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What to Expect: Second Trimester of Pregnancy

Rachael Kirkwood

What to Expect: Second Trimester of Pregnancy

Written by
Rachael Kirkwood

What to Expect During the Second Trimester

Congratulations on reaching the second trimester of your pregnancy! This phase is often referred to as the "honeymoon period" due to decreased nausea and increased energy levels. It's a time of significant growth and development for both you and your baby. Let's explore what to expect during the second trimester, key milestones in fetal development, and essential tasks to prioritise during this exciting time.

Decreased Morning Sickness: For many women, the nausea and vomiting associated with early pregnancy subside during the second trimester, allowing for a more comfortable experience.

Increased Energy: You may notice a surge in energy levels as you enter the second trimester, making it an ideal time to tackle tasks and enjoy activities you may have put on hold during the first trimester.

Visible Baby Bump: Your belly will begin to noticeably expand as your baby grows, allowing for exciting moments of bonding as you start to visibly carry your little one.

Quickening: Around weeks 16 to 20, you may start to feel your baby's movements for the first time, often described as fluttering or "quickening." These movements become more pronounced as the trimester progresses.

Body Changes: You may experience new physical changes, such as backaches, round ligament pain, and skin changes like stretch marks. Embrace these changes as signs of your body's remarkable journey.

Fetal Development In 2nd Trimester

By week 13, many of baby's organs have formed and are beginning to function, and the risk of miscarriage decreases. During this time, your baby's bones begin to harden, and movements become more noticeable to the mother. By the halfway point of the pregnancy, around week 20, baby is fully formed, with all organs and structures in place.

Gender may also be determined through ultrasound during this trimester. As the second trimester progresses, the baby continues to grow and develop, gaining weight and developing more defined features. By the end of this trimester, around week 27, the baby's senses are becoming more refined, and they may even respond to sounds and touch from outside the womb.

Fetal development week by week
Baby development week by week

Pregnancy Weeks 13-16

  • Growth Spurt: The baby experiences a significant growth spurt, doubling in size and becoming more proportional.

  • Formation of Vernix: A waxy coating called vernix develops on the baby's skin to protect it from the amniotic fluid.

  • Facial Expressions: Facial muscles develop, allowing the baby to make facial expressions such as squinting and frowning.

  • Sexual Differentiation: The baby's sex organs become more distinct, and gender may be visible on ultrasound.

Weeks 17-20

  • Lanugo: Fine hair called lanugo covers the baby's body, helping to regulate body temperature.

  • Meconium Production: The baby's intestines begin to produce meconium, a dark, sticky substance that will be the baby's first bowel movement after birth.

  • Auditory Development: The baby's ears become more developed, allowing them to hear sounds from the outside world, including your voice and heartbeat.

  • Maternal-Fetal Bonding: As the baby's movements become more pronounced, you may feel a stronger sense of connection and bonding with your little one.

Weeks 21-24

  • Eyebrows and Eyelashes: The baby's eyebrows and eyelashes start to grow, enhancing facial features.

  • Brain Development: Rapid brain development occurs, laying the foundation for cognitive and sensory functions.

  • Viability: By week 24, the baby reaches the age of viability, meaning they have a chance of survival outside the womb with medical intervention in the event of premature birth.

  • Weight Gain: The baby begins to gain significant weight as fat deposits accumulate under the skin.

To-Do List for the Second Trimester

  • Schedule Routine Prenatal Checkups: Continue attending regular prenatal appointments to monitor your health and the baby's progress.

  • Plan Your Maternity Leave: Start discussing maternity leave options with your employer and make necessary arrangements for time off work.

  • Consider Prenatal Classes: Research and enrol in prenatal classes, such as childbirth education, breastfeeding, and newborn care, to prepare for labor and delivery. You can also check out our complete pregnancy and parenting course

free pregnancy guide
DOWNLOAD our FREE Pregnancy FAQ's Guide

Maternity Clothing

As your belly grows, invest in comfortable maternity clothing that accommodates your changing body shape. We've picked some highly rated maternity clothes on Amazon..

Maternity clothes amazon
Maternity clothes on Amazon

  • Stay Active: Engage in prenatal exercise routines such as swimming, prenatal yoga, or walking to maintain fitness and prepare your body for childbirth

  • Practice Self-Care: Make time for relaxation and self-care activities to reduce stress and promote overall well-being during this transformative time.

  • Plan for Baby's Arrival: Start preparing for the baby's arrival by setting up the nursery, purchasing essential baby items, and creating a birth plan.

gender neutral nursery ideas
Check out the gender neutral nursery ideas blog post here

Healthy Second Trimester

Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and support the increased demands of pregnancy.

Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods: Focus on consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to provide essential nutrients for you and your baby.

Monitor Baby's Movements: Pay attention to your baby's movements and report any significant changes or concerns to your healthcare provider.

Continue Taking Prenatal Vitamins: Ensure you're taking prenatal vitamins as recommended by your healthcare provider to support your baby's growth and development.

Communicate with Your Partner: Maintain open communication with your partner and involve them in your pregnancy journey, including attending prenatal appointments together and discussing hopes and concerns about parenthood.

The second trimester of pregnancy is a time of significant growth, development, and anticipation as you prepare for the arrival of your little one. Embrace the changes, cherish the milestones, and trust in the incredible journey of pregnancy and motherhood. If you have any questions or concerns about your pregnancy, don't hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider for guidance and support.

Congratulations on this beautiful chapter of your life!

For more pregnancy articles, freebies and information see our Pregnancy Hub

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