It takes a typical pregnancy 40 weeks; from the day of the last normal menstrual period to the time the baby is born. There are three main stages of pregnancy, also known as trimesters. Please keep reading to find out about the different changes in these stages.
The First Trimester (1-12 weeks)
This is the very first stage of pregnancy consisting of the first three months. It begins from the point of conception up to 12 weeks of the pregnancy. During this time, many signs and changes occur, and they are new, exciting, and overwhelming. The very first sign of pregnancy is a missed period, then later hormonal changes.
Your breasts may feel fuller and tender. You may feel very tired and sleepy as well. Morning sickness may set in after 6 to 7 weeks into the pregnancy. Importantly, it is good to remember that the experience is not the same for all pregnant women and may
differ from the subsequent pregnancies as well.
During the first few weeks of pregnancy, all the baby’s organs and important body parts start to form. The baby’s heart beat can be detected at about 6 to 7 weeks on ultrasound scan. By 8 weeks, the baby’s lungs are formed and by the 12 th week of the pregnancy, the baby’s arms, hands legs and feet are formed and movements can be seen on ultrasound as well.
It’s important to start taking folic acid right at the start of pregnancy and also to stop smoking and drinking alcohol.
The Second Trimester (13 th – 27 th week)
This is usually easier for women than in the first trimester. The earlier signs are lessening and at times are completely faded. Morning sickness will get better by 16 weeks pregnancy. However, you might experience back, thigh, and abdomen pain and develop stretch marks on the skin (striae gravidarum). Pigmentation may occur and you can see a line running from the belly button to the hairline of your pubic area (linea nigra).
Besides, the baby bump will start showing with the growth of the baby during the second trimester. Tou may also first feel your baby move at around 18 to 20 weeks pregnancy.
Third Trimester (28 th Week- 40 weeks)
This is the last stage of pregnancy. You may keep having the discomforts in the second trimester, and new ones might develop. The baby keeps growing and exerts some pressure on your internal organs. You will put on more weight as well.
Moreover, the physical changes in the mother are more visible. Your belly button will protrude, and you can experience Braxton Hicks contractions from 30 weeks on. You may also get heartburn as well as swelling or varicose veins of the legs. The breasts may also start to leak some milky fluid (colostrum). Towards the end of pregnancy, the baby’s head will turn down towards the pelvis by 36 weeks of pregnancy in preparation for childbirth.
Remember to keep in touch with your gynae as your due date approaches. This way, it is easy to monitor for any symptoms and signs of labour.
Many changes take place during pregnancy. They differ from mother to mother and from one pregnancy to the rest. Importantly, you should visit a gynae early in pregnancy and at regular intervals to ensure a safe pregnancy journey.