Your baby now measures about 3.1 inches (8 cm) from crown to rump. Because the amniotic fluid around the baby transmits sound, the baby will gradually start to hear her mother-to-be’s voice and heartbeat. The hair on baby’s head and eyebrows is becoming coarser. If the baby is going to have dark hair the pigment cells in the hair follicles start producing black pigment.
Your baby’s ribs, blood vessels and retinas are clearly visible through her papery skin. Lanugo are very fine hairs that help the baby to regulate body temperature and are now starting to cover the baby’s skin. Body hair mirrors the pattern of the skin to form shapes that look like fingerprints all over the body.
You’re now into the second-third of your pregnancy—the second trimester. For most women, their pregnancy-related nausea has subsided. In fact, you might even be feeling really fabulous—if so, that’s wonderful!
Many women consider the second trimester to be the best part of their pregnancy and this period is sometimes referred to as the “Golden 100”. But, if you still have morning sickness or other issues, these days may feel far from golden. This pregnancy thing is not fair. It’s wonderful for some women. Less so for others. Each pregnancy is different.
When you have been pregnant before, it’s typical to feel “seriously” pregnant already. Many also feel that it gets slightly heavier and slightly more work with each pregnancy. Of course, if you have several children at home, it can be challenging to find an opportunity to rest and recoup. Could you get more help and assistance from friends and family during this period?
There’s a lot going on in your body and your heart’s capacity is 20% greater than when you are not pregnant. This is to make sure that you and your baby get enough oxygen. Your heart is also beating slightly faster than usual, from about 70–75 beats per minute before you became pregnant to about 85–90 beats per minute toward the end. Your blood volume continues to increase throughout your entire pregnancy. All combined, this can make you feel more out of breath than usual.
A feeling of being out of breath, or “winded”, as if you were in really poor shape, is a condition many women experience when they are expecting. Your pregnancy is increasing the load on all organs. Your body is making a new little human being! During pregnancy, at least one liter extra blood is manufactured, which means that your heart has to work faster to pump the blood around your body, which in turn causes your pulse to rise. When your pulse rises, you need to breathe a bit faster.
Another reason why you feel out of breath is that the baby in your uterus needs oxygen. The oxygen to your baby goes via your blood to the placenta where it is “unloaded”. Your baby’s bloodstream collects new oxygen that is transported to the baby via the umbilical cord. It’s incredibly well thought out.
If you feel extremely out of breath, speak with your midwife or physician so that they can decide if you need an appointment to rule out something else as the reason why you feel breathless.
The increase in blood volume means that you produce more urine than usual and you need to pee often.
Your body now needs more energy to cope with everything that’s going on. We recommend that you eat one extra snack a day, such as a sandwich, a piece of fruit and a glass of milk or unsweetened, vitamin-enriched oat or soy milk. You should expect to need even more energy during your third trimester.
Have you thought about names yet? The external reproductive organs are fully formed now so you’ll be able to see whether you’re having a boy or a girl if your partner undergoes an ultrasound. Although he or she will not be born for quite some time yet, thinking about names can be fun. Online name lists can give some great ideas, and there are even books on the subject. Do you or your partner have a family name that’s passed on from generation to generation?