During pregnancy: Second trimesters

Second trimester (weeks 13-28)

The second trimester covers weeks 13 to 28 of your pregnancy and can be the busiest time of a pregnancy in terms of what your body experiences.

Your body
Your baby will be moving enough for you to feel it at around week 16-18. You may mistake it for indigestion at first as it feels a bit like this!

You may develop a linea nigra down the middle of your stomach as your uterus expands, and your areola (the area around your nipples) will darken. Hopefully by this stage your morning sickness will have stopped but it is not unusual for women to continue to experience this throughout the whole pregnancy.

Other symptoms may develop however, such as varicose veins and stretch marks. You can buy many different products which claim to help reduce stretch marks and scarring. If you are unsure about any of them, talk to your doctor before you start using them.

Some women find that they get heartburn during this stage of pregnancy as well as the need to go to the toilet more frequently because of the pressure on your bladder as the uterus expands.

If you begin to feel extremely tired and listless and look pale at this time, you may find that you are anemic and should consult your doctor about taking extra iron supplements to boost your iron levels.

It is possible that at the end of the second trimester you might experience practice contractions called Braxton Hicks. There is no need to panic as it is just your body preparing itself for labour. It might be a sign that you are overdoing it and should probably take things a bit easier

Your baby

At this stage your baby will have developed fingers and toenails and can even suck their thumb! Hair grows by weeks 14-15 including eyebrows. The skin becomes covered in a thick white substance called vernix, helping protect and moisturise.

Your baby will develop taste buds at this stage and can absorb the sugars and water from the amniotic fluid which surrounds it in the womb.

At the end of this trimester your baby will weigh around 570g and measure approximately 33cm. It is possible that babies that are born prematurely at 24 weeks will survive, even though their lungs are not fully developed to be able to breathe on their own.

Useful advice

  • You may need to update your wardrobe to accommodate you larger belly!
  • Tell your employer that you are pregnant and make arrangements about your maternity leave.
  • Think about whether you want to breast or bottle for your newborn.
  • Take a look at our advice about feeding to help you decide.
  • Prepare the nursery and get everything you will need for the baby.
  • In the third trimester you may find that you are very tired and it is good to be prepared for this.
  • Arrange for MatB1 certificate. This certificate is given to you by your midwife and includes your estimated due date (EDD). You will need this to give to your HR department.

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