Your Quick Guide Through the Second Trimester


Table of Contents

Weeks 13-16

At last, that annoying morning sickness seems to be abating. You may see some skin darkening around your eyes, nose, cheeks, navel, armpits, inner thighs and other areas. During this period, your baby has started hearing your voice, your heartbeat, in fact all the sounds your body makes! Her little hands can now make a fist.

Weeks 17-20

By 20th week, you'll have reached the halfway point of your pregnancy. You will feel a sharp pain in your hip, abdomen or groin. As your belly grows, it puts your spine out of alignment, which results in back pain. You will also notice your baby kicking intermittently.

Weeks 21-24

You might notice some stretch marks on your belly, thighs and breasts. You will start feeling hungrier than before. Your breasts could leak pre-milk, but don’t worry, this is considered normal. By this time, your baby’s sleeping and waking patterns will not essentially match yours.

Weeks 25-28

Your heartburn and indigestion could get worse as your baby grows and presses against your stomach. You might start to feel exhausted very easily. Your face, hands or feet could swell due to water retention, which is normal. Report any swelling to your doctor in order to make it possible to diagnose or rule out a condition called pre-eclampsia, which is one of the common causes of swelling. By this time, your baby opens her eyes and starts blinking.  She also responds to your voice and touch.

Care You Need

1. Prenatal Tests

As you enter the second trimester of your pregnancy, you'll have to visit your doctor probably once a month throughout the trimester and mention any signs or symptoms you've been experiencing. Your health care provider will check your blood pressure and weight at every visit. She will also:

  • Track your baby's growth by measuring your abdomen from the top of your uterus to your pubic bone. The number of weeks of your pregnancy till date will be equal to this measurement in centimetres.
  • Listen to your baby's heartbeat using a Doppler instrument or a modified stethoscope.
  • Assess foetal movement. When you begin noticing flutters or kicks, which usually happens by about 20 weeks or perhaps earlier if you've been pregnant before, mention it to your OB.
  • A foetal ultrasound may be done to help your doctor evaluate your baby's growth and development.
  • Blood tests to check for iron levels or blood glucose to assess your risk for anaemia or gestational diabetes and to screen for developmental or chromosomal conditions, such as spina bifida or Down syndrome.
  • Urine tests for signs of a bladder, urinary tract or kidney infection.

Diagnostic Tests Amniocentesis is a diagnostic test where a sample of amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds and protects your baby during pregnancy) is tested.  This is usually done if the results of a blood test or ultrasound are abnormal or your history suggests high risk.

2. Diet and Exercise:

During the second trimester, your baby grows rapidly and your belly expands. This means you are more likely to lose your balance because your centre of gravity has shifted. Avoid heavy exercises during this time to prevent sprain and strain. During this time, your body also produces the hormone relaxin that loosens and softens ligaments getting you ready for childbirth. This hormone, unfortunately, also increases the risk of injury. Hence, make sure to follow an exercise regimen that helps strengthen your body and makes it ready for the changes that will occur in upcoming weeks. Exercises ideal for second trimester include:

  • Swimming
  • Jogging/walking
  • Cycling
  • Yoga and meditation

Exercises to avoid in the second trimester include:

  • Fast/high intensity aerobic classes
  • Chin-ups, which place an excessive amount of stress on weakened core muscles
  • Off-road running, which increases the possibility of falling due to centre of balance shifting forward.