Home About AllHealth Website Sitemap Contact Us
All Health 
You are here: Home > Special Topics Finder > S > second trimester of pregnancy


second trimester of pregnancy

Alternative Names
middle antenatal period

Pregnancy is the process of childbearing. Measured from the start of a woman's last normal menstrual period (LNMP), it usually lasts about 40 weeks or roughly 9 calendar months.

The second trimester of pregnancy encompasses weeks 14 through 27. Although most women undergo many of the same physical changes during this time, no two pregnancies are alike.

What is the information for this topic?
During the second trimester, continuing growth and development in mother and foetus cause many changes to occur.

Women may notice:
  • the abdomen begins to swell. By the end of the second trimester, the uterus is near the rib cage.
  • the skin on the abdomen and breasts stretches. Stretch marks may be visible.
  • movements made by the foetus. Known as quickening, this often occurs sometime around weeks 16 to 20.
  • a dark line forming from the navel down to the middle of the abdomen
  • brown, uneven marks on the face or other changes in skin pigment (chloasma)
  • darkening of the area around the nipples
Often, the second trimester delivers a welcome energy boost to women and an end to morning sickness. It may also bring:
  • nasal congestion and occasional nose bleeds
  • whitish vaginal discharge
  • less of a need to urinate often
  • constipation
  • increase in appetite
  • Braxton Hicks contractions in which the uterus becomes hard and tight and then relaxes
  • leg cramps
  • backache
  • fatigue
In the foetus:
  • growth continues quickly from now until birth
  • organs such as the heart and kidneys develop further
  • eyebrows and fingernails form
  • the skin is wrinkled and covered with fine hair
  • periods of activity and quiet occur as the foetus moves, kicks, sleeps, and wakes
By the end of the second trimester, the foetus is about 27 to 35 centimetres long and weighs about 900 to 1200 grams. It can swallow, hear, and urinate.

Although miscarriage in low-risk pregnancies is rare at this time, women sometimes have other problems in the second trimester, including: Each month of the second trimester of pregnancy, the doctor will check:
  • the mother's height and weight
  • the foetal heartbeat
  • the size, shape, and height of the uterus
  • any swelling of the mother's hands and feet
Author: Dr. Karen Wolfe, MBBS, MA
Reviewer: HealthAnswers Australia Medical Review Panel
Editor: Dr David Taylor, Chief Medical Officer HealthAnswers Australia
Last Updated: 1/10/2001
Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request

This website and article is not a substitute for independent professional advice. Nothing contained in this website is intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional's advice.  All Health and any associated parties do not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information.


Back Email a Friend View Printable Version Bookmark This Page


eknowhow | The World's Best Websites
    Privacy Policy and Disclaimer