2nd Trimester

Congratulations you are going to have a baby! This section will help to answer your questions about trimester 2, your relationship with your partner and planning for the birth of your baby. It will also prepare you for the most important role you will have – being a parent!



All About Baby

This trimester runs from 16wks to the end of your 24th week. Your baby is about 16 cm (6 and ½ inches) and weighs about 100 grams (4 oz). By the end of this trimester your baby will be about 30 cm (12 inches) and be about 600grams or about 1 1/3 pounds.

By the beginning of this trimester all of your baby’s body systems have developed and continue to mature, including your baby’s brain. Be sure you are getting adequate amounts of folate and iron, your baby’s brain needs nutrients to continue to develop.

Did you know that your baby can hear your voice by the beginning of this trimester? Talking to your baby even this early will help with your baby’s language development. One of the exciting parts to this stage is that during this period you will begin to feel your baby’s movements. Some moms may feel movement as early as 16 weeks, while first-time moms may not feel these until about 20 weeks. Be sure to share this news with your partner, feeling the baby moves helps them to begin to connect with your baby.

All about you, Mom

As you enter the beginning of this stage of pregnancy there is a much lower risk of miscarriage and for many moms this is when they start to share the news with family, friends, and colleagues. Your growing baby results in a change in your shape. It is during this stage that you will find that some of your clothes are no longer comfortable to wear. For many moms, they no longer feel the nausea and vomiting of the first trimester and their appetite improves. Many moms may become anxious about their weight gain.

The second trimester brings relief from some of the discomforts that were felt in the first trimester. There is relief from the nausea and vomiting, fatigue, frequent urination and mood swings. New discomforts may appear such as inflamed gums; breast changes, lower or upper back pain, groin or pubic pain, mild swelling of hands, ankles, and feet, heartburn, hemorrhoids, constipation, and skin changes – but there are measures you can take for relief.

Remember to contact your health care provider if you encounter any of the Pregnancy Red Flags. For many moms-to-be there is a leveling off of the emotional swings that they may have experienced in the beginning of their pregnancy. Remember each woman is different and no two pregnancies are exactly alike – even in the same mother. If you are concerned in any way about the emotions you are having, be sure to talk with your health care provider about them. When should moms-to-be or dads-to-be be concerned about their moods? Check out these emotional red flags.

Continue to keep healthy by eating nutritiously, being physically active, managing your stress, avoiding or limiting harmful substances, maintaining proper dental care, getting enough rest and sleep and limiting lifestyle practices that could be harmful.

For most moms they will continue to have regular prenatal visits with their health care provider about every four weeks unless a complication arises which requires more frequent monitoring. Your health care provider will continue to order different tests during this stage of your pregnancy to monitor your baby’s health and development. Tests and screens may include an ultrasound, maternal serum screening, glucose screen, and others dependent on your age such as amniocentesis. To make an informed decision about any tests, screening or treatment that is suggested, your health care provider should provide you with information that will answer the following key questions:

  • Why is this test, screen, procedure or treatment being done?
  • How will this test, screen, procedure or treatment be done?
  • When will this test, screen, procedure or treatment be done?
  • What are the risks to baby if we have this test, screen, procedure or treatment?
  • What are the risks to baby if we have this test, screen, procedure or treatment?
  • Are there any alternatives?
  • What might happen is we don’t do this test, screen, procedure or treatment now?

Share these questions with your partner for them to use when they accompany you to appointments or if you are admitted to hospital.

Premature or preterm labour can happen in the second trimester. Babies who are born premature may have problems with their lungs, digestive system, eyes, ears, skin and immune system. Some of these can affect them the rest of their life. You should become familiar with the signs and symptoms of preterm labour and what you should do. Although, any mother could experience preterm labour, there are some strategies that you can do to help to prevent it from occurring.

Learning what happens during labour, ways to cope in labour, pain options that are available and the medical procedures that may be done will help you to be prepared should you go into labour early. If you haven’t already registered for prenatal classes, consider registering now. These classes will help to prepare you for labor, birth and the transition to becoming parents.

All about you, Dad/Partner

For many dads and partners this is the stage of pregnancy when it begins to feel real. You may notice the changing shape of your partner and some of the discomforts she experiences related to the progression of the pregnancy. Once mom begins to feel baby’s movement, and shares this experience with you, it becomes harder to deny that there is actually a baby and that you will become a father.

Some of your lifestyle habits can have an impact on your developing baby and mom’s health. Smoking cigarettes or marijuana etc. in Mom’s presence can ultimately reach your baby. Developing babies who are exposed to second hand smoke are at greater risk for preterm birth and smaller birth weight. Young children who are raised in a home where they are exposed to smoke are at greater risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, asthma, allergies, croup, pneumonia and ear infections.

All about you, the Couple: Couple Relationship

For many couples this may be an enjoyable time during the pregnancy. Mom’s emotional swings, morning sickness and fatigue have eased. Both of you likely feel the pregnancy is more real, especially once you can feel your baby’s movements. Friction between the two of you can still arise, so try and use effective communication skills and communication strategies. For some couples, abuse may actually get worse as the pregnancy continues. If this applies to you there are resources that can help.

To prepare for the final stage of pregnancy when Mom may experience more physical discomforts, discuss who does what around your home and any expectations around different household tasks.

Mom’s changing body shape, including fuller curves and breasts, may have an influence on the sexual desire that both of you may have. If you haven’t already, be sure to ask your health care provider if there is any reason why you should not have intercourse.

All about you, the Couple: Parenting

During the early part of this trimester you may make your decision around which health care provider will deliver your baby and the setting where your baby will be born. If you have not registered for prenatal classes, now is a good time to find classes in your area. It is a great way to meet other couples who are expecting and to learn information about pregnancy, childbirth and getting ready to be a parent. Visit www.welcometoparenting.com for information on a very unique, comprehensive, all online prenatal and parenting course created by our experts. 

Once Mom’s pregnancy becomes apparent to others, both of you might have family, friends, colleagues and even complete strangers give you advice about pregnancy, birth and raising a child. For some couples these stories and advice can be overwhelming! How can you deal with this unwanted advice – there are strategies that you can use.

Part of becoming a parent is protecting your baby now during pregnancy as well as after they are born. What factors in your workplace may cause risks for your developing baby? Mom, do you have to travel for your job? What impact does this have on your pregnancy and at what point is travel no longer recommended? Learning about what you are exposed to will help to protect you and your baby. As your pregnancy becomes more real to the both of you- consider how to make your home a safe and healthier place both for you and your baby.

What will we name our baby? Do we name our baby after a family member or not? What does a name mean? Parents often have several discussions about names before deciding on a name or names they both like.

Are you thinking about the kind of parent you want to be? This is not uncommon for both moms and dads during this part of pregnancy. Being a “positive parent” can help you develop a positive and warm relationship with your baby. What does it mean to be a positive parent? What is the Comfort, Play & Teach approach and how will this help you to become a positive parent? What is this thing called ‘motherhood’ or ‘fatherhood’ How are both parents important for a child’s development?

Towards the middle of this stage, baby’s movements are more present. You will likely start thinking about the equipment and furniture you will need to care for this wee one. First time parents are often overwhelmed by the different gear needed and the variety available in every price range. What do you really need for your baby? What safety considerations should you think about when purchasing or borrowing baby items?

Be sure to visit the Prenatal section for more on thinking about pregnancy, all three trimesters and for postnatal information.  

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