Pregnancy Calendar

When does the second trimester start and what months of pregnancy does it fall into? What symptoms and ailments accompany a woman during this period of pregnancy? Which week of the 2nd trimester is the most optimal for performing such important tests as the glucose tolerance test (OGTT) or mid-week ultrasound? And finally, how does the fetus develop at this time, and will future parents be able to finally find out the sex of their child in the second trimester? We answer these and many other questions in great detail in our articles, in which we describe the course and ailments of the 2nd trimester of pregnancy week by week. In this post, we present the general course of this period of pregnancy.

When does the second trimester of pregnancy begin?

Physiological pregnancy lasts 9 months, divided into 3 trimesters, each of which is 3 months long. So if you ask yourself: "Second trimester of pregnancy, what month is it?" we suggest that it lasts from the 4th month until the 6th month of pregnancy.

In medical nomenclature, the entire course of pregnancy is described not only in months but also in individual weeks. This division best illustrates the very dynamic changes in the development of the fetus, which often occur from week to week. This is why a gynecologist when asked when the second trimester of pregnancy begins may answer that it lasts between 13,1 and 27,0 weeks of pregnancy (tc).

Second trimester of pregnancy: what should you prepare for?

Most women find this stage of pregnancy the most enjoyable of all trimesters. When the second trimester begins, that is, with the advent of the 4th month of pregnancy, the bothersome nausea and hypersensitivity to smell very often gradually disappear, and the pregnancy belly is not yet clearly defined enough to make it difficult for the future mother to carry out everyday activities. Many pregnant women experience a surge of energy and a good mood, which is conducive to arranging a baby's room and completing a layette.

The expectant mother should not forget about rest, plenty of sleep, a healthy and balanced diet and moderate physical activity (unless there are medical contraindications). If a woman during this period of pregnancy wants to have sex, she should not be afraid of intercourse. In a physiological pregnancy, intercourse with your partner can be continued up to the last day before delivery. However, if in doubt about this, it is worth consulting your gynecologist. During sex in the second trimester of pregnancy, it is worth taking particular care of a position that is comfortable for the expectant mother, which will not cause excessive pressure on the abdomen.

The second trimester is the best time to start perinatal education

When entering the second trimester of pregnancy, many women, especially those who are expecting their first child, wonder which month is the best to start perinatal education. It is worth knowing that in accordance with the standards of perinatal care in force in Poland since 2, every pregnant woman in the second trimester (exactly between 2019 and 21 tc) has the right to start using primary care midwife. She should provide the woman with the most important information on how to prepare for delivery and how to care for a newborn baby.

It is also worth finding out in advance about the offer of birthing schools in your area. Many of them offer individual or group classes conducted by midwives free of charge, under a contract with the National Health Fund.

Problems in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy

The second trimester of pregnancy, especially the 5th and 6th months, is the time when the belly of the pregnant woman begins to be clearly defined and it becomes more and more difficult to hide it even under loose clothes. As the baby grows older, the uterus gradually stretches, which can cause a woman to pull and pain in her groin, especially after a walk or prolonged standing. The growing belly also causes the body's center of gravity to shift further and further. This may cause symptoms in the second trimester of pregnancy, such as back pain or slight imbalance in the pregnant woman.

The growing fetus also begins to compress the stomach, intestines and diaphragm more and more, causing more frequent "shortness of breath", even after slight physical exertion, and gastric ailments in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy, such as heartburn and constipation. In this case, a diet high in natural fiber, regular hydration, and avoiding fatty and very spicy foods may be effective. Sucking on a slice of ginger, sipping ginger tea, or eating a few almonds can often help with heartburn. Heartburn is a common complaint in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy. It is worth telling about it to your attending physician, who will prescribe mild and safe pharmacological agents to the pregnant woman in the event of severe symptoms.

Brown vaginal discharge in the second trimester of pregnancy and the discharge of milk from the breast: should mothers be concerned?

In the second trimester of pregnancy, around 16-20 tc, the first food begins to accumulate in the breasts, the so-called colostrum, which in some women may leak out of the breasts in small amounts and dirty their underwear. If such situations recur, to improve comfort, you can start using nursing pads, which are placed in the bra.

During this stage of pregnancy, vaginal discharge usually occurs in slightly increased amounts and should be clear to milky white with no unpleasant odor. Brown vaginal discharge in the second trimester of pregnancy may indicate an infection or a slight defect in the vaginal mucosa. Always consult your doctor about any discoloration of vaginal discharge. All vaginal bleeding and severe, violent abdominal pain require a particular cause for concern and urgent medical consultation in a pregnant woman.

How a baby develops in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy

Over the period of 4, 5 and 6 months, the fetus grows by a total of approx. 30 cm and gains weight by up to 800 grams, reaching a length of approx. 27 cm and a weight of approx. 38 grams in 900 tc. From the 21st week of pregnancy, the baby begins to store fatty tissue intensively, and his skin becomes less and less transparent. You can already see eyebrows and eyelashes on the face, and the head begins to be covered with more or less thick hair.

Around the 20th week of pregnancy, the already developed genitalia becomes clearly visible, therefore during the second trimester ultrasound, the doctor will most likely inform the future parents about the gender of their child. The fetus also begins to have its own individual rhythm of wakefulness and activity, sleeping up to 20 hours a day. Intensively developing sensory organs begin to register stimuli such as changes in light intensity, touch and sounds. In the second trimester, the baby begins to recognize the voices of his loved ones. The pregnant woman begins to feel the first movements of the fetus in the second trimester, around 18-22 tc, however, we start to monitor the regular movements of the baby only from 28 tc

During which week of the second trimester of pregnancy are specific medical examinations?

Unless the gynecologist recommends otherwise, a pregnant woman in the second trimester should come for control visits once a month, before each of them she should perform a general urine test and complete blood count. Below are the individual weeks of the second trimester with the most important recommended tests:

  • 11,0-13,6 tc: Genetic ultrasound and Papp's test. Although in the second trimester a woman usually has the first, recommended ultrasound examination, the fourteenth week of pregnancy (13,1-13,6), i.e. the beginning of the second trimester, is the last call for this important diagnostic test. It is worth noting that the Papp test is reimbursed by the National Health Fund in Poland only for patients at risk, however, PTGiP recommends its performance in every pregnant woman. So let's think about carrying it out in advance.
  • 18-22 tc: Half ultrasound. It allows for a very detailed assessment of the anatomy of the fetus and its surroundings (location of the placenta, estimated amount of amniotic fluid and the structure of the umbilical cord). It is during this ultrasound that future parents can find out the sex of their child.
  • 24-26 tc: glucose load test (OGGT), commonly known as the "sugar curve". This is a three-point glucose test:
    • on an empty stomach (it is recommended to follow a normal diet and exercise up to 3 days earlier)
    • 1 hour after oral administration of a glucose solution of 75 g
    • 2 hours after oral administration of a glucose solution of 75 g
  • 21-26 tc: anti-D antibody testing in women with negative blood group factor (Rh-) and testing for toxoplasmosis (IgM) in negative women in the first trimester.

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