All You Need to Know About The 2nd Trimester

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Published On
17 Jul, 2023
Read Time
5 minutes

The second trimester is a really important time for a baby's development, and it can help to understand the changes that are happening at every stage. Luckily, many people find that the second trimester is when the sickness and nausea they experienced during the first three months start to settle.

To help you understand what happens during the second trimester, let's run through how long it lasts, answer some frequently asked questions, and talk about the common second-trimester symptoms that people experience.  

How many weeks is the second trimester of pregnancy?

The second trimester lasts for 15 weeks.

When does the second-trimester start, week 13 or 14?

The second trimester begins at the start of the 13th week of pregnancy and continues until the 27th week.

Second-trimester symptoms and changes to your body

Let's go through some common pregnancy symptoms that happen during the second trimester.

  • Colostrum: In the first few weeks of the second trimester, your breasts may start to produce thick, yellow colostrum or first milk.
  • Feeling hot: Hormonal changes can make you feel hotter than usual - no matter the season! Keep the room you're in cool and wear loose clothes to help yourself cool down.
  • Feeling energized: As morning sickness symptoms (hopefully) begin to subside, you may find that you have more energy. Remember not to overdo it and make plenty of time to chill and put your feet up.
  • Piles or hemorrhoids: These can be uncomfortable and often get worse as pregnancy progresses. Asking your doctor about your treatment options early can help keep them under control.
  • Heartburn: Indigestion in pregnancy is usually caused by hormonal changes - an increase in progesterone - and the growing baby pressing on your stomach. Although it can be uncomfortable, lifestyle changes and medicines that are safe to take when pregnant can help.
  • Larger breasts: Growing milk glands and deposits of fat mean that your boobs may continue to get bigger in preparation for breastfeeding.
  • Lower leg cramps: These can happen more at nighttime. You may find that stretching before bed and doing regular light exercise will help.
  • Pain in your back, pelvis, and hips: Your hormones relax your ligaments to help your bones move in preparation for birth during the second trimester. As your baby grows and your body adapts, your back, hips, and pelvis may begin to ache, and you might experience round ligament pain.
  • Sensitive or bleeding gums: Also known as gingivitis, your gums may become bright red and bleed easily. If this does happen, it's best to seek support from your dentist.
  • Skin changes: You might develop a line that runs from your pubic area up to your belly button (called the linea nigra) and your nipples may become darker.
  • Stretch marks: It's common for stretch marks (also known as striae distensae) to appear on the stomach and breasts during the second trimester. These are caused by rapid stretching of the skin.
  • Thick hair: You may notice that your hair gets thicker and glossier.

Second trimester changes to your body week by week

Over the second trimester, your baby bump will grow steadily and you'll start to feel your baby moving between weeks 16 to 20. At first, these movements will feel like flutters, twitches, or tumbles, before they develop into kicks and twists.

How your baby changes and grows in the second trimester

A baby undergoes significant growth and development during the second trimester of pregnancy. 

By week 14, their ears and eyes are fully formed, and they can hear voices and other sounds outside the womb. Around week 16, they'll start to develop the ability to taste and swallow amniotic fluid. By the time week 20 comes around, they can move around freely in the amniotic fluid and may even start to kick and punch.

Signs your pregnancy is going well in the second trimester

It's normal to wonder if everything is going well with your pregnancy and you should always discuss any concerns or questions you have with your healthcare provider.

The following signs can help give you peace of mind that your pregnancy is going well.

  • Increasing energy levels: You may find that you have more energy during the second trimester as your body adjusts.
  • Visible bump: As your baby grows and your pregnancy progresses, your belly will start to show. This is an exciting milestone for many expectant parents. Don't forget to snap some pics to track the progress of your pregnancy! 
  • Decreasing nausea: While some people still experience nausea into their second trimester, it typically subsides as the pregnancy progresses.
  • Fetal movement: Around 16 to 20 weeks into your pregnancy, you'll start to feel your baby's movements. These kicks are a sign that they're growing and developing as expected.
  • Healthy vital signs: Your healthcare provider will monitor your blood pressure, weight, and other vital signs at each prenatal appointment. If these are stable, it's a good sign that your pregnancy is progressing as it should.

