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You and your baby: The second trimester

Now that the exciting first phase of pregnancy is over, you can look forward to the middle phase: the second trimester! Every week brings a new development, but for a brief overview, read on.

Second trimester

Week 13 to the end of week 26 in pregnancy is known as the second trimester. The baby continues to mature, but what exactly will the second trimester bring to the expectant mother and her baby? Here are some of the details.

For mom

  • Morning sickness will subside or end completely.
  • Will likely have an ultrasound performed between weeks 18 and 22, and in a healthy pregnancy, it might be the only scan performed. The health care provider uses this screen to check if the baby is growing and developing properly.
  • Will feel the baby move for the first time between 16 and 24 weeks.
  • Your abdomen becomes larger. As the uterus expands, so does the belly! For some moms, their “normal” size clothing becomes snug as early as the last few weeks of the first trimester, but it’s more common to need to move into maternity wear at some point in the second.
  • Will start to gain about one pound of weight per week.
  • Stretch marks might appear on the breasts, tummy and buttocks.
  • May have sporadic Braxton Hicks contractions.
  • Could start to experience legs cramps, especially at night.
  • The breasts will become larger.
  • May experience heartburn and constipation.

For baby

A number of changes occur for the developing fetus during this phase of pregnancy, as this is a period of noticeable growth and maturity.

  • The baby’s gender will become apparent.
  • The fetus will form bones.
  • Develops reflexes, and as such, will begin sucking motions and swallowing.
  • The baby begins to hear and might respond to stimuli, such as the mother’s voice.
  • Can move easily — kicks and turns enough for the expectant mom to feel it.
  • Fingernails and fingerprints are formed.
  • Eyebrows and eyelashes become visible.
  • Fat stores begin to form under the skin.
  • The baby is wrinkly, and the entire body will be covered in downy hair called lanugo.
  • Will have a sleep pattern of sleep and wakefulness.
  • The baby’s brain enters a period of rapid development.
  • By the end of the second trimester, the baby’s crown-rump length might be three times what it was at the end of the first trimester.

More on babies

Nursery checklist
Show off your baby bump
How to prepare for your maternity leave

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