Your Guide To Second Trimester Of Pregnancy
What is the second trimester?
A pregnancy lasts for about 40 weeks. The weeks are grouped into three trimesters. The second trimester includes weeks 13 through 27 of pregnancy.
In the second trimester, the baby grows larger and stronger and many women begin showing a larger belly. Most women find that the second trimester is a lot easier than the first, but it’s still important to be informed about your pregnancy during the second trimester. Understanding your pregnancy week by week can help you make informed decisions and prepare for the big changes ahead.
What happens to your body during the second trimester?
During the second trimester of pregnancy, symptoms that you may have experienced during the first trimester begin to improve. Many women report that nausea and fatigue begin to lessen and they consider the second trimester the easiest and most enjoyable part of their pregnancy.
The following changes and symptoms may occur:
- the uterus expands
- you begin to show a larger abdomen
- dizziness or lightheadedness due to lower blood pressure
- feeling the baby move
- body aches
- increased appetite
- stretch marks on the stomach, breast, thighs.
- skin changes, like darkening of the skin around your nipples, or patches of darker skin
- swelling of the ankles or hands
Call your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:
- jaundice (yellowing of the whites of the eyes)
- extreme swelling
- rapid weight gain
What happens to the fetus during the second trimester?
The baby’s organs become fully developed during the second trimester. The baby can also start to hear and swallow. Later on in the second trimester, the baby will begin to move around. It will develop sleeping and waking cycles that a pregnant woman will begin to notice.
By the end of the second trimester, the baby will be around 14 inches in length and weigh a little over two pounds.
What can be expected at the doctor’s clinic?
Women should see a doctor about every two to four weeks during the second trimester of pregnancy. Tests that the doctor may perform during a visit include:
- measuring your blood pressure
- checking your weight
- diabetes screening with blood tests
- birth defect and other genetic screening tests
Why have a Fetal Anomaly Scan?
The vast majority of babies are normal. However, all women, whatever their age, have a small chance of delivering a baby with structural abnormalities that cause physical or mental limitations. Many such abnormalities can be diagnosed and ruled out with the fetal anomaly scan.
How can you stay healthy during the second trimester?
It’s important to be aware of what to do and what to avoid as your pregnancy continues. This will help you take care of yourself and your developing baby.
What to do
- Continue to take prenatal vitamins.
- Exercise regularly.
- Work out your pelvic floor by doing Kegel exercises.
- Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, low-fat forms of protein, and fiber.
- Drink lots of water.
- Eat enough calories (about 300 calories more than normal).
- Keep your teeth and gums healthy.
What to avoid
- strenuous exercise or strength training that could cause an injury to your stomach
- caffeine (no more than one cup of coffee or tea per day)
- illegal drugs
- raw foods
- packed and junk foods
- unpasteurized milk or other dairy products