Read these 23 Pregnancy Trimesters Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Pregnancy tips and hundreds of other topics.
Congratulations -- you’re pregnant! Once the initial excitement subsides, your thoughts will most likely center around how your body will change in the coming months. Most expectant moms can’t help but anticipate the bulging belly, the cute maternity clothes, and even the endearing “pregnancy waddle.” But you’ll quickly realize that many of the most obvious physical changes are still a long time coming. In fact, if this is your first baby, you may not even start to show for two or three months.
That said, your body will experience some significant changes during the first trimester, even if they’re not detectable to the naked eye. Below are some of the most common symptoms:
• Fatigue: Many women notice that they tire a lot faster in the early weeks of pregnancy, experiencing what is often described as a bone-weary exhaustion. This tiredness is a result of your body working extra hard to support the new fetus growing inside of you. To counteract the weariness, rest as often as possible and try to get at least eight hours of sleep each night. It may sound contradictory, but regular moderate exercise is also a great way to offset fatigue.
• Nausea: Morning sickness (a bit of a misnomer, as this can strike anytime of the day or night) is prevalent during the first trimester. Try to stick to bland foods, never start the day on an empty stomach, and avoid any known triggers that bring on queasiness.
• Bladder sensitivity: It may not be obvious just yet, but your growing uterus is already beginning to press against your bladder, causing you to experience more frequent urges to urinate throughout the early weeks of pregnancy.
• Weight gain: On average, women gain approximately one pound per month during the first trimester, so you shouldn’t see any drastic changes in this area just yet.
As you enter the “home stretch” of your pregnancy, you’ll undergo some of the most significant physical changes yet. Many of them will be the same symptoms you’ve been experiencing during the second trimester, although to a greater degree. Now more than ever, it’s important to pay close attention to your body and report any concerns to your doctor, who will also be examining you more frequently as your due date approaches.
Below are some of the most common physical changes you’ll notice during the third trimester:
• Heartburn: Many women complain of this uncomfortable burning sensation at the tail end of their pregnancy. This is often due to a combination of elevated hormone levels and the pressure applied by the weight of the baby.
• Swelling: Although a moderate amount of swelling is normal, especially in the ankles, fingers, and face, you should contact your doctor immediately if you notice excessive or sudden bloating or weight gain, as this could be an indication of preeclampsia.
• Restless sleeping: Many pregnant women complain of having trouble sleeping as they approach their due date. As the baby -- and your belly -- grow larger, you’ll most likely find it difficult to get into a comfortable position. You may also experience muscle spasms, late-night thirsts, and sudden changes in body temperature, all of which contribute to restlessness.
• Bladder sensitivity: The urge to urinate, usually starting at the end of the first trimester, will ramp up now that the baby’s heavier weight is pressing against your bladder and other organs.
• Shortness of breath: A carry-over from the second trimester, this symptom will intensify in the final weeks of pregnancy, as your uterus grows larger and your respiratory system becomes more taxed.
• Discharge: It’s normal to see thick, white discharge during the final weeks of pregnancy. To prepare for delivery, your cervix will begin to thin out and grow softer, which causes the mucous-like secretion. Your doctor will check your cervix regularly to monitor the effacing process as you approach your due date.
• Weight gain: During the third trimester, the rate of weight gain will be approximately 3-4 pounds per month. An overall gain of 25-30 pounds throughout the entire pregnancy is considered a healthy range for both mom and baby.
Once the bone-weary fatigue and queasiness of the early weeks of pregnancy have abated, many expectant moms find the second trimester to be much easier in comparison. Even so, you’ll continue to undergo significant physical changes, many of which are more noticeable from the outside. Although you may be feeling much better, it’s important to monitor your body to make sure everything is progressing as it should be.
As the second trimester draws to a close, you’ll be experiencing some of the most exciting aspects of pregnancy, including fetal movement and a real, honest-to-goodness baby bulge.
Below are some of the most common physical manifestations as you approach the mid-point:
• Muscle aches and pains: Most women notice these primarily in their abdomen, thighs, groin, and back. This discomfort is a completely normal effect of your body stretching and expanding to accommodate your growing baby. These symptoms can be remedied with moderate exercise, pregnancy yoga, and daily stretching.
• Shortness of breath: You may notice that you become winded more easier after physical activity, such as climbing stairs or walking long distances.
• Changes in complexion: Many expectant moms find that their skin changes in appearance, for the better or the worse, during the second trimester. The luckier ones experience an improvement in their complexion, taking on what’s commonly known as the “pregnancy glow,” while others may be stricken with acne or splotchiness.
