Fetal development in the 2nd trimester

Expectant parent holding belly with both hands

This is the second part of a 3 part series on your baby’s development during pregnancy.

What do I need to know?

The middle part of your pregnancy, also called the second trimester is about 3 months long. Your baby grows quite quickly during this time. You will need more calories every day to support your baby’s growth. For most women, this means having an extra two or three Food Guide servings daily.

What’s happening and when?


Highlights of Development


Early breathing, sucking and swallowing begins

Your baby can smile and frown

The kidneys start to make urine

fetal development 4 months


Your health care provider can hear the baby’s heart beat using a Doppler


Joints can move


Hair appears on the head

Eyebrows and eyelashes start to appear

fetal development 5 months



Muscles are well formed

You will begin to feel your baby move around this time. It may feel like fluttering at first.


A white protective coat called vernix begins to form on your baby’s skin to protect it from the amniotic fluid


Your baby is about half the length at birth


Fine hair called lanugo appears on the body fetal development 6 months


Skin is wrinkled and there isn’t any fat underneath


You will feel and even see  stronger kicks and movements


The uterus is usually just above your belly button at this time


The first stool is collecting in the bowel


Eyes may be open now

By the end of second trimester, your baby is approximately 32 cm long and weighs about 700 g.

Fetal development follows a predictable course but it’s important to note that the measurements mentioned may vary from your baby’s actual length and weight. If you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s development, be sure to speak with your health care provider. Stay tuned for more information on your baby’s development in the third trimester.


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