Taking shape: The anatomy of your 9 months (Part 2)

By Published On: February 1st, 2011

In the 40 weeks of pregnancy, your body undergoes some serious changes—both inside and out. Before you even see those two little lines, your body is busy building the perfect environment for your budding baby. What exactly is going on in there? Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect, trimester by trimester.
Second trimester (14 to 16 weeks)
Wave bye-bye to bothersome nausea and lackluster libido—the second trimester is considered to be the most comfortable 12 weeks of pregnancy. Since the placenta surrounding your growing little one has taken over the production of necessary baby-building hormones, you’ll begin to regain your strength and energy. Not only will you feel good, you’ll look good too! From your voluptuous breasts right down to your extra-long fingernails, heightened hormones will have you feeling ultra feminine. You’ll also notice changes in your skin tone; some women find themselves glowing, though others experience darkened skin pigmentation on their faces due to extra estrogen. (Don’t worry: This “mask of pregnancy” will go away post-delivery!)
Perhaps the most exciting event of the second trimester is the appearance of a baby bump. While you may not have to ditch your prepregnancy wardrobe just yet, it’s probably a good idea to have a few maternity outfits on hand since your belly will begin growing quite rapidly. (You should expect to gain around 10 pounds over the next three months.) Your heart will be working overtime to pump more blood to your budding baby, and by month five you’ll be able to feel him kick and move.
As your baby grows, certain discomforts are sure to arise. An increased appetite could have you craving weird food combinations. (Watermelon and potato chips, anyone?) You may feel dizzy or off balance as your center of gravity changes. And if you’re genetically predisposed, varicose veins and stretch marks may rear their pesky heads toward the end of this trimester. Your sleep schedule might also be interrupted as comfortable positions are limited and strange dreams become nightly occurrences. Try sleeping on your left side and propping your feet while sitting—this will help you rest and lessen the chances of fluid retention throughout the remainder of your pregnancy.
What to expect: Cravings, crazy dreams and that pregnancy glow
Your baby:Growing steadily, your little one begins to develop facial muscles and even taste buds! His skeleton is changing from soft cartilage to bone, and he can now hear noises from outside the womb.
(Click here to continue on to the third trimester.)