Second Trimester of Pregnancy: 14-27 Weeks
For many moms-to-be, the second trimester is the most enjoyable and comfortable phase of pregnancy. You’re now in that sweet spot where your morning sickness has most likely disappeared, and your baby bump isn’t so big that it gets in the way or causes any aches. A few discomforts can occur, however, with the most common offenders often being dizzy spells and round ligament pain. With any luck, these pesky symptoms may be offset by a burst of energy during this trimester. Meanwhile, your little one continues to grow and develop at a steady pace. Check out what’s coming during weeks 14 to 27 of pregnancy.
How Long Is the Second Trimester?
The second trimester runs from 14 to 27 weeks of pregnancy, lasting 14 weeks or approximately three and a half months.
Your Baby’s Development in the Second Trimester
In the second trimester of pregnancy, your baby’s development continues upon the foundation set in the first trimester. Your little one goes from being the size of a nectarine to that of a head of cauliflower, and this growth spurt will become more visible to the outside world as your belly becomes more prominent. Each week of pregnancy brings something new; here are some of the highlights:
14 Weeks: Sucking and Swallowing
Around the time you’re 14 weeks pregnant, your little one may start practicing sucking and swallowing motions, possibly sucking that thumb in the coming weeks!
16 Weeks: Baby on the Go
Around the time you’re 16 to 18 weeks pregnant, or soon after, you may feel a tiny flutter in your belly as your little one rolls around or does flips in the amniotic sac. If this is your first pregnancy, it may take longer for you to detect the sensations of movement. You’ll probably notice your baby’s kicks and movements are getting stronger from around 19 weeks onward. Your baby is growing but still has plenty of room to move now, which is a good thing because it gets a little more cramped during the third trimester.
17 Weeks: Your Baby Gets a Waxy Coating
The glands in your baby’s skin may already be producing a greasy substance called vernix. This will cover your little one’s body and acts as a waterproof barrier protecting the skin.
22 Weeks: Your Baby Has Eyebrows
Those little brows are visible now: tiny tufts of fine hair, with no pigment yet. Though your baby's eyelids are still fused shut for a few more weeks, his eyes can move now behind the lids.
23 Weeks: Your Baby Responds to Sounds
With his ears fully developed, your baby may respond by moving if he hears the sound of your voice or a loud noise. This is an excellent time to start singing to your baby and playing music — and don't forget to talk to him and tell him what you’re up to.
27 Weeks: Your Baby May Smile
Your baby’s first smile could be happening any day now, as babies often start practicing inside the womb from around 27 weeks. Smiling typically occurs when your baby is asleep, often during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep.
What's Going On in the Second Trimester
It’s not just your baby who’s busy! You have a full schedule too. At around the halfway mark of your pregnancy — at approximately 20 weeks — you'll probably have an ultrasound scan to check on the health of your baby. Make this appointment with your healthcare provider if you haven’t already. Spoiler alert: if you want to, you can also find out your baby’s gender during this scan. Are you considering having a gender reveal party? If yes, check out our guide to organizing a great gender reveal.
This trimester your belly and breasts will grow noticeably. You may need to shift to maternity wear or extra-comfortable pants and tops soon; don’t be surprised if you also need to go up a cup size. It could be a good idea to get professionally fitted to ensure you wear a supportive, comfortable bra. If your breasts are painful, read more on how to ease breast discomfort and consult your healthcare provider.
During the second trimester, you may experience an extra burst of energy, which you can use to begin or continue your exercise routine. Though you'll want to check with your doctor first, walking, swimming, and some prenatal yoga can be good pregnancy exercise options. You might also use this time to get the nursery prepared, buy supplies you’ll need for your baby, and get things ready around the home.
Second Trimester Symptoms
The symptoms you might notice in the second trimester could include nasal congestion, dizzy spells, leg cramps, backache, and skin changes; see below for more detail on some of these:
Dizziness. Your body is experiencing changes in circulation, including less blood flow to your upper body and head. This can leave you feeling a little light-headed or dizzy. If you do feel light-headed, lie down on your side, if you can. Also, make sure you drink plenty of fluids. You might be able to help prevent dizziness by moving more slowly when you change positions or stand up. Above all, if you’re concerned about how you’re feeling, ask your healthcare provider for advice.
Round ligament pain. If you experience pain or cramping in your groin area, chances are it's due to round ligament pain. As the uterus grows, the ligaments that hold it in place in your abdomen stretch, and this can cause pain. Typically, round ligament pain is nothing to worry about, but if it becomes intense or doesn’t go away, contact your healthcare provider. Groin or abdominal pain during pregnancy can also be a sign of a possible complication, so your provider will need to rule out anything more serious. Other symptoms that could crop up are hip and pelvic pain.
Skin changes. Your skin might start to look different during the second or third trimester. During pregnancy, your body produces more melanin — the pigment that gives skin its color — so your nipples may become darker, and brown patches may appear on your face (called chloasma or “mask of pregnancy”). You might also notice a dark line that runs from your pubic region to your belly button — this is called the linea nigra. These darker skin patches tend to slowly fade after your baby is born. As your baby grows and you gain pregnancy weight you may experience dry, itchy skin or develop stretch marks. There are no proven solutions for stretch marks, but a moisturizing lotion may help soothe itchy skin.
Weight Gain and Nausea in the Second Trimester
With any luck, your nausea has disappeared and your healthy appetite has returned, but keep in mind that you shouldn’t actually “eat for two.” You only need around 300 extra calories per day — that’s about a glass of skim milk and half a sandwich — so it's best to focus on following a balanced diet that nourishes both you and your baby. Learn more about getting the right nutrition during pregnancy. If you’re worried that you’re not gaining enough weight, or that you’re gaining too much, talk to your healthcare provider. You can also read more about weight gain during pregnancy here.
As you gain weight and as your belly starts to grow and protrude, people will start to notice you’re pregnant — if they haven’t already! Remember steady weight gain is an important part of the second and third trimesters, and it’s a reminder that you’re getting closer and closer to meeting your baby each day.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How we wrote this article The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.