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When is the second trimester in pregnancy
Second trimester | Pregnancy Birth and Baby
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The second trimester of pregnancy is a time when many women will feel energised and well. You will become visibly pregnant, but you won’t be so heavy that getting around is difficult. This is also a time of rapid growth and development for your baby, and you may find yourself busy with health checks and planning for the birth.
What is the second trimester?
Trimesters are a helpful way to think about pregnancy because the changes that happen to you and your baby fall into 3 broad categories of early, middle and late pregnancy, as reflected in the first, second and third trimesters.
The second trimester represents the middle part of your pregnancy, from weeks 13 to 26. For many women, one of the best things about this trimester is that nausea might begin to settle.
What happens to your body?
Your body will undergo some major changes during the second trimester. Your uterus will grow, and you may feel some discomfort or aches as uterine ligaments stretch. You will start to feel your skin stretch around your belly and your breasts, which may cause mild itching. Some women get stretch marks in these areas, which tend to fade over time.
Although your baby weighs less than a kilo, your blood volume will increase to meet the demands of all the growth happening inside you, which will mean you will gain some additional weight.
Pregnancy can be a wonderful and exciting time, but it’s also important to expect to feel some occasional days of heightened anxiety or low mood.
Sometimes one or both parents experience difficult emotions during pregnancy, such as being worried about the birth or about coping as a parent.
Feelings of anxiety are not uncommon, and some women will experience symptoms of a condition called anxiety disorder. Antenatal depression is a mood disorder that includes intense emotional changes beyond those you might expect during pregnancy.
If you are worried about feelings of anxiety, low mood or depression, you could:
see your doctor, obstetrician, child health nurse or midwife
phone Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436
call PANDA - Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia on 1300 726 306
What happens to the baby?
During the second trimester, your baby will grow from being around 7.5cm, and weighing 30 grams in week 13, to around 23cm and 820 grams at week 26.
Your baby will be able to move freely within the amniotic sac in your uterus. By about week 19 (or sooner if this isn’t your first pregnancy), you may feel this movement – as a faint tickling or fluttering. During these 3 months, your baby’s organs will continue to develop and the liver, pancreas and kidneys all start to function. This is also the time when babies might start to suck their thumb. By week 20 your baby can hear sounds, including the sound of your heartbeat, and they are learning to recognise your voice, although the ears are not yet fully formed.
What can you expect at your antenatal visits?
Regular antenatal visits are an important part of staying healthy and making sure your baby is healthy. How often you see your health professional will depend on your personal circumstances, but for many women, visits will be every 4 to 6 weeks.
At all visits during your second trimester, you will have your blood pressure checked, and your hands and feet will also be checked for swelling. You might be weighed, have blood taken for tests and have your urine checked.
Your doctor or midwife will check your abdomen to monitor your baby’s growth and will listen to your baby’s heartbeat. If you didn’t have an ultrasound in your first trimester, you may be offered one at around 18 to 20 weeks.
How to stay healthy
Eating well and staying active is as important as ever during pregnancy - it's good for your physical and emotional health, and good for your baby too. Light-to-moderate exercise in pregnancy is usually safe: consider walking, swimming, yoga and stationary cycling in your second trimester. High-impact exercise and activities where there is a risk of falling, getting hurt (especially around the stomach) or overheating are not recommended.
Your choice of food during your pregnancy is also important – but that doesn’t mean ‘eating for two’. What you eat during your pregnancy has been shown to affect how your baby grows as well as your baby’s health later in life.
Things to consider in the second trimester
Parental leave – discuss with your partner and then with your employer:
How will you share the care of your baby with your partner (or other family members)?
When do you plan to start your leave?
When you intend to return to work?
When is a good time to share your pregnancy news with your employer?
Will your role at work change after your baby is born?
Ask your midwife or doctor about antenatal education available in your area.
Consider going to classes together with your birthing partner – not only will you learn a lot about how to prepare for labour, you’ll meet people who will share their experience of becoming parents.
Your pregnancy journey
Follow your pregnancy week-by-week to find out how your baby is growing and what is happening to your body.