• Itching: This is usually due to tautness of the skin as it stretches to accommodate your growing baby. If you experience intense itching in tandem with vomiting, nausea, or loss of appetite, contact your obstetrician or midwife to rule out a potentially dangerous condition.
• Stretch marks: Some women begin to notice stretch marks in the abdomen area as their bellies expand. You can treat and prevent these by applying “belly balm” or other lotions designed to counteract stretch marks.
• Weight gain: Although every woman -- and every pregnancy -- is unique, average weight gain during the second trimester is one pound per week.
Your baby in month 6 begins to show signs of development and the baby really does begin to look more like a newborn. Not only can you feel the baby move, but you can also sometimes guess at what part of the baby's body is poking you! The heartbeat will be strong enough for you to hear with your doctor's stethoscope, and your baby's hearing is much more acute. Towards the end of this month, your baby's lungs are developing much more rapidly. By the end of this month, your baby will be around 10 inches long, and will weigh about one and a half pounds.
Now that your baby has passed the half-way mark, she is continuing to grow rapidly during her twenty-seventh week of fetal growth. Her lungs are continuing to mature, as well as other organs. Her eyes are slowly opening, and retinas are developing. In this one week, your baby will add another one-half inch to her length. Her brain is also growing and developing. This is an important time during for your baby week by week for fetal growth, and it signifies the end of the second trimester.
There's no denying your pregnant now, and your baby's home is becoming quite small for his growing body in the month seven of your pregnancy! The baby is now in the fetal position, but still very active. You'll be fascinated as you watch your stomach move from side to side. Your baby in month 7 is still developing lungs, and needs to put on more body fat. The baby's skin is becoming less wrinkled, however, as it begins to fill out. Your baby's eyes are starting to open, and the brain is growing rapidly. Baby boys' testicles will also begin to descend during this month. By the end of your baby's seven month of development, he/she will measure around 11 inches long, and weigh approximately three pounds.
As your baby enters his eighth month of development, he is readying himself for birth. He continues to gain body fat. You may notice a rhythmic movement from your baby in month 8, which most likely indicates a case of hiccups in your baby, too. Although he isn't breathing yet, he does practice breathing movements. His brain is rapidly maturing, and he may even exhibit a pattern of movement. His lungs are also maturing, and he has an excellent chance of surviving if born during the eighth month. He measures around 16 or 17 inches and weighs around 5 pounds.
Well this is it. Your baby has reached her 40th week of fetal growth, and it is time for her arrival. Then again, she may wait another week or two to appear. Since babies are typically born anywhere from 38 to 42 weeks, predicting the exact day can be tricky. By now, your baby is probably around seven and a half pounds and measures 20 inches long. She has dimpled elbows and knees, and her growth is complete. Stick close to home during this time, and get plenty of rest. The time of delivery is fast approaching, and you'll meet your newborn very soon!
Even though your pregnancy isn't showing yet, a lot is going on in your body and with your baby in month 2 of your pregnancy. The embryo is changing from a tiny ball into the first semblance of a tiny being, complete with a head at one end and some tiny buds that signify the beginnings of arms and legs. A little heart is also beating, and the umbilical cord is forming. Your baby is about a quarter inch in length but will grow to one-half inch by the end of the month. By the end of this month, most of your baby's internal organs have formed.
Once you've determined that you are pregnant, you'll want to get the most up-to-date information to guide you on a week by week and month by month basis throughout your baby's fetal growth. A pregnancy is typically divided into three trimesters. The first trimester covers week one through week 12. The second trimester covers week 13 through week 27, and the third trimester covers week 28 through week 40. Keep in mind that a full-term baby can be born anywhere from 38 to 42 weeks of age, and predicting the exact date can be tricky. Make regular pre-natal care appointments, and follow your doctor's instructions to ensure that your baby has the best chance of being born healthy.
Since babies are typically born between 38 and 42 weeks of development, the exact time of your baby's impending birth is hard to predict. The ninth month of development is an exciting time for everyone involved. Your baby in month 9 is still gaining weight but not as rapidly. As you approach the actual delivery date, the baby will begin to assume the position of delivery. For most babies, this is head down, facing backwards. She'll continue to move and stretch, but she won't appear as active simply because there isn't a lot of room. The weight at birth may be anywhere from six pounds to 10, but the average is typically around seven and a half pounds. The baby can measure from 18 to 22 inches, but the average is generally around 20 inches long.
As your pregnancy begins, you'll see lots of changes in your body and your baby in month 1. In the first month of your pregnancy, you're in the very early stges, and you might not have known about your pregnancy for very long. The following tips are good advice to follow throughout your pregnancy beginning with month one of your baby's life.
* Don't drink alcohol.
* Don't smoke.
* Don't handle cat litter.
* Don't use over the counter medications or prescribed meds without consulting your doctor.
