Surviving the first trimester is definitely something to celebrate. Once you meet the second trimester milestone there are so many things to look forward to! But is the 2nd trimester easier than the rest? Well, overall, yes. But that doesn't mean that the second trimester of pregnancy is all rainbows and butterflies. I'm sure you're ready to find out what to expect in the second trimester, right?
Now that I have made it through the second trimester for the second time in my life, I have discovered that there are 20 things to expect during your second trimester.
The Second trimester
The second trimester is lovingly referred to as the “honeymoon period” of pregnancy.
The second trimester starts at 14 weeks and continues through the end of the 27th week. During this time, your first trimester pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness and extreme fatigue have likely subsided and you are starting to feel more like yourself.
At the same time, although you are starting to feel more human again, you are also starting to actually look pregnant for the first time! Yay! That weird early-pregnancy-bloat that makes you look like you ate a huge burrito for lunch all the time has now turned into a little baby bump and people might even start wondering if there is a bun in the oven when you wear shirts on the tighter side.
It's easy to love the second trimester because you've progressed enough to bond with your baby, you've grown enough to look and feel pregnant, and you're not quite humongous yet so you're fairly comfortable in your skin still. What a blessing.
11 Second trimester symptoms to watch out for
Good or bad, I'm sure you want to know what to expect in the second trimester. Here we go.
1. Weight gain In the second trimester
With a growing baby comes a growing belly. If you haven't yet, this trimester you will be watching the scale tip a little each week. Weight gain is totally normal and expected in pregnancy. Just make sure that you stay on track to gain an appropriate amount for your body.
By 20 weeks of pregnancy (about halfway through), if you are like most women, you've gained somewhere around 8-10 lbs. From here on out, you're likely to gain .5-1 lb per week. Expect to have gained anywhere between 12 and 17 lbs by the time your second trimester comes to an end.
Talk to your provider about your weight and how much you should be gaining. But the typical recommendation is that if you are at a normal weight pre-pregnancy, you should expect to gain anywhere between 25 and 35 lbs in the duration of your pregnancy. If you're underweight, try to gain a little more…somewhere around 28 – 40 lbs. On the other hand, if you are over weight before pregnancy, you may only need to gain 15-25 lbs.
2. Bigger Breasts In pregnancy
Thankfully, the breast tenderness that pained you in the first trimester has probably subsided. What hasn't gone anywhere is the size of those girls! Your breasts might be growing at a rapid pace at this time. Don't expect them to stop, either. Those puppies are going to continue to grow as your milk glands enlarge to prepare for breastfeeding your new baby.
It's important to treat yourself to a couple new bras at this point. This bra is my favorite comfy pregnancy and breastfeeding bra that I've kept close throughout two pregnancies now. Invest in yourself and grab one! This one, on the other hand, is a maternity bra that functions just like the bras you wore before pregnancy and no one would know the difference. You will just be thankful for the comfort and convenience of a nursing bra while pregnant!
3. Nipple changes in pregnancy
One day, you might just get out of the shower, look in the mirror and realize “omg, what is that?”. Your nipples are darker, larger, and have small bumps around them.
Normal… Not fun. But normal.
4. HEARTBURN During Pregnancy
It's the worst, you guys.
Heartburn was by far the worst pregnancy symptom of my first pregnancy. I find that it is at it's worst in the second trimester. In the second trimester, your uterus grows larger, puts pressure on your stomach, and causes your stomach acids to reflux into your esophagus. In the third trimester, you might get lucky and your baby will drop low enough to relieve some of that pressure.
I can't live without TUMS in my second trimester! They are on my list of pregnancy must haves that I absolutely can't give up.
Thanks to increased progesterone levels that relaxes the sphincter between the stomach and the esophagus, about 50% of women experience heartburn from the stomach acid flowing where it does not belong. I hope that you are not part of that 50%, but I certainly am.
5. Congestion during pregnancy
So, although heartburn was the worst pregnancy symptom of my first pregnancy, rhinitis has been the worst pregnancy symptom of my second pregnancy. It's so rough.
Pregnancy rhinitis is nasal congestion that happens to many pregnant women during their second and third trimesters. Yes, it lasts throughout the third trimester and doesn't necessarily go away at any promised moment. Sorry 'bout it.
Pregnancy congestion happens because during pregnancy, blood flow increases to your mucus membranes causing swelling that makes you feel stuffed-up and miserable.
You may be able to treat your symptoms with Saline irrigation or Breathe Right strips but try to avoid decongestants unless recommended by your doctor.