NSW Health (Having a baby), Royal Women's Hospital (Pregnancy and birth), Raising Children Network (Pregnancy week-by-week), Women's and Children's Health Network (The first 3 months of pregnancy: the first trimester), Queensland Health (How much weight will I gain during pregnancy?), Healthy WA (Emotional health for parents during pregnancy and after the birth)
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: May 2021
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What To Expect, Development & Tests
What is the second trimester of pregnancy?
The typical pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks. It’s divided into three periods of time — the first, second and third trimester. Each trimester is roughly 14 weeks long. When you enter your second trimester, you are around 14 weeks pregnant. This middle trimester will last from week 14 to the end of week 27.
During your second trimester of pregnancy, you’ll start looking and feeling more pregnant. For many people, this is the best part of pregnancy because the morning sickness and fatigue of their first trimester fade into the past. Often, any anxiety that went with your first trimester also starts to diminish at this point. You’ll start to feel your fetus move by the end of this trimester, and you might begin to settle into your pregnancy and enjoy it more. Of course, it’s important to remember that pregnancy is different for everyone. Some people never experience negative symptoms like morning sickness in their first trimester. Others might continue to feel sick well into their second trimester of pregnancy.
How does my baby develop during the second trimester of pregnancy?
Your fetus will go through many changes during your second trimester of pregnancy. During this trimester, the fetus starts to look more like a child — with its facial features aligning, and its fingers and toes becoming well-defined. By month four, the fetus will actually have eyelids, eyebrows, eyelashes, nails and hair. The fetus will also be able to stretch, make faces and even suck on its thumb. You’ll soon be able to determine the sex of the fetus on an ultrasound — often around 20 weeks.
At this point, you might also start feeling the fetus move. The movement is often described as a flutter or similar to the feeling of having butterflies in your stomach. The fetus will be doing flips and movements throughout your second trimester. This first movement is called the quickening. If this isn’t your first pregnancy, you might feel the fetus move sooner.
In the last few weeks of the second trimester, the fetus can also hear you. If you talk to your growing belly, you might notice movement in response.
If your baby was born at the end of your second trimester (premature birth), they would be likely to survive with intensive care.
What happens to my body during the second trimester of pregnancy?
The fetus isn’t the only one growing and changing during your second trimester. You'll notice several changes in your own body during this time. Your uterus — the place where the fetus grows during pregnancy — continues to stretch. This organ will expand throughout your pregnancy as the fetus gets larger. After pregnancy, your uterus will return to its pre-pregnancy size (picture an upside-down pear).
However, your uterus isn’t the only thing growing during the second trimester either. You’ll start gaining weight and might start developing the tell-tale enlarged belly of a pregnant person. Don’t worry if this takes time to develop. Everyone is different, and no two bodies will look exactly the same during pregnancy.
You might also feel or develop a few new symptoms of pregnancy during your second trimester, including:
An increased appetite.
An achy body.
Some swelling in your hands, feet and ankles.
Some stretch marks.
If you experienced morning sickness during your first trimester, it’s likely fading away now. The uncomfortable symptoms of early pregnancy (nausea and extreme fatigue, for example) don’t typically continue into your second trimester. This is one reason why many people consider their second trimester of pregnancy to be the best part of pregnancy.
What tests will I have during the second trimester of pregnancy?
Throughout your pregnancy, your healthcare provider will order various tests to check on your health and the health of your developing fetus. During your second trimester, you’ll typically be screened for a few different things, including the Rh factor of your blood and the condition gestational diabetes. You'll also have an ultrasound during your second trimester. This ultrasound is probably best known for telling new parents the sex of the fetus, but it’s mainly used to look at their anatomy.
One thing your provider will test for during your second trimester is your Rh factor. Rh factor is an antigen protein found on most people’s red blood cells. If you don’t have the protein, then you are Rh- (negative). You’ll be given an injection of Rh immune globulin (called Rhogam®) during the 28th week of your pregnancy to prevent the development of antibodies that could be harmful to the fetus. You’ll also be given an injection of Rhogam® after delivery if your fetus has Rh+ (positive) blood.
