Congratulations on becoming a mother! If you’re an expecting mother for a first time, you might have some questions or concerns about your pregnancy, such as what you should avoid, what foods you should be eating, and what you should be doing. Follow our pregnancy week by week guide and learn how your baby is growing and the symptoms you might be experiencing along the way.
Pregnancy Week by Week Exposed
At this period, you have just conceived a baby. Your egg has been fertilized with a sperm and the result is a zygote. A zygote is a single cell organism that contains the DNA of your child. The zygote will then multiple and attach itself to the linings of your uterus.
Most people still don’t know that they are pregnant by week 3. Usually, symptoms of pregnancy aren’t apparent at this stage and women have not missed their menstrual period yet. At this point, your baby is now referred to as an “embryo”.
The first thing you will likely notice is that you have missed your period. You may start to notice some breast tenderness, cramps in the abdominal area, or nausea at this point. Your baby is growing and is now the size of 1 millimeter and its organs are now starting to form.
This is the week where most women notice some symptoms. Nausea and breast tenderness may now be more apparent. Additional symptoms can include mood swings, frequent urination, and headaches.
By this week, almost all women would have noticed some changes in their breasts. The breasts are preparing to produce milk once the baby is born. The breasts may feel heavier and fuller. In addition, the areola (nipples) may enlarge and darken in colour. You may also notice some slight weight gain.
At this stage, the uterus is now twice as large as it once was and more blood is now delivered to this area. Women may experience morning sickness. Despite its name, it actually can occur at all hours of the day. Make sure you have made an appointment to see your doctor for a prenatal visit.
Women notice that their breasts are increasingly getting larger. Some even report that the skin is stretching, which causes itchiness. Your bras may be getting tighter and your tender breasts may feel discomfort. You may want to purchase some larger bras made with less irritating material.
Your body is increasingly getting bigger and you may start to feel bloated. The bloating is more likely caused by water retention than the actual baby itself. You might also experience fatigue, which is common during the first trimester. At this point, your body is putting lots of extra energy into helping your baby grow.
You are now a quarter way through your pregnancy! Your baby is now around 1.2 inches long. By this week, the amount of blood in your body increases vastly. The increased hormones in your body may cause some moodiness. Weight gain is progressing and you may notice that you are losing your figure. Some women also notice increased acne or blotchiness in their skin due to the increased hormones.
Some women start to notice “the bump” in their abdominal area. Some women also report that their skin is dryer, oilier, or itchy. This all depends on how your body reacts to the hormones and your pregnancy. By this week, morning sickness is beginning to fade away.
At this point, your baby is now the size of the plum. Most women find relief in knowing that the risk of miscarriage has gone down significantly by this point. Some symptoms you may notice include a dark vertical line on your abdominal region, known as the Linea Negra. Increased estrogen and progesterone levels in your body may cause some pigmentation spots on your body.
By this week, most of the morning sickness has cleared up. Now, you may start to experience cravings for food! The cravings you experience may be for things you never enjoyed in the past. You might notice that your clothes are starting to not fit as well, and you may need to go purchase some maternity clothes soon.
First trimester tips
Avoid negative lifestyle choices like drinking and smoking. In addition, it is advised to eat a variety of healthy foods. Although it might be difficult, it is best if you cut out caffeine from your diet as well. Be also sure to visit your doctor to rule out any medications that may be harmful to you and your baby.
Pregnancy Week by Week Exposed
Many symptoms you once had in your first trimester are either decreased or gone completely. You may now no longer notice morning sickness or breast tenderness. However, a new symptom you may have noticed is nasal congestion. Most women think that this is just a cold or allergies. However, it actually is caused by the extra hormones in your body that are increasing blood flow to your nose.
From the start of you pregnancy to now, you may have gained from 5-10 pounds. Your doctor may measure the size of your baby by feeling the size of your belly. This is not a true measurement of your baby, but an estimate. New symptoms that may occur are varicose veins. The varicose veins will likely go away after your pregnancy. You can alleviate some of the discomfort by elevating your legs.
Your baby is now large enough that you may start to feel some movement. Some women may experience it earlier than week 16, whereas some women might have to wait until after week 20 to feel the first kick.
You might be notice a fluttering feeling in your stomach. It is similar to the feeling you get when you get butterflies in your stomach. This feeling is actually the squirming of your baby in your uterus. You will continue to notice that you are gaining extra weight. Acne and dark pigmentation spots may continue to be a problem.
You may notice that you aren’t as tired or your morning sickness is gone. However, some women notice that they feel dizzy at times. This is due to the changes in your cardiovascular system.
Your baby is now rapidly growing. The palms of your hands might be red, and you may develop the “mask of pregnancy”. The mask of pregnancy causes the cheeks, forehead and upper lip to darken. There is no need to worry, as this is all normal.
You are now halfway through your pregnancy! From now on, you are likely to gain 1 to two pounds per week as your baby grows. In addition, you may notice that it is difficult to find a comfortable position while sleeping due to your large belly.
At this point, your belly may start to show. You may also notice “spider veins” as you continue to gain weight. Spider veins refer to tiny blood vessels that are visible right underneath the skin. They are caused by the extra blood in your body and are likely to show up on your ankles, legs, or face.
Your continued weight gain will cause some stretch marks on your abdominal area, breasts, or buttocks. Despite it being a normal pregnancy symptom, many women worry that it will leave a scar. You may find it useful to try out some topical creams that prevent stretch marks.
