A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Second trimester tips: Get ready to feel your baby move

father and pregnant mother laughing and holding a baby toy / what to expect in the 2nd trimester

You’ll start to feel your baby move in the second trimester around 16-20 weeks. By 26-28 weeks, you’ll be able to feel fetal movement from the outside.

The second trimester is exciting because you’ll start feeling fetal movement, and you can learn the sex of the baby if you want.

By the end of this trimester, you’ll be more than halfway to meeting your baby.

Dr. Michele Byron, a Marshfield Clinic OB-GYN physician, explained what to expect during weeks 13-28 of pregnancy.

Fetal movement begins

Most pregnant women start feeling their baby move around 16-20 weeks. You should expect to feel fetal movement every day starting around week 24.

“You probably won’t be able to feel movement from the outside until 26-28 weeks,” Byron said.

Pregnancy symptoms change

Early pregnancy symptoms like nausea and fatigue usually start to ease up in the second trimester. For many women, it’s the most comfortable part of pregnancy.

Some exercises you were able to do easily may become more difficult as your belly grows. When that happens, modify the length or intensity of your workout so you can stay physically active.

Your lower legs might start to swell at the end of the day. That’s normal, Byron said, but increasing water intake and decreasing salt intake can reduce swelling. Call your doctor if swelling is severe, sudden or only in one leg.

You may feel pelvic pressure or occasional cramping later in the second trimester. If the cramping doesn’t go away, happens more than four times in an hour or is accompanied by bleeding, you should contact your doctor.

Prenatal appointments include more tests

Prenatal appointments are usually once a month in the second trimester. Some appointments involve tests to check your health and the baby’s development.

You can choose to have genetic testing for chromosomal abnormalities that cause developmental delays and birth defects of the brain, spine and spinal cord.

An ultrasound at 20 weeks will show how your baby’s brain, heart, lungs, kidneys and limbs are developing. You may be able to find out your baby’s sex at the ultrasound appointment.

At 26-28 weeks you’ll be screened for gestational diabetes.

“The test involves drinking a soda-like liquid that has a certain amount of sugar, then waiting an hour and drawing your blood to see how your body handled the glucose,” Byron said. “If the result is abnormal, your doctor will do another test before diagnosing gestational diabetes.”

The same blood sample is used to test for iron deficiency, or anemia.

Your doctor will remind you to keep making healthy choices for you and your baby, like exercising, eating balanced meals and avoiding tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs.

Related Shine365 posts

First trimester tips: What to expect in early pregnancy

Pregnancy diet do’s and don’ts

Prenatal exercise: Is your fitness routine safe?

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