If you are Rh-, you may also receive this injection if you:
Are having an invasive procedure (such as amniocentesis).
Had an abdominal trauma.
Had any significant bleeding during pregnancy.
Need to have the fetus turned in your uterus (due to breech presentation).
Your provider will also order a test called the oral glucose screening test. This is usually done at the end of your second trimester — often between weeks 24 and 28. The purpose of the glucose screening test is to see if you are developing gestational diabetes. During the test, you’ll be given a syrup-like drink. The healthcare provider administering this test will give you a set amount of time to drink the entire bottle, then you'll be asked to wait nearby for one hour. After the hour is over, you’ll have your blood drawn. Your healthcare provider will then go over your test results with you.
What do I need to prepare or plan for during the second trimester of pregnancy?
There are many things you can start thinking about during your second trimester of pregnancy to prepare for your new family member. Many of these things will center around conversations that you should start having at this point in your pregnancy. It’s good to discuss the type of birth you hope to have and learn about the different ways your child might be born.
A few ways your baby could be born can include:
Vaginal birth (this could be medicated so that your pain is decreased, or unmedicated).
Assisted birth (you might need tools like forceps or a vacuum to help with your delivery).
Cesarean section (C-section).
You can learn more about these types of birth through your own research or in a birth class. This is the time for you to look into educational classes about birth, breastfeeding and parenting of your newborn. These classes can help prepare you for your new role as a parent. Ask your healthcare provider for more information on classes and groups you can join at this point in your pregnancy.
This might also be a good time to take a tour of the hospital where you’ll give birth. A hospital tour is a great way to get familiar with the place where your baby will be born. During the tour, you’ll learn where you should go when you first get to the hospital during labor and what will happen afterward. You’ll typically get to see hospital rooms and learn more about the hospital staff, as well.
What should I be doing during the second trimester of pregnancy to stay healthy?
Throughout your second trimester, you should continue maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Try to exercise for about 20 minutes a day. Regular exercise is good for you and your developing fetus. Some of the safest types of exercise include walking and swimming; though, there are many other options you can try. Talk to your healthcare provider about the type of exercise you'd like to do beforehand just to be safe. You’ll want to avoid contact sports and activities where you could fall, as these could endanger your pregnancy.
It’s also a good idea to do kegel exercises throughout your entire pregnancy. These exercises will help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
Apart from exercise, you should continue eating a healthy diet, taking your prenatal vitamins and attending each of your appointments.
When should I call my doctor during the second trimester of pregnancy?
You’re the person who knows your body the best. If you ever feel like something is wrong, it’s completely OK to reach out to your healthcare provider. It’s also a good idea to call your healthcare provider right away if you have:
Unusual or severe cramping or abdominal pain.
Noticeable changes in how much the fetus moves (after 28 weeks of gestation). If you don’t count six to 10 movements in one hour or less, call your provider.
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath that seems to be getting worse over time.
You should also reach out to your provider right away if you start having any signs of premature labor. Talk with your provider if you have any of the following signs of premature labor:
Regular tightening or pain in your lower abdomen or back that occurs more than four times in an hour.
Any bleeding in your second or third trimester of pregnancy.
Any fluid leakage. Vaginal discharge often increases as part of the hormonal changes in pregnancy.
Pressure in your pelvis or vagina.
Second trimester of pregnancy: 4, 5, 6 months
Second trimester of pregnancy
The second trimester of pregnancy lasts from 12 to 27 weeks. During this period, you will continue to be monitored by a specialist doctor with visits once every 3 weeks, pass a number of necessary tests, in particular, a complete blood count, a biochemical blood test, blood for a coagulogram, a glucose tolerance test, a general urinalysis and bacteriological culture of urine for sterility 1-3 . At a period of 18-21 weeks, an ultrasound of the fetus will be performed with an assessment of its condition.
Second trimester abdomen
The circumference of your abdomen increases markedly, by the end of the second trimester of pregnancy, the increase in the abdomen is more noticeable, and the bottom of the uterus is located at the level of the navel. Wear comfortable clothes, avoid tight belts, elastic bands around the abdomen 1-3 .
