While most of us believe that pregnancy is nine months or 36 weeks. However, a typical pregnancy ranges from between 37 to 42 weeks from the last day of your period. These weeks can be divided more broadly into three trimesters. Over the course of these three trimesters, your baby will grow and develop inside the womb.
While your baby develops and grows, you can also expect your body to go through a number of changes as well. We are going to walk you through what you should expect during your three trimesters of pregnancy.
From the point of conception to roughly 12 weeks of pregnancy, are what is known as the first trimester of your pregnancy. The first sign of pregnancy is usually a missed period, indicating that fertilisation and implantation have successfully occurred.
You may also notice several other physical and emotional changes during this time. For example, many women experience extreme fatigue, tender breasts, mood swings, and cravings for specific foods.
Additionally, the first trimester is when many women experience morning sickness. You may experience nausea accompanied by vomiting or nausea alone. This varies from person to person. Each pregnancy is different from the next, your pregnancy may feel completely different from someone else’s and even different from a previous pregnancy.
During the first 4 weeks of the first trimester, your baby is working hard to develop its nervous system, heart, and limbs.
The following 8 weeks of the first trimester are where the embryo starts to develop into a foetus. The heart begins to beat, all major organs are developing, facial features start to form, the limbs now have fingers and toes, and sex organs begin to form.
At the last 4 weeks of the first trimester, your baby’s external sex organs will show and you can determine if the baby is a boy or a girl. Additionally, the nerves and muscles have started to work together and your baby’s eyelids have developed and are closed to protect the fast-growing eyes.
The next stage of your pregnancy is the second trimester. Many women note that the second trimester tends to be a little smoother and easier compared to the first trimester. Morning sickness, should you have experienced that, should cease along with the fatigue.
It is during the second trimester that most women begin to show physical signs of being pregnant, that is, your baby bump!
While it may be smoother than the first trimester, the second trimester of pregnancy does bring along with it its own set of changes. For example, you may experience swelling, itching, stretchmarks, accompanied by aches and pains typically in the lower back, groin, abdomen and thighs.
At 16 weeks, your baby’s musculoskeletal systems continue to develop, the skin has started to grow, and the intestinal tract has formed.
During the second month of the second trimester, at 20 weeks, your baby eyelashes, eyebrows, fingernails and toenails. Your baby may also be more active during this stage of the pregnancy, you may start to feel kicking and movement.
The last four weeks of the second trimester mark 24 weeks of pregnancy, your baby has grown even more by this point! Your baby will have developed taste buds, fingerprints, and hair on its head. Additionally, your baby’s lungs will have formed, however they do not function yet. At 24 weeks, depending on whether you are having a boy or a girl, the testicles will descend into the scrotum or the ovaries and uterus will have developed.
Congratulations, you are in the final stage of your pregnancy. However, with your third trimester, you can also expect some new discomforts to follow the ones that you experienced during your second trimester.
Your baby is getting bigger and has begun to press against your internal organs making it harder to breathe and making you need to urinate more often. Additionally, you can expect to experience a protruding belly button, colostrum (pre-milk), haemorrhoids, difficulty sleeping, and heartburn. With your fast-approaching due date, you may also notice that your cervix has grown thinner and softer. This happens as your body anticipates birth.
While all of this sounds like anything but fun, we urge you to hang in there as you are only a short way away from holding your brand new baby in your arms.
At 32 to 36 weeks of pregnancy, your baby will be able to open and close its eyes, has fully developed its bones and muscles, and can store vital minerals and body fat. You should also be able to notice an increase in your baby’s movement.
At the end of your 37th week of pregnancy, your baby is considered full term. As you get closer to your due date, you may also notice that your baby has positioned itself head-down in preparation for birth.
You did it! You got through the stages of pregnancy and your baby is ready to meet you. Remember that you should be eating all the right foods during your pregnancy to ensure that you and your baby are getting everything that you need to support your body and your baby’s development.
It is important that you provide your body with all the various vitamins and minerals that it needs. There are tonnes of foods that you can eat to help support you on this journey, or you can consider taking pregnancy supplements. You are, afterall, growing a whole new person inside of you.
Work closely with your OB-GYN as they will be able to give you the appropriate advice during each trimester with regards to the best supplements to be taking, foods to be avoiding, and anything else related to your developing baby.
Additionally, they will be likely to ease any concerns you might have and ensure that your baby is on track with its growth and development.
Remember, each pregnancy is unique and differs from person to person. In fact, your second pregnancy may be completely different from your first, and that is okay!