Second Trimester

Energy Returns

As you enter your second trimester, if you’ve had morning sickness, you may find it becoming less frequent or perhaps it’s stopped entirely. You may have more energy, feel less fatigued and begin to enjoy your pregnancy. Others also may begin to notice that you are pregnant. Around the fourth or fifth month, you may feel that your stomach is growing and that you would be more comfortable in maternity clothes. For most mothers, perhaps the most exciting experience occurs at this time as you can feel your baby move. In the early months, the movement may feel like soft fluttering, but as your baby grows, the kicking can feel more like an Olympic soccer team!

With the growth of your baby and the changes to your body, you need an extensive supply of vitamins, minerals and DHA. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the best prentatal vitamin with gentle ingredients to optimize nutrition for both you and your baby. 

Second Trimester 

Twelve weeks have passed since conception. The placenta is fully formed, sex organs are identifiable, and the fetus has grown to fill the whole uterus.  Here are some other changes:          

  • The mother continues to gain weight and the stomach begins to look bigger
  • At approximately 16 weeks, you will be able to feel more active fetal movement
  • A layer of fat under the skin will begin to develop and fill out the form of the fetus
  • Your baby will be able to hear and make grasping movements
  • Eyes, eyelashes and silky hair on the fetus can be detected
  • The volume of blood pumped by the heart peaks between 16 and 28 weeks

New Developments

Changes in your body that occur during the second trimester include1:

  • Uterus — Your uterus becomes heavier and expands, crowding your stomach and other organs.  Eating smaller portions several times a day and decreasing the amount of liquid you have with your meals may help relieve heartburn (if you experience it) and make you feel more comfortable.
     
  • Legs — Leg and muscle cramps are common during pregnancy, especially at night.  Calcium can help relieve cramps, as can pointing and flexing your toes. You may also notice the appearance of varicose veins in your legs which are caused when the weight of your uterus reduces circulation in your lower body.
     
  • Skin —As the baby grows, your skin stretches to accommodate increased weight put on your body. There are other skin changes that may occur:
    • Stretch marks — They appear reddish brown at first and will fade to a more silvery color in time. 
    • Itching — Applying moisturizing lotion to your skin may help alleviate any itching you have. 
    • Linea nigra — A faint line called the “linea alba” runs down the center of your abdomen and will gradually darken; this darker line is called “linea nigra.”
    • Mask of Pregnancy — You may see temporary skin changes on your face called chloasma, better known as the “mask of pregnancy.”  These yellow or brown patches on your upper cheeks, nose, chin and forehead are caused by hormonal changes in your body and usually diminish after giving birth.  

Normal physical symptoms you may experience during your second trimester:

  • Aches or discomfort in your lower abdomen
  • Bleeding gums
  • Constipation
  • Discomfort or aches in lower back
  • Dizziness, faintness or light-headed sensation
  • End or decrease in nausea
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Increase of appetite
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Nasal congestion
  • Occasional nose bleeds
  • Swelling in feet and ankles

Baby’s Development in the Second Trimester 2

During the second trimester, your doctor may use ultrasound to detect the sex of your unborn baby.  This is an exciting time for parents who want to know the baby’s gender and who are trying to choose a name or decorate the baby’s nursery. 

The baby may be almost six inches long now.  The lungs are practicing breathing amniotic fluid, and a fat layer has formed underneath the baby’s skin.  Eyebrows, eyelashes, joints and well-developed legs and arms have formed.  Don’t be surprised if you feel the baby jump or react to the sound of loud noises, as your baby’s hearing is also developing. 


  1. Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary.20th ed. In: Vernes D, editor. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company; c2005
  2. Mayo Clinic . Fetal development: the second trimester; 2011 Jul 23 . Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fetal-development/PR00113