Welcome to the second trimester! You’ve probably already felt some changes to your body and lifestyle throughout the first trimester, and you may be wondering what to expect for the next thirteen weeks. Let’s explore some things you may encounter as you progress into your second trimester.
You’ll likely be feeling better in your second trimester than your first
For many women, the morning sickness lightens by the second trimester, as well as the endless exhaustion and breast tenderness.
This is because your body in the second trimester has lower levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG, and because your body has begun to adapt to the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
You may feel the baby moving
At around 20 weeks, you may start to feel the baby moving. Doctors call this movement “quickening.” It can feel like a fluttering in your abdomen, or even a swishing or bubbling feeling.
Your pregnancy may become more visible
During your second trimester, it’s considered healthy to gain as much as a half-pound to a pound per week. With this faster weight gain, you might start to feel more backaches or lower abdominal aches as your body begins to stretch and support your growing uterus and baby.
By twenty weeks, your uterus has grown all the way up to your belly button. Oftentimes your pregnancy is more visible at this point, and you’re more likely to develop “the bump” during this second trimester.
Your gums and nose might start bleeding easily
This is because the hormones progesterone and estrogen from pregnancy increase the blood flow to your nose and mouth. Because your gums will be bleeding more easily, you’ll want to be gentle with your brushing and flossing, but don’t skip these activities as it’s important to maintain good dental care.
You may experience skin changes
The skin on your abdomen and breasts may start to itch. This is because the skin is being stretched with your growing body, and the skin becomes thinner in these areas.
You may start to develop stretch marks, which look like pink or red stripes, towards the end of your second trimester. Many women try to use cream and lotions to prevent these stretch marks, but research has shown that these products are not effective at preventing stretch marks, and that stretch mark development has more to do with your genetics.
In addition to your skin stretching, you might also experience some skin color changes. Some women experience dark spots, particularly on their face, during pregnancy. This is because your body’s melanin levels, the substance that gives people their pigmentation, increases during pregnancy. The dark spots tend to fade gradually after delivery, but you can help prevent them from worsening during pregnancy by wearing sunscreen and hats to protect from UV exposure.
- Brennan, M., Young, G., & Devane, D. (2012). Topical preparations for preventing stretch marks in pregnancy. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 11(11), CD000066.
- “Skin Conditions During Pregnancy.” ACOG, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. July 2022.
- “The Second Trimester.” Johns Hopkins Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medicine.
- “Quickening in Pregnancy” Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Clinic. 22 April 2022.
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