What is the second trimester?
The first three months of pregnancy can be the hardest for moms-to-be. But the next three months, or the second trimester of pregnancy, might be the easiest for you. This “golden period” is the most enjoyable stage of pregnancy.
The second trimester is the middle stage of pregnancy. It lasts from the fourth to the sixth month or 13 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. During this stage, your body will undergo many changes and your baby will grow quickly. You’ll start seeing your “baby bump” and feel your baby’s movements.
The fatigue, morning sickness, and other unpleasant symptoms you experienced in the first trimester will fade during your second trimester. With restored energy and a renewed sense of well-being, you’ll begin to feel your best.
The pregnancy second trimester stages will be the most comfortable part of pregnancy. This is also the ideal time to learn about the next trimester and plan your baby’s birth.
Changes you experience in the second trimester
During your second trimester of pregnancy, you’ll have increased energy, a better appetite, decreased nausea, and improved sleep patterns. But you will likely experience some of the following symptoms due to hormonal changes:
- Growing belly and increased breast size
- Body pain in the lower back, abdomen, pelvis, or legs
- Pigmentation or dark patches on your face, known as melasma
- A dark line along your abdomen, or linea nigra
- Darkening of the area around your nipples
- Stretch marks across your abdomen, breasts, buttocks, or thighs
- Swelling or bleeding of mucous membranes in your nose, causing congestion or nosebleeds
- Sensitive or bleeding gums
- Dizziness due to changes in blood circulation
- Leg and abdominal cramps
- Sticky, clear, or white vaginal discharge
- Numbness or tingling in your hands, known as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Itchy abdomen, palms, and feet
- Swelling in your ankles, fingers, or face
Your baby in the second trimester
At the start of the second trimester, your baby will be 4 inches long and weigh approximately 1 ounce. During this stage, your baby undergoes the following changes over the course of three months.
From 13 to 16 weeks of pregnancy
During this period, your baby’s muscles grow and bones harden to create the musculoskeletal system. Skin starts to form, but it is almost thin enough to see through. You will also start seeing toenails.
Your baby grows to 4 or 5 inches and weighs approximately 3 to 4 ounces.
From 17 to 20 weeks of pregnancy
You will feel your baby move in your womb as it becomes more active in this period. Fine, soft hair called lanugo and a waxy coating called vernix cover your baby to protect the growing skin. These eventually get absorbed into your baby’s skin.
Halfway through the pregnancy, your baby will grow to 6 inches and weigh 9 ounces.
From 21 to 24 weeks of pregnancy
Your baby can now kick and turn. The sucking reflex continues to develop, and the hand and startle reflexes develop. Taste buds, footprints, and fingerprints form. Hair begins to grow on your baby’s head. Blood cells begin to form in the developing bone marrow.
Fat slowly forms under the skin, so your baby gains weight during the second trimester. The skin is now wrinkly and reddish. Your baby also has a sleep cycle, with regular sleeping and waking patterns.
Your baby’s sex organs are also developing in this stage. If you wish to determine your baby’s sex, you can do so in the second trimester.
Growing to about 12 inches, your baby will now weigh 1.5 pounds.
From 25 to 28 weeks of pregnancy
At this stage, your baby’s lungs are completely developed but can’t function in the womb. Hand and leg movements are now stronger. Your baby can open and close their eyelids.
The nervous system gradually develops. As more fat forms under the skin, the wrinkly skin begins to look smooth.
By this time, your baby will be 13 to 16 inches long and weigh between 2 and 3 pounds.
Precautions you can take
In your second trimester of pregnancy, eat a healthy diet with more fruits and vegetables for fiber and drink lots of water. Avoid strenuous exercise, alcohol, and smoking. Consult with your doctor before taking any prescription drugs or supplements.
ACOG: "How Your Fetus Grows During Pregnancy."
KidsHealth: "A Week-by-Week Pregnancy Calendar."
pregnancybirth&baby: "Braxton Hicks contractions."
OASH: "Stages of pregnancy."
