Marissa is the writer of ThePracticalMommy and the blog Mommy Knows What's Best. She is a stay-at-home mom to four and was a teacher.
The Second Trimester of Pregnancy
Welcome to your second trimester of pregnancy! You have survived the first three months, and now you're looking to the next three.
Does it feel like a relief to you? It should!
The second trimester of pregnancy is often the favorite trimester as it relieves some of the first trimester symptoms while bringing the joys of a growing and moving baby.
Learn about what happens during the second trimester of pregnancy, what you can expect to happen to your body, and when you can expect to feel your baby move.
When Does the Second Trimester Start?
The second trimester begins at 14 weeks and ends around 27 weeks. It is the second set of three months in a pregnancy.
The second trimester is often a new start for pregnant women who had a rough time with their first trimester. Many first trimester symptoms fade away, yet new ones show up as the baby and belly grow.
Second Trimester Symptoms
swelling of hands and feet
increase in discharge
What Happens in the Second Trimester?
Much happens in the second trimester. Many changes happen to both you and the baby.
Here are some of the things you can expect:
- Morning sickness lessens
- Chance of miscarriage decreases
- Belly bump starts to show
- Energy increases
- Urination isn't as frequent
- Discharge increases
- Stretch marks appear
- Maternity clothes will be a must by the middle to end of the trimester
- Backaches increase
- Abdominal cramping increases
- Belly touching from family, friends, or complete strangers ensues
- Heartburn increases as the baby grows and limits stomach space
- Sleeping becomes more difficult
- You may feel the baby move for the first time
- Breathing becomes difficult as baby grows
As for your baby, the process of his or her body forming and functioning is nearly complete. He or she is now considered a fetus. From this point on, all he or she needs to do is grow. Even though he or she has been moving for a few weeks now, movements become more deliberate. He or she will begin sucking the thumb, and can also yawn and stretch within his or her little space. By the 20th week, his or her external sex organs will be more apparent, making it easier to determine if it's a boy or girl via ultrasound.
At the end of the second trimester, your little one will only weigh about 2 lbs, give or take a few ounces. He or she will also be about twelve inches in length.
Pregnancy After Miscarriage
Miscarriage in Second Trimester
There is great news for those entering the second trimester: the threat of miscarriage decreases significantly! It is such a relief to know that, but unfortunately for a few women, it still is possible.
Still be aware of the signs of miscarriage, even though chances of it happening are greatly lessened:
- Bleeding, with or without pain
- Cramping in the pelvis, with or without bleeding
- Passing of clots
If you notice any of those symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.
While second trimester miscarriages are fairly rare, there are some reasons as to why they might occur:
- Missed miscarriage in the first trimester
- Incompetent cervix
- Severe trauma to the abdomen
- Heart defect in the fetus
- Problems with the placenta
Many women who have a second trimester miscarriage are able to have healthy pregnancies afterwards and carry the babies to full term. They may require extra attention from the doctor to make sure all goes well.
What is a Subchorionic Hemorrhage? 2nd Trimester Bleed
- What Causes Subchorionic Hemorrhage in Pregnancy?
What Causes Subchorionic Hemorrhage in Pregnancy? 20% of pregnant women experience a subchorionic hemorrhage but these are some of only causes out there.
Second Trimester Morning Sickness
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- Morning sickness goes completely away for all women during the second trimester.
Interpreting Your Score
If you got 0 correct answers: Sorry! While morning sickness does go away for most women, there are some who suffer with it through the second and sometimes even the third trimesters of pregnancy.
Morning Sickness in Second Trimester
The second best thing about the second trimester is that the symptoms of morning sickness greatly decrease, leaving the pregnant woman feeling refreshed and able to eat food and smell anything without feeling like she's going to vomit.
Nausea will decrease, as will the vomiting for those with severe morning sickness. They both may suddenly disappear in the 14th week of pregnancy or they may gradually fade away.
For a few women, though, those pesky first trimester symptoms may stay a while longer. They may take longer to fade away or they may never go away. Take heart; once the baby is born, the symptoms will stop.
