Congratulations! You've made it to "the sweet spot."

That's what Dr. Brooke Chalk of Novant Health Coastal OB-GYN Midwifery - New Hanover in Wilmington, North Carolina, calls the 13th through 27th weeks of pregnancy. Fatigue and morning sickness typically disappear, and you'll thrill to the first faint flutters of your baby moving inside you.

The second trimester ushers in a physical transformation that declares your status as an "expectant mom" to the world. Still, some women are alarmed when they notice "a pooch" in their lower abdomen and that their back now curves to support that change, Chalk said.

"For women who are very fit or have never had a belly before, it is very weird to see your body do that, but remember: You're growing a human, and that's a big deal," she said. "Some women are going to see numbers on the scale that they have never seen before, and that can be overwhelming or scary. I think setting expectations up front is very important."

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If your weight was normal before you got pregnant, 25 to 35 pounds is the recommended gain, Chalk said. That drops to 15 to 25 if you were overweight to begin with and 11 to 20 pounds if you were obese. Women with twins or multiples will need to gain even more — your doctor will tell you how much. Do your best to stay within those ranges, Chalk urged, but "give yourself some grace" if you crave a hot fudge sundae every now and then. (This story on cravings may help.) Make sure you get a balanced diet and drink plenty of water.

If you were active before getting pregnant, your doctor will likely tell you to keep it up as long as you feel comfortable — whether you run, bike, lift weights or do aerobics, Chalk said. If you were more sedentary, start small and build from there. Walk around the block, go for a swim, work in the garden. Being active will lower your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and other health problems — and help prep your body for labor and delivery.

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These are some changes you may experience during the second trimester:

Skin changes: Melasma, the so-called mask of pregnancy, affects up to half of expectant moms. You might see dark patches and spots on your forehead, cheeks, nose, chin, above the lips and sometimes on your arms, neck and back. Hormone changes may also cause your nipples and areolas to darken, and a dark line to appear up and down your belly. Rest assured, these skin changes usually disappear after delivery, though it may take a few months, Chalk said. Remember: During pregnancy, your skin is especially sensitive to the sun. Wear sunscreen and a sunhat when you are outdoors.

Stretch marks: About half of women get stretch marks in the second half of pregnancy. Keeping skin moisturized and staying hydrated can help keep them at bay. Aim to drink 80 to 100 ounces of water a day.

Leaky breasts: Many women begin to leak milk from time to time. This, too, is your hormones at work, and a nursing pad inside your bra can help prevent embarrassment. Usually, the fluid is colostrum, which is the first milk you make in preparation for feeding your baby. It is clear or white. Tell your doctor if you have discharge on one side only, or it is bloody, green or brown.

Bloating and sluggish bowels: Hormones factor in here, too. And as your baby grows, there is more pressure on your organs. Staying active can help keep things moving. Walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates and light aerobics are good choices. To help prevent gas, eat smaller meals several times a day. A diet rich in fiber — 25 to 30 grams a day — helps ward off constipation that can lead to hemorrhoids. Fruits, veggies, beans, whole-grain bread and pasta are fiber-rich choices.

How you sleep: Once you reach week 20, it's time to start sleeping on your left side if you don't already, Chalk said. That's because your expanding uterus can compress the large vein called the vena cava that carries blood to the heart from other parts of the body. So prop yourself with pillows or try sleeping in a recliner. And don't fret if you wake during the night and find you have flipped over onto your back, Chalk urged. Prop yourself on your side again and drift back to dreamland.

"Just remember: The second trimester is kind of the sweet spot, so take advantage of it," Chalk said. "Use this time to enjoy feeling better and to start prepping for when the baby comes."