during pregnancy

When Does the Second Trimester Start?

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The first trimester of pregnancy flies by in the blink of an eye. Most women don’t even realize they’re pregnant until it’s more than halfway over, so they’re close to their second trimester before they know it! But when does the second trimester start? And what does it bring to the table?

You might be nearing the end of your first trimester and wondering: when does the second trimester start?

At the end of your first trimester, you’re 12 weeks pregnant. Hopefully, by this time, some of the more difficult early pregnancy symptoms have started to subside. You might finally be over the nausea, or maybe you’re getting some of your energy back!

PREVIOUSLY: Listen Up, Pregnant Women: Science Says You Need Naps, So Listen to Science

Your second trimester runs from weeks 14 – 27. That’s a decent amount of time! And your body (and baby) will go through some pretty major changes in this trimester. You’ll go from looking like you had a bug lunch to rocking that adorable baby belly, seemingly overnight.

At the start of the second trimester, you baby is about 3 1/2 inches long. Or, if you follow popular baby comparisons, you’re pregnant with a lemon.

Weeks 14 – 16 are big for development. Many women undergo important screening and diagnostic tests during this period. Multiple marker tests or amniocentesis tests are commonly used to diagnose chromosomal defects like Down Syndrome and spina bifida. You certainly don’t have to opt into these sorts of tests, but for high-risk pregnancies, they’re recommended.

Between weeks 16 – 22, you may start to feel your baby move! Don’t be alarmed if you mistake the first couple of flips for gas or indigestion. They feel sort of like little bubbles or hiccups, and it’s a common mistake! As your baby gets bigger, the flips will feel more like actual flips.

If you’re planning on finding out the sex of your baby, the second trimester is where it’ll happen! Most doctors can accurately determine the sex between 19 – 22 weeks.

You’ll also likely be cleared to resume your regular exercise routine during the second trimester, as long as you’re having a complication-free pregnancy. Also, say hello to your baby bump! The belly will likely pop out around 20 – 24 weeks. This can start to put a strain on your back and your bladder, so prepare for lots of trips to the bathroom!

So when does the second trimester start? Short answer: right after the first! Medically correct answer: once you hit 14 weeks, you are officially in your second trimester.

(Image: iStock / Wavebreakmedia)