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Health & Pregnancy

Pregnancy Stages: Your Baby, Your Body

A trimester-by-trimester look at how you and your baby are growing.
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The Second Trimester (Pregnancy Honeymoon)

Doctors often call this the "honeymoon trimester." Many women have put the nausea, sore breasts, and fatigue of the first trimester in the rear-view mirror. You're big enough to proudly show off a growing belly but not yet so ungainly that turning over in bed requires help.

During this trimester, your baby will:

  • Triple in length -- more or less -- from about 6 inches at week 14 or 15 to about 14 inches at 27 weeks. At the start of this trimester, she'll be about the size of a peach. By the end, she'll be more like an eggplant.
  • Begin to hear the cacophony of sounds inside your uterus -- your pounding heart, swooshing blood as it rushes through your veins, and the gurgles of your stomach digesting lunch.
  • Develop fine, downy hair called lanugo, which usually shows up first around the eyebrows and upper lip.

You're changing, too -- inside and out:

  • Most pregnant women begin to "show" during the second trimester. You likely gained less than 5 pounds during your first trimester, but now the number on the scale is edging relentlessly upward. As your second trimester proceeds, you'll gain an average of 1 to 2 pounds per week.
  • Your internal organs will relocate to accommodate your growing uterus. Your rib cage will move upward by as much as 2 inches.

The Third Trimester (Nearing the Finish Line)

During the third trimester, Perez-Delboy says, "It's all about weight gain -- for baby and mom." As delivery day nears, you may be feeling fatigued, ungainly, and short of breath, but you may also be enjoying the beauty of your rounded belly. Meanwhile, inside that belly, your baby:

  • Is becoming "safer for the outside" with every passing day. In a high-level neonatal intensive care unit like Perez-Delboy's, a fetus born at 24 weeks has about a 50-50 chance of survival. By 28 weeks -- just four short weeks later -- about nine in every 10 babies born survive.
  • Is beginning to "practice breathe" -- not air, but amniotic fluid.
  • Is active enough that you might detect a hand, foot, or elbow poking at you through your abdomen.
  • Has grown from the size of an eggplant or large papaya at the beginning of the trimester to about the size of a small pumpkin by the time those first contractions start.

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