In your 14th week of pregnancy you might feel a sudden burst of energy, and noticeably less morning sickness. Welcome to your second trimester, where you and your baby continue growing and bonding.
Your baby’s development
This week your baby is the size of a… lemon.
You are now officially in your second trimester and your little one has grown an almost unbelievable amount since conception. Now, her skeleton and organs have all developed and are growing fairly rapidly – aided by the nutrients she will now be receiving through the placenta.
Your foetus’ entire body is covered by delicate skin, which is protected all over by fine, downy hair calledlanugo. Hair is also beginning to grow on her head.
She is able to inhale and exhale, and is becoming adept at moving her hands and using her reflexes – all good signs of developing muscle control. She is also practising using her face, expressing grimaces, frowns and squints worthy of an award-winning actress!
Your physical pregnancy changes
For many women, the second trimester is the time of their pregnancy when they feel best. Most of the early symptoms of pregnancy have passed, and your energy is returning. Make the most of it – consider getting away for a break while you’re feeling good.
The veins on your chest and breasts may become more noticeable at this stage. You will also be putting weight on your legs, middle and bottom, and may also notice that it feels as if someone’s turned on the heating. This is down to your raised blood pressure increasing your core temperature. It’s a good idea to wear layers so you can always cool off if you get hot and bothered.
Hormones will also be playing a huge part in your day-to-day life. Mood-wise it’s all about extremes: you could be crying one minute and ecstatically happy the next! Physically, the hormone relaxin will also be making alterations, doing pretty much what its name suggests: relaxing your joints and muscles to help your pelvis and hips expand to deal with the demands of pregnancy and childbirth.
Your health and fitness during pregnancy
Putting on weight is all part of the process, which, if you’re a constant dieter, can be hard for you to deal with. Whatever you do:
· Try not to cut back on food in an attempt to diet. You and your baby need that weight to stay healthy.
· Remember that the extra kilos are not forever so don’t stress too much about it.
· If you can, try to maintain a regular exercise routine during pregnancy. You’ll find it’s easier then to lose the baby weight after your bub is born.
Now is also the perfect time to start doing your pelvic floor exercises – these will help you keep strong both during and after pregnancy. Plus a little extra strength in those muscles never goes to waste when you’re in labour.
With the extra blood pumping its way round your system, it’s likely that your iron levels are a little low. Speak to your doctor about this, but usually adding more iron-rich foods – such as green vegetables, red meat, and cereals – to your diet should be enough to balance things out.
Discover the best foods for pregnant women, and what foods to avoid during pregnancy, with Woolworths Baby and Toddler Club’s guide to health and nutrition for expectant mums.
When you’re pregnant, everything you eat and drink can directly benefit, or potentially harm, your growing baby. Do you need a better reason to fuel your body with healthy, nutrient-dense foods?
Smart, fresh foods will also give your body the extra energy boost it needs to get through the next nine months of pregnancy. And remember, now is not a time to ‘eat for two’ or, conversely, to try and lose weight. To get the most nutritional bang for your buck, follow our smart, simple guide to eating during your pregnancy.
· Eat healthy complex carbohydrates for sustained energy. This includes fruit, wholegrain cereals, breads and pasta, potatoes, beans and lentils. Aim for 4-6 serves a day. One serve is equal to 2 slices of bread or 1 cup of cooked pasta, rice or noodles.
· Eat protein-rich foods such as chicken, fish, lean red meat, dairy, seeds and pulses. All of these will help your baby’s growth and development. Aim for 1½ serves a day. One serve is equal to 65-100gm of cooked meat or chicken (eg. ½ cup mince, 2 small chops) or 80-120g cooked fish fillet.
· Limit saturated fats and ‘junk’ carbohydrates including biscuits, doughnuts, lollies, chips, chocolate and cake.
· Replenish your iron levels with lots of meat, chicken, pulses, green vegies and wholegrain cereals. Pregnancy increases your need for iron, not to mention the fact that your baby draws enough iron from you to last the first five or six months after birth.
· Fill up on vitamin C-rich foods such as raw fresh fruits and vegetables to help your body fight infection. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, which protects cells from damage and is essential for wound healing and tissue repair, bone and growth repair and healthy skin. It also helps your body absorb iron so try eating vitamin C-rich foods with each meal.
· Eat plenty of folate-rich foods like green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and spinach, plus oranges, bananas, chickpeas, nuts, orange juice and folate-enriched breakfast cereals. Folate, also known as folic acid or Vitamin B9, is one of eight B vitamins and one of the few nutrients known to prevent neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommends women get an extra 400mcg of folic acid every day for at least one month before, and three months after, conception.
· Aim for 5 to 6 serves of vegies and legumes a day and talk to your doctor about whether you need to take a supplement. One serve is equal to ½ cup of broccoli or spinach or 1 piece of medium sized fruit such as apples, bananas or oranges.
· Omega-3s are very good for you and found in fish. Although there are certain types of seafood to avoid (raw oysters, cooked chilled prawns and some deep-sea fish due to potentially high levels of mercury), it is recommended for pregnant women to eat 2 to 3 serves of fish a week. Be careful about what type of fish you eat during pregnancy. The NSW Food Authority has a clear guideline on how to eat fish safely.
· Iodine is essential for everyone, especially pregnant and breast-feeding women. Mild to moderate iodine deficiency during pregnancy can result in the baby having learning difficulties and affect the development of motor skills and hearing. Think about stocking up on the right type of fish, seaweed and iodised salt to get your fix.
· Get at least 2 servings of dairy a day. When you’re pregnant, your calcium requirements increase and during the third trimester, your baby needs a large amount of calcium as they start to develop and strengthen their bones. Enjoy foods such as milk, hard cheese, yoghurt and calcium-fortified soy milk.
Be careful what you share with your baby
Certain food groups and personal habits can put your baby at risk, such as:
· Listeria is a type of bacteria found in some foods, which can cause a rare but dangerous condition called listeriosis which has been linked to miscarriage and stillbirth. To reduce the risk of contracting listeriosis avoid eating the following foods:
3. Raw and smoked fish
4. Raw eggs
5. Raw meat
7. Processed meats
9. Ready-made salads
10. Soft cheeses
11. Soft-serve ice-cream
· Avoid drinking any alcohol as it can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth or foetal alcohol syndrome, which may impair growth before and after birth plus result in mental disabilities. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) advises the safest option is not to drink alcohol at all if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you’re planning to get pregnant.
· Stop smoking because it increases the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, respiratory problems and SIDS. There is no safe level of smoking.
· Cut back on coffee. Small amounts of caffeine are safe during pregnancy but excessive amounts may increase the risk of miscarriage and premature birth. NSW Health recommends pregnant women limit their caffeine intake to 200mg daily (about three cups of instant coffee).
Your week 14 pregnancy checklist
· Pick up some holiday brochures, or plan a weekend away while you’re feeling energetic.
· Sign up to that prenatal yoga class you’ve been researching, now that you’re less likely to be worrying about morning sickness getting in your way.
· Start working that pelvic floor! Stock your fridge with lots of fresh greens. They will help boost your energy and keep you regular.