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Your guide to the second trimester of pregnancy

Your guide to the second trimester of pregnancy

Find out what to expect in the second trimester, from your changing body to the 20-week scan, and the truth about that pregnancy glow

The second trimester can be a great time in pregnancy. It starts when you're 13 weeks pregnant and lasts until you're 28 weeks. The morning sickness should go, your bump will start to show, and you'll begin to get more energy.

The pregnancy glow
As well as getting some energy back, for some women the second trimester is when a pregnancy glow kicks in. Hello glossy hair and great skin! You may also find your sex drive ramps up, thought to be caused by hormones and increased blood flow around the pelvis.

How your body changes in the second trimester
Get ready to start to look more pregnant. Your bump will probably begin to form at around 12-16 weeks – potentially earlier if this isn't your first baby. Don't be surprised if your baby weight isn't all about the bump and you put on weight elsewhere, too.

When you're about 18 weeks pregnant, there's a particularly special milestone: many women feel their baby move for the first time.

If you find your skin is particularly itchy or your joints are swollen, let your midwife know. These could be symptoms of pregnancy conditions that need monitoring.

Your 20-week scan
Also known as the anomaly scan, this ultrasound examination takes place when you are around 18-20 weeks pregnant. Its main function is to check that your baby's growing properly. But it's also an opportunity to find out if you're having a boy or girl.

What to eat in the second trimester
You may find your appetite is back in the second trimester. While you should still stick to around 2,000 calories a day, don't feel too bad if you sometimes overindulge. A balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and healthy protein will offset the odd chocolate biscuit.

As your body is pumping more blood around your body, it's important to keep your iron levels up. Red meat is a good source, as are leafy green vegetables such as spinach. Help your body absorb the iron from food by having it with something rich in vitamin C, such as a glass of orange juice or a helping of fresh tomatoes.

Alcohol is best avoided in pregnancy, especially during the first 12 weeks. Once you're out of the first trimester, the NHS advises that the safest approach is to avoid alcohol completely. If you feel you have to drink, stick to one or two units of alcohol (think a small glass of wine) once or twice a week.

How to stay active with a bump
Swimming is great for all-round fitness in pregnancy, and the water will support your pregnancy weight and keep you cool while you work out. Whatever exercise you do, be sure to warm up and keep hydrated. And don't push yourself too hard – you should be able to hold a conversation as you work out.

By Rachel Liddle

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