Second trimester of pregnancy and pain
In case of sudden pains of a different nature (cramping sharp or monotonous pulling pains) of the abdomen, you should immediately consult a doctor. Pain in the abdomen may be associated with the threat of abortion and other complications. If the 2nd trimester is coming to an end and you have pain in the lumbar region, this may be due to compression of the ureters by the enlarged uterus. It is necessary to pass a urine test and do an ultrasound of the kidneys 1-3 .
Constipation can also cause pain in the abdomen, along the final section of the large intestine (sigmoid colon). Pain during bowel movements, that is, during bowel movements, may be associated with an increase in hemorrhoids, the appearance of anal fissures. To ensure regular bowel movements, follow the drinking regimen and diet 1-3 .
The 2nd trimester of pregnancy may be accompanied by headaches (cephalgia). One of the causes of cephalalgia during pregnancy can be an increase in blood pressure. When a headache occurs, control the level of blood pressure (you need to measure at rest, on both hands at least one measurement on each). Remember that headaches and high blood pressure require urgent medical attention 1-3 .
Fourth month of pregnancy and fetal development
All your baby's organs are already formed, his height is about 10 cm, and his weight is about 70 grams, he makes active movements in the joints.
By the end of 4 months, the fetus actively increases in size, its height is about 13 cm, weight is about 140 grams.
The development of teeth, sweat, salivary glands occurs, the liver begins to produce bile, and the pancreas - insulin.
The baby begins to move his eyes, blink, and hear sounds well, because the bones of the inner ear are already formed.
By the end of the fourth month, the woman begins to feel the movements of her baby.
The liver and spleen form blood cells.
Fifth month of pregnancy and fetal development
The fetus is actively moving, on ultrasound you can see how the baby sucks his fingers. Weight about 240 grams, height about 15 cm.
At 5 months, the fetal intestine is formed and individual nutrients can be absorbed, meconium accumulates.
The immune system is fully formed and blood cells begin to produce bone marrow. The 5th month is coming to an end, and the baby's weight is about 400 grams.
Your belly at 5 months of pregnancy no longer allows you to wear ordinary trousers and jeans, but dresses from an ordinary wardrobe can still fit, the uterus is just below the level of the navel.
The breast at the 5th month of pregnancy also increases, usually by 1 size, the areolas of the nipples become more pigmented.
Sixth month of pregnancy and fetal development
The most intensive growth of the fetus begins, which will continue for only 3 trimesters.
At the beginning of this period, the weight of the fetus is about 500-600 grams, and by the end of 6 months, the weight of the baby already reaches 900 grams.
The 6th month of pregnancy is characterized by the formation of the surfactant system and the maturation of your baby's lungs.
The breast at 6 months of pregnancy continues to increase due to the growth of glandular tissue, the size and pigmentation of the areola increases, the mammary glands prepare for lactation under the influence of estrogens.
2nd trimester of pregnancy:
macro- and micronutrient supplement
Pregnancy and iodine:
To prevent iodine deficiency, all pregnant and lactating women are advised to take 200 micrograms of potassium iodide daily.
Optimal absorption of iodides is observed in the morning hours. 4-8
Talk to your doctor about taking potassium iodide.
Pregnancy and calcium:
The need for calcium increases to 1200-1500 mg per day, calcium salts are most often found in the form of carbonate and citrate, they have good bioavailability.
Calcium is well absorbed in the evening. 9-11
Discuss the need to take calcium salts with your doctor.
Pregnancy and iron:
Iron preparations are not recommended for all women, but iron deficiency anemia often accompanies the 2nd trimester of pregnancy 4 .
If the level of ferritin (an accessible and reliable indicator of iron sufficiency) decreases, iron supplements should be taken at an average dose of 30-60 mg per day 4 .
The decision to prescribe iron supplements is made by your doctor or hematologist.
Pregnancy and vitamin D:
The requirement for vitamin D throughout pregnancy and lactation is 2000 IU per day 9-11 .
