Pregnancy week by week: your second trimester

Welcome to the second trimester of pregnancy, AKA “the best stage of pregnancy”. For most women it tends to be a pleasant middle ground between the ickiness of first trimester pregnancy symptoms and the general discomfort of the third trimester (when you’re enormous).  

While we can’t guarantee that these second trimester weeks will always be the glowy, magical experience they’re made out to be, it’s still a pretty special time. This guide will outline what to expect during your second trimester: your physical symptoms and the things you need to do.

Week 14

When morning sickness hits its peak, a lot of women leap onto Google to desperately search things like “when does second trimester start?”, and “please for the love of God tell me nausea in second trimester is not a thing”. If you expected relief in this trimester, it may still be coming! It’s normal to feel ill right up until Week 16 or beyond. 

As you head into Week 14, don’t be alarmed if you feel pain or cramping. Second trimester stretching pains can feel strange, but are a good sign your body is doing what it’s meant to – making way for your baby to grow!

Some women specifically experience left side pain during pregnancy. Second trimester stretching of the uterus can cause round ligament pain, which is the most common cause of this.

Things to do

Week 15

This week try to look in the mirror and give yourself a giant, toothy grin. Notice anything? It’s normal to experience bleeding or tenderness in your gums as one of the weirder second trimester symptoms. It happens because the increase in estrogen and progesterone affects the mucous membranes in your mouth and makes your gums spongier. 

Yeah, gross. Spongy gums.

Things to do

  • Brush your teeth – Hopefully you do this anyway (morning and night, like your dentist taught you). Keep it up, and floss too! 

Week 16

Around Week 16, many women start to feel their baby’s movements! This early on it’s known as ‘quickening’ and may feel like butterflies in your tummy, or even like your stomach is growling. (Which it probably is anyway.)

The position of your placenta and the baby in your womb may affect when you start feeling kicks, so you might not feel it for a few more weeks.

Things to do

  • Embrace your growing belly – Worried about your pregnancy weight gain? Second trimester weight is to be expected as your fluid levels increase and your baby grows. Keep eating all the good things to nourish yourself and your little one.

Week 17

With your baby now about 5 inches (13cm) long and weighing 5.3oz (150g), the extra weight will be felt! It often results in back, hip or pelvic pain.

Worried about your pelvic pain during pregnancy? Second trimester or third trimester pelvic girdle pain is estimated to occur in about 20% of pregnancies. It can be uncomfortable but it’s usually not dangerous. Hang in there!

Things to do

  • Stretch it out – Feeling some pelvic pressure? During pregnancy (second trimester included) this is so normal. Gentle yoga or stretching can help relieve it.

Week 18

As you progress further into your second trimester weeks, some sneaky new symptoms may crop up. Vaginal discharge, dizziness, heartburn, and pain in your head/back/pelvic area could be on the cards in Week 18.

Things to do

  • Take it easy – Second trimester symptoms may not be as intense as first or third trimester symptoms, but they’re still your body’s way of telling you what it needs. If you’re suffering from second trimester headaches or pelvic pain (very common!), slow down and rest. 

Week 19

Almost halfway through your pregnancy, your baby will be starting to develop sleeping patterns similar to a newborn: awake for six hours a day and asleep for 18. You may notice they’re more active at night when you’re trying to sleep.

In the full swing of the second trimester now, you may be feeling tired, constipated, dizzy, achy, and hangry

Things to do

  • Stay active – Your usual fitness regime may be getting more difficult. If so, try swimming! It’s a beautiful low impact exercise that will help you feel great, and take pressure off your back and pelvic area.

Week 20

Woaaah, you’re halfway there! 

You’ve been doing some awesome work growing a human, and your little one will be around the size of a banana. 

Things to do

  • Make your partner feel the bump – As early as Week 20, your partner may be able to lay a hand on your bump and feel your baby’s kicks. It might require some patience (they never do it on cue!), but it’s such a special experience.
  • Sleep on your side – From around this point of the second trimester, doctors advise against sleeping on your back where possible. 

Week 21

By now you probably will have had your 20-week scan. This is an essential part of your second trimester screening, and if you’re experiencing a healthy, low risk pregnancy could be the second and final ultrasound you have before giving birth! 

Things to do

  • Slather yourself in balms and creams – Why? Because stretch marks. Creams and balms may help reduce their appearance and can be beautifully soothing to dry, itchy skin. 

Week 22

By Week 22, your baby’s inner ear is now adult-sized! As their ears continue to develop they can begin to hear your voice and get to know you – their special mama.

Things to do

  • Chat to your baby – It might feel weird at first, but talking to them (now that they can recognize your voice) is a beautiful way to connect and get them used to you! Encourage your partner to do it too. 

Week 23

Pregnancy hormones may start to scramble your focus a little. If you’re forgetting things more than usual, be kind to yourself. It’s all part of the process.

Things to do

  • Get intimate – Had sex lately? Or has it been about 23 weeks since the last time?… Sex during pregnancy is healthy and great, and in your late second trimester, may require some creativity. Give it a try! (Note: it’s normal to experience some bleeding after sex, due to having an inflamed cervix. Bleeding in the second trimester can happen, but if you’re worried or unsure see your doctor.)

Week 24

Your baby has had a huge growth spurt and is now the size of an ear of corn!

Things to do

  • Book your glucose screening test – Doctors suggest having this test between weeks 24 and 28 to check for gestational diabetes, but you may be advised to have it done earlier if you’re at higher risk.

Week 25

It’s normal to experience leg cramps and heartburn at this stage of your second trimester. Stretching, and avoiding standing in one position for too long can help.

Things to do

  • Start to shortlist baby names – If you haven’t already started to think about baby names, get on it! We’ve even got some ideas to get you going: check out our fave baby girl names and baby boy names.
  • Book your birth class – This is a great way to get educated about labor and the birth process. And if you’re freaked out about it, attending a birth class may help you alleviate some of that fear. (Birth affirmations can help too!)

Week 26

Ka-pow! That was your baby giving you a hefty kick to the ribs. Cheeky. You’ll get this more and more as you head into your third trimester. 

Things to do

  • Nap WHILE YOU CAN! – Trying to sleep can become hell in your third trimester. As you come to the end of your second trimester, stock up on z’s and sneak in those 20 minute power naps where you can.

Week 27

Your baby currently looks similar to how they’ll look at birth – just smaller and thinner. It may be comforting to know that they’d have a good chance (75–80%) of surviving, with specialized care, if they were born now. 

Things to do

  • Drink up – The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends downing 8 to 12 cups of water per day (64 to 96 ounces) during pregnancy. So do it!

While it’s not all shiny hair, gorgeous skin and romantic pregnant lady things, your second trimester can be a lovely reprieve from those nasty early pregnancy symptoms before you dive into the plight of Trimester Three.

As always, try to stay in touch with your mama intuition during this stage of the pregnancy. If anything feels ‘off’, check in with your maternity care team straight away. And remember, this article shouldn’t replace proper medical advice.

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