Stages of pregnancy

Development and Stages of pregnancy

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Anticipating Pregnancy Related Changes  

What does the course of a pregnancy look like? This article explains pregnancy milestones and describes its general stages. 

Early Pregnancy: The Initial Weeks

Conception, marking the commencement of pregnancy, is the first big milestone – closely followed by a second major event: Realizing you are expecting. 

  • Conception: Pregnancy begins at fertilization, followed by the implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus. For more information go to How Does Pregnancy Happen
  • Early Symptoms: About two weeks later, changes will become palpable, signaling the onset of pregnancy. Read more about Pregnancy Symptoms
  • Pregnancy Test: Verification is usually sought by means of a pregnancy test, or a pregnancy confirmation appointment
  • Correct Positioning? Using ultrasound, your gynecologist will be able to determine whether the pregnancy is intrauterine or ectopic. 
  • Note:  Since the weeks of pregnancy start counting from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP), you are already considered 2 weeks pregnant at conception, and 4 weeks pregnant by the time your next period becomes overdue. 

🤰 Unsure whether you are pregnant or not? Take the Online Pregnancy Test

🗓 Wondering how far along you are?  Use the Pregnancy Calculator

 

Pregnancy Stages - an Overview

The nine months – or 40 weeks – of pregnancy are divided into trimesters of approx. 3 months each. The first trimester lasts from week 1 to 12, the second trimester ends at week 27 and the third trimester spans the remainder of the pregnancy. 

 

Physical Changes in the Mother 

Fetal Development 

First Trimester 

1st - 12th Week 

 

 

Experiences during this trimester may vary greatly: 

  • Some women encounter strong pregnancy symptoms (pulling and stretching of ligaments, breast tenderness, nausea, cravings, fatigue, increased urinary frequency) 

  • Other women have very few complaints

This is truly amazing: 

 

Two cells unite, forming a new human being with its own DNA. This miniature human develops from within. After only 5 weeks a heartbeat can be detected. All essential organs have begun to form by the end of the first trimester. 

Second Trimester 

13th - 24th Week

Most women enjoy this trimester. The bump is not uncomfortably large, and the increased level of hormones allow her to experience the “pregnancy glow.” She feels and looks great! 😉 

Organs continue to develop. By the end of the second trimester all organs relating to the baby’s senses are functional and are already being put to use. The baby moves around a lot as it learns and explores. 

Third Trimester 

25th Week to Birth

The baby-bump continues to grow. Your uterus will expand 100-fold its original size, making room for the growing baby, as well as the amniotic fluid and the placenta. 

Even though this stage may be more exhausting, most women get a second wind as their nesting-instinct kicks in. This helps them get ready for the baby. 

While most of the main developments are completed, this trimester is marked by major weight gain. Deposits of fat develop under the skin, gearing the baby up for birth.  

Ideally the baby’s head will start descending into the pelvis, ready for delivery

 

 

Mother's passport

In many regions, a booklet or card is distributed to expectant mothers where all pregnancy related medical information is stored (e.g., prenatal visits, ultrasound results, maternal weight gain, etc.). The pregnant mother is encouraged to keep this maternity record with her at all times. This assures consistent care, even when seeing several medical providers. Often hospital staff request to see the card when checking you into the labor ward for delivery. 

 

Hormones - Transitions - Uncertainty

As you read about the pregnancy milestones which are often celebrated, you may be experiencing little or no joy. 

Perhaps the pregnancy was unintended – or your anticipation simply morphed into anxiety.  

 

Hormonal Change

You are not alone! Many expectant mothers, whether their pregnancy was planned or not, are overcome with doubts and fears during early pregnancy. The first 12 weeks of pregnancy are marked by drastic changes in hormone levels which trigger the physical changes necessary to create a nurturing environment for the developing baby.  

You may feel out of control, wondering, “What is happening with my body?” or “Did I ask for this?” 

Additionally, shifts in hormone levels are commonly accompanied by emotional upheaval. It is normal to feel more emotional or even depressed during the initial months of pregnancy. 

 

Almost There!

The good news is, this chaos of emotions is usually a natural part of early pregnancy, which should subside with the completion of the first trimester. 

Even if it feels like this will never end, you have almost made it! Many women feel the negative emotions subside by the end of the first trimester, making room for anticipation, or even joy. 

 

When you feel alone...

Amid this turmoil of emotions, an overwhelming number of thoughts may be flooding your mind. We realize that making decisions, while experiencing brain fog, can seem almost impossible. That is why we have created unbiased resources to walk you through your decision-making process. Why not give our free digital coaching resources a try? 

 

 

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Disclaimer: While profemina aims to provide you with the most up-to-date information, policies and procedures of pregnancy recording frequently change. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of all the details given in this article. 

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