Understanding your pregnancy: Week 14

Understanding your pregnancy: Week 14

A quick snapshot

This is the first week in your second trimester, the one a lot of women find the most comfortable of the three. Your nausea and exhaustion are likely to have lifted or are starting to and you won't be so big that you feel awkward and cumbersome. Expect a surge of energy in the next few weeks as your body really starts pumping out those feel good hormones.

What’s changing in your body

  • Oestrogen is stimulating your skin cells to produce more darkening pigment. The butterfly mask of pregnancy can start on each cheek and extend over your nose and mouth.
  • If you’re feeling a little warm, that's because of the huge increase in your circulating blood volume. Your heart is working very hard to supply both yours and your baby's body with adequate oxygen. Your red blood cell count is much higher than when you were not pregnant, so make sure you are supporting this by eating lots of iron rich foods such as red meat, green leafy vegetables and cereals.
  • You may feel as if you are not quite with it this week. A little more forgetful and even vague. Somehow, the excitement of being pregnant just seems to eclipse everything else, making most of the daily stress fade into being almost insignificant.
  • If you have a navel piercing, you may want to think about taking it out around this time. It won't harm the baby but as your tummy enlarges, it may start rubbing onto your clothing and cause irritation. If you're keen to keep the hole open, just make sure you re-insert the stud or ring through it every couple of days.
  • Your tummy may stick out on some days more than others. This is probably because of the distention in your bowels. You will probably find that after you've been to the bathroom, your tummy is flatter. Don't worry; this is completely normal at this stage of pregnancy.
  • If you have a retroverted uterus, one that tilts backwards rather than to the front, this is around the time it will right itself. Very occasionally, a retroverted uterus causes problems with peeing so if this becomes a problem, check with your doctor.

How your emotions are affected

  • As your body is changing, you may be feeling stressed, wondering if you'll ever look the same. As long as you are careful about the quantities and type of food you eat and keep up some form of exercise, your body is more likely to return to its pre-pregnancy weight. There are good reasons for the changes to a pregnant woman's shape, so let nature take its course.
  • Mood swings may cause you to be up and down this week. One minute you could be close to tears and the next, almost overcome with happiness. Because pregnancy is a time of great emotional changes, you and the people close to you are going to need to learn to just go with the flow.
  • You may be feeling a lot more relaxed about being pregnant as the anxiety of possible miscarriage is lifting.

How your baby is growing

Second Trimester: Week 1416

  • This week your baby's eyelids are fused over their eyes, which though fully developed, are too sensitive to be exposed to anything which could irritate them. Your baby may even be growing hair on their head.
  • Your baby's neck is obvious now and instead of their little head resting on their chest, there's actually a neck separating the two. Their chin is jutting out more and those little ears, which until now were positioned quite low down, have moved into their rightful place on the side of the head.
  • Your baby's heartbeat will be beating at around twice the rate of your own. When you hear it at your prenatal appointments, it will sound like a steady and regular beat, making your own beat just a little faster.
  • This week your baby is making facial movements such as frowning and squinting. It's still flickering around in your uterus, making sudden jumping movements you won't be aware of.
  • If you are having twins or a multiple pregnancy, your tummy may be much bigger than you expect it to be. One of the first signs of carrying more than one baby is excessive nausea and being large for dates. An ultrasound will soon pick up if there is more than one baby inside.

Tips for the week

  • Use your hunger as a prompt for when to eat. Make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks on hand and don't think about dieting. This isn't the time to be losing weight.
  • Don't forget your fibre! Fruit and vegetables are essential as they are bulk forming and help to push everything along in the bowel. Fibre and roughage need water to work best, so drink lots of fluids and keep yourself well hydrated. Water will also help with that brain fogginess.
  • Planning a holiday? Now's the time to pack your bags and take a little vacation. The second trimester is the best time to travel, while you have the energy to enjoy it and the risk of early labour is reduced. If you intend to fly, check out each airline restrictions regarding flying during pregnancy. You may need a letter from your doctor confirming your gestation.
  • You might want to go shopping for new clothes this week. Whether you invest in maternity clothes or just bigger sizes is entirely up to you. What works for a lot of women is to do a combination of both.
  • Look into an exercise programme designed for pregnant women so you can start doing pelvic floor exercises now. These will help your body to support the increasing weight of your uterus and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles thereby avoiding many potential problems.