What To Expect in Your 2nd Trimester
You’re midway to meeting baby!
By the time you reach your second trimester, hooray, you’re halfway there! Of all the weeks of your pregnancy, you’ll likely feel your best during your second trimester (a.k.a. the “honeymoon” period). The intense fatigue and breast tenderness usually lessen, as well as morning sickness—which, let’s face it, can happen anytime of the day or night. As your baby bump begins to show, the reality of having a new baby on the way may set more deeply in. And you might even start to feel your infant “quickening” (read: doing a little jig).
Amidst all the joy the prospect of your little bundle’s arrival may bring, in your second trimester, you could also have some anxiety or experience the very real phenomenon of pregnancy brain—both of which are completely normal and extremely common. Plus, we’ll bet you probably have a lot of questions. We’re here to help. Keep reading to learn all about what you can expect, including when the second trimester is, exactly when does the second trimester start, and what happens throughout your second trimester weeks. From second semester symptoms to a range of baby prep you may want to begin while you still have the energy and ease of mobility, we’re covering it all.
When Does the Second Trimester Start?
The second trimester marks the middle of your pregnancy, from 13 to 26 weeks (or 11 to 24 since your little one was conceived). If you were nauseous during your first trimester—as almost 75% of pregnant women are—it may fade, and you should have a little more pep in your step and feel better in general. Which means this may be the optimal time to get started on some baby-prepping projects.
If you’re not sure where to begin, no worries, we’re big on using checklists to ensure nothing is missed. Check out our ones on nursery must-haves (including how to be sure it’s baby-safe), preparing a birth plan (which comes with a cool little template you can use), what to bring for delivery, and what to pack in your diaper bag. Plus, if you have an older child, learn how to prepare them for the new baby.
One thing you’ll want to have on hand at all times for when your little one arrives is Infants’ Mylicon Gas Relief in our dye-free or original drops. Babies are toot machines, and a lot of things can cause gas. Gassy tummies can be uncomfortable, but, fortunately, there are many ways you can help relieve them. Our gas drops work quickly to break gas bubbles down to help your baby naturally release them. And the active ingredient, simethicone, is never absorbed into your infant’s system—it just gets pooped out into their diaper.
Mommy Pro Tip: Simple logic may tell you that the word “trimester” means there are three parts. But, welcome to the world of mommyhood—where there’s always something you won’t see coming! Believe it or not, there’s actually a 4th trimester: The 3-month period of transition after your baby is born. It’s a major time of change when your baby is adapting to being in the world, and you’re adjusting to caring for them in yours.
What To Expect in Your Second Trimester of Pregnancy
If you so choose, one of the most exciting things that can happen in your second trimester is finding out if the little bun in your oven is a boy or girl. Get ready for the gender reveal! Both you and your baby also begin your own kinds of growth spurts. And, aside from symptoms that can arise in your second trimester (which we’ll get into in a bit), you can also expect—and even look forward to—some of the below.
Your baby being more, well, baby-like
Be prepared for your heart to start melting in your second trimester. It’s when your baby starts to look more like an itty-bitty human, with tiny fingers and little piggies, a cutie pie face, hair, nails, eyebrows, and fluttering little lashes. They’ll even start to make faces, stretch those brand new baby limbs, and suck on their thumb, as well as do flips and other movements, which may feel like the butterflies in your belly (a.k.a. “quickening”). By the end of your second trimester, they’ll be able to hear your voice. So, start chatting them up! You may be able to feel their response.
Say hello to your OB/GYN—then say hello again, again, and again . . .
The number of times you visit your doctor during the second trimester can vary, depending on your and your baby’s health. But, typically, expect to pop into the office for a prenatal checkup about once a month. There, they’ll listen to your little one’s heartbeat, check their growth, size, and development, and, around 20 weeks, measure the height of the top of your uterus (fundus). Fill them in on how you’ve been feeling, and on any symptoms or discomfort. Then, of course, you’ll go through all the less glamorous, routine checks on your urine, weight, and blood pressure.
Bring on the baby bump
While everyone is different, your baby bump will likely start to show at some point during your second trimester—and it can grow fast, weighing in at around two pounds by the end of your sixth month. (If this is your second pregnancy, you may even start to show sooner.) However, the sudden nature of your belly expanding so quickly can bring with it a common pregnancy discomfort called round ligament pain. This is because the two thick ligaments in your pelvis that hold up your growing baby can stretch, pull, and feel like they’re burning. Kick your feet up to help relieve them as often as you can, try not to make any jarring movements, and listen to your body when you undertake any activities. A nice warm bubble bath doesn’t hurt either.
Common Second Trimester Symptoms
Unfortunately, second trimester symptoms don’t end there. Although you’ll likely get a much-welcomed boost of energy—thanks to a reduction of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) or “the pregnancy hormone” and adapting to increased levels of estrogen and progesterone—you may experience some of these other common side effects.
- Increased appetite: Both you and your infant need a lot of fuel for all the growth that occurs in the second trimester. A hallmark of this time in your pregnancy is feeling hungrier more often, even famished.
- Quickening: If you feel a little fluttery in your tummy, take it as a sign that your little one is saying Hi Mom!
- Itchy, painful belly: Your belly will be growing in overdrive, which can cause pain down your sides or in your lower stomach, as well as itchy skin.
- Reduced need to pee: In your second trimester, your uterus will grow out of your pelvic cavity, relieving pressure on your bladder and, thankfully, tamping down on the urge to pee all the time. Phew!
