Your baby is four inches long and weighs over two ounces; this is about the size of an orange. The baby continues inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid, which will help the air sacs in the lungs develop. Muscles are strengthening, and your baby now has full movement in all the joints and limbs. The skeleton is getting harder and the legs are growing longer than the arms. Your baby can sense light, although the eyelids remain shut. Hearing is becoming more sensitive and loud noises can startle the baby. The external sex organs are developing and becoming more clearly visible as male or female. The heart is steadily pumping away, practicing for the larger volume of blood it will pump when born.
For many women, the second trimester is the best part of their pregnancy—past the exhaustion and nausea of the first trimester, yet not as uncomfortable and awkward as the third. This is a great time to start or resume your exercise routine. Regular exercise can ease some pregnancy symptoms and keep you and your baby healthy. Staying in shape can even help your body to reduce stress and to cope with labor and delivery better. Start out by walking with friends once a week. In addition to exercise, you will get to spend time socializing.
The sound of your heartbeat and your voice are the loudest things your baby hears now, although these sounds are muffled slightly by the amniotic fluid, placenta, and your abdomen. There is evidence that even in the womb babies can respond to sound, so provide lots of good sounds for your baby. You can talk and sing to your baby, and he or she will be comforted by the sound of your voice. Also, encourage the people close to you to talk to the baby—let the baby know how much he or she is loved already.
A Mom’s Suggestion: Maternity Clothes
You have probably started thinking about maternity clothes, even though you may not need them yet. Some women make it through most of their pregnancy with stretch pants and large shirts, but you might be looking for a more stylish maternity wardrobe. To avoid spending a fortune on clothes that you will only wear a few months, you can check out local consignment stores that specialize in maternity fashions. Many women borrow maternity clothes from friends and family—if they know you are interested, they are usually more than willing to offer. There are also clothes that you can buy that will take you all the way from pregnancy through nursing. (For more suggestions see: “Stylish Momma.”)
Fast Fact: According to the American Heart Association, your heart is now pumping out 20 percent more blood than it did before you were pregnant!
Eating For Two: Healthy Snacks
When you are running out of energy and still have a few hours to go before dinner, try mixing and matching these fruits and quick fruit dips. Some of these are so delicious, you could save them for dessert!
Fruit (about one piece or 8 ounces):
- Apple slices
- Pear slices
- Banana slices (fresh or dried)
- Peach/Nectarine slices
Dip (about 2 tablespoons):
- Peanut Butter (creamy or crunchy)
- Melted dark chocolate
- Low-fat chocolate pudding
- Frozen whipped topping
- Toffee Cream Cheese Dip (see below)
Kim’s Toffee Cream Cheese Dip
- 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons crumbled toffee candy
1. Mix reduced-fat cream cheese with brown sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of toffee candy.
2. Sprinkle remaining toffee crumbs on top; makes about eight servings.
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