Summa Health: "2nd Trimester."
unicef: "Your second trimester guide."
Top What Happens in the 2nd Trimester Pregnancy? Related Articles
4 Common Discomforts of PregnancyPregnancy comes with huge hormonal changes that can cause discomfort, including morning sickness, heartburn, constipation and headaches. Learn what causes these symptoms and how you can cope with them.
Can Hormonal Imbalance Affect Pregnancy?Hormonal imbalance is a common issue that affects many people. Learn the signs of hormonal imbalance, how it affects pregnancy, how doctors diagnose it, and what you can do to treat it.
Pregnancy Discomforts: Common CausesDuring pregnancy, most women will experience discomforts during the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimesters. Common causes of discomforts during pregnancy include nausea and vomiting (morning sickness), fatigue, breast swelling and pain, hemorrhoids, stretch marks, mood swings, dizziness, migraines, tooth pain and bleeding gums, and pica. Common causes of pregnancy discomforts include constipation, heartburn, indigestion, reflux, varicose veins, abdominal pain, problems sleeping, congested or bloody nose, and flu like body aches.
How Does Pregnancy Affect Mental Health?Pregnancy can be a time of great joy and happiness. Different women respond to pregnancy differently, but pregnancy can affect some womens' mental health negatively.
How Much Sleep Should a Pregnant Woman Get in Second Trimester Pregnancy?On average, you will get seven and a half hours of sleep per night during the second trimester of pregnancy.
How Much Weight Should You Gain Each Trimester?Pregnancy is a unique time during which the body undergoes multiple changes. Pregnant women experience changes in their moods, skin, joints and body weight. The weight gain occurs as the result of the added weight of the developing baby, the developing placenta and water retention due to hormonal effects of pregnancy.
Is It Normal to Have Headaches in Second Trimester Pregnancy?Many women experience headaches during pregnancy. Headaches tend to be worse during the first trimester and they get better in the second and third trimesters although some women still experience headaches during the second trimester.
Is It Normal to Lose Appetite in 2nd Trimester Pregnancy?What to know about losing your appetite in pregnancy. Learn about the risks and how you can make sure you're eating a healthy diet.
Pregnancy Myths and Facts QuizBeing pregnant is a delicate time for both mother and baby. Take this pregnancy myths and facts quiz to separate the myths and facts about being pregnant, and learn the truth behind healthy pregnancies!
Second Trimester (16 Weeks) PictureThe Baby at 16 Weeks. Muscle tissue and bone continue to form, creating a more complete skeleton. See a picture of Second Trimester (16 Weeks) and learn more about the health topic.
Stages of Pregnancy: Week by WeekSee pictures on the various stages of pregnancy. See and learn what changes a woman's body goes through and view fetal images of how her baby grows during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
What Are Signs of Fetal Distress?During pregnancy, fetal stress or fetal distress is a sign that your baby isn’t well in your womb. The major sign of pregnancy fetal stress is abnormal fetal heart rate.
What Are the 3 Prenatal Tests?Prenatal tests are medical procedures performed during pregnancy to assess the health and development of the fetus and to help identify any potential problems or abnormalities. The three most common prenatal tests include ultrasound, amniocentesis, and chorionic villus sampling (CVS). Other prenatal tests include pregnancy test, first trimester screening, second trimester screening, noninvasive prenatal testing, fetal ultrasound, genetic counseling, biophysical profile, Group B streptococcus (GBS) test, glucose tolerance test, anomaly scan, and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) test.
What Exercise Can I Do in 2nd Trimester?Women without any form of medical complications can safely start or keep on exercising during a second-trimester pregnancy. Exercises a woman can do in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy include walking, swimming, stationary cycling, and yoga and Pilates.
What Should I Be Feeling at 19 Weeks of Pregnancy?The 19th week of pregnancy or the 5th month of pregnancy is when most of the major organs and organ systems have formed in the fetus. The formed organ system continues to grow and form its respective shapes in the following months. The weight of the fetus increases each month to become a baby that can survive outside of the uterus.