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Pregnancy Checklist: Second Trimester

Photograph by Twenty20

You've made it through the morning sickness and fatigue of the first trimester and are into the middle third of your pregnancy. Your second trimester checklist includes understanding how your baby is growing, what you need for your own body — as well as hers — and what to expect when you visit the doctor.

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Symptoms Subsiding

Even though you may have some new symptoms popping up — such as constipation from the pressure that your growing baby is putting on your intestines — many of the unpleasant parts of the first trimester subside. But some women continue to experience the more negative parts of pregnancy, such as nausea and backache. In comparison to the beginning and ending parts, the second trimester may seem physically easier.

Bulging Bump

As you enter the second trimester your growing baby is causing something else to grow too: Your belly. Weight gain during pregnancy isn't the same for every woman. The Institute of Medicine's guidelines include slightly different healthy weight gain goals for the second trimester, depending on your starting point. Based on the institute's recommendations, underweight women should gain between 1 and 1.3 pounds, healthy weight women should gain 0.8 to 1.1 pounds, overweight women should gain 0.5 to 0.7 pounds and obese women should gain 04. to 0.6 pounds per week during the second trimester.

Fetal Growth

During the second trimester your baby is going from roughly 6 inches at between 14 and 16 weeks to 14 inches during weeks 24 through 26,. A fine hair called lanugo will grow on your baby's body and head during this trimester, and a pasty substance — vernix — will cover his skin. As your baby heads towards week 26 he has started sleeping and waking in cycles and air sacs have begun to form in his lungs.

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Doctor's Visits

Your doctor will continue to keep you informed on what to expect, what is typical and when to give her a call. If you didn't have a pap smear during your first trimester visits, you'll likely have one now. You will also have a triple screen or triple marker test to look for neural tube defects and Down syndrome. Your doctor will order an ultrasound to make sure that your baby is growing at a typical rate, to determine the sex of your baby, if you have the an adequate amount of amniotic fluid and if the placenta is properly placed.

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