Second trimester pregnancy: What to expect
The second trimester of pregnancy is often the most enjoyable. Find out how to relieve common symptoms — and consider ways to prepare for what's ahead.By Mayo Clinic Staff
The second trimester of pregnancy often brings a renewed sense of well-being. The worst of the nausea has usually passed, and your baby isn't big enough to make you too uncomfortable. Yet more pregnancy symptoms are on the horizon. Here's what to expect.
During the second trimester of pregnancy, you might experience physical changes, including:
June 21, 2017
- Growing belly and breasts. As your uterus expands to make room for the baby, your abdomen grows. Your breasts will also gradually continue to increase in size. A supportive bra with wide straps is a must.
- Braxton Hicks contractions. You might feel these mild contractions as a slight tightness in your abdomen. They're more likely to occur with activity, including after physical activity or after sex. Contact your health care provider if the contractions become painful or regular. This could be a sign of preterm labor.
- Skin changes. Hormonal changes during pregnancy stimulate an increase in pigment-bearing cells (melanin) in your skin. As a result, you might notice brown patches on your face (melasma). You might also see a dark line down your abdomen (linea nigra). These skin changes are common and usually fade after delivery. Sun exposure, however, can aggravate the issue. When you're outdoors, use sunscreen. You might also notice reddish lines along your abdomen, breasts, buttocks or thighs (stretch marks). Although stretch marks can't be prevented, most eventually fade in intensity. Using your favorite moisturizer might help ease any accompanying itchiness.
- Nasal problems. During pregnancy, your hormone levels increase and your body makes more blood. This can cause your mucous membranes to swell and bleed easily, resulting in stuffiness and nosebleeds. Saline drops or a saline rinse can help relieve congestion. Also, drink plenty of fluids, use a humidifier, and dab petroleum jelly around the edges of your nostrils to help moisten skin.
- Dental issues. Pregnancy can cause your gums to become more sensitive to flossing and brushing, resulting in minor bleeding. Rinsing with salt water and switching to a softer toothbrush can decrease irritation. Frequent vomiting could also affect your tooth enamel and make you more susceptible to cavities. Be sure to keep up your dental care during pregnancy.
- Dizziness. Pregnancy causes changes in circulation that might leave you dizzy. If you're having trouble with dizziness, drink plenty of fluids, avoid standing for long periods, and move slowly when you stand up or change position. When you feel dizzy, lie down on your side.
- Leg cramps. Leg cramps are common as pregnancy progresses, often striking at night. To prevent them, stretch your calf muscles before bed, stay physically active, and drink plenty of fluids. Choose shoes with comfort, support and utility in mind. If a leg cramp strikes, stretch the calf muscle on the affected side. A hot shower, warm bath, ice massage or muscle massage also might help.
- Vaginal discharge. You might notice a sticky, clear or white vaginal discharge. This is normal. Contact your health care provider if the discharge becomes strong smelling, unusual in color, or if it's accompanied by pain, soreness or itching in your vaginal area. This could indicate a vaginal infection.
- Urinary tract infections. These infections are more common during pregnancy. Contact your health care provider if you have pain when you urinate or you have a fever or backache. Left untreated, urinary tract infections can become severe and result in a kidney infection.
See more In-depth
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Your Pregnancy and Childbirth Month to Month. 6th ed. Washington, D.C.: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2015.
- Frequently asked questions. Pregnancy FAQ169. Skin conditions during pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Skin-Conditions-During-Pregnancy. Accessed Feb. 7, 2017.
- Goldstein BG, et al. Melasma. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 7, 2017.
- Frequently asked questions. Gynecologic problems FAQ050. Urinary tract infections (UTIs). American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Urinary-Tract-Infections-UTIs. Accessed Feb. 7, 2017.
- Lockwood CJ, et al. Prenatal care (second and third trimesters). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 7, 2017.
- Bermas BL. Musculoskeletal changes and pain during pregnancy and postpartum. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 7, 2017.
- Frequently asked questions. Labor, delivery and postpartum care FAQ004. How to tell when labor begins. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/How-to-Tell-When-Labor-Begins. Accessed Feb. 7, 2017.
- Wambach K, et al., eds. Anatomy and physiology of lactation. In: Breastfeeding and Human Lactation. 5th ed. Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett Learning; 2016.