Second Trimester Overview

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Second trimester: you, your baby, your appointments

Good news: Many women say that the second trimester (weeks 14 though 26) is the best of all. You’ll likely feel more energetic, less nauseous and emotional, and start to actually look pregnant. Another exciting thing is that you’ll begin to feel your baby move around the 20-week mark, give or take.

Now that morning sickness is (hopefully) on its way out, you’ll find your appetite increasing — and your weight, too. Gaining about a pound a week is typical for the second trimester, although it may be more or less. Don’t even think about trying to diet. If you seem to be gaining more than you should, try to feed yourself and your baby with as many healthy, nutrient-rich foods as possible, while keeping sweets and junk foods to an occasional treat.

Besides a growing belly, you might notice other changes in your body. Your nipples and the skin surrounding them may appear darker, and you may see a thin, dark line running down from your belly button. Both will eventually lighten after birth. You might also see some stretch marks, which will also lighten over time. If your belly feels itchy or dry, try rubbing on some lotion.

Your back may start to ache more as your center of gravity shifts. Ice packs or heating pads can help, as can wearing low heels, sleeping on your side on a firm mattress with a pillow between your knees, shifting positions when standing, and taking rest breaks during the day.

Some signs of concern that you’ll want to let your provider know about right away include:

  • Unusual vaginal discharge, itching or sores
  • Severe vomiting or continued morning sickness
  • A temperature of 101 degrees or higher
  • Pain or burning when you urinate
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Swelling of your hands, feet, face or ankles
  • A definite decrease in urination
  • Severe or persistent headaches
  • Dizziness or blurred vision

You should also watch out for signs of premature labor, and contact your provider right away if you experience:

  • Vaginal bleeding (except light spotting after a pelvic exam)
  • A gush or uncontrolled leaking of fluid from your vagina
  • Sharp, constant abdominal pain
  • Cramps along with a low, dull backache that last more than an hour

By the end of your second trimester, your baby will be about 14 inches long and weigh around two pounds. She’ll be growing eyelashes, eyebrows, and hair on her head. She’ll have times of wakeful activity and sleep (often opposite of your own schedule). You’ll be feeling her move around, and possibly be able to tell when she has the hiccups!

At your appointments, your doctor or midwife will continue to check your weight, blood pressure and urine, as well as listen to the baby’s heartbeat and measure the size of your uterus from your pubic bone to the top of your belly.

If you haven’t already, you may be given the option of prenatal testing — either a screening test or diagnostic test to check for possible problems with your baby. You’ll be offered a standard ultrasound around the 20-week point. It’s safe for you and your baby and can give you and your provider a lot of helpful information, such as your baby’s size, likely due date, the position of your baby and the placenta, and the amount of amniotic fluid. You might even be able to tell the baby’s sex, although some parents choose to leave it a surprise. Be sure to tell your ultrasound technician whether you want to find out or not. 

If your blood is Rh-negative (your doctor or midwife will have tested you for this), you’ll get an injection of RhoGam at 28 or 29 weeks of pregnancy, and again after birth if your baby is Rh-positive. This prevents your body from making antibodies that could attack your baby’s blood.

View second trimester checklist