Danger signs of pregnancy in your second trimester

During the second trimester, you must be aware of certain warning signs so that you can act fast and seek medical support if you do feel worried about anything.

Some important warning signs to keep in mind during the second trimester include:

  • Abdominal pain: If you're pregnant and concerned about stomach pains, it's best to speak to your doctor or midwife for reassurance.
  • Blurry vision: Pregnancy can sometimes cause slight changes in your vision and your prescription may need to be adjusted slightly if you usually wear glasses. However, developing blurring of your vision that you didn't experience before you became pregnant should always be treated seriously and you should always seek medical advice because it may be a sign of a condition known as pre-eclampsia. Other symptoms of pre-eclampsia include easy bruising, a headache that doesn't go away, and severe pain on your right side or in your stomach.
  • Fever: A fever above 99.5°F during pregnancy could harm you and your baby and needs immediate medical attention.
  • Heavy bleeding: You should always speak to your doctor if you experience heavy bleeding from your vagina.
  • Mental health struggles: Don't hesitate to seek support if you're pregnant and feeling depressed, anxious, or like you can't complete your usual, everyday tasks - especially if these feelings last for two weeks or longer.
  • Swelling in your ankles, face, or hands: Sudden swelling in these areas can be a sign of pre-eclampsia and require medical attention.

How to stay happy and healthy throughout your pregnancy

  1. Light exercise: Staying active can help improve your mood, energy levels, and overall health. Talk to your healthcare provider about safe exercises you can do while pregnant such as prenatal yoga or walking.
  2. Eat well and stay hydrated: Try to drink plenty of water throughout the day and focus on eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
  3. Rest when you need to: Your body is working hard to grow your baby, so it's important to prioritize rest and sleep. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep a night and take breaks throughout the day to relax and recharge.
  4. Minimize stress: Pregnancy can be a stressful time, but finding ways to manage stress is crucial for your well-being. Consider practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or prenatal massage.
  5. Antenatal care: The care provided by your healthcare professionals during pregnancy is important, and regular check-ups can help make sure that you and your baby are safe. Be sure to attend all scheduled appointments and communicate any concerns or questions with your healthcare providers.

What should be avoided during the second trimester?

During the second trimester, it's crucial to prioritize the health and safety of both you and your baby. The following things should be avoided:

  • Activities that could hurt your abdomen: Things like contact sports or vigorous exercise should be avoided during pregnancy.
  • Caffeine: Limit caffeine intake to 200 milligrams per day.
  • Certain foods: Raw or undercooked meats, fish high in mercury, and unpasteurized dairy products shouldn't be eaten during pregnancy.
  • Drinking alcohol and taking illicit drugs: Using illegal or street drugs and drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby.
  • Smoking: Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for the health of your baby. If you're struggling to quit, your doctor can offer you support.
  • Cleaning out cat litter:Cat litter can carry a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis which can be dangerous for your unborn child, so it's best to avoid handling it.

The second trimester of pregnancy lasts for three months.

We asked our Instagram followers what the second trimester felt like for them, and here's what they told us:

  • "Tiring, exciting, telling people, buying lots."
  • "Getting your energy back and being able to share pregnancy news makes it exciting."
  • "Great - cute little bump and sickness is gone."
  • "Tired all the time."
  • "The best trimester, good energy, glowing."
  • "Icky, sick and hormonal."
  • "A dream."
  • "Baby kicks, gender reveals and growing bump."
  • "Hip pain, reflux and heartburn."
  • "Hormones have settles and feeling excitement after first scans."
  • "Full of energy."
  • "Like back to normal with a growing belly."
  • "Wonderful but slightly strange at times."
  • "Amazing! Bursts of energy, the nesting, the excitement, the bump."
  • "Symptoms start to disappear, get more energy."
  • "Out of my body, feeling movements."
  • "I had more energy and tummy bubbles."
  • "Checking the mirror all the time waiting for the bump to appear."
  • "The secret is out, much more energy."
  • "Lovely! So nice to feel baby moving but still feel mobile and able to sleep."
  • "Wanting to socialise more."