In most cases, a pregnancy will last for 40 weeks, which are grouped into three stages called trimesters. Keep reading to understand what happens in each of these trimesters.
This will last from the first day to the 13th week of your pregnancy. During the first trimester, a woman will not look pregnant but her body will be going through massive changes to accommodate the developing fetus. Your hormone levels begin to change substantially, your uterus begins to promote the growth of your fetus and placenta and your body supplies blood to it so that your baby receives the required nutrients and oxygen. In addition, your heart rate will increase and you may experience common pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, fatigue and constipation.
This stage is critical for the development of the fetus. The fetus will have developed its organs by the end of the third trimester. It is therefore, important that you carry on a healthy and nutritious diet, adding appropriate amounts of folic acid while avoiding smoking, alcohol and other harmful habits.
This includes weeks 13 through 27 of your pregnancy. This is the most comfortable stage of pregnancy for most women as many of the early pregnancy symptoms would have subsided by now. You’ll be able to sleep better in the night and have more energy during the day. However, you may experience a different set of symptoms such as heartburn and leg cramps. Seeing a doctor for possible solutions to these problems can definitely help.
In addition, you’ll begin to look pregnant at this stage as your uterus grows larger in size. By the end of this trimester, your baby would have grown 4 times more it’s initial size in the first trimester.
Your screening tests will be performed at this stage of your pregnancy as well. Your doctor will perform diagnostic tests so be sure to use this opportunity to talk to your doctor about any health issues you have or previously had, especially if you suspect they may affect your pregnancy or baby.
This stage starts from the 28th week and ends at the day of your delivery. You’ll be seeing your doctor more frequently as the doctor will have to perform the following tests on a regular (at least once a month) basis:
- Urine tests for protein
- Blood pressure
- Fundal height
- Fetal heart rate
- Hands and legs for swelling
Additionally, the doctor will check the baby’s position and your cervix to determine how your body is preparing itself for childbirth. This is a great time to do some research on labor and delivery. You can do this online or by taking a childbirth class to learn more about the different stages of labor, your delivery options and their pros and cons and any other concerns you may have.
By Shomaila Issam