Pregnancy Fatigue in Second Trimester
Pregnancy fatigue is another first trimester symptom that will decrease, leaving you to feel energized, especially if this is your first pregnancy. If you are a second or third time mom, taking care of your other kids may drain you of some of that new energy. Also, if you are working while pregnant, you may still feel just as tired.
Remember to rest when you can. Simply leaning back in a chair for a few minutes with your eyes closed and your feet elevated can help you feel refreshed.
Closer to the end of the second trimester and into the third trimester, the overwhelming feeling of fatigue may return. As your baby grows, he or she puts more strain on your body. Also, the lack of sleep you may experience makes fatigue worse during the day, so again, remember to rest when you can.
Exercises During Second Trimester
Weight Gain in the Second Trimester
By now, you may have gained around 1-5 lbs. This number may be less for you if you had severe morning sickness or more if you indulged in too many cravings.
In the second trimester, it is healthy to gain about 1-2 lbs every week for a total of about 13-20lbs or so. This weight gain comes from your growing breasts, maternal fat stores, an increase in the amniotic fluid, an increase in blood volume, and of course, your growing baby. Not so much comes from the baby, however. By the end of the 26th week, your baby will only weigh about 1.6 lbs!
Keep on eating a healthy diet and exercising when you can. These things will help you maintain a healthy weight gain.
Weight Gain During Pregnancy
Headaches During Second Trimester
For most women, headaches diminish during the second trimester. They do however show up if you are fatigued, are not eating properly, are dehydrated, or have triggers that induce migraines.
To ease the pain of headaches, try resting when you can, eating well balanced meals, drinking enough water every day, taking acetaminophen, taking a shower, or trying relaxation techniques. Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen as they are not recommended during pregnancy. If you notice that your headaches become frequent or severe, speak with your doctor for an evaluation.
Maternity Support Belt
Pregnancy Aches and Pains in the Second Trimester
As your baby grows and your belly grows, you'll feel new aches and pains. Most of these aches and pains will be in your lower back and your abdomen as they try to compensate for the increase in weight and the stretching of your abdominal muscles.
To ease your lower back pain, make sure to maintain the correct posture when sitting or standing. Some light stretching or applying some heat to the achy part of your back might help, as will a light massage. Make sure to wear shoes that are comfortable and give support. Bend at the knees and not at the waist. Also, be careful when lifting objects or lifting your other children.
Your abdomen will ache as well, but more so from the stretching of the abdominal muscles. At times, you may feel a strong, cramp-like feeling in your lower abdomen. This is from your pelvic ligaments stretching, and it's called round ligament pain, which is very common in the second trimester.
To ease both kinds of pains, your doctor may recommend a belly/back belt that will provide support to your back as well as support to your growing belly. Your doctor may also recommend that you perform exercises for your back that are safe during pregnancy.
When Did You Feel Your Baby Move?
What Does a Baby Moving Feel Like?
Try this! Gather two balloons, a cotton ball, and a small marble. Inflate the balloon enough that you can fit the cotton ball inside (you may need to cut the cotton ball in half for it to fit. Tie off the end of the balloon. Place your hands on either side of the balloon and notice how it feels.
Now try the same thing with the marble. Do you notice a difference? The cotton ball will feel like a faint tap on the walls of the balloon while the marble will feel like a definite bounce off of the wall of the balloon. The cotton ball represents the early movements of your baby while the marble is the stronger, more defined kicks of your baby.
First Baby Movement
Most pregnant women anxiously anticipate the first baby movement during the first trimester of pregnancy. You're in luck; the first movements you can feel happen during the second trimester!
In fact, on average, first time pregnant women feel their babies move for the first time during the 18th-26th weeks. For those having their second or third babies, the movement may be apparent much sooner, usually around the 13th-16th weeks. Why is this? First time moms have not had the prior stretching of abdominal muscles, plus second or third timers have experience of what those first kicks feel like.
What does the first movement feel like? It's more than the gas bubble you've been told about for the past few months. Some women describe it as butterflies, or even as a tumbling within the walls of the lower abdomen. It will seem faint as first, but then as your baby grows, it will be more like a jolt. As the weeks go by, the kicks and tumbles will be more distinct, and you may even be able to feel it from the outside.
