Healthy Pregnancy: Your Second Trimester Guide

Learn about your baby’s development, as well as any aches, pains or conditions you may experience during the second trimester.

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You may have spent the majority of your first trimester feeling pretty miserable, thanks to persistent nausea and fatigue. Are you ready for some good news? You should turn a corner in the second trimester and feel better. We asked Suzanne Ozbun, MD of HCA Midwest Health, about what you can expect during the next 14 weeks, including when you’ll start showing. Click through to find out what’s in store during your second trimester.

Medically reviewed in June 2019.

14 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Nectarine

2 / 15 14 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Nectarine

Your baby: Your baby’s body is growing faster than his noggin, and he’s already making faces—squinting or frowning—inside the womb. While he’s more active these days, you probably don’t feel much.

You: Now that your uterus is above the pubic bone, you’ve probably “popped” and have a nice-sized baby bump.

What the doc says: During the second trimester, most women will have more energy and less morning sickness, says Dr. Ozbun. “This is an exciting trimester because it’s when women feel the baby move and they start showing. It’s also the trimester where women can find out the gender of the baby.” 

15 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Apple

3 / 15 15 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Apple

Your baby: She’s quite the wiggle worm these days, as she gets used to moving all of her joints and limbs. Plus, her long legs are starting to outgrow her arms.

You: It used to be common for women older than 35 to receive an amniocentesis, a test to detect abnormalities in the baby, at 16 weeks. Now, most doctors instead recommend cell-free DNA testing in the first trimester.

What the doc says: “Doctor visits in the second trimester are scheduled every four weeks in a patient that’s of normal risk,” says Ozbun. “In each visit, the physician will review weight, blood pressure, baby’s heartbeat, and sometimes your doctor may request an urinalysis.” 

16 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Avocado

4 / 15 16 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Avocado

Your baby: His eyes are moving closer to the front of his face, and his ears are almost in place. He even has toenails. You should feel his first movements any day now.

You: Doctors recommend you gain about 12 to 14 pounds this trimester to nourish your growing baby. In fact, he will double in size in the coming weeks.

What the doc says: “For the whole pregnancy, we usually expect about a 25- to 35-pound weight gain,” says Ozbun. “We usually tell women to gain around 5 pounds in the first trimester.” The second trimester is a transition point because you may gain very little weight in the beginning, but after week 20, you’ll likely gain about a pound a week, explains Ozbun.

17 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Pear

5 / 15 17 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Pear

Your baby: She’s become quite the gymnast in your belly, and she’s even practicing breathing, which helps develop her diaphragm muscles. 

You: Your growing belly may make you feel as if you have two left feet. And while leg cramps and vivid dreams may disrupt your sleep, you should feel more energized compared to your first trimester.

What the doc says: If you’re finding it hard to sleep, Ozbun suggests a warm bath (not hot) before bed. And if leg cramps are keeping you up at night, make sure you’re drinking enough water because it may be a sign of dehydration. “Also, there are body pillows you can place under your belly and between your knees to help you get comfortable in bed,” says Ozbun. 

18 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Bell Pepper

6 / 15 18 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Bell Pepper

Your baby: The sex organs have developed, but if you’re having a boy his genitals may not show up on the ultrasound just yet.

You: You may feel his first movements, which will feel like butterflies, bubbles or your stomach growling. By now your appetite has probably increased, too. Make sure you’re noshing on healthy foods.

What the doc says: “If you’re still experiencing nausea with morning sickness, try eating small, frequent meals,” says Ozbun. “You’ll also want to load up on fruits and veggies for vitamins and to help reduce leg cramps.”

19 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Mango

7 / 15 19 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Mango

Your baby: If you talk to your baby, she can probably hear you now that her senses are developing. She’s finally growing hair on her head, and she’s covered in vernix caseosa, a waxy substance that protects her inside the womb.

You: Because of your growing belly, you may experience back pain and achiness in your lower abdomen, especially if you’re active.

What the doc says: If back pain is slowing you down, try some easy stretching. Belly bands, found at most drugs stores, can help support your belly and ease back pain. And, if you’re going to be standing for a long period of time, get a step stool to rest one foot on at a time, so you can take pressure off your back,” says Ozbun.

20 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Banana

8 / 15 20 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Banana

Your baby: Believe it or not, the makings of his first diaper change are developing this week from meconium accumulating in the bowel and amniotic fluid.