Swelling on your ankles or feet is now more likely to occur. It is caused by the increased blood flow in your body and it can be more pronounced in hot weather. Swelling is also caused by edema (or water retention). Excessive swelling is abnormal and should be checked out by a physician.
Physicians recommend that pregnant women get tested for gestational diabetes between the weeks of 24 and 28. Also by this stage, you will notice that your belly has grown dramatically. It is time to pick up some maternity clothes if you haven’t already.
Mood swings may start to affect you more at this point. On the bright side, you may now start to notice a lot more movement in your belly and your baby kicks around, squirms, or punches.
Your growing baby may cause some back pain. Your stomach is bigger and your abdominal muscles are becoming weaker as they stretch. If your back pain is affecting you a lot, you may find relief in not sitting in one position for too long. You should also refrain from lifting heavy objects.
Leg cramps and backaches continue to be a symptom in some women. Those who did not experience it earlier may experience it now. Some women may also notice increased gas levels in their body, leading to burping and bloating.
Second trimester tips
Women may complain of backache during their pregnancy. While some of it can be attributed to the pregnancy process, it might also have to do with the type of shoes you are wearing. High heels or shoes with no support can be a problem, now that you are carrying the extra weight of your baby. By week 18, it is advisable to lie down on your side to decrease the pressure on your veins. Some women avoid drinking water when they are experiencing water retention. However, it is important to remember to still drink plenty of fluids.For more pregnancy week by week tips and symptoms, continue reading below…
Frequent urination may be a new symptom for some expecting mothers. The baby is now large enough that it adds pressure to the bladder. By this stage in pregnancy, your doctor may request to see you bi-weekly.
You will have definitely notice some drastic weight gain at this stage. However, your body will likely put on another 10 pounds before you give birth. Your body is now producing milk and you may notice some leakage from your breasts.
Women are likely still experiencing back aches at this stage. Some women also notice that they are constipated. Eating fibrous foods will be helpful to get your bowel movements normal again.
Some women may find that their backaches interfere with their everyday life. Many women find it helpful to wear a pregnancy girdle. Women may also notice that they are short of breath. This often occurs when the baby is pushing up against your lungs.
Women may notice more signs of heartburn. Heartburn occurs when the baby puts pressure on the stomach, causing the valve between your stomach and intestine to open. Women may also experience more fluid retention. It is important to note that if you have extreme fluid retention, it may be a sign of preeclampsia. It is characterized by swelling hands and face as well as abnormally rapid weight gain.
By this time period, you likely will experience similar symptoms as you did the week before. Some women may notice that they have small contractions. These contractions are known as Braxton Hicks contractions. They are believed to prepare your body for the real contractions.
Women may continue to notice shortness of breath as the growing baby continues to add pressure to your lungs. You may be relieved to know that the symptoms will decrease as your baby prepares for delivery and drops lower into your abdominal region.
Symptoms such as constipation, heartburn, backache, and moodiness might all still be present. Some women report a psychological symptom – anxiety. As the time draws closer to your pregnancy, women may start to get anxious.
Hot flushes may appear around week 36. You will find it more comfortable if you wear airy clothes that allow fresh air to circulate around your body. By week 36, your belly is so big that you might find it uncomfortable to eat full meals due to the lack of room in your abdominal region. Try eating several smaller meals each day instead of 3 large meals.
By this stage, your breasts may feel extra large and heavy. Your body is prepared to start breast feeding if needed. It is now more likely to you will notice leaking milk from you breasts. This is normal, but you may want to purchase a nursing pad to protect the leakage from getting onto your bras.
You are almost there! Be sure to know the differences between different types of labours. Pre-labour: this is the time period where your body is preparing for birth. Braxton Hicks contractions is a symptom of this type of labour. Real labour: Real labour occurs when your water breaks and your contractions get more intense and frequent. False labour: This occurs when the Braxton Hicks contactions feel similar enough to the real thing. To differentiate between the two, Braxton Hicks contractions do not become more frequent over time.
You will experience all the normal late pregnancy symptoms like you have in the past few weeks. However, it is possible that you may lose your mucous plug. Your mucus plug closes off your uterus from the baby to protect it from infections. Symptoms of a lost mucous plug include discharge. The discharge may be tinted with some blood.
At this last expected week in pregnancy, it will be useful if you stay home most of the time incase you get into labour. It is likely that you will experience some pre-labour symptoms now. You may be confused whether you are in pre-labour, false labour, or true labour. The easiest way to confirm whether or not your labour is real is to see if your water has broken.
Week 3 trimester tips
If heartburn is disrupting your sleep, you might find it helpful to use some pillows to prop yourself up at night. Some women find that lying flat worsens the symptoms of heartburn. Eating several smaller meals per day versus 3 large ones may also be helpful.These pregnancy week by week tips are to act as a guide. It is important to remember that each pregnancy is unique and each expecting mother may have a different experience. All the best in your pregnancy!
Angela S. Snyder is an author of dieting articles including Diet Information, Weight Loss Success, Total Fat, Body Fat, Fat Scales, Special Diets, Herbal Weight Loss, Natural Herbal Products, Chinese Herbal Products, Teen Eating Disorders, Eating Disorders, Eating Disorder Information. Keep a lookout for more of her articles coming soon.