Second trimester: weeks 13-28
A second trimester guide to how you might be feeling, what is happening in your body and your pregnancy appointments.
How you might be feeling during your second trimester…
You could be blooming or you could still be feeling blooming awful! If you had severe pregnancy symptoms in your first trimester, your days could now start to feel easier. But, as pregnancy is an individual experience, it’s important not to compare and to focus on what you need.
There’s a lot going on in your second trimester, as you and your baby grow.
Energy & Exercise – you might be feeling really well and in need of some activity. Getting out for a walk or going for a swim can give you a great boost. Or you might fancy a class – pregnancy yoga, aquanatal or pregnancy aerobics are all great for you.
Sickness & Heartburn – Any sickness and nausea could go but heartburn could start at some point during the second trimester – talk to your midwife if you are concerned about it.
Baby Movements – You could start to feel your baby move – from fluttering to full on kicks as your baby gets bigger.
Pelvis Aches – You might start to experience back and pelvis discomfort, or even pain, as your joints loosen and your body shape changes to accommodate your growing baby. Talk to your midwife about it as you may benefit from seeing a physiotherapist.
Breathlessness – As your baby grows, you might start to feel a little breathless and feeling like you can’t breathe in as deeply as normal. Always check this out with your midwife if it concerns you.
Headaches – Some women get more headaches in pregnancy. Although you can take paracetamol, it can also be worth looking at other ways of easing them – drink plenty of water, eat well and often, rest, get some fresh air and some gentle exercise. You could also book yourself in for a pregnancy massage to see it that helps!
What’s happening in your body during your second trimester?
During your second trimester your baby will grow from about 8cm – 36cm long, he will learn to suck his thumb, have wees and he might start playing with the umbilical cord.
As your baby grows, his hearing will develop, as well as his taste buds and he will become aware of light and touch to the bump – so it can be a great way to connect and interact with your baby.
Antenatal tests and scans
You may have had this already or it may take place at about 12-13 weeks. The sonographer will check that your baby is developing normally and it will confirm how many babies are in there! This scan will also confirm how many weeks pregnant you are and when your baby is due.
This can be included with the Dating Scan, although you don’t have to have this screening test. It estimates the risk of your baby having Down’s syndrome by measuring the fluid at the back of your baby’s neck. This may also be combined with a blood test.
This is offered to pregnant women if there is a chance that your baby has a genetic disorder or chromosome problem and you should be able to talk it through with a midwife or doctor to find out more about it.
A sample of amniotic fluid is taken via a needle – the amniotic fluid contains your baby’s cells so it can be used to diagnose genetic disorders and chromosome conditions, such as Down’s syndrome.
It usually takes place at about 16 weeks but it is your choice – you don’t have to have one but you can discuss this with the fetal health doctor or midwife.
This scan happens at around 20 weeks pregnant. It takes about 20 minutes and it checks the shape and structure of all your baby’s organs and bones and how your baby is growing. The placenta, umbilical cord and amniotic fluid is also checked. It might also be possible to find out the sex of your baby.
Midwife appointments during the second trimester
You will see your midwife at about 16 weeks and, if this is your first baby, again at 25 weeks. This is your opportunity to ask any questions about how you are feeling and any concerns you have. Although if you are worried about anything in-between your midwife visits you can call to make an extra appointment, you can see your GP or you can call into your local Pregnancy Assessment Unit to get you and baby checked out.
During your midwife appointments she will:
- check your urine sample for bacteria, sugar and protein – your midwife wants to check for any infection, diabetes and signs of pre-eclampsia.
- measure your blood pressure – to check you are in good health. If you have high blood pressure, your midwife may want to see you more frequently to monitor it.
- listen to your baby’s heartbeat – which can be fantastic to listen to.
- measure your bump – just to make sure your baby is growing as it should be. If your midwife has any concerns, you may be referred to the hospital for a growth scan.
Plan your birth & baby preparation
If this is your first baby, you might need an antenatal course. If you have given birth before, you may just need a refresher – a birth debrief session can also be beneficial.
These sessions are also about preparing for induction or a caesarean, as well as for life beyond birth. Find out more about birth preparation options.
Some second trimester tips
- This is a time to think about where you want to have your baby – you might be considering a homebirth and it is beneficial to find out more about your local maternity units and their facilities.
- Drink plenty of water and eat well – this will help with any tiredness, headaches and constipation.
- If you are concerned about anything, see your midwife, GP or call into your Pregnancy Assessment Unit for a check-up.
- Treat yourself to a pregnancy massage – this can give your wellbeing a boost with relaxation and easing some discomforts.
- Stress and anxiety can also be part of pregnancy for some women – pregnancy consultations can be a useful way to manage this, which will also include relax & breathe resources to use every day.
Second Trimester Experiences
“I loved this part – definitely felt more normal again!”
“After feeling so exhausted and fed up at the beginning of pregnancy, I had more energy to actually enjoy being pregnant.”
“I don’t think I felt well until about 22 weeks – the sickness seemed to drag on endlessly.”
“I’m still waiting to bloody bloom!”
“I truly hated being pregnant, I just didn’t feel in control of anything at all. I never felt completely fine and there was always some symptom to experience.”
“I loved feeling my baby move, I felt so happy and connected to my baby.”
“I had wanted to be pregnant for so long, I was looking forward to it and I think I got off lightly with symptoms but I didn’t expect to feel so weird about my bigger body and I really didn’t like the baby movements, it just felt so alien.”
“I loved being pregnant and this middle part felt exciting as my belly got bigger and I started to feel her move.”
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