You: Feeling a little short of breath? Or like you need to pee every 10 minutes? Your uterus is expanding and putting pressure on your diaphragm and bladder, among other organs.

What the doc says: Your doctor will probably start measuring your uterus to check that your baby is growing properly. “We’ll also ask about certain symptoms like bleeding, cramping, leaking fluid, fetal movement, if you’re having any contractions or signs of preterm labor or signs of preeclampsia,” says Ozbun. 

21 Weeks – Baby’s Size Pomegranate

9 / 15 21 Weeks – Baby’s Size Pomegranate

Your baby: Those gurgles and bubbles you’ve been feeling in your tummy may have intensified into strong kicks and karate chops at this point.

You: Your growing uterus may interfere with blood flow from your legs, causing varicose veins.

What the doc says: “Your baby is putting pressure on your veins, which causes them to swell. While varicose veins may never go away completely, they often shrink after the baby has been delivered and pressure isn’t on your veins anymore,” says Ozbun. 

22 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Papaya

10 / 15 22 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Papaya

Your baby: You may catch your baby sucking on her thumb during your next ultrasound, as she discovers the feeling of touch.

You: Braxton Hicks contractions, a sign your body is practicing labor, may occur this week, if they haven’t already.

What the doc says: “The most common cause of Braxton Hicks is dehydration and fatigue,” says Ozbun. “If you’re feeling any contractions, try drinking two glasses of water and lay down for a bit. If these continue or if you’re having more than four contractions an hour, you should call your physician and let them know.” 

23 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Grapefruit

11 / 15 23 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Grapefruit

Your baby: Loud household noises like the garbage disposal and the dog barking may not faze him after birth, as he’s getting used to them inside the womb.

You: Your legs, feet and hands may swell from edema, especially at the end of the day. You may be feeling restless from nighttime leg cramps, heartburn and frequent bathroom breaks.

What the doc says: “Sometimes you can relieve edema by resting or elevating the feet or body part that is swollen,” says Ozbun. “Limiting salt to a reasonable amount can also help to ease your symptoms.” 

24 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Cantaloupe

12 / 15 24 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Cantaloupe

Your baby: Your baby’s lungs are developing surfactant, a substance that will help her breathe after she’s born.

You: Your uterus is now the size of a soccer ball and it may look as if you’re carrying the baby higher than you did before. Sometime between now and 28 weeks, you’ll want to get a glucose screening test (GCT) to check for gestational diabetes.

What the doc says: “Gestational diabetes, or high blood sugar in pregnancy, can cause the baby to grow larger than it would’ve been otherwise, which could cause complications with delivery,” says Ozbun. 

25 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Rutabaga

13 / 15 25 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Rutabaga

Your baby: His organs are fully formed, but not yet ready for life outside the womb. He’s moving more and more, and you may have noticed a pattern to his activity.

You: Thanks to hormonal fluctuations, your hair is looking thicker these days, but, unfortunately, your hair will thin out again after labor—sometimes very quickly.

What the doc says: If you develop anemia, you may want to eat more protein and green, leafy veggies like spinach to keep iron levels up. “Anemia is common during pregnancy because most of the nutrients are being shuttled from the mother to the baby, sometimes at the mother’s expense,” says Ozbun. 

26 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Head of Lettuce

14 / 15 26 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Head of Lettuce

Your baby: She’s listening in on your conversations nowadays, so you better watch what you say! Her lungs are developing, and she’s practicing breathing.

You: If you experience rapid weight gain or excessive swelling in your legs, ankles, hands or face, tell your doctor right away because they may be signs of preeclampsia.

What the doc says: “The hallmarks of preeclampsia are high blood pressure, protein in the urine and edema, but it can also cause seizures, stroke, organ failure and even death of the mother and baby,” warns Ozbun. “Preeclampsia requires close monitoring and sometimes early intervention … [but] once the baby is delivered, preeclampsia goes away.” 

27 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Cauliflower

15 / 15 27 Weeks – Baby’s Size: Cauliflower

Your baby: You’ve probably picked up on his sleeping schedule. When he’s not snoozing, he’s probably hiccupping, which feels like rhythmic flutters of movement. His organs still need to fully mature, but if he were born today, he’d have a good chance of surviving with special hospital care.

You: Consider writing a birth plan so that you are ready for the big day. And, sign up for a childcare class to learn how to take care of your baby at home.

What the doc says: “Good prenatal care, good nutrition and prompt attention to any new issues can help to avoid preterm labor in many cases,” says Ozbun

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