When you get into your second trimester of pregnancy, it can all start to seem a bit more real. You’ll be showing much more than you were in your first trimester, and you will likely see your baby for the first time in an ultrasound. This can be an overwhelming experience for anyone — but especially for women who didn’t plan to become pregnant in the first place.

If you have just discovered you’re pregnant and you think you’re in your second trimester, don’t panic. You’re not the only woman to have been in this situation. It’s more common than you think for a woman to not experience signs of pregnancy until later than expected. As stressful as it can be to think about the time in which you didn’t receive prenatal care, it’s more important to stay calm and start your preparations for a successful second trimester as soon as possible.

So, what is the second trimester like, and what can you expect during this time? Below, you’ll find some basic information about this period in your pregnancy, but we encourage you to always speak with your doctor for the most personalized medical advice at this time in your life. The information presented below is not intended to be and should never be taken as medical advice.

When is the Second Trimester of Pregnancy?

With so much information out there about what to expect in the different stages of pregnancy, it’s common for women to get confused about exactly what the time frame is for each stage. Some of their most common questions about this time in their pregnancy include:

  • When does the second trimester start?
  • How many weeks are in the second trimester?
  • When does the second trimester end?

These are all great questions to ask. Your second trimester is the middle three months of your pregnancy: roughly months four, five and six. The second trimester weeks are from week 13 to week 28.

Your doctor can always explain to you in more depth your second trimester journey, including whether you have reached your second trimester weeks yet. It can be confusing to determine your due date, and an obstetrician is the best source of information for determining how far along you are in your pregnancy.

What Can I Expect from My Second Trimester of Pregnancy?

As mentioned above, many women report that the middle three months of their pregnancies is the time in which they start to feel like their pregnancy is “real.” The symptoms of the first trimester of pregnancy have often tapered off, and an expectant mother often starts to feel more like herself — with an ever-growing baby bump.

That’s right; 20 weeks is generally the time in which your belly bump will protrude beyond your pelvic bones. This is also why many expectant mothers choose to share their news at this time; they can’t easily hide their pregnancies and the risks of miscarriage have dropped significantly. You’ll also start to feel your baby moving!

As far as baby development in the second trimester of pregnancy, your little one will grow from the size of a kiwi fruit to that of an eggplant. Their fingers and toes will be well-defined, and their eyelids, eyebrows, eyelashes, nail and hair and formed. At this point, your baby will be developed enough that your doctor will be able to tell their sex. When your doctor performs your second trimester ultrasound, you will likely have the opportunity to learn whether you are having a boy or girl.

As far as other testing goes, your doctor may recommend certain blood tests and genetic tests to check the health of your developing baby. Remember, your doctor is always the best person to discuss your pregnancy symptoms and side effects with; they can give you the best idea if what you are experiencing is normal for the second trimester of pregnancy.

What Steps Do I Need to Take During My Second Trimester?

When you enter your second trimester of pregnancy, you will get even closer to the delivery of your baby. It can be confusing to know what to do and what to refrain from during this time, which is why having a trusted doctor by your side can be so helpful.

Your doctor will always be able to give you the best advice as far as what steps to take during your second trimester of pregnancy, but here are some basic steps that every expectant mother should consider in her second trimester:

Step 1: Continue your prenatal care.

If you haven’t yet obtained prenatal care, you have nothing to be ashamed of. If you have just found out about your pregnancy in your second trimester (and you had no plans to become pregnant), it only makes sense that you weren’t thinking about prenatal care before. The important thing is obtaining prenatal care as soon as possible to ensure your baby is developing healthily and your body is adjusting well to your pregnancy.

Once you complete your original prenatal care visit, if everything is proceeding as normal, you will usually have appointments every two to four weeks until you reach your third trimester. During these appointments, your doctor can always address any concerns or questions you may have as you move forward with your pregnancy.

Step 2: Evaluate your personal feelings.

What if you’re not sure that you want to proceed with your pregnancy or raise a child born from an unplanned pregnancy? That’s okay; even if you are in your second trimester, you can still choose from a few unplanned pregnancy options.

If you are not ready for the childbirth process, and you have no desire to carry your pregnancy to term, you may consider terminating your pregnancy. In most states, obtaining an abortion is possible until the 20th week of your pregnancy. It’s important that you fully research your abortion options before you decide this procedure is right for you; it does come with certain risks and side effects and often costs hundreds to thousands of dollars. But, it is still an option for most women early on during their second trimester.

If you have passed your 20th week of pregnancy, or you’re not sure whether abortion is right for you, you can choose adoption at any stage in your pregnancy, even after you give birth. An adoption agency can offer the objective information you need to decide between parenting and adoption. Should you choose to carry your child to term and place him or her for adoption, your adoption professional will provide the financial support you need during the remainder of your pregnancy, including free prenatal care.

Step 3: Prepare for your baby’s delivery.

As you get further along in your pregnancy, you will need to start thinking about your upcoming labor and delivery process, especially if this is your first time being pregnant. Childbirth is no joke, but there are fortunately many resources to help you prepare for this time.

Many expectant mothers start crafting a delivery plan during their second trimester weeks, such as choosing a hospital at which to deliver and deciding between a traditional and nontraditional delivery. Your doctor can provide more guidance on what will be necessary during your delivery and can likely also offer references to local childbirth classes to help you prepare for this experience.

Of course, you will also want to prepare for the time after your delivery when you bring your little one home. Start gathering your baby necessities while you still have the time, if you think that parenting is the right option for you.

If you are choosing adoption, your adoption professional will help you organize your delivery plan, including any contact you wish to have with the adoptive parents.

Step 4: Maintain your healthy lifestyle.

As you enter your second trimester, you will likely start feeling the effects of your pregnancy more. You may be gaining weight and transitioning to maternity clothes. You may be exhausted from the work of growing a baby, and you may start to slack by giving into your unhealthy food cravings and avoiding exercise.

It’s important to maintain your healthy lifestyle through your second trimester of pregnancy. After all, it will only get harder in your third trimester. Adhere to your schedule of workouts and eating, and think about enlisting a friend to support you during this time. You will soon reach the halfway point in your pregnancy, and then you’ll be on the downhill slope. Don’t get too comfortable now!

We know that the second trimester can be just as difficult for the first, especially if you did not plan to become pregnant and are scrambling to find the support you need at this time. We hope that this article can provide some of the information you are looking for at this time, bur remember that it should not be taken as medical advice. Please always speak with your doctor about your personal second trimester journey to get the best information for you.