Week-by-week guide to pregnancy

group of pregnant women
When you're pregnant, you have lots of questions. Our week-by-week pregnancy guide is packed with lots of useful information. From what's happening inside your body, to how your baby is developing, and tips and advice on having a healthy pregnancy – this is your one-stop pregnancy guide!

Second trimester

Our week-by-week pregnancy guide is full of essential information. From staying fit in pregnancy to advice on your maternity rights, you'll find it all here. Happy reading!

Week 25 – your second trimester

Welcome to week 25! You'll need to tell your employers now, if you haven't already, so that you can get maternity pay and benefits. If your partner plans to take paternity leave, they will need to tell their employer too – did you know that female partners are also entitled to paternity leave?

Pregnancy can be exhausting both physically and emotionally. The pregnancy journey can sometimes feel like an emotional roller coaster, for you, and your partner. Remember to keep talking to each other – being open about your feelings can help you both feel more supported.

What's happening in my body?

You could be starting to get a bit puffy and swollen in your face, hands and feet. This is probably completely harmless and caused by water retention – but do mention it to your midwife or doctor. They will want to check your blood pressure, just in case it's a sign of a dangerous condition called pre-eclampsia. This tends to strike in the second half of pregnancy or after the baby is born. If you get any other signs, such as splitting headaches, vision problems, or pain just below the ribs, then call your doctor, midwife or NHS 111.

Pardon me!

Are you burping a lot? It's very common around now. You may also be struggling to eat your usual sized portions.

After eating or drinking you could get:

  • burning in your chest
  • bloating
  • nausea

This is probably indigestion and heartburn. Your digestive problems are caused by your growing baby taking over some of the space where your stomach used to be.

It can help to:

  • eat small meals, so you don't feel really full afterwards
  • eat healthily and avoid rich, spicy and fatty foods
  • cut back on drinks with caffeine (such as tea, coffee and energy drinks)
  • sit up straight when you eat
  • give up alcohol and cigarettes

Pregnant and single?

Around 1 in 4 families are headed up by single parents. You may be worried about money or how you'll cope, but there are always people to turn to during pregnancy and beyond. Don't be afraid to ask for help from your friends and family. You can also talk to your doctor or midwife about local support groups. An organisation called Gingerbread can advise you on everything from benefits to childcare. Get more advice on being a single parent on NHS.uk.

Second trimester pregnancy symptoms (at 25 weeks)

Your energy levels could be flagging now, and you might be struggling to digest large meals, as your baby takes over your belly.

This week, your signs of pregnancy could include:

Tommy's the baby charity has produced a pregnancy guide with a further list of symptoms.

What does my baby look like?

Your baby, or foetus, is around 34.6cm long from head to heel, and weighs about 660g. That's approximately the size of a head of cauliflower, and the weight of four jacket potatoes.

This is an active time for your baby. A loud noise could make your baby jump and kick, which shouldn't hurt, but might take you by surprise. You might also feel the occasional hiccup!

Your baby is now peeing into the amniotic fluid. By now, most of the liquid around your baby is urine which provides cushioning and helps keep the temperature snug and stable.

Action stations

Start thinking a bit more about what you'd ideally like to happen when your baby's born. What kind of pain relief would you like? Who do you want to have with you? You can download an NHS birth plan template which will help you think through some of the big issues.

This week you could also...

It's time to break the news, if you haven't already. The latest you can leave it is 15 weeks before the baby is due, which is around now. As soon as you tell your employer, you will have maternity rights and can attend antenatal appointments during paid work time. You can also ask for a risk assessment of your work place.

It's a good time to tone up those muscles 'down under'. Gentle exercises can help to prevent leakage when you laugh, sneeze, cough or jump around on your baby's future trampoline. Get the muscles going by pretending that you're having a wee and then stop the 'urine' in midflow. Visit Tommys.org for more ideas.

Ask your midwife or doctor about online antenatal classes – they may be able to recommend one. The charity Tommy's has lots of useful information on antenatal classes and preparing you for birth.

Ask your partner if they would like to take part in the antenatal classes. Even if you've had children before, they're still worth going to as you can meet other parents-to-be. The NCT offers online antenatal classes with small groups of people that live locally to you.

Do your best to stop smoking, give up alcohol and go easy on the cappuccinos. We know that's easy to say, but hard to do. Ask your midwife or GP for support.

We can usually get enough vitamin D from sunlight, but between October and March it's best to take a vitamin D supplement every day. Just 10 micrograms is all you need (it's the same for grown-ups and kids). It's worth checking if you're entitled to free vitamins.

Get moving! It's recommended that pregnant women do 150 minutes of exercise throughout the week. You could start off with just 10 minutes of daily exercise - perhaps take a brisk walk outside. Check out Sport England's #StayInWorkOut online exercises (scroll to the pregnancy section). Listen to your body and do what feels right for you.

Don't eat for two! Eat for you. You don't need any extra calories until the third trimester, which starts in week 28. Try and eat healthily with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and avoid processed, fatty and salty foods. You may be able to get free milk, fruit and veg through the Healthy Start scheme.

How are you today? If you're feeling anxious or low, talk to your doctor or midwife who can point you in the right direction to get all the support you need. You could also discuss your worries with your partner, friends and family. You may be worried about your relationship, or money, or having somewhere permanent to live. Don't bottle it up – you're important, so ask for help if you need it!

Getting pregnant again is probably the last thing on your mind! However now is a good time to start planning what type of contraception you would like to use after your baby is born. Making this decision when you're pregnant will give you one less thing to think about when you're looking after a newborn baby. Getting pregnant again could happen sooner than you realise and too short a gap between babies is known to cause problems. Talk to your GP or midwife to help you decide and get everything in place.

Sign up now for our pregnancy, baby and toddler guide

Get personalised emails for trusted NHS advice, videos and tips on your pregnancy week by week, birth and parenthood.

Get weekly emails