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.

To ensure you have all the relevant and timely information during this phase of pregnancy straight to your inbox sign up for weekly updates and views from our expert midwives.

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  [accessed 12 March 2015] ‘Ultrasound scans’,http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/ultrasound-anomaly-baby-scans-pregnant.aspx 
  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 (ACOG):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 April 1st, 2015. Next review date April 1st, 2018.

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Comments

  • 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

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Sep 2017 - 12:44

    Hi - Thank you for your message.
    I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your first child and the complications you've had in this pregnancy - I hope you had good care and support throughout.
    I'm a little unclear on what treatment you've had so far but
    doctors may recommend bed rest as part of your treatment. This has not been proven in research trials to be very effective but it is sometimes recommended as a safeguard. Bed rest can happen at home or in the hospital.
    If you email us on [email protected] or call us on the Pregnancyline 08000147800 we can offer more detailed advice.

  • By Sarah Barker (not verified) on 10 Sep 2017 - 19:02

    I am almost 12 weeks pregnant and have suffered terribly with a constant nausea feeling, tiredness and generally feeling awful. The nausea has calmed down but I am just constantly hungry! I eat and eat but there is just no filling me and if I don't eat, I feel awful. I was hoping that once I hit 12 weeks, I would start to feel normal again but I'm 12 weeks in 2 days and it doesn't seem to be getting better. I have already put on around 10 pound and I am worried that this isn't going to go away and I'm just going to get bigger and bigger. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Sep 2017 - 15:51

    Congratulations on your pregnancy.
    I'm glad to read you're feeling better after experiencing the tiredness and nausea that so many women struggle with.
    Getting your appetite back is very normal, however if you are concerned that you are eating more then you should or interested in healthy eating in pregnancy please have a look at our nutrition in pregnancy information pages which provide great alternatives for snacks and healthy meals.
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/im-pregnant/weight-management/healthy-eating-tips

  • By Kate (not verified) on 25 Oct 2017 - 09:36

    I had the exact same thing, would eat and never feel satisfied! You know what is was...? Heartburn!! Try gaviscon.. helped 100%

  • By Anp (not verified) on 22 Aug 2017 - 02:40

    Am in my 24 th week of pregnancy and I haven't taken any medication or supplements but I got one check up and the baby's heart beat was ok. Am feeling very ok thou my diet is not good. Is their anything to worry much.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 23 Aug 2017 - 16:39

    Hi, it is good to eat a balanced diet and increase your green leafy vegetables. If you're finding it hard to eat well you can take a pregnancy supplement. Attending regular antenatal visits and starting to monitor your baby's movement is also recommended from 24 weeks.
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/im-pregnant/nutrition-pregnancy/having-healthy-diet-pregnancy
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/symptom-checker/baby-moving-less/movements-matter-raising-awareness-fetal-movements
    Take care
    Anna -Tommy's Midwife

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 7 Jul 2017 - 11:40

    sometimes having a hard bump on d left side of my lower abdomen and seriously gives me discomfort.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Jul 2017 - 15:04

    Hi, I am unsure how many weeks pregnant you are however it would be worth just having this reviewed by your GP, especially if it is causing you such discomfort. Tommy's midwives.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 22 May 2017 - 10:33

    Been in nur esterate injection for 6 yrs and on pills for 2 years now been on TTC for 5 months still nothing

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 May 2017 - 11:01

    It is not unusual to take many months to conceive. Have you seen our page about advice for those wanting to get pregnant? There are top tips to follow for you and your partner. https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/getting-pregnant/are-you-ready-conceive?gclid=CL2B_Omdg9QCFQbjGwodb4AMLw

    Hope this helps

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 21 Oct 2017 - 08:35

    I was on injection for years and stopped wen i wanted to get pregnant it took me nearly three yrs. Im now 5months.But it will happen wen ur not expecting it just try not to stress stay positive take folic acid. Good luck

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 20 May 2017 - 00:57

    Wondering what I can do for dryness I am Wanting to Be intimate with my partner but its not as enjoyable or exciting.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 May 2017 - 09:33

    Hi
    There are many products on the market that you can buy at most chemists. Try a water based product called 'play' made by durex.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 26 Apr 2017 - 11:21

    Am in my 14th week of pregnancy and my husband is pestering me for sex but I refuse for the fear of miscarriage, please I need ur advice

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 27 Apr 2017 - 11:14

    This is a good question and one that concerns many couples. There is no evidence that the baby will be harmed during intercourse. The cervix and thick mucus plug is protective and the amniotic sac will protect against infection. You should however, never feel pressured to have sex and should discuss your concerns with your partner.

  • By Graziela (not verified) on 6 Jul 2017 - 16:33

    Hi there,
    I am replying to your post regarding having sex during pregnancy.
    I am just a person and not a doctor.
    If you don't have any issues in pregnancy, there is no reason to not have sex! In fact all the hormones released during sex can be beneficial for the baby like oxytocin. Also beneficial to you and husband! It is a win for all!

  • By Lawrence (not verified) on 24 Apr 2017 - 12:51

    Hlw,I can't wait for my beautiful Queen to deliver our precious Angel I'm so excited.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 24 Apr 2017 - 13:17

    What a lovely message and sentiments. Best of luck to all of you for the birth and the days ahead.

  • By Miranda (not verified) on 9 Apr 2017 - 16:27

    My abdomen hardens a lot mean while am in my second trimester, does it mean my baby has started kicking?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Apr 2017 - 09:42

    Hi Miranda, it sounds as if you are having mild tightenings/braxton hicks contractions. It might be worth going in to the hospital to be reviewed by a midwife and an obstetric doctor as these don't tend to start until the third trimester. So it would be good to understand what is causing this to happen and to ensure that all is going well with the pregnancy - baby's growth/placenta etc. Kicks would not cause your abdomen to become hard, so I feel that it would be best to get reviewed as soon as possible, remembering to take along your pregnancy notes.
    Please take good care of yourself.

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