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Week by Week Pregnancy Guide: Three Stages of Trimesters

Pregnancy is a journey of changes, both emotionally and physically.   Every step from conception to birth presents its unique challenges and joys. Expectant mothers can make the process more manageable and empowering by gaining a deeper understanding of the complexities of pregnancy. In this blog, we examine the three stages of pregnancy, discussing the significant transformations that take place in the mother's body and the progression of the developing baby.  

Pregnancy Guide

Pregnancy is typically divided into three trimesters, each approximately three months long. Understanding these trimesters can help expecting mothers manage the changes and developments occurring in their bodies and babies. Let's take a closer look at each trimester.

First Trimester (Week 1 - Week 12)

The first trimester is when a pregnancy starts. The body undergoes many changes during this period as it adjusts to support the growing baby. The following are some key features of the first trimester:

Physical Changes During the First Trimester

One of the common changes is the stopping of the menstrual cycle, other signs may include,

  • Severe tiredness
  • Headache
  • Excessive urination
  • Upset Stomach and morning sickness.
  • Cravings
  • Swollen and tender breasts
  • Mood swings
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation 
  • Weight gain or loss

First Month

Week 1-4: During 1 to 4 weeks conception and implantation of fertilized egg occur. The fertilized egg implants itself in the uterine wall(endometrium), and the zygote is now called the blastocyst. The growing baby is smaller than a grain of rice and starts forming different body systems. 

Second Month

Week 5-8: During 5 to 8 weeks organs begin to form, and the zygote is now called embryo. The evolving neural tube will become the central nervous system, the heart is now beating, and the embryo has developed its placenta and amniotic sac and starts getting nutrients from the mother's bloodstream. By the end of the 8th week, the embryo is about 1.2cm in length.

Third Month

Week 9-12: During these weeks, the mouth, eyes, and tongue start forming, and teeth start embedding into the gums. The embryo’s liver starts forming the blood cells. By the time of the 10th week, the embryo is called a fetus and is around 2.5cm in length from head to tail. Most of the screening tests can be done at the end of the first trimester to check for Down syndrome, and Edward syndrome, rare genetic disorders in children.

Second Trimester (Week 13 - Week 26)

The second trimester is commonly thought to be the most comfortable time of pregnancy because many of the early symptoms go away. Here's what to expect during the second trimester:

Physical Changes During the Second Trimester

Some of the common body changes that happen during the second trimester are, 

  • Swelling of face, fingers, and ankles
  • Tingling or numb hands, commonly called tunnel syndrome.
  • Body aches, such as abdomen, back, groin, or thigh pain
  • Stretch marks on different parts of our body such as on the thighs, breasts, abdomen, and buttocks.
  • Darkening of the skin around your nipple area
  • Patches of darker skin, usually on your nose, forehead, and on cheeks
  • Itching on palms, soles, and on the abdomen

Fourth Month

Week 13-16: The fetus is now about 7 cm in length. Fused eyelids and vocal cords are completely done. By the end of the 16th week, the fetus grows up to 14 cm in length. Eyebrows and eyelashes have completely developed. If the first trimester tests are not done then Maternal Serum Screening is offered at this stage. 

Fifth Month

Week 17-20: 

At this stage, the halfway point of pregnancy has been reached. Ears and genitals are fully developed. In the fifth month, an ultrasound is offered to check the sex of the baby, multiple pregnancies, structural abnormalities, and the position of the placenta. The fetus is now about 21 cm in length.  

Sixth Month

Week 21-26: 

The fetus's senses are developing as it becomes larger. Fused eyelids are now completely separated into upper and lower eyelids. The baby is around 33 cm in length. Backaches and increased hunger are common symptoms at this stage.

Third Trimester (Week 27 - Birth)

The third trimester is characterized by rapid fetal growth and preparation for childbirth. Here's what to expect during the final weeks of pregnancy:

Physical Changes During the Third Trimester

Some of the common changes that you encounter during the third trimester are,

  • Heartburn
  • Shortening of breath
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Swollen or tender breasts, which may leak milky water called colostrum
  • Swelling on your face, fingers, and ankles
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • The belly button may stick out.
  • False or real contractions
  • The baby dropping or moving downward in your birth canal

Seventh Month

Week 27-30: 

At this stage, the baby’s weight is about 1 kg, and the length is 37 cm from head to toe. The fetus’s organs are fully matured, and its movements may become more noticeable. The mother may experience breathing problems and difficulty sleeping due to the baby's increased size.

Eighth Month

Week 31-36: 

The baby is around 46 cm in length at this stage. The movements are strong and coordinated and the baby spends most of its time asleep. The head of the fetus may move downward as it gets ready to come out of the body. The body may experience Braxton Hicks contractions as it gets ready for delivery. 

Ninth Month

Week 37- Birth: Full-term pregnancy is reached, and the baby is around 51 cm in length and ready to be born. The mother may experience nesting instincts and increased pelvic pressure as the baby descends into the birth canal.

Understanding the phases of pregnancy, both by trimester and week-by-week, can help expecting mothers prepare for the emotional and physical changes that come with this journey. By providing comprehensive information and support, our app aims to empower mothers as they navigate the beautiful pregnancy experience. 

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