* Get plenty of rest.
Your fertilized egg is dividing and implanting itself into your uterus during this month. Congratulations! You're pregnant!
During month five of your pregnancy, your baby will probably make itself known. You'll feel movement for the first time from your baby in month 5, and this is what is known as quickening. Those first few movements will feel as if a tiny butterfly is fluttering in your tummy. You'll learn how to recognize this feeling soon. Baby's bones and muscles are now stronger, and the baby work at exercising them during month five. Hair follicles are in place, though how much hair your baby will have at birth remains to be seen. The baby's senses are also developing, and he/she can hear your body's sounds. Baby girls are forming ovaries during this month, too. Your baby's skin is developing a fatty, yellow substance called vernix, which protects it from the exposure to amniotic fluid. By the end of this month, your baby weighs between 10 and 12 ounces, and he is around seven inches long.
A lot is happening during the eighth week of your baby's fetal growth. As you follow your baby's development week by week, you'll discover that changes are occuring rapidly in lots of areas. If you schedule a doctor's visit at around this time, your doctor may be able to detect a heartbeat by using an ultrasound. Your baby is beginning to develop arms, hands, fingers, feet, and even toes. Facial features are also beginning to appear, and intestines are forming in the umbilical cord.
As you begin to monitor your baby week by week during pregnancy, you'll start to notice specific changes. During your baby's fourth week of development, you may have just begun to suspect that you are pregnant. This is an important week for fetal growth because implantation occurs, and the embryo that will become your baby is beginning to change and grow. You may notice spots of blood, and this is due to the implantation. It is also normal. If you have any concerns, however, contact your doctor.
Your baby's thirty-sixth week of fetal development signals that the end of your pregnancy is near. Your delivery date could be anywhere from two to six weeks from this date. Baby may have already assumed the birth position, which is normally head down, facing backwards. He may drop into the birth canal sometime soon. During these last few weeks, your baby is simply adding more fat. It's time to start preparing for baby's imminent arrival!
During your baby's fourth month of development, the body is beginning to align itself more proportionately with his head. His arms and legs are long, and he is starting to round out a little due to fat stores in his body. Your baby's fingers are forming fingernails, and facial features are more pronounced. Eyebrows and eyelashes are also forming, as well as a fine covering of hair over his entire body called lanugo. Your baby in month 4 weighs around four ounces now, and is approximately five inches long.
In a typical pregnancy that lasts 40 weeks, the 20th week of fetal growth signifies that the pregnancy is halfway over. This may or may not be true as the typical length of a normal pregnancy is anywhere from 38 to 42 weeks long. Your baby is truly beginning to behave like a newborn. She is establishing sleep patterns, and she is probably awake as often as she will be in the first few weeks after birth. If your baby is a girl, her uterus is developing. Hair folicles are also beginning to grow hair during this month.
Your baby is growing by leaps and bounds, and his sixteenth week of fetal growth is no exception. You may have felt a few flutters in your tummy around this time. This is referred to as quickening, and you are feeling your baby's first movements. He is getting stronger and exercising his extremities frequently. Your babies nails are growing rapidly at this time, and so are her arms and legs. His bones and muscles are strengthening, too.
Your baby's twenty-fourth week of fetal growth is an important milestone. Babies who are born at this age have a chance of survival, although they would be at risk for serious problems, and would need to remain in the hospital for several months. During this week your baby is beginning to put store up fat. Her body is losing some of its wrinkles as it fills out. Muscles and bones are also becoming stronger, and organs are beginning to mature.
By the time your baby reaches thirty-two weeks of fetal growth, she will weigh around four pounds. Her senses have really been developing, and all five of them are working properly now. Her fingernails and toenails are fully developed, also. She continues to put on weight and fill out. While not all babies are born with a head full of hair, the hair on her head is continuously growing. She is running out of room in your tummy but continues to be active.
Your baby is growing by leaps and bounds each month, and month three is no exception. Your baby in month 3 is starting to develop, as the kidneys are starting to work, bones and muscles are forming, and the beginnings of her ears, lips, and nose can be seen. As her eyes develop, eyelids are growing, also, and they'll remain closed for several months. Although external organs can't be seen yet, baby's sex organs form during this month, too. Your baby's body is no longer in a c-shape as it straightens, and arms and legs elongate. By the end of month three, your baby is around two inches long, but most of that length is comprised of her head.
The 12th week of your baby's fetal growth signifies the end of the first trimester of your pregnancy. Almost all of baby's organs are formed, although they'll continue to develop further throughout the rest of the pregnancy. Your baby's kidney's are beginning to produce urine. His fingers and toes are distinct features now. His nails and hair are starting to grow, also.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|