Second Trimester

13 weeks pregnant to 27 weeks pregnant

The second trimester is the period of time between the most crucial stages of fetal development and the body's preparation for delivery, and will usually be a time of major growth but minor worries. Typically, the threat of miscarriage decreases, and your doctor's appointments will focus on measuring the growth and heart rhythms of the fetus. Toward the end of the second trimester, you will be able to find out the gender and hear the heartbeat.

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Many women will find sex particularly enjoyable at this time, and your nausea and fatigue will likely diminish as your hormone levels stabilize. Continue to visit your doctor for monthly checkups, and mention any minor complaints or irritations that could indicate a bigger problem.

Second Trimester of Pregnancy Week by Week

13 Weeks Pregnant – The ligaments that surround your uterus will begin to stretch through the next few weeks, which may cause a quick stabbing or throbbing sensation in the lower abdomen, called round ligament pain. This can be startling, but it's completely normal as long as it doesn't bring other symptoms such as cramping, bleeding or vomiting. The fetus is beginning to form tissue that will become bone in the head, limbs and torso.

14 Weeks Pregnant – More frequent heartburn and constipation may necessitate a change in your diet, but your energy levels will likely be increasing. Your breasts are now forming colostrum, or the precursor to breast milk, and the amniotic fluid is completely regenerating itself every 3 to 4 hours to provide your 3-inch fetus with a clean and warm environment.

15 Weeks Pregnant – Your heart has enlarged as the volume of your blood has increased by 20 percent, and you will be able to easily feel the uterus just below the belly button. The fetus is now able to hear your voice and your heartbeat and has developed colorless eyebrows and eyelashes.

16 Weeks Pregnant – Some women experience what is known as quickening: faintly detectable movements of the fetus. The placenta is now fully formed, and you may choose to have your doctor test for birth defects. Surprisingly, the fetus's eyes are sensitive to light even though the eyelids are sealed shut, and the development of major facial muscles allows certain expressions.

17 Weeks Pregnant – You may begin to develop some back pain as the ligaments in your abdomen continue to stretch, and you may notice you have more vaginal discharge now, due to the increase of estrogen. You may begin to feel the fetus moving, and its body and limbs are growing longer in proportion to the head.

18 Weeks Pregnant – You are likely showing by this point, as the uterus can be felt just below the belly button and you have probably gained 10 to 15 pounds since the beginning of your pregnancy. You may be ready to move into maternity clothes, and if sleeping is becoming a bit uncomfortable, consider investing in a pregnancy body-pillow. The fetus's genitals should be distinguishable by now, and if it's a boy, his prostate gland is beginning to develop.

19 Weeks Pregnant – Since your center of gravity has shifted with your growing belly, you may find that it is difficult to keep your balance. Many women experience some dizziness or fainting here and there – lie down on your side rather than on your back to relieve the sensation. Your baby is now forming meconium, which will become the first bowel movement.

20 Weeks Pregnant – You are now halfway through your pregnancy, and your uterus has grown enough to push your belly button out and crowd your other organs. Some women may find that their breathing is a little labored from this point until the fetus drops, and your growing belly may bring some pregnancy stretch marks. The fetus is practicing breathing and swallowing, and the skin is becoming more complex.

21 Weeks Pregnant – You may notice more aches, pains and swelling in your legs – prop your feet up when you sit, and consider wearing maternity support hose to alleviate the discomfort and prevent varicose veins. The fetus's reflexes are maturing quickly, and you may notice little rhythmic hiccups.

22 Weeks Pregnant – The uterus will be pushing on your ribcage by this time, so try to sit as straight as possible if your ribs are getting sore. The fetus has developed fingernails and some unique facial features, and the liver has begun to function.

23 Weeks Pregnant – You will probably feel the fetus move regularly, and you may feel a stitch in your side as your uterine muscles stretch. Fetal growth continues, and the small bones in the middle ear are hardening, so the fetus may respond to loud noises.

24 Weeks Pregnant – Swollen ankles can lead to some discomfort, but try to continue your pregnancy exercise routine to keep up your energy and strength. Since the fetus will have developed waking and sleeping periods, kicks may seem to come at regular intervals.

25 Weeks Pregnant – Your volleyball-sized uterus may begin to press against your sciatic nerve, sending shooting pains through your lower back or down your leg. If the pain is extreme, you may want to consider visiting a chiropractor or physiotherapist. The fetus's spine is forming, along with the capillaries that will move blood from the heart to the tissues throughout the body.

26 Weeks Pregnant – Around this time, your doctor may order a glucose tolerance test to screen for gestational diabetes. You may begin to feel Braxton Hicks contractions, which tighten and relax the belly in preparation for delivery. Most babies that are born at this point in the pregnancy will have an 80 percent chance of survival.

27 Weeks Pregnant – You may notice your energy is decreasing, and you experience Braxton Hicks contractions more often. The fetus weighs around 2 pounds, and the retinas are maturing as the eyes prepare for sight.