The second trimester of pregnancy spans the fourth, fifth and sixth month of the baby’s development. Called the planning trimester, it falls during weeks 14 through 28. The nausea and fatigue of the first trimester begin to weaken and may even disappear. The second trimester brings the first feeling of baby movement. The Mayo Clinic reminds women to expect a weight gain of about 3 to 4 pounds a month from now until delivery.
Weeks 14 through 16. The first few weeks of the second trimester can bring nosebleeds and swollen gums, as well as gas and heartburn issues and an increased sex drive. “Baby brain,” or forgetfulness, is common. Some women enjoy increased hair, nail and breast growth. Around week 16, the first fluttering of movement from the baby can occur.
Weeks 17 and 18. By week 17, weight gain can be about 10 pounds. Expect increased bodily fluids, especially vaginal discharge, as well as itchy skin on your growing baby bump. Leg cramps, backaches, and swollen feet and hands are normal. However, if the pain or swelling is severe or sudden, contact your doctor.
Weeks 19 and 20. At this time, your body continues to adjust to the growing baby. Your uterus expands, pressing against your lungs and causing shortness of breath. The more room the baby takes up, the more your digestive system is crowded, making indigestion and heartburn common throughout the rest of the pregnancy. Leg cramps and hip pain may increase as well.
Weeks 21 and 22. You’re now halfway through the second trimester and might experience Braxton Hicks contractions. This type of contraction is normal and common throughout the third trimester, but can occur as early as 21 weeks. According the American Pregnancy Association, Braxton Hicks contractions are known as “practice contractions.”
Weeks 23 and 24. Swollen ankles, hands and fingers may have you feeling like a puffball. This is normal. Continue to drink plenty of water. Hydration is important during pregnancy. Stretch marks may be more visible as the baby grows and stretches your skin. It can itch as well. About week 24, your risk for gestational diabetes will be accessed through a glucose tolerance test.
Weeks 25 and 26. Your growing baby puts pressure on your insides, especially your bladder. Expect frequent urination, constipation and even hemorrhoids. At week 26, be aware of increased or sudden swelling in your hands, feet and face. This type of swelling may indicate preeclampsia, a dangerous condition occurring when a pregnant women develops high blood pressure and protein in her urine.
Weeks 27 and 28. It’s the end of the second trimester! Your baby may weigh as much as 2.5 pounds, and you are still gaining weight as well. As your belly gets larger, more stretch marks can appear and itching may increase.
Never be afraid to ask your health professional to address your questions and concerns as your pregnancy develops.