This article is part of a series of articles on pregnancy. It provides a summary of each stage of pregnancy, what to expect, and insights into how your baby is developing.
Take a look at the other articles in the series:
Your baby now measures over 9 inches in length.
At this stage, your "bump" will be around the size of a soccer ball.
You are now well into the second trimester of your pregnancy. Many women feel more comfortable during this time than in the first or third trimester, as the morning sickness has usually stopped and the tiredness and discomfort of the final trimester has not yet started.
However, you may also experience::
- heartburn and indigestion
- varicose veins
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- restless leg syndrome
- pelvic pain
- rapid hair and nail growth
- swelling in the hands and feet, due to water retention
As your pregnancy progresses, you can purchase a range of items to help you feel more comfortable, such as a belly support belt and maternity bras.
You will also have gained some weight.
Suggested weight gain for each BMI type is:
|BMI before pregnancy||Recommended weight gain|
|Below 18.5 (underweight)||27.5 to 40 pounds (lb) or 12.5 to 18 kilograms (kg)|
|18.5 to 24.9 (normal)||25 to 35 lb or 11.5 to 16 kg|
|25 to 29.9 (overweight)||15.5 to 25 lb or 7 to 11.5 kg|
|Over 30 (obese)||11 to 20 lb or 5 to 9 kg|
It is important to note that individuals vary, and your weight gain does not necessarily reflect the health of your baby.
However, too much or too little weight gain may need to be flagged up in some circumstances.
- If you put on a lot of weight very quickly, this can be a sign of preeclampsia due to water retention.
- It may indicate the baby is large, making a cesarian delivery more likely.
- Excess weight gain may increase the risk of gestational diabetes.
- Too little weight gain may be a sign of malnourishment, associated with preterm birth, low birth weight, and other complications.
If you gain too much weight, it can also be harder to lose later, which can lead to further complications.
Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy can lead to some emotional changes and possibly mood swings during pregnancy.
Thinking about how your body is changing may affect your emotions.
These are most common in the first and third trimesters, as major hormonal changes occur, but they tend to be more stable in the second trimester.
However, you may still experience some upheaval in the second trimester as you prepare for a new way of life. You may be concerned about the changes to your own body, how you will take care of the new baby, and possible relationship changes.
If you find these difficult to cope with, or if you are feeling anxious or down a lot of the time, speak to your health provider.
The following tips may help:
- eat a regular, healthful diet, and avoid overeating
- take some moderate exercise every day, such as walking
- join a yoga class or do relaxation
- make sure you get enough sleep
Joining a prenatal class will enable you to meet other people in a similar situation. Sharing experiences and learning more about what is to come can be enjoyable and make it easier to cope.
At week 25, your baby is now the size of a rutabaga or two juice boxes stacked on top of each other, measuring over 9 inches long and weighing more than a pound and a half.
The baby's eyelids open for the first time around this week. The brain, lungs, and digestive system are formed but not fully developed.
Developments that are underway include:
Head and neck: Auditory and visual systems are activated by fetal brain waves, the lips and mouth are increasingly sensitive, vision is improving with responses to light, and the eyelids can move. Permanent teeth buds are high in the gums. The nostrils are open.
Lungs: These are developing quickly, but they are not mature at this point. They produce a surfactant that will help them expand after delivery.
Blood: Small blood vessels are forming under the skin, called capillaries.
Heart rate is now around 140 beats per minute. During gestation, the heartbeat is much faster than it will be after delivery.
The baby continues to gain weight rapidly.
Things to do
Getting plenty of sleep is good for you and your baby. Most adults should have between 7 and 9 hours sleep.
During the first trimester, you probably needed a few extra hours, made up either through sleeping longer at night or by napping during the day.
In the second trimester, many women find they have more energy and need less sleep, but as you approach the third trimester, you may find yourself napping again.
At night, sleeping may be harder because of frequent bathroom visits and physical discomfort, such as indigestion. Try limiting your food and fluid intake toward bedtime to reduce these problems.
Screening for health problems
Around this time, the doctor may arrange a screening test for gestational diabetes, called the oral glucose challenge test (OGCT).
This is usually done between weeks 24 and 28, but women who have previously had gestational diabetes might be screened earlier.
If the test is positive, you may have to complete another test called an oral glucose tolerance test (GTT). If this is also positive, you will be diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes and the following will be recommended:
- following an eating plan that your health provider will supply
- getting physical exercise, usually 30 minutes a day five days a week
- monitoring blood glucose levels
If these do not control the blood sugar, medication may be recommended.
Other possible health problems at this time include:
Preterm labor: If you experience uterine contractions, which are painful and become repetitive, you should call your doctor. Also, call for any vaginal bleeding or leakage of fluid from your vagina.
Cholestasis of pregnancy: If you experience severe itching, you should tell your health provider, as it may be a sign of a rare but possibly serious liver condition.
Preeclampsia: If you have high blood pressure, this could indicate another serious condition, preeclampsia, that can be harmful for both mother and baby. You should seek medical help at once if your blood pressure goes up, or if you have severe headache, right upper abdominal pain, or rapid swelling, which can all be symptoms of preeclampsia.
You should continue to take care of your general health by eating a balanced diet, exercising, and avoiding toxins such as alcohol and tobacco.
It is time to start thinking about prenatal classes. Find out from your health provider what is available in your area.
You should also be doing kegel, or pelvic floor, exercises. These strengthen your pelvic muscles for delivery, and they can help prevent stress incontinence after giving birth.
Foods to avoid
During pregnancy, it can be hazardous to consume certain foods.
- fish that may contain high levels of mercury, such as shark, mackerel, swordfish, marlin, tilefish or orange roughy
- unpasteurized dairy products, such as raw milk and some cheeses, as there is a risk of listeria
- all meat, eggs, and poultry should be fully cooked, as they can contain salmonella
- untreated water, which can contain various bacteria
- smoked or pickled fish, refrigerated pâté, and cold-cut deli meat
- anything that contains raw egg, such as home-made mayonnaise or egg nog
Caffeine consumption should be kept to below 200 milligrams (mg), or two cups of instant coffee, a day.
How the placenta's immune system responds to infections can affect the mother's susceptibility to infections. To protect yourself and your baby, you should take care to avoid exposure to certain infections during pregnancy.
See your doctor if you think you might have flu, or better still, get a flu jab and prevent the problem before it happens.
Flu: This can lead to pneumonia and complications for the baby, especially later in pregnancy. It is safe to have a flu vaccine during pregnancy to prevent flu. If you think you might have flu, contact your health provider.
Toxoplasmosis: Avoid changing cat litter where possible, as this can be passed on in cat feces and it can lead to a loss of pregnancy or problems for the baby after delivery.
Rubella: Symptoms include a pink rash. Exposure to rubella in the U.S. is rare, due to vaccination programs, but if infection occurs, it can seriously affect the developing fetus. If you think you have been exposed to rubella, contact a health provider as soon as possible.
Cytomegalovirus: This is a common virus that many people are exposed to as children. Infection is normally mild, but if it occurs during pregnancy, it can be passed on to the unborn child, with serious effects.
If you have questions regarding your pregnancy, be sure to contact your health care provider.