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Fetal development: Let's Look at the Second Trimester

It's at this time your unborn baby will start looking like a baby.

Your pregnancy is going along fine.  Once you reach trimester two, in many ways the unborn child inside you will start to seem more like a real baby.  At your prenatal appointments, you might be able to hear the heartbeat, and as your abdomen gets larger, you'll probably have to start wearing a different wardrobe.  This is all because your body is adjusting to the presence of a live baby inside you.  A couple of months ago, it was just a group of cells.  Now he / she has its own organs, muscles and nerves.

Week 13: You'll get a kick out of it.

Starting around now, your baby is able to move in a jerky kind of way--flexing its arms and yes, kicking.  The child can maybe even suck its thumb.  His / her eyelids are still fused together at this point for protection.  Some small ribs will start developing.

Week 14: Enter--the hormones.

Around this time, hormones will start kicking into gear and developing.  This is when the boy's prostate gland will develop and the girl's ovaries will move into the pelvis from the abdomen.  The baby's first bowel movement, known as the meconium, will take place in the child's intestinal tract.  At the end of this week, the baby's mouth roof is completely formed.

Week 15: Give me some skin.

At week 15, the baby's skin starts forming.  At first, it's almost totally transparent.  The child's scalp and eyebrows might also make their appearance.  And the baby's bone and marrow will continue developing.

Week 16: Making faces.

At week 16, the child will be between four and five inches in length and can usually make a fist.  His eyes will become sensitive to light and he will have more developed and pronounced face muscles--and might use them to convey a variety of expressions.

Week 17: Fat is beautiful.

During week 17, fat stores will start developing beneath the baby's skin.

Week 18: Do you hear what I hear?

As the baby's nerve endings from his brain connect to the ears,, the child might actually hear your heart beating and your stomach rumbling.  He could even become startled at loud noises.

Week 19: Can you go "Lanugo"?

At this stage, the baby's skin will be protected by a white, pasty coating known as vermix.  Under it is what's called "lanugo"--down-like hair that covers the child's body.  The baby's kidneys will be producing urine.

Week 20: Halfway home.

You're now halfway into the pregnancy, and the baby will be around half a foot long and weigh around nine ounces.  The baby's skin will continue thickening and he will develop eyebrows and hair on the scalp.  His limbs will become well-developed.

Week 21: Evolving nourishment.

At this pint, the child starts absorbing slight amounts of sugar via amniotic fluid.  Also, his bone marrow begins creating blood cells.

Week 22: Good taste.

In week 22, your baby's taste buds will begin forming on his tongue.  His brain and nerves can now also process the sense of touch.  Boys' testes start descending this week, while the girl's ovaries and uterus are in place.

Week 23: Take a deep breath.

The baby's lungs will start producing a substance called surfactant, which allows his air sacs within his lungs to inflate.  His skin is now becoming less transparent and he starts looking more like the newborn you'll eventually see.

Week 24: It's a balancing act.

At this point, your child will weigh around a pound and a half.  He has footprints and fingerprints forming.  Your child's inner ear is now fully developed, giving him a strong sense of balance.

Week 25: Let's explore!

By now, the child's hands are completely developed--but the hands' nerve connections are not.  He is entertained by exploring structures within your uterus.

Week 26: Close your eyes.

By now, the baby is closing in on two pounds. He has well formed eyelashes and brows and his hair is getting more plentiful.  His eyes are totally developed, but he probably won't open them for another couple of weeks.
Your baby weighs between 1 1/2 and 2 pounds. The eyebrows and eyelashes are well formed, and the hair on your baby's head is longer and more plentiful. Although your baby's eyes are fully developed, they may not open for another two weeks.

Week 27: Trimester two ends.

Week 27 is the end of trimester number two.  At this point, the child's liver, lungs and immunity system are developing.  If he makes it to this point, his chances of survival are 85 percent or higher.  Here are some things to do to improve his odds:

Remember to take your prenatal vitamin.

  • Keep yourself at a healthy weight.
  • Get regular exercise (after your doctor approves it).
  • Eat healthy.
  • Keep your stress to a minimum.
  • See your doctor regularly for prenatal checkups.
  • Never smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs. 
  • Only take medication with your doctor's permission.
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