6. Linea Nigra
In the second trimester you may start to see a faint, dark line on your abdomen expanding from your pubic bone, probably up to your belly button but possibly the entire length of your belly. It will continue to get darker and longer as pregnancy progresses but the good news is that it will eventually fade after the baby is born.
7. Leg Cramps during pregnancy
Oh my goodness! If you haven't experienced this horrible pregnancy symptom yet, be prepared because it's coming! Leg cramps can happen in pregnancy because of muscle fatigue, decreased circulation in your legs, dehydration, hormone fluctuations and mineral imbalances.
It almost always happens in the middle of the night, while you're sleeping away, minding your own business and then, BAM, suddenly you have a sharp, shooting cramp in the calf of one or both of your legs. As if you don't have enough waking you up at night, right?
Typically, all I have to do is flex and extend my foot a few times and the cramp disappears on it's own. Thank goodness. But either way, it's brutal and I'm sorry to tell you that you're going to experience it too!
8. Round Ligament Pain
Pain in pregnancy might be scary, but the sharp pains that you experience on either side of your uterus called “round ligament pain” is harmless.
As your uterus grows, you may experience severe pulling and stretching sensations in your lower abdomen on one side or another. It's often exacerbated by sudden position changes or quick movements like getting up off the couch too quickly.
This type of pain is often resolved quickly without any intervention and is not repetitive or regular. Although it's annoying, there is no need to worry. As your uterus grows, your ligaments stretch. It's just one of those things that you might have to endure while you grow new life. Congratulations!
9. Sensitive Gums in pregnancy
We talk a whole lot about what havoc your pregnancy hormones can wreak on your life in the first trimester. The truth is, they don't let up all the way in the second trimester. Sensitive gums are a common symptom resulting from your hormones making your gums more sensitive to bacteria and plaque.
You may experience red, tender, swollen, and even bleeding gums when you brush or floss your teeth.
Make sure you are making regular appointments to see your dentist to ensure your oral hygiene is at it's best when pregnant.
10. Hair Growth in pregnancy
Well, this can be an amazing thing, or it can be an annoying thing.
You may be loving your luscious locks right now and feeling fabulous with your thick, gorgeous ponytail, but when you have to constantly pluck your eyebrows and chin hairs, you may not be feeling so fabulous anymore.
The hair growth in pregnancy doesn't always happen in the most desirable places. Either way, you're gorgeous.
11. Pregnancy Glow
Speaking of being gorgeous. You're glowing! I'm sure that you've been told at least once by now that you're glowing or your skin is glowing. Although you might think that your family and friends and just being nice because they know you're pregnant, it actually might be true!
Pregnancy hormones might actually be to thank for your dewy, glowing appearance.
6 Awesome things you'll experience in the second trimester
I'm happy to share with you that what to expect in the second trimester of pregnancy includes symptoms that you can actually look forward to!
P.S. The disappearance of symptoms totally count as a symptom. Especially during the second trimester! You'll have new symptoms show up, and old symptoms disappear all at the same time.
1. Morning Sickness Disappears
So, I will admit that it is totally possible that you get super unlucky in this department. Some women really do feel sick for half or even their entire pregnancy.
The good news is that it's pretty rare.
Most women start to feel a whole lot better in this department when 14 weeks (or even earlier 🙏🏻) rolls around.
If first trimester was particularly difficult for you, you might start feeling like the second trimester is absolutely glorious! Even with some of the new symptoms you'll start to experience, when people ask you how you're doing, you'll find yourself saying “amazing!” because compared to the misery that was the first trimester, this is easy-peasy.
- Related Read: 26 Early Signs of Pregnancy Before Your Missed Period
2. Your Energy Returns in the second trimester
Wait, what? I don't feel like closing my eyes the entire day? I actually have the desire to get up and show my face in public again? Hello Second Trimester!!
Ugh, I remember first trimester as basically just a really long attempted-nap. I say attempted because I have a toddler running around and a job to show up to. I would have loved to sleep all day but it just wasn't possible.
In the second trimester, one day I just realized that I woke up feeling rested for the first time in weeks.
You'll finally want to go out, get some shopping done, or meet up with friends. You're going to find yourself starting to-do lists, marking off checklists, and planning for the future in this trimester.
The energy you have isn't only physical but mental. The mental energy that I gained in the second trimester was much-needed in order to plan the baby shower, decorate the nursery, and prepare for maternity leave.
3. You'll get your sex drive back
Don't worry, you aren't alone in the fact that during the first trimester, you had absolutely no interest in sex. We all get it. You were sick, you were tired, and you might have been worried that your pregnancy wasn't safe enough for sex.
All that has changed now.
You might not have only gotten your sex drive back, but it might actually be heightened at this point. You can take advantage of this sex drive while it lasts (because third trimester gets a little tricky with that big ol' belly), or you can take it as easy as you're comfortable with.
