Well mommas, congratulations! You finally made it through the first trimester! Say goodbye to terrible morning sickness and groggy fatigue (well for most mommas) and say hello to energy and baby kicks!
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The second trimester is often regarded as the best trimester of pregnancy, and as you read, I will get into the details as to why so many women feel this way.
From body changes to baby’s growth and development, to everything you need to do, here is what to expect in the second trimester of pregnancy.
The Best Trimester
So why is the second trimester known for being the best? Well for many reasons.
No More Nausea – Remember all the nausea and vomiting that came with the first trimester? Well, you can kiss that toilet goodbye and move on with your life. That’s right mommas, for most women the nausea and vomiting subside once you enter the second trimester. Your hormones begin to stabilize, which helps your stomach settle and also levels out mood swings.
Find Out The Sex – The second trimester is an exciting time for anyone who is wanting to know the sex of their baby. Around 16-20 weeks, the baby’s sex can be determined with an ultrasound. This was my personal favorite part of pregnancy besides feeling the baby kick.
Lower Risk Of Miscarriage – Another cause for celebration is the lowered risk of miscarriage. Not to say that you are 100% in the clear, but the risk of losing the pregnancy drops dramatically, which is why most women decide to announce their good news to friends and family at this point.
Baby Kicks or “The Quickening” – Which brings me to another great attribute of the second trimester, you can finally feel your little one’s tiny kicks and flutters. This is called the “quickening” and it usually happens anywhere from 15-24 weeks depending on where your placenta is located, and if this is your first pregnancy.
Women who have had more than one pregnancy often feel this earlier, and it’s believed to be due to the fact that they know what to feel for. Women who are pregnant for the first time could potentially feel those flutter, however, they are so faint and can be easily missed or mistaken for another bodily function such as digestion or gas.
No More Fatigue – Many women, myself included, feel more energized and “alive” during this part of pregnancy. When I was in my first trimester, I felt like I was sleeping all the time but never felt rested. When I hit my second trimester, I felt as though I had gotten my spunk back. I wanted to do more, I was happy and very productive.
Second Trimester Checklist
Since you have more energy in this trimester, take advantage of that energy and get things done that you won’t have the energy for in your third trimester.
Exercise – You often hear of women being afraid to work out during pregnancy for fear of injuring themselves or the baby. I’m here to tell you that this is nothing to worry about. As long as you are careful and don’t over exert yourself, exercising is perfectly fine and actually encouraged. You can read more about pregnancy myths like this one here.
I promise you will thank yourself later for this one. Exercising during your pregnancy has been proven to increase the speed of dropping the weight after your baby is born, as well as benefiting your unborn baby’s heart and brain health.
Nursery – Now is the time to start thinking about a nursery. At the time when I was pregnant, me and my husband were living in a two-bedroom townhome which was very limited in space. Let’s just say that second bedroom had become a storage room. So once I hit the second trimester, we began clearing it out, and it’s a good thing we started when we did because it took us longer than expected.
If you already have a room cleared, now is the perfect time to start thinking of nursery themes, and to start looking into cribs, bedding, dressers, and rocking chairs. The second trimester is great for this because if you choose to find out the sex of your baby, you will be able to do so during this trimester and therefore better plan for nursery themes and colors.
There are also tasks that don’t exert you so much physically but will later be exhausting mentally, so get a head start on these now and you’ll thank yourself later.
Journal – Something I regret when looking back on my pregnancy was that I didn’t start journaling earlier. I guess it slipped my mind and I’ll admit I’m not the best at consistently journaling anyways, but I found that documenting my pregnancy helped the time pass more quickly until I was able to meet my sweet Hayvn. I began keeping a journal starting at 20 weeks.
You can write about anything and everything. I would do one entry per week. I would write down my cravings, my body changes, any exciting news, what happened that week, and I would even write letters to my unborn daughter.
It’s your pregnancy, your story, your baby. So make it what you want, Either way, I highly recommend documenting this time of your life, because I promise there will be a day when you will want to look back on it.
Progress Pics – Along with journaling, now is a great time to start taking bump pics if you haven’t already! One of my favorite things about pregnancy was watching the transformation of my body.
Seeing my belly grow and knowing that my little Hayvn was inside of me developing, was truly remarkable. I am so glad now, that I have all those pictures to look back on. It’s fun to watch your body change and grow. I took a bump pic every week starting at 12 weeks.
