What Happens During the Second Trimester of Pregnancy
A lot can happen throughout your pregnancy. There will be highs and lows as it progresses—each trimester different than the others.
For some expectant mothers, the first trimester is where all the bad stuff happens: morning sickness, nausea, lightheadedness, mood swings—you name it! You’re dreading to know what’s in store for you next. But what really happens in the next trimester?
Whether you’re preparing to bear a child or nearing the second trimester yourself, this guide will help you learn what to expect during months 4 to 6 of pregnancy.
The Momma’s Guide to the Second Trimester
Good news! By the second trimester, you should expect all the nasty stuff that irked you in the last three months to fade. Your energy and mood are back—it’s like being your old self again.
Many expectant moms love the second trimester. They regard it as the easiest stage throughout their pregnancy.
While you’re feeling a lot better, you will experience major changes during this phase. And it’s important to know what to expect to help you prepare for them.
Your Baby’s Growth
Your baby is growing fast! As you enter week 18, your baby will weigh as much as a chicken breast. He or she will likely pack on the pounds by the end of the second trimester.
Another thing to be excited about is the fact that you can now feel little jabs and kicks in your belly!
Here are more fetal developments you can expect:
- Skin, hair, and nails.Your baby now has tiny hairs—and eyelashes too. He or she will be covered with a downy fuzz known as lanugo. Vernix caseosa follows on; this greasy layer will protect your baby’s skin from the acid in amniotic fluid.
- Your baby starts sucking and swallowing to prepare for life outside the womb.
- Your baby’s brain now regulates his or her heartbeat. You should clearly hear it with a stethoscope come week 20.
Your Changing Body
During the second trimester, your body should be transforming from looking plump to actually looking pregnant. For some women, certain symptoms from the first trimester may persist, but there will be new changes as well.
- Breast enlargement. Your breasts will continue to grow to prepare for breastfeeding. On the brighter side, much of the tenderness you’ve felt from the previous trimester should be wearing off. It’s best to go one size up or more when wearing a bra to keep you more comfortable.
- Heartburn and constipation. During this stage, your body is producing more progesterone, a muscle-relaxing hormone. It affects the esophageal muscle that keeps the acid and food down in the stomach and pushes your food through the intestines. You can avoid heartburn by having small frequent feedings. Meanwhile, taking more fiber and extra fluids should keep constipation at bay.
- Skin changes. A dark line on your abdomen, called linea nigra, will start to appear. This skin change is usually temporary and should fade away after giving birth. You may also notice spider and varicose veins appearing on your legs. This is due to the increasing pressure in your lower limbs.
Your Weight Gain
Expect to gain pregnancy weight during the second trimester. This is due to your growing baby and your increasing appetite. If you had a normal weight pre-pregnancy, it’s advisable to gain around one pound a week, with a total of fourteen pounds throughout the trimester.
But don’t overdo it. Packing on way too many pounds increases your chances of pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes and hypertension.
It’s best to discuss weight requirements with your doctor so you’ll know how much weight to gain throughout pregnancy.
Your Prenatal Care
Prenatal care during the second trimester will focus on your baby’s development and detecting any pregnancy problems.
Your healthcare provider will regularly check your weight and blood pressure, as well as the size of your uterus. Your doctor will often want to listen to your baby’s heartbeat. He or she can suggest a screening test using a reliable ultrasound transducer to find out your baby’s sex.
You’re almost there!
While you’re waiting for your belly to pop, take advantage of the second trimester. Pamper yourself while you can. The third trimester is on its way, and before you know it, you’ll be holding your tiny bundle of joy in your arms.