You're now well and truly into your second trimester, and hopefully you're feeling great! Not only should you be experiencing a surge of energy at this time, but you've probably had your first ultrasound now and seen a little glimpse of your tiny baby.
You might be starting to share your good news with friends and family which can be a very exciting time. The start of the second trimester is an especially exciting time for Dad in particular. Until now, most of the big changes have been going on internally, and your partner may have been feeling a bit left out. Now that you're finally starting to "show" it's a great time for Dad to begin some Daddy-Baby bonding.
Baby: What's Happening?
If you could have a peek inside your uterus at this time you'll see your baby making all manner of funny facial expressions. With the brain now allowing for lots more deliberate movements, your baby is figuring out how to control the muscles in the face and is squinting, frowning and even pouting. No smiling yet though, that won't happen until around 4 or 5 weeks after the birth, and it's definitely worth noting in your baby journal!
Your baby's sex organs are becoming more obvious and the difference between boys and girls is much more apparent. Although it's still very early, and you probably won't have a chance to find out your baby's gender until your next scan at around 20 weeks, the chance of successfully determining the sex of a fetus increases from 46% at 11 weeks of pregnancy, to 90% at 14 weeks gestation.
Your baby has been swallowing amniotic fluid and urinating for the past couple of weeks, but now the intestines are producing meconium which will form your baby's first bowel movement. Unlike normal baby poops which are usually quite soft and range from bright yellow to dark brown in color, meconium is a green, sticky, tar-like substance that's very difficult to clean up off of those newborn baby butt cheeks!
The lanugo covering your baby's skin starts to get thicker now, and hair also starts to grow on the head and eyebrows. While some babies are born with a full head of hair, others are born almost bald. In some cases, even babies born with long and thick hair can become bald within the first few months after birth, and the new hair might be an entirely different color and texture to what it was before. It's not clear why some babies are hairier than others, but an old wives tale suggests that you'll experience heartburn if you're carrying a hairy baby!
You: What's Happening?
Although you're still 24 weeks away from giving birth (give or take!), your cervix begins to shorten at this point in preparation for the birth. Although it won't fully efface until your baby is ready to be born, there are some big changes going on already. At 14 weeks, shortening of the cervix is completely normal and does not indicate that your baby will make an early appearance.
You might be a little achey this week in your lower abdomen as your uterus continues to grow upwards and outwards from your pubic bone. You should have a little rounded belly now, although it'll still be easily hidden by clothing if you're not ready to let the world know you're pregnant just yet.
As your uterus expands, it has to go somewhere, and there's not that much extra room in there. You'll probably find some of your poor organs getting a little bit squashed, especially your bladder and stomach. This may cause you to need to use the bathroom much more often, and the pressure on the stomach could cause a bit of excess gas and flatulence! It may be embarrassing, but it's completely normal. You might find yourself saying "pardon me' a lot during your pregnancy.
The second trimester is a good point at which to spend some quality time with your partner. Perhaps go on a little romantic getaway together, enjoying couple time before all your attention is focused on your baby. The second trimester is considered the best time for flying; the nausea, exhaustion and higher risk of miscarriage of the first trimester is behind you, but you're not yet ready to give birth. Many airlines do not allow women to fly beyond 36 weeks of pregnancy, or 32 weeks for multiple births.
A "babymoon' is becoming more and more popular and usually involves a time of relaxation and pampering for the Mom-to-be. Hotels and resorts that specifically offer pregnancy massage are particularly popular. If you do choose to have a vacation before baby arrives, be sure to take all your hospital notes with you. In the rare case that you need to get yourself checked out by a local Doctor, it will always be easier if you have your pregnancy history to hand.