Your Second Trimester Guide

Congratulations – You’ve made it through your first trimester of pregnancy! Now, as much of the initial discomfort starts to subside, you can begin to relax and enjoy your new life as an expectant mom. Some people even refer to the second trimester as the “honeymoon” phase of your pregnancy. But even if you wouldn’t call it exactly that, you can still breathe a little easier in these months knowing that the greatest risk of miscarriage has passed and you are just about halfway through this important journey.

Physical Changes in the Second Trimester

Your baby spent the first trimester developing its major organs and systems; now its job is to focus on growing. By the end of the second trimester, or week 25, your baby will be a little more than a foot long and about two pounds.

If you hadn’t been “showing” that much in the first trimester, that’s probably about to change now. Your uterus is expanding to accommodate the rapid growth of your fetus. At the 20th week, or about the halfway point of your pregnancy, your uterus will have expanded up to the level of your belly button. Your breasts will be getting larger too, as the milk-producing glands prepare to fill with milk for the baby. Many women also experience some leg cramps, swelling, heartburn, or constipation. But there’s some good news too: This is around the time when you will feel the baby’s first movements. If it is your first pregnancy, you may feel some fluttering between 18 and 20 weeks, and if you have been pregnant before you may feel movement even earlier.

Medical Exams in the Second Trimester

During your second trimester, you will probably visit your doctor about once per month. She will continue to track your blood pressure and your weight gain. At this point, you should be gaining about 3/4 of a pound to one pound per week. You will most likely have an ultrasound during your second trimester so that the doctor can check that the baby is developing properly. This may be an opportunity to get an early “picture” of the baby – or even a video – and you may be able to learn the baby’s gender if you want to know. 

For some mothers, second trimester tests may include one of two blood tests: the alpha-fetoprotein (or AFP) test or the more comprehensive “multiple marker screening test.” which measures the level of AFP and the hormones estriol and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in the mother’s blood. These tests are used to determine the baby’s chances of neural tube defects or chromosomal abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome. If the tests indicate an abnormality or if the mother is over 35, she may opt to have the more definitive test known as amniocentesis done in the second trimester. This test draws a sample of the amniotic fluid through a needle and the fluid is examined to check for abnormalities.

Tips for Staying Healthy in the Second Trimester

During the second trimester, it is just as important as ever to maintain a healthy diet, take your prenatal vitamins, and practice good lifestyle habits such as regular, moderate exercise (if your doctor approves). You should get a good night’s sleep whenever you can, because as your body gets bigger, sleep will become more and more uncomfortable. Now’s the time to get used to sleeping on your side – many experts recommend the left side to increase blood flow to your baby – and propping your back and tummy up with pillows if necessary.

Above all, take it easy. Your body is working hard at one of the most important jobs it will ever do. Make sure you give yourself time and space during this trimester to relax and enjoy the tiny life that is growing inside of you.

No votes yet


By Momam on 10/23/12 at 5:16 pm


Just found this one, it's really helpful, very relaxing especially when you make your partner learn how to do it ;-)
Tips on massages,   ...

By Lisi Keja on 10/02/12 at 4:01 am

today is my 1st day of trimester 2 i am so happy after having experienced a miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy....i am so happy and full of hope. my 1  ...

By lyndavi on 05/29/12 at 12:15 pm

16 weeks...this is my first and im very excited! ultra sound is due in 2 weeks..hopefully il find out the sex of my baby then!

24 comments so far » read more

Sign in to leave a comment!

Today on JustMommies

Cervical Dilation in Pictures

Your doctor has measured you and told you that you are 1 to 2 centimeters dilated, but what does that look like?

Bully-Proof Your Child

Bullying is one of those inevitable facts of life. As much as parents try to eliminate it, schools try to govern it...

Celebrate the Arrival of Autumn

Autumn is here! While we watch the leaves begin their graceful descent from the trees...


From the Message Boards

Due Date Club of September 2014

pictures of my little prince :)

I'm in love with them! :) Parker had his one month appointment today and is 10lbs 4.4oz and 22 inc...

Due Date Club of September 2014

Ornament Exchange? Any Interest?

This is something we do in my other PR and it is so fun! Its a Christmas ornament exchange. I would...

Due Date Club of September 2014

Do you actually wait the 6 weeks?

DH has been begging to dtd since about 2 hours after Ellis was born. I've been brushing him off beca...

Due Date Club of November 2014

Baby shower gifts

So we had our baby shower and it was so much fun! We got home and i just had to look at everything,...

Due Date Club of September 2014

Weight gain troubles and cluster feeding (added a pic too)

So I've had to take Lochlan to the pediatrician twice a week for the next few weeks because he's not...

» Check out the friendliest message board for moms and moms-to-be!