Pregnancy Symptoms During The Second Trimester

  • Georgia Awcock Master of Science - MS, Epidemiology, The University of Edinburgh, UK

The second trimester of pregnancy is a time of many changes and developments for both mother and baby. 

As the second trimester progresses, you will likely feel relief from early symptoms such as fatigue (tiredness) and nausea (morning sickness). You might start to develop a baby bump, start feeling babies' movements, and experience changes in your body. In this article, we will explore the exciting changes going on in your body and discover how to manage new symptoms such as back pain, heartburn, and indigestion, as well as the physical changes to help you prepare for a comfortable and healthy second trimester. 


Pregnancy can be both an exciting and scary time for parents. You will likely hear your pregnancy journey referred to in three parts, called trimesters. Each trimester is broken down into weeks or months.

First trimester (weeks 1 to 12)

The first trimester is usually when you will discover you are pregnant. It is here that the baby starts forming, and you will likely experience symptoms such as fatigue and nausea.

Second trimester (weeks 13 to 27)

By this time, the baby has developed a lot, and many of the early pregnancy symptoms mentioned above will subside. It's likely you will begin to have more energy and start growing a visible bump. You may also begin to feel the baby start moving. It is also here that the gender of the baby may be determined via an ultrasound scan. You will begin to experience various changes, which are discussed in further detail in this article.

Third trimester (weeks 28 to 40+)

By the third trimester, you may be feeling uncomfortable as the baby finishes developing and gets larger. Preparations for childbirth are usually made in these final weeks.

Physical changes

During the second trimester, various physical changes happen. For example, the growth of the baby bump as the foetus continues to grow and develop causes the abdomen to expand to accommodate. Other physical changes include a decrease in morning sickness and fatigue, which is often welcomed and allows for an increase in energy.

 Various hormonal changes also occur that can cause changes in skin and hair. Hormones, such as oestrogen and progesterone, rise during pregnancy as the body produces more of them to support the growth and development of the baby. They can also cause improved skin texture and thicker hair.1 

Other hormones such as Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone (MSH) can lead to increased skin pigmentation (darker areas of skin) otherwise known as a pregnancy mask.
The thyroid hormone can also cause changes as it increases. An imbalance of this hormone could lead to changes in hair texture and potential hair loss; therefore, it is important to monitor thyroid function during pregnancy.

Each pregnancy is unique, and these changes in skin and hair - both positive and negative will vary. It is essential to take care of your skin and hair during pregnancy and visit a healthcare provider if you do see any changes.

Emotional and hormonal changes

There are various emotional and hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. One of the positive changes in the second trimester is an improvement in mood stability. As hormones begin to find a balance, many expectant mothers will experience an improvement in their mood and emotional state with fewer mood swings and tearful episodes. Sometimes, however, these mood swings can last throughout the whole pregnancy. These emotional highs and lows are normal due to the sudden surge of hormones that your body is releasing to help grow and develop the baby.    

Common symptoms

The second trimester is not called the honeymoon phase for nothing! This period brings a range of common symptoms – some of which are positive and are listed below:

  • Increase in Energy Levels – due to various hormonal changes, a decrease in fatigue, and morning sickness a lot of mothers experience an overall increase in their wellbeing and energy levels.  
  • Reduced nausea and vomiting – Many women notice a reduction in morning sickness during this time.
  • Breast changes and growth – As the baby continues to grow, your body changes and adapts to the new life it is creating. You may notice an increase in your breast size as well as darker areolas, which are completely normal.
  • Baby movements and flutters – a main highlight of the second trimester is the sensation of baby movement in the womb. You may begin to feel small kicks or flutters as your baby becomes more active.

Gastrointestinal changes

Unfortunately, some changes are not always positive. As your baby grows, your internal organs may have to move into new positions, which can lead to some gastrointestinal problems such as heartburn and indigestion. There are various ways to help ease these symptoms, such as eating healthily, having smaller, more regular meals, and avoiding spicy or rich foods. Your GP can advise you on medications that are safe to take during pregnancy if they are needed.

You may also notice that you become constipated during pregnancy, this is also caused by hormonal changes but again can be prevented. Eating foods high in fibre, such as wholemeal cereals and bread, fruits and vegetables, and pulses are all beneficial. It's also important to exercise regularly and drink plenty of water.