Pregnant Belly Touching
You walk into a store with your now well-rounded pregnant belly out in front and you suddenly become a magnet. People asking you questions. People commenting about your weight or your shape. People excited to know you're having a baby.
Then it happens. A hand, (or two) from out of nowhere, is on your belly, feeling your pregnant roundness...
There's something that's irresistible about a pregnant woman's stomach. Perhaps it's curiosity or the sheer joy of new life. Perhaps it's sudden excitement and they can't control themselves. Perhaps it's pure creepiness of being able to touch a stranger...
Some women don't mind when people touch their bellies. It can be a pleasant experience for those women who like the personal attention. Others only allow family or close friends to give the belly a rub, backing away when strangers come too close. A few (myself included) shy away from everyone, needing and wanting personal space.
If you don't mind it, let it be. If you do mind it, try not to be too rude but instead throw some humor at the would-be-belly-touchers:
- Say "No, no! We don't want to wake the baby!"
- Take a step back and draw your invisible box of personal space.
- Reach out to touch their belly at the same time.
- Wear a funny shirt telling people you don't like it.
Ultrasound During Pregnancy
Second Trimester Ultrasound
One of the people who should be touching your belly around 20 weeks or so is your ultrasound technician. It's very common for women to have an ultrasound around now, to check the baby's size, examine the placenta, check the cervix, and the position of the umbilical cord.
Using a wand called a transducer, the technician will send sound waves through your belly to get a picture of the baby. The picture will be on a little screen, on which the technician will me taking measurements with the machine. At this point, the baby may be moving around a bit if he or she is awake and you can see all of his or her little parts.
If you want to know, the technician may be able to tell you if you are carrying a little boy or a little girl. It all depends on the position of the baby and how clear the image of the external sex organs is. Most of the time, the technician will be able to tell you (and show you) without a doubt if you are having a boy or girl, but sometimes these predictions can be wrong and you may be surprised at birth.
Baby Gender Reveal Party
- Gender Reveal Party Ideas
Are you having a boy or a girl? Find out by having a gender reveal party! Here are some great tips for gender reveal parties, gender reveal foods, and gender reveal games.
Preterm Labor Signs
Signs of Preterm Labor
One of the scary issues that occurs in the second trimester may be preterm labor. Preterm labor is when you go into labor before 37 weeks. Babies born too early, especially before 30 weeks, can have serious lifelong or life threatening issues.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor immediately:
- Frequent contractions, occurring every 6-10 minutes
- Menstrual-like cramps in your pelvic area
- Leaking of fluid
- Belly cramps, similar to a stomach virus, with or without diarrhea
- Lower back pain that doesn't go away or radiates to your abdomen
Your doctor may advise you to lay on your left side and monitor contractions for an hour. You may also be advised to drink 2-3 glasses of water, as some of these symptoms may come from dehydration. If nothing improves within an hour, you'll most likely be sent to your doctor's office or labor and delivery for monitoring and evaluation.
Enjoy the Second Trimester
Hopefully you will be able to enjoy your second trimester! Just think; after the second trimester, you only have 10-13 more weeks before the baby is born. How exciting!
Until then, relax, enjoy feeling your baby kick for the first time, and keep on being a healthy mommy for your baby.
Marissa (author) from United States on September 29, 2012:
SimeyC, thanks for reading! I would hope you wouldn't go through this, lol. :)
Simon from NJ, USA on September 29, 2012:
Very well written and useful - luckily for me I'll never go through this!
Marissa (author) from United States on September 29, 2012:
twoseven, I'm glad you like the belly touching advice! Thanks for reading and commenting! :)
twoseven from Madison, Wisconsin on September 28, 2012:
Great information and advice! I love the idea of reaching out to touch a stranger's stomach if they try to touch yours. Genius!
Marissa (author) from United States on September 27, 2012:
twinstimes2, thank you very much! I am (knock on wood) starting to feel a little bit better day by day. I'm hoping that in a week or so, it'll all go away! ;)
Karen Lackey from Ohio on September 27, 2012:
Great detail about the 2nd trimester! Hope you are feeling well in yours!