Coping with the second trimester
Many people define the second trimester as the time between 14 weeks and 23 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy. If you are pregnant after a previous miscarriage, ectopic or molar pregnancy*, you may find this stage brings new things to navigate.
You may feel a little less anxious after a positive 12-week scan, knowing that the chance of miscarriage drops to 1 or 2 in 100 after this date. Or you may not. If you have had a second-trimester loss before, you are unlikely to feel any less anxious than previously.
Whenever your previous losses were, you may worry that things will still go wrong and you won’t be able to cope with a later loss.
Everyone seems to think that once you are past 12 weeks you are safe. But between scans and appointments you don’t look pregnant, can’t feel movement and generally start to feel better from morning sickness. It’s hard not to think something has gone wrong again.
Some people find that their pregnancy feels more established when their bump starts to show, while others would prefer to be able to keep their pregnancy private for longer. Unless you are eligible for additional care, there can be big gaps between appointments and scans in the second trimester.
We have divided this page into two sections but you may find that different things feel relevant for you at different times.
This information offers support for specific areas people have told us they find hard when pregnant after loss. We do not intend it to replace other information on the second trimester.
* Please note that we often use the term ‘pregnancy loss’ to include miscarriage, ectopic and molar pregnancy. But sometimes, using the word ‘miscarriage’ for all three makes it easier for people to find the information they’re looking for when using a search engine.
Weeks 13-18 of pregnancy after miscarriage
The inbetween stage where you stop feeling sick but don’t have a bump is hard – I didn’t really feel pregnant.
Pregnancy symptoms like nausea, tender breasts and tiredness can start to disappear in the second trimester. This may make you anxious. It can be hard to believe everything is well if you don’t have symptoms or a bump.
Some midwives will agree to check your baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler at around 16 weeks. Most prefer not to as the heartbeat can sometimes be difficult to find with a Doppler at this stage.
Using your own home Doppler isn’t recommended. If you are not trained, you may find it hard to pick up your baby’s heartbeat. You may find your own heartbeat instead. This could mean you are falsely reassured and don’t seek help when you may need to.
If you feel you would really benefit from hearing the heartbeat around now, it might be a good idea to call the clinic or your midwife in advance and talk to them about it.
Weeks 18-24 of pregnancy after miscarriage
Around this time, people often talk about feeling the baby move. You may see people online saying they felt movement from 18 weeks or even earlier. This can be very scary if you can’t feel any movement yet.
The position of the baby and your placenta will affect how much movement you feel and when. For example, if your placenta is on the front wall of your uterus (anterior placenta) then your baby’s movements will be cushioned. If you ever feel worried or panicky about movements, there should be numbers on your maternity notes that tell you who to call at which stage of pregnancy. At this stage, midwives are usually happy to listen in on a Doppler, give you reassurance and even scan you if needed.
Feeling your baby move can be very reassuring and means you are more able to check yourself if your baby is alive. But lots of people who are pregnant after a previous loss find it hard that they alone have the responsibility of monitoring movement and deciding whether everything is well. The Kicks Count website might help you understand how to work out and monitor the pattern of your baby’s movements and what help you should receive if you are worried.
As a midwife, we’d much rather you called if you need us. A check where all is well is what we like, and if things are not well, the sooner we know the better.”
Anomaly (20 week) scan and tests
Amniocentesis can cause miscarriage in up to 1 in 100 women who have the procedure. This can make deciding whether to have one very hard. It is entirely your decision. A midwife or doctor should talk you through the risks and options to help you make a decision that is right for you and your family. The charity Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC) can help you talk things through.
You will also have to decide whether to find out the sex of your baby. Some people find this helps them bond with their baby. But not everyone feels ready to do this yet, preferring to wait until the baby is born safely.
You may be offered the whooping cough vaccination in the second trimester of pregnancy (sometimes alongside your anomaly scan). The NHS has more information about which vaccines are recommended in pregnancy for the health of you and your baby. It may also help to talk things through with your doctor or midwife.