Cardiovascular changes

To meet the demands of pregnancy and the growing baby, various cardiovascular changes also occur, such as an increase in blood volume (the amount of blood) and its circulation, or movement, around the body. This is because your body needs to provide extra oxygen and nutrients to both you and your growing baby. The increase in blood flow helps make sure the baby gets all the nutrients it needs.
With this increase in blood volume being pumped around your body, your heart needs to work faster to help this process, and this is why some mothers experience a slight rise in blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension. Your blood pressure will be checked during your antenatal appointments, and there are things you can do to reduce your blood pressure, such as keeping active with a low-intensity activity such as swimming and eating a healthy balanced diet which is low in salt.

Muscle and joint changes

Many women also experience musculoskeletal (muscle and bone) changes usually caused by a combination of hormonal changes, weight gain and the growing baby. These changes can cause some ligament stretching and aches as the body begins to adapt to support the baby and prepare for childbirth. Some hormones, such as relaxin and progesterone, help to relax the ligaments and enable more flexibility, which allows for more space for the growing baby.
As this occurs, some mothers may experience various aches and back pain. The most common is lower back pain, which occurs due to the growing abdomen placing strain on the back muscles and causing a change in posture.

The second trimester may also bring Braxton-Hick’s contractions. These can start any time during the second trimester and are caused by the tightening of the uterus muscles. These are often referred to as false labour. Unlike true labour contractions, these are irregular and are generally milder and less intense than true contractions. Importantly, they do not cause the cervix to dilate like true contractions and, therefore, are not associated with the progression of labour.

Sleep changes

The second trimester brings with it various sleep challenges. As the baby grows, finding a sleeping position that is comfortable can be challenging. Other disruptions commonly include frequent trips to the bathroom due to increased pressure on the bladder as the baby grows.

There are various sleeping recommendations that may prove beneficial when trying to get a good night's sleep. Medical professionals may recommend placing a pillow between your knees and another supporting your belly if on your side to help alleviate any strain. Other examples include:

  • Limiting fluid intake so you are less likely to need the bathroom during the night.
  • Manage stress by engaging in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation.
  • Limit caffeine; try not to drink any caffeinated beverage after 3:00 pm.
  • Avoid napping close to bedtime.

Every pregnancy is different, and expectant mothers will all experience different symptoms and challenges. If you are experiencing a lot of disrupted bedtimes or extreme fatigue, it may be worth discussing them with your healthcare provider.


The second trimester of pregnancy brings a vast number of physical changes, from glowing skin and hair, reduced fatigue and ligament stretching to back pain, Braxton Hicks contractions, and disrupted sleep patterns. As your body starts to adapt to the growing baby, ensuring comfortable sleeping positions is essential to help keep fatigue at bay. With regular antenatal visits and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with low-impact exercise, these changes become easier on both the mother and the growing baby.

As you begin to enter the third trimester, anticipation grows for the baby's arrival. Although this trimester will bring its own challenges, the preparation to welcome a new life into the world provides a time of excitement for parents to be. 

Summary of common pregnancy symptoms

  • Increased Energy due to a decrease in morning sickness and fatigue.
  • Ligament Stretching and Aches as the baby continues to grow.
  • Back Pain.
  • Disrupted Sleep Patterns.


  • What is a common symptom in the second trimester? 

Increased energy due to a decline in morning sickness and fatigue

  • Do pregnancy symptoms come and go in the second trimester?

Yes, various symptoms come and go during this time. This trimester is often called the honeymoon phase due to the ease of challenging first-trimester symptoms. It is important, however, to consider that each pregnancy is different, and every woman's experience will vary. 

  • What should be avoided in the second trimester?

Certain foods such as raw seafood and meat, smoking and alcohol, hot tubs and saunas and caffeine and artificial sweeteners should also be limited. Certain medications may also not be safe to be taken during pregnancy, so it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any medications.


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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Georgia Awcock

Master of Science - MS, Epidemiology, The University of Edinburgh

Georgia is an Epidemiologist with experience in the pharmaceutical and medical industries with a background in both management and clinical roles within the NHS and private sectors. She has a special interest in Public Health, specifically Non-Communicable Diseases, such as Heart Disease and Cancer and has worked alongside Oncologists on clinical studies concerning potential drug treatments. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
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