Second trimester: weeks 13 to 28

The second trimester is the middle three months of your pregnancy. This is a time when lots of women tell the world they’re pregnant and begin to feel like the pregnancy is more ‘real’.

weeks 13 - 28 infographic

The second trimester of your pregnancy is from week 13 to week 28 - roughly months four, five and six.

As well as feeling and looking more pregnant during these weeks, you may also have more energy than you did in the first trimester. This will come as a great relief if you have been struggling with sickness, tiredness or anxiety about getting through the first trimester.

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As you go through the second trimester, you’ll gradually see your 'bump' grow and later you'll start to feel your baby moving.

Choices and decisions in the second trimester of pregnancy

You'll be offered blood tests and your second ultrasound scan at around 20 weeks. This scan looks at how the baby is growing and whether there are any causes for concern.

You have the right to say no to any test or scan that's offered. It is always your choice and the team looking after you will respect your decision.

If you haven't already thought about it, it’s a good time to start thinking about where and how you would like to have your baby. From home birth to hospital birth, you may have to make a decision. If this all seems a little scary, don't worry. Your midwife will be there to support you and tell you what your choices are. You'll go from beginner to expert in just a few weeks!

You may want to consider whether to ask if you’re having a boy or a girl when you have your scans. This is a very personal decision – some parents are excited to find out and others prefer to be surprised at the birth. Keep in mind, though, that a scan doesn’t always show the sex of the baby and sometimes what you are told could turn out to be wrong!

If you are still smoking – even if it’s just the odd cigarette – check out your local stop smoking options. If you stop smoking before the 15th week of pregnancy, the health risks for your baby go down. Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for the health of your baby.

Experts agree that staying active in pregnancy is good for you and your baby. You can prepare your body for the challenges of labour and being a mum by keeping yourself healthy and active during your second trimester.

Find out the effects of smoking on your baby

Find out more about the second trimester

Sources

  1.  Lee KA, Zaffke ME (2006) ‘Longitudinal changes in fatigue and energy during pregnancy and the post partum period’, Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 28 (2): 183–91
  2. NHS Choices. Ultrasound scans. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/ultrasound-anomaly-baby-scans-pregnant.aspx (Page last reviewed: 30/11/2017 Next review due: 30/11/2020)
  3. England LJ, Kendrick JS, Wilson HG, Merritt RK, Gargiullo PM, Zahniser SC (2001) Effects of smoking reduction during pregnancy on the birth weight of term infants’, American Journal of Epidemiology 154(8): 694–701:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11590081 
  4.  ACOG (2010) Smoking cessation during pregnancy, Committee Opinion 471, Washington DC, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Health-Care-for-Underserved-Women/Smoking-Cessation-During-Pregnancy
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Last reviewed on June 28th, 2018. Next review date June 28th, 2021.

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Comments

  • By Carol (not verified) on 17 Sep 2018 - 18:33

    LMP was on 24,25,26,how many weeks am i please?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Sep 2018 - 13:12

    Dear Carol,
    According to your dates which I presume are for during august, providing you have a regular 28 day cycle then you are about 3 weeks and 6 days pregnant. When you have your first scan this will give you your accurate dating and due date.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Leanne (not verified) on 23 Aug 2018 - 08:31

    Hi,

    I have had 3 previous miscarriages at 1 trimester.

    I am now 13 weeks 4 days and have had bright red blood this morning and I am on holiday in Spain. I’ve spotted through out slight pink and was scanned at 6 and 8 weeks via Tommys due to previous miscarriages. I then had a small red bleed at 9 weeks went to a&e and was scanned and everything was fine. 12 week scan was also fine.

    I’ve now woken up to quite a bit of red blood but not enough to soak a pad. I’m just looking for some advice as I’m in a foreign country. Do you think I should visit a hospital here?

