Weeks 13 to 16

Your second trimester officially begins at week 13. This is when your risk of miscarriage drops dramatically. Take this time to enjoy your pregnancy — you’ll probably find the weeks of your second trimester to be the easiest.

About your baby

Illustration of fetal development weeks 13 to 16This is a time of rapid growth for your baby. Your baby now has more muscle tissue and harder, more developed bones. Your baby is rolling, kicking, and moving a lot — flexing tiny arms and legs. Skin is beginning to form, but it’s almost transparent at this point.

Your baby’s kidneys are functioning and start to pass urine. Most of the amniotic fluid that nourishes and protects the baby comes from this urine. The intestinal tract is starting to work too, producing meconium, which will later become the first bowel movement.

You might now be able to hear the heartbeat with a Doppler heart monitor. By 16 weeks, your baby is about 6 inches long and weighs about 3 to 4 ounces.

About you

By week 13, you’ll likely feel better and more energetic. Morning sickness and breast tenderness are easing. It’s probably time to shop for (or borrow) maternity clothes because your belly is starting to grow.

If this is not your first pregnancy, you might feel your baby move. (It takes a little longer to feel it the first time you are pregnant.) These first flutters you feel are called “quickening.”

What’s normal:

  • You may experience heartburn along with a sour taste in your mouth. It’s not a cause for concern, but it’s uncomfortable.
  • Pregnancy hormones also cause the digestive tract to relax and work more slowly. As a result, you might feel constipated, especially as your pregnancy progresses.

Tips for staying healthy

  • Keep weight gain under control by watching your portion sizes. This will make it easier to lose weight after the baby is born.
  • Make sure you get vitamin C daily and drink plenty of water to reduce your risk of bladder infections.
  • We recommended that pregnant women get a flu vaccine.
  • Even as your belly expands, continue to wear a seatbelt any time you are in the car. Wear both the lap belt and the shoulder harness, but place the lap belt low, below the baby (not across your stomach or uterus).

Your to-do list

  • Your doctor may recommend prenatal tests, such as a Maternal Serum Quadruple Test (also called the quad test or expanded AFP screening) or an Alpha-Fetoprotein Screening (AFP). There are blood tests that detect signs of a possible birth defect.
  • Your doctor may also recommend you have an amniocentesis around week 16 to check for birth defects and genetic problems.
  • Announce the news at work. Check your employer’s maternity leave policy. If your company has 50 or more employees, you’re entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, in addition to any state or employer-sponsored leave.


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