Baby Registry – Now is the time to start putting together your baby registry, or at least a list of items you will need when your baby arrives. The earlier you start this process the better because as your pregnancy continues, you will find baby items here and there, along the way that you’ve just gotta have.
Starting a registry now will make it easier to stay organized and add/take things off along the way. Another bonus to starting your registry at this time is that it gives your friends and family more time to browse through and decide on a gift, rather than scrambling to find you something at the last minute.
Stretch Mark Prevention – Although stretch marks are genetic and cannot be 100% prevented, you can definitely ease the blow. With my pregnancy, I didn’t really get stretch marks. I got one just above my butt (cute, I know) but other than that, no other marks.
I do credit this to my genetics, but only partly. I took great care in my skin routine while I was pregnant and firmly believe that it helped prevent having any more stretch marks. Now is the time to start lathering up once to twice a day with lotion, cream, or oil.
This trimester is when your belly will really start to grow, meaning your skin will stretch, so keep your skin moisturized and hydrated at all times. This will definitely aid in preventing stretch marks.
Pregnancy Pillow – Oh how I wish I had a pregnancy pillow, but you can bet this next time around I will be getting one. When my belly began to grow, I began to get slightly uncomfortable, sleeping at night. Not like the third trimester, but it was enough to wake me up a couple of times. I know that is I had a pregnancy pillow, I would have slept amazing!
I tried my sister-in-law’s pregnancy pillow one time and it was so supportive, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t bought one, months ago. My quality of sleep would have been majorly improved. So ladies, do me a favor, get yourself a pregnancy pillow now! Save yourself the sleepless nights. You’re about to have a lot of those in the near future, so you need to enjoy all the sleep you can. A pregnancy pillow is your ticket to better sleep, starting now.
Increased Weight Gain – During the second trimester is when you start to really notice your body changing. Many women describe this trimester as when they really started to “feel” pregnant. I definitely agree with that. When I was around 23 weeks (middle of the second trimester) my bump “popped” seemingly overnight.
By the time my second trimester was over, I had gained 20 pounds. I gained the most weight at the fastest rate in my second trimester. This was my experience, everyone is different.
Sciatica – Oh mommas, this one hit me hard. During the second trimester, my sciatica was so bad, I almost used a cane! And that’s no joke! You may be thinking, what is sciatica? Well, it’s described as shooting pain, tingling, or numbness that travels from a spot in your back just below your kidney down your leg all the way to your toes.
It’s not as scary as it sounds, this happens simply because your uterus and your baby are growing which can put pressure on your sciatic nerve, resulting in sciatica. The good news is this isn’t permanent or life-threatening, it’s really just a little nuisance that comes with pregnancy.
Congestion – Congestion happens in the second trimester due to the extra blood in volume in your body. While not super common, a lot of women suffer from pregnancy congestion. When I first experienced this, I was so caught off guard. I mean how random – congestion is a side effect of pregnancy? Who knew?
So, in order to combat this, I used a saline rinse as needed and noticed it cleared up. I also found that I would get headaches from my congestion, so I took Tylenol to help with the pain.
Round Ligament Pain – Round Ligament Pain refers to the ligament on either side of your abdomen that connects from your hip to your groin. In order to make room for your growing baby, this ligament must stretch, and yes it can be painful.
It is described as a stabbing or pulling feeling in the lower part of your groin and abdomen. This can be triggered by getting up to fast, switching positions too fast, or rolling over. It’s typically a dart of pain that goes away fairly quickly and feels similar to the snap of a rubber band on your skin.
When I was about 19 weeks into pregnancy I experienced this for the first time and was so caught off guard, I thought something was wrong. Obviously, nothing was wrong, it was just the unfamiliar sensation of my round ligament stretching to accommodate my growing baby.
Hair Growth or Loss – During the second trimester, I did notice that my hair had begun to grow in full and thick and this is thanks to hormones, I also noticed that my hair had become drier and didn’t need to be washed as frequently. Some women on the other hand experience hair thinning and loss, which is also due to hormones, it’s all how your body reacts to them.
If you experience hair growth during your pregnancy, it is almost always followed by postpartum hair loss, which I suffered from immensely. If you want to find out how you can cover those postpartum bald spots click here!