Talk to your partner, talk to your doctor, and listen to your body. Do what you feel is right and make sure you're having fun!
4. Your Appetite will return in the second trimester
If you had food aversions during your first trimester, those might go away at this time.
You might be left with a couple aversions like to coffee or odorous foods, but for the most part you will be able to start eating normally again. Woo hoo!
Unlike the first trimester, food will start to sound good again and you'll have the drive to actually make a meal for yourself that you know you will enjoy.
5. You look pregnant
This is my favorite second trimester pregnancy symptom!
I look forward to my growing bump from the moment I find out I'm growing a baby. The bump just signifies so much! The bigger the bump, the bigger the baby, right? I just love being able to see the progress of my sweet baby from the outside.
Plus, having people notice that I'm pregnant makes me feel amazing, cradling my bump is literally what I live for, and wearing maternity pants is not so bad either.
Don't dread getting bigger. Embrace the bump.
Now that you're showing, it's the perfect time too start documenting your pregnancy experience! Make sure to grab your Ultimate Pregnancy Preparation Journal to document your journey through pregnancy and make sure you're keeping up with all of your to-do lists throughout your entire pregnancy.
6. You'll start feeling Your baby move
Thinking about baby movements in the second trimester, I feel like maybe the second trimester should be divided into two very different parts.
In the early second trimeter, you just barely start feeling flutters or “quickening”. Later in the second trimester, you are literally feeling massive kicks, jabs and rolls! It all starts here in this stage of pregnancy. How cool is that?
Feeling the baby move really makes this whole pregnancy thing feel real…and worth it. Without these movements, would we be able to survive the not-so-fun symptoms? Well, the answer is yes. It's called the first trimester
3 Important Things to be ready for in the second trimester
Pregnancy is amazing. I love every minute of it. But it's not always fun and games. You have to make sure that you're pregnancy is progressing safely. In the second trimester, you can expect a few things to complete in order to make sure you and your baby remain healthy!
Second Trimester Screening
If you have opted for genetic testing during your pregnancy, as I have for each of my pregnancies, you will be scheduled for lab work and a formal ultrasound in your early second trimester.
These are simple tests that you can choose to accept to find out early if your baby is at risk for genetic/chromosomal abnormalities.
The Anatomy Scan
The anatomy scan is the “big ultrasound” that you have during your pregnancy. It's the ultrasound that we all look forward to for a couple of reasons.
Although this scan is actually intended to make sure baby is growing normally and all of her organs are properly developing, it's also the ultrasound where you can find out (most accurately) what the sex of your baby is!
At around 20 weeks gestation, the ultrasounds are awesome because the baby is small enough to where you can see the whole baby on the screen at once and get a great picture of her profile, but is big enough to actually look like a baby and not a gummy bear!
Gestational Diabetes Screening
No one wants to get screened for gestational diabetes. It's not fun and sometimes it's not easy but it's totally necessary.
You're doctor is going to want to test your glucose levels in one way or another around 26-28 weeks of pregnancy. You absolutely have options, but the most common way is to do the “Glucola” test where you drink a sugary drink and get your blood drawn an hour later to see what your blood sugar level is.
No matter how you test, just make sure you do it. Diabetes can be very dangerous in pregnancy. Keep this wonderful trimester of pregnancy wonderful by staying healthy.
What To Expect in Your Second Trimester
Although not every aspect of the second trimester of pregnancy is a walk in the park, it's absolutely something to look forward to! For the most part, the second trimester is one to enjoy. It's incredible what your body is doing during this time and how much progress you've made so far.
Enjoy this stage and make sure that you're getting all of your second trimester to-do's checked off your list! Start with a FREE COPY OF MY NEW BABY MUST HAVES CHECKLIST!
Third trimester is right around the corner! Make sure you are preparing for labor with the best birth course on the internet! I don't know how people jump right into labor and delivery without preparing themselves first. Not smart. Do yourself a favor and get prepared now!
That's it! I hope you enjoy your pregnancy as much as I enjoy mine! Savor every moment!
leave a comment below to tell me how your second trimester is going! Any crazy symptoms? Let me know!
What to read next:
- Your Second Trimester To-Do List: What To Get Done Between 14 and 27 Weeks
- 21 Pregnancy Milestones To Celebrate in Every Stage of Pregnancy
- 10 Sentimental Ways To Bond With Baby Before They Are Born
- Uncommon Girl Names With Beautiful Meanings
- Qualities of a Good Father Before The Baby is Even Born
- Important Pregnancy Must Haves To Help You Survive The First Trimester