What to expect in the second trimester

The second trimester is from 13 to 28 weeks. Often the second trimester brings renewed energy levels. Your nausea and fatigue may be easing.

Your baby is growing and you will begin to feel them moving. This can be a special and exciting sensation.

You may need to begin wearing maternity clothes, trousers and jeans. Make sure you wear a well-fitted bra.

During this time you:

Physical changes

As your pregnancy progresses, you will notice more and more changes in your body.

Feeling your baby move

You should begin to notice your baby moving in the second trimester. This may feel like a fluttering sensation, or like your baby is poking you.

Get to know your baby's pattern of movements. If you have a partner, encourage them to feel for movements. This can help them to form a relationship with your baby. Think about what your baby may be doing. Is your baby moving their arms and legs, or sucking a thumb?

Urgent advice: Talk to your GP or midwife immediately if:

  • you do not feel your baby moving or are feeling less movement than usual

Your baby's movements during pregnancy

More energy and less sickness

You should experience more energy in the second trimester. Resist the urge to overdo activity or tasks.

You may find your libido or sex drive returns around this time. Some pregnant women find their sex drive is higher than usual. This may be due to an increase in blood flow to the pelvic area or it may be due to hormones.

Morning sickness should ease off by 20 weeks.

Sex during pregnancy

Back and pelvic girdle pain

Back pain is caused by your baby getting bigger. Also, during pregnancy your ligaments stretch and soften to prepare you for childbirth.

This stretching can put pressure on the joints of your lower back and pelvis which can cause pain.

To relieve back or pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy:

  • avoid standing to do tasks that you can do while sitting
  • sit tall, do not slump - support your back with a small cushion
  • avoid lifting heavy objects
  • wear flat shoes with support so your weight is well distributed over your feet
  • work at a surface high enough to prevent you stooping
  • make sure you get enough rest

Non-urgent advice: Talk to your GP or midwife if:

  • the pain is severe
  • you have any bleeding from the vagina
  • you have pain when you pee
  • you have a fever (temperature of 38 degrees or higher)

Constipation

Constipation means that your stools (poos) are harder to pass than normal. You may need to strain while having a bowel movement. You may have fewer bowel movements than usual.

Constipation is common in early pregnancy, and it can be quite uncomfortable.

Heavy, swollen legs and ankles

Your growing baby and womb puts pressure on your body. This can create extra fluid and slow your blood circulation.

As the day goes on, the lower parts of your body such as your feet or ankles will begin to hold or retain water. This may be worse in hot weather or if you have been standing.

Do:

    • go for a walk every day
    • try to do some foot exercises
    • rest with your feet up when you can
    • use support stockings
    • wear comfortable shoes and socks
    • sleep on your left side not on your back
    • drink plenty of water - over 2 litres a day

Dont:

    • do not cross your legs
    • do not stand for long periods
    • do not use tight clothing

Urgent advice: Get medical help if:

  • your swelling appears suddenly
  • your swelling suddenly gets worse
  • one calf or leg is swollen and painful

This could be a sign of pre-eclampsia or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and will need immediate attention

Bleeding gums

Your teeth and gums will need a little extra care now that you are pregnant. Hormone changes can cause a build-up of plaque which leads to bleeding gums.

Make sure you:

  • brush your teeth twice daily and floss once a day
  • see a dentist at least once during the pregnancy for a check-up - make sure to tell them you are pregnant

Emotional changes

During this trimester your tummy shape will show the first signs that you are going to become a mother. Seeing your baby for the first time on an ultrasound scan is often a memorable experience.

As the baby moves, you may begin to think about the baby as a separate being. This is often when you start to bond with your baby.

You may start imagining what your baby will be like. You may be thinking about yourself as a mother, and changing your behaviours to reflect this.

As your baby gets bigger, your body changes. You may feel emotional or sensitive about this.

You may develop 'pregnancy brain' where many women notice they are more forgetful or disorganised than normal. Many women have vivid dreams about their baby.

Sharing your thoughts and feelings with your partner and your family will help you to deal with any worries you may have.

Warning signs in pregnancy

Slaintecare logo
This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 23 September 2022
Next review due: 23 September 2025