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. I’m would like to start an exercise programme that will benefit my emotional health as much as my physical health, but I don’t know which type of class would be best. Should I consider choosing from yoga, pilates, tai chi, or could you recommend a class, please?

A It’s great that you have decided to get into exercise. The benefits to you are going to be great. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, better skin, reduced stressed, not to mention all the amazing physical benefits of your clothes fitting better, and looking healthy, trim and toned! My advice to you would be to try them all. Even if some don’t offer pay-as-you-go sessions, if you get in touch directly with the instructor, they will almost always let you try it out first to see if it’s for you. All of the above things that you mentioned are great for mental health, so it really will be a personal preference as to which you go for. On top of the classes you mention, all forms of exercise will give you great mental rewards so consider the not so obvious interval training sessions, bootcamp, and circuits too, as you will also feel on top of the world after a class like that.


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Ask Allison

Q My sister-in-law and I both work three-day weeks and we help each
other out with child minding on our working days, which up until recently has worked out really well. Between us, our kids are aged between five and nine years – the problem is that it’s now become quite apparent that we have very different parenting styles. I prefer my two daughters (seven and nine) to have a structured day. For example, in my house, we have allocated times for television and iPads, etc. My sister-in-law, however, lets the kids run loose after school – homework is ignored and my kids end up wired after eating sugary treats all afternoon. I am considering looking at after-school childcare for the kids, but I’m worried that this is going to cause a family argument. Is there a diplomatic way that I can ask my sister-in-law to introduce some discipline into her child-minding days? It certainly doesn’t do her two kids any harm when I am minding them in my own house!

In a word, no, there is no diplomatic way to do this as it may very likely seem like your saying that your parenting style is better than
hers. As L’Óreal says, ‘now here comes the science bit.’ Dr. Kaylene
Henderson, a child psychiatrist, wrote a very interesting blog about ‘the
science behind the Mummy Wars’. She explains that before she had
children of her own she hadn’t been aware of how parents have a
very specific sense of the right parenting style. She also found that parents could be very definite in defending their chosen parenting style. Dr. Henderson, who describes herself as a curious, scientific, open-minded person, was surprised at how defensive parents could be and, at times, of their judgemental attitude towards each other. She explained the neurology of the Mummy Wars; okay, I’ll need you to bear with me for a second. Warning; I’m about to use some neuro-techie language.

Why do we judge each other?
As we have all had different experiences, this means that we all have very different memories stored in our brains. Most of our memories are ‘explicit’ memories – these are ones that we can recall easily such as important dates that mean something to us; important birthdays, special events or stories of and about our lives.
There is another type of memory called ‘implicit’ memory that plays a
key role in our parenting. This type of memory is the stuff that you do on autopilot. Psychologists call these heuristics or rules of thumb –
such as tying your shoelace, or driving your car (once you have learnt
to do both first!). Otherwise we’d really waste a huge amount of time
pondering over tasks that we have readily available to us. This seems to be where the science bit of our parenting style kicks in. This implicit memory goes all the way back to when you were an infant being parented by your parents. This is when you started the process of storing up how they did it into your memories.
Unless you make a conscious choice and effort to parent differently, what you saw and unconsciously learnt will be your automatic go-to parenting style.

We learn habits
This can really kick into gear when we feel our parenting style is
being mirrored or highlighted by disapproval from another parent. I know the cold sweat you feel when your child decides to make their outstanding bad behaviour performance at, of course, the most public and worst time. The implicit autopilot of how your parents dealt with these outbursts will flow unconsciously from you if you haven’t worked super hard to be aware and consciously change the old habits.
What’s happening for the on-looking parent is that they see you doing something they are used to doing, but you are doing it all wrong. Simply, because that is not how they know how to do it.

Find a way that works
You both have different parenting styles – who is to say which type is correct? You just need to know what works best for your family and that’s the bottom line. The irksome feelings won’t go away. You can talk to your sister-in-law, but I’m adding a caveat that it would be hard not to hurt her feelings. What we’re possibly looking at is that you prefer a more structured form of parenting, whereas your sister-in-law has a more permissive style. I’m not sure the two styles can mix, the mixture is a bit like oil and water.
If a collaborative shared form of parenting style can be agreed upon, then that is great, but our learnt hardwiring may prove difficult to change despite the intent to do so.
Perhaps, your own instinct of changing childcare might work best for you. In terms of making childcare work; the fit is ultimately the most
important aspect as you want a cohesive congruent feeling of the other caregiver to just ‘getting it’, like in any good partnership. Best of luck
with this and I wish you both well.