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Your second trimester guide to pregnancy

There's a lot to look forward to during your second trimester. In fact, the second trimester is when most moms-to-be feel their best—so much so that it's often called the "honeymoon" period of pregnancy.

To learn more about what to expect during your second trimester, take a look at some common questions and answers for this period of your pregnancy.

When does the second trimester start and end?

It starts at the beginning of the 14th week of your pregnancy and lasts through the 27th week.

How often will I go to see the doctor in this trimester?

As long as you and your baby are well, you'll likely have a checkup every four weeks during your second trimester. But don't be a no-show—even if you feel fine. Prenatal checkups are a crucial part of taking care of your growing baby.

Your provider will give you some routine tests at each prenatal visit. Find out what they are here.

What symptoms can I expect?

The good news is that your first trimester symptoms, like nausea and fatigue, are likely fading. But as your body changes to make room for your growing baby, you may have:

  • Back, abdomen and other body aches.
  • Stretch marks.
  • Darkening of the skin around your nipples.
  • A line on the skin running from the belly button to the pubic hairline.
  • Patches of darker skin on both sides of your face.
  • Heartburn.
  • Swelling in your ankles, fingers or face.

You may also have itching, numb or tingling hands, and leg cramps.

Be sure to tell your provider if any of these symptoms are severe.

When can I find out about the sex of the baby?

Doctors can usually determine whether your baby is a boy or girl during an ultrasound exam when you're 18 to 20 weeks along.

When should I buy maternity clothes?

They may be a necessity by the start of your second trimester. But maybe not. Every woman is different. But as rule of thumb, women who've been pregnant before sport baby bumps sooner than first-time moms. Get more tips for your maternity wardrobe here.

Is it OK for me to exercise?

Yes—so long as you get a green light from your provider. Regular exercise can help reduce your risk of pregnancy complications and prep your body for labor and birth.

And with your energy very likely returning this trimester, you may be more motivated to get up and move. Walking is a great form of exercise—and one of the easiest. Learn about more pregnancy-friendly workouts here.

How much weight should I gain during the second trimester?

Assuming you started your pregnancy at a normal weight, your doctor will likely advise a steady weight gain of about a pound a week during the second and third trimesters. But there may be some occasional spikes that then level off. Learn more about pregnancy and healthy weight gain here.

What are the complications I should watch for?

Watch for the warning signs of pre-eclampsia. It's a serious pregnancy complication that can occur after 20 weeks. It can affect all the organs of your body, plus the placenta. Pre-eclampsia can be treated, but you need to call your provider right away if you have any of its symptoms.

More pregnancy news

Have you started telling people your big news yet? The second trimester is when many moms-to-be announce their pregnancy to their broader circle of friends. Check out these ideas for fun pregnancy announcements.

Sources: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; American Pregnancy Association; March of Dimes; Office on Women's Health

Reviewed 1/24/2022

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