Heartburn – Ah yes, heartburn. TUMS had become my best friend at this point. During my second trimester I found that my appetite had come back since my food aversions in the first trimester, but along with my appetite came heartburn.
Leg Cramps – Charlie Horses or leg cramps are common in pregnancy due to blood flow and mineral deficiency thank to hormones. If you feel a leg cramp coming on, flex your foot to quickly combat the muscle spasm. If you suspect your potassium may be low, eating bananas and staying hydrated with plenty of water can prevent these leg cramps from happening.
Sensitive or Bleeding Gums – During pregnancy, many different hormones are released into our system which can cause side effects that seem strange. Bleeding gums and sensitive teeth are one of these weird side effects. If you notice your gums are bleeding more, and your teeth feel more sensitive, this is no cause for panic. They will return to normal after pregnancy.
Baby’s Growth & Development
The human body never fails to amaze me and pregnancy is absolutely no exception. During this trimester, your baby will grow and develop so much it’s hard to believe. This trimester, your baby will start out at the size of a lime and finish at the size of a head of cauliflower. That amount of growth is huge!
Weeks 13-15: At 13 weeks your baby is now able to swallow and urinate. Your baby is practicing swallowing by drinking in amniotic fluid and gulping it down. If your baby is a girl she has now developed over 2 million eggs in her ovaries at this point. By week 14 your baby has learned the power of facial expressions. Although they aren’t on purpose, your baby can frown and grimace. At 15 weeks your baby is kicking like crazy and you may even be able to feel it now! Your baby has even developed a sense of taste by this point. By the end of 15 weeks, your baby is the size of an apple – 4.5 inches weighing around 2.5 ounces.
Weeks 16-18: If you have an ultrasound coming up and wish to know your baby’s gender, now is the time because both boys and girls genitalia are fully developed at this point. It’s just a matter of getting a good look on the monitor now. At 17 weeks your baby’s skeleton starts to develop from cartilage into a more thick, dense bone-like structure. At 18 weeks, you baby has now doubled in size from week 12 (end of the first trimester). By the end of 18 weeks, your baby is the size of bell pepper – 5.5 inches weighing around 6.75 ounces.
Weeks 19-20: During week 19, your baby’s limbs catch up to the rest of its body meaning the limbs are now in proportion to the abdomen and head. At this week, a waxy coat is now forming to protect your baby’s skin from “pruning” from constantly being submerged in amniotic fluid. This waxy coat is called vernix caseosa. At week 20, you are officially halfway through pregnancy yay! This is when doctors start to measure your baby a little differently in terms of length. Instead of measuring from crown to rump like was previously measured, your baby can now be measured head to toe! By the end of 20 weeks, your baby is the size of a banana – 10 inches weighing about 10.5 ounces.
Weeks 21-24: At week 21 your baby now has eyebrows and irises, which are the black parts of the eye we used to see with. However, instead of being black like mine and yours, your baby’s irises still lack pigment and are a creamy white color. Between 22 and 23 weeks, your baby may be able to hear and react to sound, now is a great time to start talking, reading, and singing to your baby! A thin coat of fine hair covers your baby from head to toe for protection and warmth. This hair is called lanugo. By the end of 23 weeks, your baby is the size of a mango – 11.5 inches weighing about 1 pound.
Weeks 25-27: At week 25 your baby is starting to put on more weight and now has hair, which is you were able to see inside your womb you would be able to discern the color. By week 26, your baby is trying to breathe. Your baby will practice breathing by inhaling and exhaling the amniotic fluid. This will strengthen the lungs and diaphragm. By week 27, your baby is now able to open and close their eyes. Up until this point, your baby’s eyelids had been fused shut to help them form and protect them from light. By the end of 27 weeks, your baby is the size of a head of cauliflower – 14.5 inches weighing around 2 pounds.
Two Down, One To Go!
Once you’ve reached the end of week 27, you’re on your way into the third trimester.
You’ve made it through the first two trimesters of pregnancy, meaning you are two-thirds of the way (potentially more is your baby arrives a little early) to meeting your little one!
With everything that is going on in your body and all the changes you are seeing and feeling, it can be hard to know what is going on. With the help of this post, you can know what to expect in the second trimester.
Thanks for reading! Did you find this post helpful? If you have any questions, comments, personal experience, or simply just want to chat, I would love to hear from you! Please leave them in the comments below.