Your baby is working on developing two more senses, taste and touch. All her organ systems are in place, but the specialization and maturation of the systems is continuing. If your baby is a girl, her reproductive organs have formed and are in the proper place. If your baby is a boy, his testes are beginning the descent from the abdomen to their proper place in the scrotum.
The bones in your baby’s middle ear are hardening, which is necessary for proper hearing and balance. Over the next few weeks you may find him responding more frequently to the sounds and noises around you.
Her lungs are beginning to produce a substance called surfactant. Surfactant is necessary for the lungs to function properly because it prevents the walls of the lungs from sticking to each other when she exhales. The development of the lungs is a long process and will not be complete until she is almost ready to be born.
His body has caught up with his head, and although the head is still large compared to an adult, your baby’s body and head are in the right proportions for a newborn.At the end of the 24th week your baby will be around 10 inches from crown to rump and weigh 2 pounds.
About this time, your baby’s spine will begin to form. The spine helps to protect the spinal cord and helps to support your baby in upright positions. The bones and muscles of his hand are developed enough now that he can clench his fingers into a fist.
This week her eyes will begin the process of reopening and she will be able to see. Her brain wave patterns for vision and hearing are similar to a newborn at this point.
- For most women the second trimester has brought some welcome changes. The uterus is too large for the pelvis, so there is less pressure on the bladder, but the uterus is not quite large enough to cause real problems with eating and breathing. You should have more energy than you did in the first trimester, along with an increased libido. You should also be feeling the baby move every day.
- Weight gain should be pretty steady now, meaning only that you continue to gain weight, not lose it. The growing uterus may be causing stretch marks across your lower abdomen and sides. The pressure of the uterus may also be causing some constipation and heartburn.
- Your thyroid gland is more active during pregnancy, which may cause an increased perspiration. Some women find that the increased blood volume during pregnancy causes their gums to bleed and nosebleeds.
- Although still early, some women begin to have leaking fluids from their breasts. It is normal for the breasts to leak, and normal for the breasts not to leak. It will have no effect on your ability to breastfeed.
To Do List
- You should continue to eat well and exercise to stay as healthy as possible. Although your baby has all his “parts,” these parts are growing and many are maturing so he can live on his own. Eating a good quality diet is important to your health and his.
- Assess your collection of maternity clothing. Does it fit properly? Is there room for more belly growth? Will the pieces remain comfortable into the next season? If your wardrobe will need adjustments, this is the time to start asking friends and family about borrowing clothes, receiving used maternity clothing or keeping an eye out at resale shops.
- Its time to start looking into doula services in your area. You can find local doula listings in the Natural Childbirth Directory. Be sure to interview a few, and select the doula who is the best fit for your family’s needs.
- If friends or family members expect to give you gifts, you may be asked to complete a baby registry. Begin locating stores in your area or online that have baby registries and make a list of the items you would like to include.