    Any advice or suggestions would be great - thank you.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 23 Aug 2018 - 14:19

    Hi Leanne,
    It would be advisable that you are seen at the local hospital there just so that you can be checked over as any bleeding in pregnancy needs to be assessed. If you have your maternity notes with you then please take them in then they can see all your medical history. Make sure you take your insurance details with you and your EU health card so that you can receive treatment if needed because they may ask for them. Hope this helps, take care Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Esther (not verified) on 8 Aug 2018 - 15:42

    Please am having down back pains, especially if I bend down, carry something, trick for a while and sitting on a low chair. I have tried to control it but its given me concern. Do I need to see doctor for it.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 9 Aug 2018 - 16:17

    Hi Esther, Thank you for your comment.
    We would suggest that if this back pain is becoming debilitating then you do need to see your GP who can refer you too a physiotherapist and they can give you exercises to manage the pain throughout pregnancy. Please call your GP as soon as you can to get an appointment. Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Katrina (not verified) on 25 Jul 2018 - 14:11

    Hi there, I'm just looking for some advice as not sure if I should go see my midwife. I am 15 weeks pregnant have had nausea since the begining (ivf pregnancy) and constipation. However i had a bout of diorreah on Sunday night which lasted just the one time and did not happen again nausea has neither gotten worse or better have vomited a few times but not since having the diorreah . I have pain in my abdomen but goes away when I eat and then just feels tight . I had another bout of diorreah again last night (Tuesday night) and the same sensation slight pain until I eat then slight tightening. The tightening is uncomfortable and I'm worried there may be something wrong with the baby but aware that theses symptoms are also respective of being 15 weeks pregnant. Any advice would be much apprecited. Thank you.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 27 Jul 2018 - 12:15

    Hi Katrina,
    It sounds like you have symptoms of a tummy bug, in which case the best thing to do is to stay at home, rest and keep hydrated. You describe that the slight pain goes away when eating which is reassuring and that you have an uncomfortable tightening, but from what you have said it does not sound like they are regular or happening often. If you have pain which is continuing or tightenings then do see your midwife, same if you have any bleeding. If you develop a fever or feel unwell then do see your GP for a review.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Katrina (not verified) on 1 Aug 2018 - 01:21

    Thank you so much for your reply and great advice. I did stay home and keep hydrated I saw my midwife on mon day and was reassured by her and the sound of little ones heart beat. The diorreah did not happen again after the bout last tuesday and I feel much better. Still having the tightening sensation of an evening especially after my evening meal which is making it difficult to sleep but figure this is round ligament pain and digestion. Thank you so much again for your reply.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 1 Aug 2018 - 09:33

    Hi Katrina
    I am glad to hear all was well and your were checked over.
    It does sound like round ligament pain yes, but if it continues or worsens, please get another review to be 100% sure.
    All the best
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Alexandra (not verified) on 28 Jun 2018 - 17:22

    Hi there! I've been having these irregular and uncomfortable contractions which range from a few times an hour to 4-5 times. I've been to Labor and Delivery 3 times so far this week (here in the US) to be examined, and they have told me each time I am fine and my cervix is closed. Is it normal to have very frequent contractions at almost 22 weeks? I think I'm also feeling round ligament pain as there's a sharp pain every now and then around my uterus. Thank you.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Jun 2018 - 11:47

    Hi Alexandra,
    You have absolutely been doing the right thing by going to the labour ward when you have been feeling regular tightenings as it would be unexpected at 22 weeks of pregnancy. Sometimes these can be triggered by an infection, often a urine infection so I am sure that they would have checked for this at the hospital. Sometimes there is no explanation and for some women they have an 'irritable uterus' which really means that they will experience tightenings regularly but cervix remains unchanged. Some ligament pain again can be very normal, but this is usually on going pain rather than tightening type pain. Please do continue to go back to the hospital if you are having regular tightenings that are on going.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By humera nazneen (not verified) on 5 Jun 2018 - 07:20

    Iam suffering from bad caugh since 3 days,i have consulted my doctor but their is no cure,and in 20 days i lost 3kgs of my weight,will my baby wil be fine??please could you explain me in details...i kindly request you...
    thaning you,
    Iam from india.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Jun 2018 - 15:01

    Hi Humera
    According to your Last Menstrual Period date of 15th Jan, you are around 20 weeks pregnant. I am sorry that you are having a bad cough, but this will hopefully soon pass (get the dr to make sure you do not have a chest infection requiring antibiotics.) I am also sorry to hear that you have lost 3kgs of weight. I hope that your doctor is keeping a close eye on your weight loss and will make any referring to a dietitian if needed.
    All the best
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Mousumi chowdhury (not verified) on 4 Jun 2018 - 12:34

