second trimester

The second trimester of pregnancy: Week 13 – 27

Pregnancy usually lasts 40 weeks, counting from the first day of your last period and is grouped into three trimesters. Here are the top 6 things that you need to look out for during the second trimester of pregnancy.

1. Your symptoms

Symptoms such as nausea and fatigue will subside for many women. You will notice bigger changes such as an expanding abdomen and you will be able to feel your baby move by the end of this trimester.

second trimester of pregnancy

Here’s a run down of 12 common pregnancy body changes that you can expect: 12 pregnancy body changes

2. Weight gain

You can expect to gain about 1lb a week during your second trimester. You will most likely start showing during this time, if you haven’t already.

You need to keep in mind that it is perfectly normal to gain a little bit of weight during this time, but what’s the right amount? We take a look at what the experts recommend for weight gain during pregnancy: Weight gain during pregnancy.

second trimester of pregnancy

If you are very overweight and pregnant you may feel bombarded with information on the risks this may pose during and after pregnancy. Most women who are overweight do have healthy pregnancies. However, being overweight does increase the risk of complications for both you and your baby. Find out more about being overweight and pregnant.

Many women already deal with issues concerning their body image, however pregnancy is a time when body image concerns are more prevalent. Consultant dietitian Sarah Keogh says that for those struggling with an eating disorder, the nine months of pregnancy can cause disorders to become more serious. Find out how an eating disorder can affect your chances of conceiving and your pregnancy in Pregnancy and eating disorders.

3. Your breast size

Your breasts will continue to grow in size. For many women, one of the first noticeable signs of pregnancy is when they outgrow their regular fashion bras. The time scale of this process varies from woman to woman. Breast changes can occur within the first eight to 10 weeks of pregnancy, while for some women it may occur later. A switch to a maternity bra can be a welcome change when a woman’s breasts become fuller and more sensitive.

second trimester of pregnancy

If you’re looking to buy a maternity bra, follow our tips on Buying a maternity bra.

4. Low blood pressure

Your blood vessels dilate in response to pregnancy hormones. Until your blood volume expands to fill them, your blood pressure will drop and you might experience occasional dizziness. If you’re suffering from dizzy spells, drink plenty of fluids and rise slowly after lying or sitting down. When you feel dizzy, lie on your left side to restore blood pressure.

Dizziness is only one of the pregnancy symptoms we have to deal with. From headaches to abdominal pain we go through some common but worrying pregnancy symptoms. Here’s our guide to the worrying symptoms of pregnancy to look out for.

5. Pregnancy diet

Continue to eat healthily to ensure that you and your baby are getting all the correct nutrients and get as much rest as possible. Our consultant dietitian provides easy tips to help you through your pregnancy with Maximum nutrition in pregnancy.

second trimester of pregnancy

Keeping physically fit will help to keep you toned and energised throughout your pregnancy. Do some regular but gentle exercise, following our guide on Keeping fit through pregnancy.

6. Second trimester scan

You may be given a second trimester scan (anomaly scan) at around the 18 – 22 week stage, which examines your baby’s organs, takes measurements of limb lengths, and stomach and head circumference. You will most likely continue to have appointments scheduled for once a month during your second trimester.

If you want to learn a little more about anomaly or other scans, read our article about Pre-natal scans.

More like this:

Antenatal scans
Aches and pains in pregnancy you can’t ignore
The do’s and dont’s of pregnancy


Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….


The fertility diet

Consultant dietitian Sarah Keogh advises what to avoid and what to eat to boost your chances of conceiving.


Ask Sarah

Q I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet and as I am very interested in reducing the amount of processed foods and grain based meals my family eats, we are considering following this diet. From what I read it seems to be a back-to-basics type of eating. Is a Paleo diet safe for children? My kids are aged seven and nine.

A The Paleo diet is one of the most fashionable diets around at the moment. It is also known as the ‘caveman diet’ and is based on cutting out processed foods, starchy foods like bread and potatoes and eating more meat, vegetables and fruit.
As fad diets go, it is not the worst but there are some good and bad sides to it. Reducing the amount of processed foods we eat is always a good idea and by doing that you will usually reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar you eat, which is a good thing! The problem with the Paleo diet is that it also cuts out dairy (on the basis that cavemen didn’t drink milk) and this means that the diet is very low in calcium. For this reason it is really not suitable for children who do need a lot of calcium for growing bones. How did cavemen manage without dairy? They ate a lot more food than we do (up to 10,000 calories per day compared to the 2,000 most of us eat). By eating that amount of food they were able to pick up just enough calcium from green vegetables and seeds. To put it in perspective, you would need to eat 16 servings of broccoli a day to get all the calcium you need. This is easier to do if you eat 10,000 calories per day rather than 2,000.
The other problem with the paleo diet is that it is not entirely based in science. Many of the Paleo diets out there say you should not eat wheat, even though we know that cavemen did in fact eat wheat and other grains. These diets also don’t recommend that you eat blubber and the big lumps of fat that were also a large part of the caveman diet!
A final problem is that many Paleo diets encourage people to cut out beans and lentils and to get their protein from meat and fish instead. Many studies over the last few years are clear that eating too much animal protein is linked with more cancer and heart disease. Eating some vegetarian meals based on beans and lentils is a great way to get your protein without always going for meat.
Is this a diet we should follow? I think there is a lot we can learn from the Paleo diets. We could all do with eating less salt, sugar and processed foods and adding in more nuts and seeds as well as more vegetables. However, I think following a strict Paleo diet could lead to low levels of calcium and vitamin D and so it is not suitable for children or teens and adults would need to think about a calcium supplement.