The second trimester of pregnancy, you’ll be happy to hear, is often the most comfortable trimester of the three for many women. You’ll begin looking and feeling more pregnant and will most likely experience an increase in your energy levels – along with the disappearance of certain early pregnancy symptoms. Yay!
Let’s dig into what you can expect in this trimester and find out what tasks you should focus on.
When Does the Second Trimester of Pregnancy Start?
The second trimester is the middle three months of your pregnancy – approximately months 4, 5 and 6. This trimester starts in the 13th week and lasts through the end of week 27.
2nd Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms
While you’ll typically find relief from the symptoms you may have experienced during your first trimester, there are other symptoms that frequently occur during the second trimester, such as:
- Swollen ankles and feet – Swollen feet during pregnancy’s 2nd trimester typically start around week 22 and can last until the end of pregnancy. Staying active, avoiding standing for extended periods and elevating your feet when relaxing can help reduce discomfort from swollen ankles and feet.
- Leg cramps – Leg cramps often start during the second trimester and last through the third trimester.
- Getting enough calcium and magnesium in your diet may help reduce the frequency or severity of leg cramps you experience.
- Aches in the lower abdomen – As the ligaments that support your lower abdomen stretch to support your growing baby, you may experience some belly cramps and aches (you’ll find this is also common during the third trimester, as your baby grows even bigger!). Itchiness is also common as the size of your belly increases – Milkmakers® All-Natural Belly Balm is great for soothing your itchy belly and nourishing your skin.
Weight gain – The second trimester is when you’ll really start to gain pregnancy weight – and may also experience an increase in appetite. On average, women who started their pregnancies at a normal weight can expect to gain around 1 pound per week, for a total of around 14 pounds during this trimester.
All of the above symptoms are perfectly normal, however, since every woman is different, your personal experience may vary. No matter what symptoms you may have, remember that they’re temporary (and worth it!).
Second Trimester To-Dos
While there are a lot of things to consider when you’re pregnant, you don’t have to focus on everything at once. Below are items you can prioritize during the second trimester:
- Decide if you want to know the baby’s gender – If you decide to do so, this is the time when you can find out your baby’s gender. Typically it can be revealed around the 20 weeks mark. This is a completely personal decision and there’s no right or wrong way to go.
- Get a glucose screening – Since gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy but goes away after giving birth) is common, a glucose screening to check for gestational diabetes is normally done between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy.
- Talk to your doctor about prenatal genetic screening – If you and your practitioner have identified certain risk factors, you may decide to have a genetic screening to look for increased risk factors for Down syndrome or neural-tube defects.
- Go shopping – Now that your bump is finally starting to show, it’s time to shop for some stylish maternity clothes you’ll look and feel good in!
- Make prenatal workouts a priority – Since exercise offers numerous benefits for both you and your baby, keep up with your exercise routine from the first trimester. If you weren’t able to exercise in the early part of your pregnancy, make exercise in pregnancy’s 2nd trimester a priority (as long as you have the approval of your medical practitioner) and be careful to avoid activities that aren’t safe for your growing belly. Always use a heart monitor to make sure you’re not overexerting yourself.
- Maintain a healthy diet – Talk to your medical practitioner about healthy ways to increase your caloric intake to support your growing baby.
- Schedule a photo shoot – Want professional pictures of your beautiful baby bump? Now’s the perfect time to schedule your photo shoot to guarantee a spot during your third trimester, when your bump will be proudly on display!
- Envision your baby shower – If you have a specific theme in mind for your baby shower, share your vision with your shower hosts.
- Create a baby registry – Now’s the time to get started on your baby registry so your baby shower guests know what you need and want.
- Work on your list of baby names – If you didn’t get started on your baby name list during your first trimester, don’t worry – you still have plenty of time! Keep a running list of potential names to review and narrow down until you decide on the perfect one.
- Research childbirth classes – Although childbirth classes are usually taken in the third trimester, now’s a good time to research your options and sign up for the one(s) that best suit your needs.
You’ll be well equipped for the second trimester with this guide to help you along. Also check out our First Trimester Guide and upcoming Third Trimester Guide!
Disclaimer: None of the information presented in this article is in any way intended to be medical advice. It’s essential to speak with your medical practitioner throughout your pregnancy to determine your unique nutrition, exercise and medical needs.