The skin, which is the largest organ in the human body, continues to develop. The sweat glands are now forming. The foetus starts to distinguish sounds, most of which are those caused by processes in the mother's body. Although pregnancy can cause numerous problems, mothers-to-be are usually full of energy during this period.
The production of white blood cells, which will protect the child against infections, has begun. The construction of bones in the baby's body continues, which also brings an important new development in this period: better hearing. Because the bones of the inner ear have now hardened sufficiently, the baby is able to distinguish different voices outside the womb, and also different sounds inside your body. Your baby is no longer floating in peaceful silence but instead will be accompanied until birth by the "music" created by your heart, digestive organs, vascular system, and so on. Because your baby "listens" to you from the womb for half your pregnancy, it will also recognise your voice after it is born.
The sexual organs develop in this period – in the case of boys the testes, which are already producing testosterone, start to descend from the abdominal cavity into the scrotum. Your baby is now around 30 centimetres long – like a corncob.
The first half of your pregnancy is behind you. It's time to start thinking about antenatal classes and you can begin choosing baby equipment. At this point you can also take a little time to write a letter to your baby, make a video or create some other permanent memory that you can show your child when he or she is grown up and perhaps expecting a child of his or her own.
If your ankles and feet have started to swell, avoid sitting for too long in the same position and try moving your feet in circles and backwards and forwards in order to stimulate circulation – which has slowed down as a result of hormonal activity and has caused water retention. After the birth this water will be eliminated as urine and through perspiration. If the swelling seems excessive, you should tell your doctor about it.
Who do you think your baby will look like? Write it in your diary!
The baby's kidneys are already eliminating waste matter from the blood and producing urine. Even so, there is not much urine in the amniotic fluid. Foetal urine in fact passes from the amniotic fluid through the placenta and into the maternal bloodstream, where it is eliminated by the mother's kidneys.