Baby is developing at a remarkable rate while taking on more recognizable features. Your little one is the size of a naval orange! Baby is measuring around 4 ½ inches and weighs 2 ½ ounces while growing more and more with each passing week. The ears and eyes have completed their transition and found a home in their proper locations.
This week is all about repetition as baby learns to perform the acts necessary to survive after birth. Amniotic fluid is passed through the air sacs that will eventually become lungs as breathing becomes a learned behavior. Sucking and swallowing is also in full force as baby prepares for the eating process that will take place after the umbilical cord isn’t doing all of the work.
Baby’s legs are now longer than its arms and will continue to grow over time. That muscle development that occurred last week is paying off as baby learns how to work its appendages. Leg stretches, toe curls, grasping, and such are becoming part of baby’s regular exercise routine. You won’t feel anything just yet because baby is so small, but it is getting the hang of everything.
Baby’s eyes are still fused shut but they can respond to light. Even taste buds, though useless right now, are forming and will come in handy after birth. If you’ve been anxiously waiting to find out the gender of your growing baby, you might be able to find out this week! The big reveal all depends on the clarity of the picture and your baby’s willingness to position properly, so if it doesn’t work out, don’t be too disappointed.
Now that you’re comfortably into your second trimester you should notice some regular weight gain. You’ve likely gained 5 pounds from your pre-pregnancy weight (a little more or less is completely normal!) and you can expect to gain about one pound per week on average. You should weigh yourself weekly or bi-weekly on a routine schedule to make sure you’re on pace.
As baby continues to use your nutrients to grow, it’s vital to maintain a healthy diet and proper care. Hormonal shifts can trigger gingivitis and if not addressed, that can turn into periodontal disease, which has been linked to premature labor and preeclampsia. When brushing, pay close attention to your gums that will likely be red, swollen, and prone to bleeding. You may even notice small bumps on your gums, but those will go away after you deliver.
Your chronically stuffy nose is also likely due to hormones bringing an increased blood flow to your mucus membranes, called “rhinitis of pregnancy.” You may even experience nosebleeds, which is common for some pregnant women.
If your doctor has discussed amniocentesis, expect it to occur between now and 18 weeks. If your baby is at a high risk for chromosomal or genetic concerns, your doctor may request a test on the amniotic fluid. Conditions such as Down Syndrome, cystic fibrosis, or spinal bifida are among those that the test can look for, but the procedure is associated with some risks and is only recommended to certain women.
Stress can rise within you and your partner but it is completely normal. Everyone wants the best for their child so rest easy knowing that every new parent stresses over the welfare of the child. Feel free to take an extra bubble bath to help soothe these stresses!
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