Your second trimester guide
Tips for weeks 13 to 28 of your pregnancy
How you're feeling
Every woman is different, but many expecting mothers feel better during the second trimester than they did during the first. Hopefully, you will start to notice that you are feeling less nauseous and fatigued.
You will start to encounter some new changes like a growing belly and by the time you enter your third trimester, you should start to feel your little one move and kick!
While no two pregnancies are the same, some symptoms you may experience during your second trimester include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome — numbness, tingling or weakness in your hand
- A line on your skin running from your belly button to your pubic hairline
- Patches of darker skin on your face
- Lower back and pelvic pain
- Darkening areola
- Stretch marks along your breasts, abdomen, buttocks and thighs.
Though your symptoms should be easing up during the second trimester, you will start to notice bigger changes in your body. To manage some of the aches and pains that may come with these changes, try some of the below methods after checking with your health-care provider first. Remember, choices should always be made based on your preferences and what is available to you.
- For lower back and pelvic pain, regular exercise throughout pregnancy is recommended. There are many different treatment options that can be used as well, such as physiotherapy, support belts and acupuncture.
- For carpal tunnel syndrome, rest, ice and elevate your hand and wrist.
- For stretch marks, if you are going to use a cream, gel or lotion, make sure to do so early on and massage the product into the marks. It is also important to use the chosen product every day for weeks in a row.
Healthy foods and regular exercise are key for your second trimester and throughout your pregnancy. Keep up with your regular exercise routine, but do not exhaust yourself. As a general rule, you should be able to hold a conversation while working out. Always consult your health-care provider about exercise during pregnancy. Continue eating a variety of foods to make sure that you are getting adequate energy, protein, vitamins and minerals.
How your baby is growing
Throughout the second trimester, your baby’s internal organs and bodily functions are developing in a more sophisticated way. During these crucial weeks:
- Bones begin to harden
- Skin starts to thicken
- Toenails form
- Nervous system begins to develop
- Hearing starts to develop
- Part of the brain that controls motor movements is fully formed
- Eyelids can open and close
- Kicks are stronger
- Digestive system is working
- Lungs are fully formed
Fetal growth can vary significantly for a number of reasons, but at the beginning of the second trimester, your baby will be around 10 cm (4 in) and weigh in at around 28 g (1 oz). By the time your second trimester ends, your growing little one will be about 35 cm (14 in) long and weigh from 1 to 2 kg (2 to 4 lbs) [Figures from the Cleveland Clinic]. For more information for your country, please refer to your ministry of health.
When should I meet with my health-care provider?
During your second trimester, you should have one appointment at 20 weeks and another one at 26 weeks. For recommendations in your country, please check with your ministry of health or health provider.
Things to look out for
While all women experience pregnancy differently, you should speak to your health-care provider if you experience:
- Severe cramping or abdominal pain
- A fever over 38° C (100° F)
- Vaginal bleeding or fluids
- Sudden or extreme swelling
- Odorous vaginal discharge
- Painful urination
- Severe, persistent headaches
- Vomiting blood
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Blurry vision