Ask your doctor if you need to take vitamin D.
Second trimester pregnancy and complications
When the above symptoms appear, either alone or in combination, i.e. several symptoms at once, you need to urgently consult a doctor, since the lack of specialized medical care may be associated with a risk to your life and the life of the child.
2nd trimester and gestational diabetes mellitus
The list of mandatory examinations now includes a standard glucose tolerance test. Based on the results of this test, the state of carbohydrate metabolism is judged.
In the presence of deviations from the norm, you will first of all be advised to follow a diet with a sharp restriction of fast carbohydrates and physical activity in accordance with the general state of health and the characteristics of the course of pregnancy.
It will be necessary to consult an endocrinologist, nutritionist, physiotherapist.
2nd trimester and preeclampsia
An increase in blood pressure (may be asymptomatic!), the appearance of protein in the urine and edema are manifestations of preeclampsia.
It is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly, have a urinalysis, and monitor weight gain.
2nd trimester and pyelonephritis
With an increase in the duration of pregnancy, the risk of developing pyelonephritis increases, this is due to a violation of the outflow of urine due to compression of the ureters by the growing uterus.
Sitting and supine position contribute to urinary obstruction.
Motor activity, knee-elbow position make urine outflow optimal.
1. National guidance. Gynecology. 2nd edition, revised and enlarged. M., 2017. 446 p.
2. Guidelines for outpatient care in obstetrics and gynecology. Edited by V.N. Serov, G.T. Sukhikh, V.N. Prilepskaya, V.E. Radzinsky. 3rd edition, revised and expanded. M., 2017. S. 545-550.
3. Obstetrics and gynecology. Clinical guidelines. — 3rd ed., rev. and additional / G.M. Savelyeva, V.N. Serov, G.T. Dry. — M.: GEOTARMEDIA. 2013. - 880 p.
4. WHO antenatal care guidelines for a positive pregnancy experience. 2017.196 s. ISBN 978-92-4-454991-9
5. Dedov I.I., Gerasimov G.A., Sviridenko N.Yu. Iodine deficiency diseases in the Russian Federation (epidemiology, diagnosis, prevention). Toolkit. — M.; 1999.
6. Iodine deficiency: current state of the problem. N.M. Platonov. Clinical and experimental thyroidology. 2015. Volume 11, No. 1. S. 12-21.
7. Melnichenko G.A., Troshina E.A., Platonova N.M. Iodine deficiency diseases of the thyroid gland in the Russian Federation: the current state of the problem. Analytical review of publications and official state statistics (Rosstat). Consilium Medicum. 2019; 21(4):14–20. DOI: 10.26442/20751753.2019.4.19033
8. Clinical guidelines: diagnosis and treatment of (multiple) nodular goiter in adults. 2016. 9 p.
9. National program for optimizing the feeding of children in the first year of life in the Russian Federation (4th edition, revised and supplemented) / Union of Pediatricians of Russia [et al.]. — M.: Pediatr, 2019. — 206 p.
10. National program Vitamin D deficiency in children and adolescents of the Russian Federation: modern approaches to correction / Union of Pediatricians of Russia [et al.]. — M.: Pediatr, 2018. — 96 s.
11. Pigarova E.A., Rozhinskaya L.Ya, Belaya Zh.E., et al. Clinical guidelines of the Russian Association of Endocrinologists for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of vitamin D deficiency in adults // Problems of Endocrinology. - 2016. - T.62. — No. 4. — P. 60-84.
12. Russian national consensus "Gestational diabetes mellitus: diagnosis, treatment, postpartum care" / Dedov I. I., Krasnopolsky V.I., Sukhikh G.T. On behalf of the working group//Diabetes mellitus. —2012. -No4. —S.4-10.
13. Clinical guidelines. Algorithms of specialized medical care for patients with diabetes mellitus. 9th edition (updated). 2019. 216 p.
2nd trimester of pregnancy: everything you need to know | Mamovediya
We have already written about the important nuances of the first trimester of pregnancy. Let's move on to the next step.
