift on the scale by 16 weeks.
The nausea and fatigue of the first trimester may be fading, but there are many more symptoms and side effects to look forward to in the second trimester and beyond! Your growing bump can throw off your center of balance, making you clumsier than usual, and high levels of pregnancy hormones can cause headaches, dizziness, indigestion and constipation. You may also notice cramping in your legs and feet, especially at night (top tip from our members: bananas before bed!)
Good To Have
It’s common for expectant moms to become anemic as their pregnancy progresses, due to the huge increase in blood volume (around 50%!) that the body undergoes in pregnancy. Eating iron-rich foods and taking iron supplements will help, especially when consumed alongside vitamin C, which improves iron absorption. Liquid supplements tend to be gentler on the stomach than pills or tablets.
Time To Do
Now that the worst of the nausea is (hopefully!) behind you, it’s an ideal time to get into a healthy diet and exercise routine, to help give you and your future little one the best chance of a problem-free pregnancy, labor, birth and beyond. Focusing on whole foods, healthy fats, and plenty of fruit and vegetables is always a good start, and keeping active throughout your pregnancy will give your mood and energy levels a boost, as well as all the other health benefits that come with regular exercise. Just be sure to stay within your “comfort zone” when exercising, and avoid any intense abdominal workouts.
Exercising your pelvic floor is equally important! By performing Kegel exercises regularly throughout your pregnancy and beyond, you can reduce your risk of developing complications like hemorrhoids or stress incontinence, and possibly speed up your recovery after the birth.
It’s a boring one: budget, budget, budget. Having a baby is an expensive business, and a common mistake new parents make is to leave kitting out the nursery until well into the third trimester, when it all finally starts to feel “real”. By giving yourself plenty of time to research and purchase the baby products you need, you can spread the cost and maybe even bag yourself a bargain or two by taking advantage of sales or second-hand steals. Check out our guide to the best baby gear for some great tips and product recommendations from our members!
Now that you’ve announced the good news to friends and family, it’s time to tell your employer that you’re expecting, if you haven’t already. You’ll want to discuss your maternity leave as soon as possible, to give you both a clear timeline to work toward, and plenty of time to arrange appropriate cover while you’re away.
The Big Baby Name Brainstorm
You’ll soon be able to find out if that little bundle of joy you’re carrying is a girl or a boy!
Now is a great time to revisit your lists for both genders and try to find some common ground. Have fun with it: you’ve still got plenty of time to narrow down your choices! Get creative and get a longlist going now so that you can see which names stand the test of time as your due date approaches, and which fall by the wayside.
Things you might want to consider include popularity (including local popularity), ease of spelling and pronunciation, flow with your surname and any middle or sibling names, and how well the name will age with your child: a baby Buddy or Blossom might be adorable, but an angst-ridden teen or fully-grown professional?