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A Guide To The Second Trimester Of Pregnancy

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos · Updated Jan 21, 2023

    A Guide To The Second Trimester Of Pregnancy

    The second trimester officially runs from the 13th to the 27th week of pregnancy. As pregnancy’s “Honeymoon Phase,” many women feel that the second trimester is a lot more comfortable than the first. To help you make wiser choices and plan for what’s about to come, it is important to know everything about your 2nd trimester of pregnancy, week by week.

    Body changes during the second trimester of pregnancy

    In the second trimester, many women begin to show the “baby bump” as the baby grows bigger and stronger. These are following changes and symptoms that can arise: 

    Baby development

    By the second trimester of pregnancy or week 13, the baby’s vital organs and systems are now in place. As a result, the next six months will be spent for growth. As the fetus can now survive outside of the uterus, its weight can grow more than seven times in the upcoming months.

    Here are some fetal development during your second trimester:

    • The organs of the baby are fully developed
    • The baby will start hearing and swallowing
    • Small hairs become visible
    • The baby starts to move
    • The mother may notice changes to the fetus’ sleep-wake cycle

    By the end of the second trimester of pregnancy, most babies will be about fourteen-inches long and weigh over 0.9 kg (2 lbs.).

    Second trimester to-do list

    Focus on a healthy diet

    During pregnancy, you might experience constipation and heartburn due to hormonal changes. To avoid these, it is best to have more fiber in your diet, consume lots of fluids, and eat smaller quantities of food per meal than usual. Speak to your doctor about the dietary changes that are best for you.

    It is also essential to focus on these important nutrients:

    • Protein – Try to eat more meat, beans, and fish because protein is the main element of your diet that is vital for fetal growth.
    • Calcium – Calcium is needed for the development of the baby’s bones, teeth, muscles, and nervous system.
    • Iron – This nutrient helps the blood supply oxygen to your baby and decrease one’s risk of anemia

    Maintain a healthy weight

    Gaining weight throughout pregnancy is normal, particularly in the second and third trimesters. When you are pregnant, your weight increases because of the increased amount of blood in your body, the weight of the infant, and the presence of amniotic fluid.

    If you want to avoid gaining weight more than recommended, avoid eating more than 300 extra calories a day. Speak to your doctor about any necessary adjustments to your diet. 

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    Avoid lying on your back for a long time

    Because the uterus is now quite large, lying on your back for an extended period of time can put pressure on your spinal cord and the primary blood vessels around the area. Many pregnant women find it more comfortable to lay down on their left side.

    Say no to tobacco and alcohol

    Chewing tobacco and active smoking delays fetal growth and increases the chances of going into preterm labor. For your baby’s protection, it is best to also stay away from friends and relatives who smoke near you.

    Moreover, drinking too much alcohol can disturb the baby’s brain development. Pregnant women are also advised to limit their coffee intake to one or two cups per day. This is because caffeine can penetrate to your baby’s placenta and cause a heart rate spike.

    What to ask the doctor

    By the 18th week of your pregnancy, see the doctor for an ultrasound to check the baby’s development. By this time, you can also discover your child’s sex. 

    During this week, you may want to ask your doctor some questions to make sure your second trimester of pregnancy is as healthy as the previous one:

    “What are the over-the-counter medicines that I can safely use?”

    Whether you want to ease body pain or relieve constipation, consult your doctor first before taking any new medication.

    “What are the best exercises for me?”

    While staying active keeps both you and your baby healthy, it is best to avoid strenuous activity that can lead to overheating and dehydration. Low-impact exercises like yoga and swimming are generally safe for pregnant mothers, but it is best to consult your doctor before trying a new workout regimen.

    “Is cramping or bleeding normal?”

    During the first trimester, spotting or cramping is common. This is because the fertilized egg establishes itself and begins to develop inside the uterus. However, having consistent cramping or bleeding can be a sign of infection in the uterus or vagina.

    “How long can I work?”

    Whether you can continue working while pregnant depends heavily on the nature of your job. If you have a physically exhausting job or experience pregnancy complications, your doctor may encourage you to take a break from work. This is also possible for high-stress jobs, as emotional upheaval can also affect one’s pregnancy.

    Key takeaway

    It is important to know the ins and outs of the second trimester of pregnancy, week by week. During this time, the baby grows larger. It is best to regularly consult your doctor and to be completely open about any unpleasant symptoms or complications you may be experiencing. 

    Learn more about Being Pregnant here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos · Updated Jan 21, 2023

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