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Your Second Trimester of Pregnancy

Most women find the second trimester easier than the first. Hopefully, you’re feeling better and have more energy. There are big things happening during this middle stretch and it’s important to understand what to expect.

How Long Is the Second Trimester?

The second trimester spans 15 weeks, from week 13 to 28. Don’t forget to celebrate your half-way point, at week 20! 

What to Expect During the Second Trimester

During the second trimester, both your body and the fetus continue to grow. Your baby is getting larger and stronger, and your belly is likely starting to show.

Second Trimester Symptoms

Generally, the second trimester is physically more enjoyable with less morning sickness, tiredness and breast tenderness. This primarily is due to the leveling of human chorionic gonadotropin, estrogen and progesterone hormones.

By the end of the second trimester, you probably gain between 12 and 17 pounds.

Changes and symptoms happening in the second trimester include:

  • Body and backaches
  • Bleeding of gums
  • Congestion and nosebleeds
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness due to lower blood pressure
  • Feeling fetal movement (quickening)
  • Heartburn, indigestion and constipation
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Increased appetite
  • Itchy skin
  • Less frequent urination
  • Pregnancy more visible
  • Skin changes, darkening of nipples or darker patches
  • Stretch marks on stomach, breast, thighs or buttocks
  • Swelling of ankles or hands
  • Uterus grows
  • Varicose veins
  • Weight gain
  • White-colored vaginal discharge

Immediately call your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Extreme nausea and/or vomiting
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the whites of the eyes)
  • Extreme swelling
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Colored or bloody discharge

What’s Happening to Baby in the Second Trimester

By the end of the second trimester, your baby is 13 to 16 inches long and weighs about 2 to 3 pounds. She is fully formed and really starting to grow in height and weight. Her organs are wholly developed and she can hear, swallow and move around. She has a sleep cycle (which unfortunately may be different than yours).

A baby born at 24 weeks may survive in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Second Trimester Prenatal Care

You should see your doctor every two to four weeks during your second trimester. During your visits, your doctor continues to check the health of you and your baby, including:

  • Blood pressure
  • Fetal heartbeat
  • Growth, size and development of the fetus
  • Height of the fundus (top of the uterus)
  • Size of the uterus
  • Symptoms or discomforts
  • Urine test
  • Weight

At this point, on an ultrasound, your doctor can tell you if you’re having a boy or a girl.

Second Trimester Checklist

It’s important you take the best care possible of yourself and your developing baby. Continue taking your prenatal vitamins, exercising, eating a healthy diet, and drinking lots of water. Also, work on strengthening your pelvic floor by doing Kegel exercises and keep up a good dental hygiene routine. It’s also time to start preparing for birth.

Preparing for Birth

The second trimester is a great time to start planning for your delivery. Not only does being prepared help make the third trimester less stressful, but right now you’re probably feeling more energized and mobile than you will in a few short weeks.

Banner Health has many resources to help. Take some of our prenatal education classes, including childbirth, breastfeeding, infant CPR, first aid and parenting. Sign up for a tour of Banner Health’s Maternity Ward to see where you will be giving birth. Learn more about Banner Health’s pregnancy resources, classes, education materials and support groups.