You have reached the second phase of your magnificent nine month journey. The second trimester brings with it a series of changes in your body as your baby continues to develop in the womb. trimester.
The second trimester lasts from the fourteenth week to the end of the twenty-sixth week of pregnancy.
Child development in the second trimester
This period of pregnancy brings great changes in the growth of the fetus: its skeleton and other bone structures begin to mature, and a layer of fat begins to form under the skin, still translucent. Another fundamental stage in your baby's development during this period is that he begins to learn to swallow and suck his thumb. By the end of the second trimester, the fetus's hearing is strong enough to hear your voice. Some women have already been lucky enough to feel the first movements of the baby. In the second trimester of pregnancy, fetal development is characterized by :
Continuation of organogenesis;
Functioning of the nervous system;
Strengthening and improvement of muscles, which is the impetus for the movement of the child;
Growth of hair and, on some parts of the body (eg shoulders), a special down;
During the second three months, the unborn child will go from 7. 9 cm in length and weigh approximately 93 grams at 4 months to 36.5 cm long and weigh just over 1000 grams at the end of 6 months. Extrauterine survival for a baby at 27 weeks gestation is approximately 94% .
Symptoms and changes in a woman's body in the second trimester
These thirteen weeks are often considered the best of all 40 weeks. During this period, most of the unpleasant symptoms of the first trimester begin to disappear, and it is still too early for the symptoms of the second half of pregnancy. Gradually, the level of the hormone hCG decreases. A more balanced level of estrogen and progesterone helps reduce fatigue and morning sickness. However, constipation, heartburn, indigestion and frequent urination are some of the symptoms that usually persist even during this period.
You will probably already begin to experience some of the typical pain during pregnancy because the growth of the uterus causes back and round ligament pain. After the twentieth week, many women, especially those who are in their second or subsequent pregnancy, usually experience Braxton Hicks contractions or false contractions.
Second trimester weight gain
As nausea and vomiting decrease during this time, your appetite will improve and food cravings may develop. However, it is important to remember that eating for two (you and your unborn child) does not mean eating two servings at every meal. In fact, you need no more than 300-500 additional calories per day , as the ideal level of weight gain during these three months is about 200-400 grams per week.
Second trimester examinations
As you know, screening tests are tests that are performed to detect the presence of a disease or those abnormalities from which a disease arises, before it manifests itself in the form of symptoms. In the second trimester, screening is usually done from 18 to 22 weeks .
Usually the examination consists of a biochemical blood test of the following indicators: alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and estriol, and ultrasound . Depending on the mother's age and medical history, these tests are done to assess the risk of genetic diseases and neural tube defects such as Down syndrome, trisomy 18 known as Edwards syndrome, and spina bifida. An ultrasound evaluates the size and physical characteristics of your unborn baby, the condition of the amniotic fluid, and the placenta. To ensure proper development of the skull and brain, doctors measure the circumference of the child's head. At the beginning of the second trimester, the fetal skeleton is visible through the transparent skin, and after the eighteenth week, an ultrasound can determine the sex of your baby.
What is important to know and remember!
Signs to look out for Occasional headaches are quite normal, but see your doctor if you experience sudden and severe headaches as they may indicate high blood pressure or even preeclampsia. At this stage, other possible warning signs are: severe back or stomach cramps, bleeding, lack of amniotic fluid, diarrhea that lasts for several days. Fetal nutrition The umbilical cord continues to thicken to carry more nutrients to the developing fetus. At the same time, it is easier for harmful substances to reach the baby through the umbilical cord. Therefore, avoid tobacco, alcohol and other similar substances. Exercise Physical activity/exercise during pregnancy is the best way to control weight gain. In particular, swimming can be a suitable exercise, as water helps to relax by supporting the stomach. Also, it's time to watch a video of yoga for pregnant women.
After you take care of your diet and lifestyle to keep your child healthy, you can also think of more pleasant things. For example, making a list of names you like, shopping for maternity clothes, decorating a baby's room. You may want to schedule a photo session of your pregnancy, especially if you feel good and the weather conditions are good.