    I am at 12 weeks, I am having a light abdominal pain and vaginal pain sometimes it feels more like a menstrual pain. Is there any concern with the baby, my scan is due next week.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Jun 2018 - 14:35

    Hi Mousaumi, Unfortunately it isn't possible to reassure you without examining you but some mild cramping is quite common and not always associated with problems. If the pain gets any worse or if you have any bleeding please see your doctor straight away. Take care

  • By Hawy (not verified) on 1 Jun 2018 - 20:01

    I am 13weeks, but I am having severe pain around my lower abdomen including my stomach sometimes. Is it a problem?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Jun 2018 - 14:30

    Dear Hawy,
    Yes, any severe abdominal pain in pregnancy should be investigated. If you are in the UK you should see your doctor immediately or go to A&E.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 1 Jun 2018 - 15:52

    I'm 9 weeks pregnant and all alone so I want to know if I can get through this process without any help from family. Right now I don't eat at all I don't know what's the cause and I am constantly tired and dizzy , help me please, iv lost so much weight in just 5days and I'm weak also,what must I do ?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Jun 2018 - 14:26

    So sorry that you are on your own. It's really important to find some support from somewhere. If you are in the UK you are welcome to call us at Tommy's 0800 0147 800. It is difficult to manage on your own but not impossible. However, food is very important and without it you and your baby cannot thrive. Try to find a doctor locally to you who will be able to help. Take care

  • By slindile (not verified) on 16 Feb 2018 - 12:45

    Hi im sixth month pregnant and all i think about is after birth of my baby i want to to be out of this marriage coz Ive never been happy my fiance is too controlling and that makes me feel uncomfortable to be around him coz he can be abusive too.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Feb 2018 - 15:02

    Hi,
    It is really important that you get the help and support to make sure that you and your baby are safe. If you are able to, when you see a health professional or your midwife alone then talk to them about your relationship and what you are experiencing and they will support you. In addition or alternatively there are several organisation who will be able to help you, for example you can call the national domestic violence helpline on 0808 2000 247, and that line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They also have a helpful website too: http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/if-you-are-a-woman-experiencing-domestic-violence.aspx
    There are two organisation also, Women's aid and Refuge who will support you and get you and your baby to safe place: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/ and https://www.refuge.org.uk/
    If you ever feel that you are in immediate danger then call the police via 999 immediately. IF we can help you further then please do call us on 0800 0147 800 or email us [email protected] Please take care, Tommy's midwives x

  • By Mama (not verified) on 28 Jan 2018 - 16:44

    I am presently in the UK on scholarship and I have 7months to go. My boyfriend visited over the holidays and we had unprotected sex and I took in. I habe loads of academic work ahead of me and I am required to graduate with a distinction should i want to progress to Ph.D. I have no families here just friends. I dont know if I can pull through with a pregnancy all alone with no support and still do well in my studies. I have thought of an abortion but I am still very very scared. Who can tell me what to expect?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Jan 2018 - 16:34

    Hi It is difficult to put this into perspective without support so I hope you find someone that you can discuss this with. This link may help you to understand your options https://www.mariestopes.org.uk/. Best wishes

  • By Juweria jaffer (not verified) on 21 Mar 2018 - 02:59

    Hi, congrats for being preg. We thk we can plan thgs but nothg is accd to our plan. U can go through the preg all alone all u need is confidence in u that u can support the young once. I am a married women ppl normally tho its easy for me but the fact is right from financial support till bringing up my children my husband helped me in nothg. There r very few women in words whose partner will help. Women's r like lionesses we have capacity to be mother with out any once support. So my suggestion is to be happy and take the challenge in ur life u can do it. If u have studies u will not b studying all day right.plan timr for every thg and all the best

  • By Hi am Rahab (not verified) on 21 Jan 2018 - 06:00

    Hi I am 12weeks and in my first weeks upto to 11weeks in have really had a bad time, nausea, vomitting, fatigue,bloating, but now the symptoms are not there completely, is the baby okay? Pls advice

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Jan 2018 - 14:28

    Hi, It is very common for these 'minor disorders of pregnancy' to go at around 12-14 weeks and many women begin to feel much better at this stage. You will be having a scan very soon where you will be able to check that all is well. Hope this helps. Best wishes

  • By vb (not verified) on 16 Jan 2018 - 08:52

    Hi
    I am 19 weeks pregnant. I have started having a lot of skin dryness and itchiness all over the body; especially on the abdomen. this has been happening for the past 2-3 weeks now.
    Is it normal??
    what can I do to get relief?
    moisturizing lotions give a very temporary shortlived relief, is there anything more effective.??
    P.S. winter season has kicked in here and I do normally get dry skin in winters but it is never this bad and itchy!

