Your Second Trimester: Here's What to Expect
When you enter your second trimester of pregnancy, your baby is growing and gaining weight quickly. It’s during this trimester that you can finally find out the sex of your baby, unless you decide to be surprised at the birth.
You’ll also be feeling a lot better than the first trimester. Here’s what to expect.
Your Baby is Busy
By the time you reach your second trimester, your baby will have developed all of its organs and systems. Now, your baby will continue to grow in size and weight. In fact, your baby’s weight will multiply more than seven times over the next few months. By the end of your second trimester, your baby should be about 13 to 16-inches long and weigh about two to three pounds.
By the midpoint of your pregnancy, around 20 weeks, you may start to feel your baby moving and fluttering in your abdomen. During this time, your baby’s development will include:
- Kicking, moving and turning from side-to-side
- Being able to hear mother’s voice
- Developing reflexes like sucking and swallowing
- Hair is growing on your baby’s head
- Fat begins forming on the baby
- Eyelids are beginning to open and the eyebrows and eyelashes are visible
- Fingerprints and toeprints have formed
Your Bump Will Pop
Since your baby is growing from the size of a chicken breast at 18 weeks to weighing about 2 pounds by the end of your second trimester, you can expect to start showing – that’s because your uterus is becoming heavier and expanding to make room for your baby, expanding your abdomen as well.
While your weight gain may have been minimal during your first trimester, you can expect to gain weight at a more rapid rate, given how much your baby is growing. In fact, from the start of your second trimester, you will gain about 3 to 4 pounds per month until you deliver.
Your Early Pregnancy Symptoms Should Subside
For many women, the second trimester is the easiest three months of pregnancy. That’s because during this trimester, your symptoms of morning sickness and fatigue should be fading, making you feel more energetic and like your pre-pregnancy self.
Although you’ll be feeling better during your second trimester, you may experience some different symptoms. Leg cramps are one of the most common things women experience as their pregnancy progresses, most often at night. These leg cramps are due to hormones, weight gain and possibly a shortage of calcium or magnesium. Prevent these cramps by stretching your calf muscles before bed, staying physically active, drinking plenty of fluids, and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Heartburn is another common symptom women experience during their second trimester, which is caused by the body making more of the hormone progesterone. Progesterone relaxes certain muscles in your body, including the ring of muscle in your lower esophagus that keeps food and acid down in your stomach. Combat heartburn by eating more frequent, smaller meals throughout the day and avoiding spicy, acidic and greasy foods.
Other symptoms you may experience include:
- Backaches from carrying extra weight
- Larger breasts
- Frequent urination
- Sensitive gums
- Vaginal discharge
- Boosted hair growth
- Hemorrhoids and varicose veins
While these symptoms may be unpleasant, like your first trimester symptoms, they’re perfectly normal and temporary.