- Upset stomach: If you struggled with GI issues, like heartburn, indigestion, or constipation, while pregnant, they may continue. This is because your growing infant is taking up more and more real estate, and putting pressure on your internal organs.
- Backaches: As you put on the pregnancy pounds, it can put more pressure on your back too.
- Stuffy nose: Those pesky hormones, estrogen and progesterone, along with an increase in blood flow (and 50% more blood in general), can stuff up your nose or even make it bleed.
- Spongier, bleeding gums: Estrogen and progesterone can also make the mucous membranes in your mouth more sensitive.
- Varicose veins, spider veins & hemorrhoids: The added pressure of your ramped up circulation can cause reddish-purple veins on your face, neck, and arms, swollen veins on your legs, and painful hemorrhoids.
- Melasma: Another side effect of increased estrogen and progesterone is that they can cause the skin on your face to become more sensitive to the sun and result in dark splotches, known as melasma or the “mask of pregnancy.”
- Leukorrhea: You may experience white vaginal discharge. But if it looks colored or bloody, contact your doctor right away. Ditto if you have any pain when you pee—pregnancy can make you more susceptible to bladder and kidney infections.
- Libido changes: Your sex drive may either significantly increase or decrease in the second trimester, sometimes the latter if any of the other symptoms are especially bothersome.
The Second Trimester in Weeks
Now that all your baby’s major organs and systems have developed, the rest of your pregnancy is all about growth and refinement. Check out approximately how they’ll be developing around the time of each of your second trimester weeks, starting from the first day of your last period before you got pregnant, also known as the “gestational age” of your pregnancy. To find out how old your baby is, or their “fetal age,” just subtract two weeks
13 weeks: Your baby’s bones are beginning to harden, especially in their limbs and skull. And while their skin is thin and see-through, it’s getting thicker. Their tiny bladder is also kicking into gear and making pee-pee, which will be released into your amniotic fluid. They may swallow some amniotic fluid too, but don’t fret, it won’t harm them.
14 weeks: Here comes the gender reveal! (Unless, of course, you’d rather be surprised, which is exciting in its own right.) Around 14 weeks—or soon after—is when you’ll be able to know if you have a little girl or boy on the horizon. Plus, their neck will be more defined and easier to see. Their spleen is starting to churn out red blood cells. And they might be a full three-and-a-half inches long, from the tippy-top of their head to their tiny bum—and weigh around one-and-a-half ounces.
15 weeks: Soon, you should be able to make out their tiny body even more on an ultrasound, and they’re growing in leaps and bounds. Their unique pattern of hair on their scalp will also be forming.
16 weeks: Peek-a-boo! Your baby’s head will be upright and they can slowly move their eyes. That baby soft skin is thickening more, and their ears are positioning themselves where they’ll stay. They’ll also start to move their limbs, which can be seen on an ultrasound, though at 16 weeks, you may not feel anything just yet. In just the past two weeks, they might grow a whole inch, to about four-and-a-half inches, and weigh closer to four ounces.
17 weeks: Teensy-weensy toenails start to develop, and your baby is moving around a whole lot more. That itty-bitty heart is pumping an astounding 100 pints of blood each day.
18 weeks: Say your first hello! At around 18 weeks, your baby’s ears begin to stand out and they may be able to hear you and other sounds. Their eyes are moving more to the center of their face, and their digestive system is kicking in. In the last two weeks, they might grow to be five-and-a-half inches and weigh around seven ounces.
19 weeks: After all that growing, your infant may take a little rest, and their growth may slow. Instead, a protective, cheesy, greasy film called vernix caseosa will begin to cover their skin. It protects their developing skin from hardening or chapping in the amniotic fluid. If it’s a girl, her reproductive organs will start forming.
20 weeks: You’ll make it to the halfway point of your entire pregnancy at 20 weeks, or 18 weeks after your little one was conceived. Here’s where you may start to feel the jiggy quickening, which also might happen if you wake them up—they're sleeping and waking regularly now. At this point, they might be about six-and-a-third inches and over 11 ounces.
21 weeks: Their minuscule thumb may have found its way into your baby’s mouth around 21 weeks, and they reflexively know exactly what to do with it. A fine, downy hair called lanugo is covering every part of your infant’s skin. It helps keep the vernix caseosa in place.
22 weeks: Baby fuzz on their head and eyebrows might be visible, and they’ll begin developing fat to retain heat. Your little one may be around seven-and-a-half inches and might have hit the one-pound mark. If they’re a boy, their testes may start to descend.
23 weeks: Tiny fingerprints and footprints begin to form in tiny ridges. They may also have rapid eye movements (REM). Cutest of all, your miniature person might begin to hiccup, which you may feel as jerking motions.
24 weeks: That baby-soft skin is now wrinkled, pinkish-red from the blood in their capillaries, and translucent. They could be around eight inches and over one-and-one-third pounds.
25 weeks: Voices and sounds may now be familiar to them, and your infant may respond to ones they recognize, such as your voice. You can sing to them while they sleep, because they’re spending most of their time in REM sleep.
26 weeks: Surfactant is being produced in their lungs, which helps them inflate and deflate properly. And your baby may be a whole nine inches and weigh almost two pounds.
When Does the Second Trimester End?
Once you hit week 27, you can say bye-bye to your second trimester—you’re officially in your third. Meanwhile, your infant’s nervous system is maturing, and they’ll start packing on the baby fat, which makes their skin look smoother.
Next: Your second trimester is also an ideal time to find a pediatrician, if you don’t already have one. Learn how to find a good baby doc that’s just right for you and your newborn.