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 17 Jan 2018 - 13:17

    Hi VB
    Please go to your maternity unit triage/day assessment asap with your notes to discuss this. They may need to take your blood to test for Obstetric Cholestasis- which is a liver bile acid build up and causes lots of terrible itching all over. It is quite serious and so needs to be diagnosed as quickly as possible. On the less serious end of the spectrum - once this has been rules out, you may have an allergy to something, so some cream/antihistamines(such as chlorphenamine) may need to be prescribed. I would rather that you were seen sooner than later, so please take care of yourself
    Sophie, Tommy's Midwife

  • By An (not verified) on 10 Jan 2018 - 16:48

    I'm in my second trimester.. through out my first trimester I was really active and since I'm in my second trimester I'm feeling more fatigue, also I'm losing interest in having sex and pains in my back?? Why is that so

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Jan 2018 - 09:23

    Hi An
    This is a very common occurrence and nothing to be concerned by- hormonal fluctuations can reduce sex drive, sometimes this is short lived, other times this can last the whole pregnancy.
    In terms of the back pain though, i would get your urine dipsticked to check you do not have a UTI by your midwife/doctor. If you have any itching, stinging or burning when you pass urine, this could be another sign of a uti.
    If you are a clear of uti, then the back pain could simply be attributed to the growing uterus adding more weight to your body and your body learning to adjust and shift its centre of balance. If this is causing you concern, you can speak to a midwife/doctor about it in triage/day assessment unit at your maternity unit. Take care of yourself, Sophie Tommy's Midwife

  • By Gemma (not verified) on 2 Jan 2018 - 18:37

    Hi, I am 15weeks and have been experiencing dull aches and slight stabbing pains back and forth low down in my stomach for the past two days. The feelings aren't strong enough for me to take paracetamol but enough to notice them. Is this normal? A part from that in feeling fine! Just a little worried.

    Thanks
    Gemma

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Jan 2018 - 14:11

    Hi Gemma, Thank you for your comment.
    The discomfort that you are describing may be round ligament pain. This is when all the ligaments start to stretch as your pregnancy grows. If you have any pain or discomfort passing urine, the pain increases or you have any bleeding then please contact your local maternity unit to be seen. Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 17 Dec 2017 - 09:02

    Am ten weeks gone but always spot blood ,I have gone for scan twice but I was told the baby is growing fine am worried

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Dec 2017 - 12:34

    It is natural to be worried but reassuring that the scan shows that the baby is growing well. It is possible that the small amount of blood is due to changes in the cervix or may be linked to trauma brought on by sexual intercourse. You should have another scan at 12 weeks. I hope it is reassuring for you. Best wishes

  • By Sj (not verified) on 4 Dec 2017 - 16:24

    Im 19 going to 20 wks an ive randamly bleed 3 times now is this normal . Feel tence below but wears off so does bleeding been hosp said long as dont get worse im ok an it stops . But worrying when it happens ... need advice

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Dec 2017 - 12:29

    Hi Sj,

    I'm sorry you have been having these bleeds. It must be very worrying for you. Have you had an additional scan after any of these bleeds? Have you had your second scan, the anomaly scan yet? They may be able to locate a source of the bleeding at a scan or it may be that it is coming from your cervix- the neck of the womb. This can lead to light blood loss after sex or a vaginal examination.
    It is always worth contacting your maternity unit if you have bleeding. Light bleeding is not usually a concern but heavy bleeding that soaks a sanitary towel or abdominal pain is always an immediate reason to call for help as it can be caused if a woman has a late miscarriage, placenta praevia (placental location will be noted when you have your next scan) or premature labour.

