The Second Trimester

As an expectant mummy, especially if this is your first baby, you may be overwhelmed and confused by the many changes that your body goes through. However, understanding these changes can help you face each new day with a sense of wonder and anticipation. An obstetrician calculates pregnancy dates from the first day of the last menstrual period and assesses progress in terms of weeks. So let’s take a virtual tour of this 40-week journey and find out what goes on with you and your baby during this adventure.


BABY: Your baby is now able to swallow and urinate into the amniotic fluid. All the vital organs are formed and are functional. From now on they will grow in size and efficiency.

MUMMY: This is the turning point that you have been waiting for. The nausea has left, and you are eating well again. You do not feel as tired and light-headed and it is possible to resume some exercises, which also help to improve energy levels.

You notice some pigmentation or darkening of the nipples, and there is a dark line running down the tummy which your doctor calls the linea nigra. Colleagues start to realise you are pregnant because you cannot hide that bulge anymore!

BABY: The placenta begins proper function and the umbilical cord begins to take on the role of blood circulation. Your baby now measures 10cm and weighs 45g.

MUMMY: After making do with all the largersized and loose clothes you can find, you finally decide it is time to go shopping for maternity wear.

BABY: The neck is developed and the head is now able to turn freely.

The lungs improve their efficiency, and there are tiny movements, which are practices for breathing.

MUMMY: The more experienced mummies can start to feel little flutters of baby movements.

You are trying not to gain excessive weight now, as your appetite is back to normal, or may be even better than normal! You remind yourself to stay away from unhealthy high calorie snacks like cookies and chocolates.

BABY: Hand movements are more refined and baby is now able to clench the fist and bend the fingers. There is rapid growth in size. Baby now measures 14cm and weighs 110g.

MUMMY & DADDY: This is the appointment you have been waiting for. Your doctor will try to identify the gender of your baby!

It is fine either way but knowing if it is going to be a little boy or a little girl helps so much in bonding with your baby, in your prayers and good thoughts throughout the day. Of course, you can now start shopping for more gender specific items as well! Remember though that you may want to recycle these little outfits for your second child so don’t buy everything in just pink or blue. Neutrals are good too.

BABY: Baby begins to hear! The surrounding amniotic fluid helps external sounds travel. At this time, mummy’s heart, stomach and voice can be heard. However, these sounds may not be interpreted by the immature brain at this time.

MUMMY: Your doctor has scheduled amniocentesis for mummies who are assessed to be at high risk of having Down Syndrome babies. Your partner and you should decide to go ahead with the test because it allows you to find out if your baby is OK. This procedure comes with a small risk of miscarriage and you may feel anxious about the results. The good news is that it
takes only three days for the results to be out.

BABY: Your baby now hears sounds from the external environment but in a muffled manner. If a loud noise is made near the mummy, you may feel the baby ‘jump’. Your baby now weighs about 250g.

MUMMY: You need larger-sized bras! The breasts are starting to enlarge and get engorged. Colostrum may start to form and you may notice that these slightly cloudy
fluids sometimes stain your garments. This is the stuff your baby’s first meal is made of. The fluid is filled with nutrients and antibodies.

BABY: The little buds that will become adult teeth start to appear behind the structures that will form milk teeth.

MUMMY: Although your appetite is great, you still cannot eat as much, as a heavy meal may cause heartburn. Doctor has advised you to keep your meals light and not to sit or lie down straight after a meal.

You can take a stroll after every meal – window-shop for baby stuff at lunch, get some fresh air and blood circulating in your legs after dinner.

BABY: Hair begins to grow, and the teeth are now in the jawbone. Your baby has a distinct and unique identity as the fingerprints are developed.

At this time, baby is half the final length but only about 12% of the final weight at birth.

MUMMY: Today is the appointment for a detailed ultrasound scan. This scan aims to rule out serious structural abnormalities such as heart defects and skeletal anomalies.

The various organ systems are shown to you, and it is amazing to see the baby’s insides as well!

BABY: Hair appears. A downy light hair called ‘lanugo’ is in place to help baby maintain a constant body temperature. This hair will have mostly disappeared by the
time of birth.

MUMMY: For those of you who have not started using oils or creams to prevent stretch marks, you may start to notice them on your tummy, thighs and breasts. You
have probably heard from friends who went through pregnancy that they may fade after delivery. However, they usually do not disappear altogether.

BABY: The brain and all senses are developing very rapidly. Muscles are getting stronger too, and your baby can definitely get your attention when he or she wants to!

The chest muscles are getting baby ready for breathing actions and the lungs are maturing day by day.

MUMMY: You see some dilated blood vessel on your legs. These varicose veins are common during pregnancy as the pressure in the tummy hinders blood as they return from the legs to the heart.

Dilated blood vessels also develop elsewhere, such as piles, which tend to bleed if stools are not kept soft and regular, and congested vulva giving an uncomfortable, engorged or swollen feeling.

BABY: Your baby is producing and swallowing the amniotic fluid that is all around. This swallowing action sometimes results in a cough or in some hiccups, which can be felt by you. They are transient, regular, almost pulsatile movements, which can be mistaken for a heartbeat.

MUMMY: Baby is getting heavier and that stretchy feeling in the groin can be quite uncomfortable. Particularly for mummies who have delivered vaginally before, the ligaments are now starting to loosen up, and there is a sore wobbly feeling when you are walking or when you stand suddenly after sitting for a while.

This ligament strain behaves like an old ankle sprain. Once it is stretched, the ligaments are ‘weakened’ and prone to further injuries.

BABY: Your baby’s hearing is now developed and acute. External sounds can be heard really well and exposing the baby to calming soothing music may help those sounds to register and provide a sense of security even after birth. Baby now measures 30cm and weighs 650g.

MUMMY: Your antenatal classes have started. You have not attended any classes for a while, but you are determined to ace this class and pick up as many parenting skills as you can.

This ligament strain behaves like an old ankle sprain. Once it is stretched, the ligaments are ‘weakened’ and prone to further injuries.

BABY: Vernix is a white oily, creamy substance that coats your baby’s body and protects the skin from being soaked in amniotic fluid. This fluid increases in acidic content with more urine input from the baby. The vernix will mostly dissolve by the time of delivery but enough of it will help to lubricate as your baby negotiates the birth canal on the way out.

MUMMY & DADDY: Both mummy and daddy can now feel baby’s movements. Daddy can now feel the movements through your tummy and share the joy!

BABY: During this week, your baby’s eyes will begin to open and even blink. If baby were to be born now, there would be a 50% chance of survival with advanced neonatal care. Baby now weighs 850g.

MUMMY: Leg cramps seem to appear more frequently. This may be due to circulation changes and water retention. It could also be due to inadequate water intake. Many pregnant women drink less water to avoid frequent visits to the bathroom, and this can lead to dehydration.

BABY: Your baby opens eyes periodically. Eyebrows and eyelashes are in place!

MUMMY: As you increase in weight, and this weight is mostly in the front of your body, take care not to arch your back more and more. This could result in muscle spasm and backaches.

BABY: Your baby now manages regular rhythmic breathing movements. Little boys have their testicles descend into the scrotum. Your baby measures 35cm and weighs about 1.2kg.

MUMMY: As your baby gets heavier, the weight of the womb may compress on your large blood vessels and impede circulation back to the baby. As such, it is beneficial to sleep sideways. The water comfortably buffers baby so there is no worry about ‘squashing’ the baby!

Article is extracted from Mother & Child guidebook. For information on Obstetrics & Gynaecology
health care, treatment and services, please visit

To read more on the first trimester, click here.

To read more on the third trimester, click here.