13-16 weeks pregnant
Welcome to the second trimester! At 13-16 weeks you’re now entering the middle phase of your pregnancy. For the majority of women, the next three months is the best part as sickness and tiredness starts to subside and you start to bloom!
Things to do
|You’re now into the middle phase of your pregnancy. For the majority of women, the next three months is the best part.
You’ll probably be feeling much better than you have been. Any sickness you’ve had is likely to have gone and you won’t feel so tired. In fact, you may feel quite energetic.
You’ll be noticing some changes in how your body looks. Your nipples and the area around them may be darker in colour. There may also be a brown line starting to appear down the middle of your abdomen. This will gradually fade after the baby is born. Some women get brown patches on their faces too – these can get worse if you’re exposed to the sun a lot. Your tummy is becoming more rounded and your clothes are starting to become too tight for you. As you get bigger, stretch marks may start to appear.
|Your baby is now completely formed, and by week 16 he is about 15cm long.
For the rest of your pregnancy he will be growing and maturing until he is able to survive outside the womb.
Fine dark downy hair (called lanugo) is beginning to grow on his body and the eyebrows and eyelashes are starting to appear. Some babies have hair on their heads too.
His bones are getting harder, and tiny nail buds are appearing on his fingers and toes.
He can curl his hands into fists and make grasping movements.His muscles are getting stronger too, and he is moving more vigorously. You probably still won’t be able to feel it yet, though by week 16 you might just begin to sense some slight fluttery movements in your lower abdomen, especially if you’ve already had a baby.
|If you’re feeling more energetic, this is a good time to get into the habit of doing some regular exercise, like swimming, walking, yoga or an antenatal exercise class. If you’re not already doing pelvic floor exercises, start now.
Pregnancy is not just a means to an end – it’s a good time to really start looking after yourself and getting into good habits!
As your baby’s spine has now developed, you don’t need to continue taking a folic acid supplements unless your doctor advises otherwise.
Around week 16, you may be offered a blood test (either an AFP test, a double test or a triple test) to indicate the likely level of risk that your baby may have Down’s syndrome, or a neural tube defect (an abnormality caused by the brain or spinal cord not developing properly). It’s up to you whether you have this test or not, make sure you understand the full implications of the test before you agree.
If you do have it, it’s important that it’s done at the right time in your pregnancy, so you need to have an ultrasound scan to confirm when your baby is due. If you’re having an amniocentesis, this may be done in week 16 too.
If you’re working, this may be a good time to invest in a couple of suitable maternity outfits that will last throughout your pregnancy.
In the UK, find out whether you’re entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance. These are explained in the booklet Babies and Children, which you can get from your local Benefits Agency or Post Office. Talk to your employers about what their policy on maternity leave is.
All pregnancies are different, so don’t worry if you’re not experiencing everything exactly as it says here.