    I hope this helps. We are always available to talk weekdays 9-5 pm on 0800 0147 800 if you are worried or have any other questions.

    Warmest wishes
    Anna-Tommy's Midwives

  • By Jess42 (not verified) on 28 Nov 2017 - 21:27

    Is an occasional glass of wine, consumed slowly, with food REALLY harmful? I ask b/c when you actually dig into the studies done in the past, many seem flawed and not necessarily in line with the (arguably overly strict) no alcohol rule in the U.S. Sure, studies have proven over-indulgence can do harm, however none has ever shown a direct correlation between an occational glass of wine and an effect on the fetus. (In fact, recent studies out of Europe show benefits to an occasional drink over women who abstained completely.) So what's the REAL deal on this topic? If they can't prove very light drinking does ANY harm, so much so that it's perfectly acceptable and even encouraged in other parts of the world, why can't wait we all have an occasional drink and not be made to feel like we are doing harm? What's the truth on this topic?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Nov 2017 - 09:15

    Hi Jess42.
    We would always recommend that pregnant women ideally avoid alcohol, especially in the first three trimesters and then if you if you do decide to drink, to limit yourself to no more than one or two units, not more than once or twice a week.
    Please see the link below for our guidance on alcohol consumption in pregnancy.
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/im-pregnant/drinking-alcohol-pregnancy

    Take care, Sophie (Tommy's Midwife)

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 10 Oct 2017 - 11:32

    I am 14 weeks and three days down the line but I am not showing yet, although I haven't had any ultrasound yet, hope this is okay.

  • By Keonna (not verified) on 31 Oct 2017 - 20:23

    It's okay if you're not showing yet. All women show differently and at different times. I'm only 10 weeks and showing so...

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 6 Oct 2017 - 13:32

    At how many weeks can I go for scanning to find out what sex am carrying.....

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Oct 2017 - 15:44

    Hi, as a routine everyone is offered a scan at 18-20 weeks which the purpose of this scan is to check that the baby is growing and developing as expected and to screen for any anomalies. Many units do offer the opportunity to check for the baby's gender at this scan also, however some do not. Some may choose to pay for a private scan, the earliest that this is possible is about 16 weeks however the later you have it, the more accurate it will be. Just remember that no scan is 100% and it is not always possible to know for sure. I hope this helps, please be in touch if we can help you further.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 4 Oct 2017 - 01:11

    Hi,

    I have had my first scan at 12 weeks and my next scan is sceduled for week 28. Should I not be due an earlier scan in the meantime?

    Thanks

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Oct 2017 - 11:29

    Hi, Thank you for your comment.

    Your 2nd scan which is call the anomaly scan, is normally done around 18 to 20 weeks, if you are booked for this scan at 28 weeks, I would contact the ultrasound department where you are having your appointment and tell them so that they can reschedule this for you. You can also call your GP or midwife if you need to get a referral for this, but if you contact the department then should be able to sort this for you. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 3 Oct 2017 - 20:51

    When will I start to feel my baby move? I’m almost 18 weeks.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Oct 2017 - 11:22

    Hi, Thank you for your comment.
    Every women can start to feel their baby move at different stages and can also depend on if it is your first baby or your second etc. You should start to feel some movements around 18 to 20 weeks, if you haven't started to feel movements by then please call your midwife who will be able to listen in to your baby's heartbeat. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives xx

  • By Dammy (not verified) on 16 Sep 2017 - 09:25

    I feel strong pain the next day i had intercourse wth my husband, and it last for two days. I went to the hospital and ciprotab and metronidazole was prescribed i'm scared because birth defect as i am five months pregnant. help

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Sep 2017 - 11:57

    Hello - Thank you for your message. I'm sorry to read you've been experiencing some pain and feeling worried. Please contact us on our Pregnancyline 08000147800 or email us at [email protected] to discuss your concerns further.
    If you are still experiencing pain it is is important that your doctor or midwife sees you soon.

  • By Lucy (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 - 13:13

    I have recently had a cervical stitch. The reason was i lost my first baby at 27 weeks. I am currently at 20 weeks.
    I am on strict bed rest, taking progestorone twice a day. What will total bed rest do to help my cervix and baby?
    Thanks x

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