Expecting a baby? Your body will experience many changes during the course of your pregnancy. You probably have tons of questions regarding how these changes will affect you. We’ve provided a breakdown of what to expect during each month of your pregnancy.
During the first week of month 1, you may not even know you’re pregnant. Women usually ovulate evenly in between your period (about 14 days from your menstrual cycle), which is when conception should occur. During the fourth week, women generally take a home pregnancy test that indicates whether you’re pregnant or not.
Your baby is still tiny and you may not be showing. However, your baby’s heart, brain, spinal cord, muscle, and bones are beginning to develop. By week 6, your doctor may be able to hear a heartbeat during an ultrasound. During the second month, you begin to feel physical changes in your body. Morning sickness, tender breasts, moodiness and queasiness are all typical symptoms during this phase of your pregnancy.
At this point, you may feel yourself gaining weight and feeling more comfortable in looser clothes. Unless you shared the great news with others, they won’t notice your weight gain. You may be experiencing food cravings, nausea or indigestion at this point. By the end of the third month, your baby has developed arms, hands, fingers, feet and toes. Your baby also begins to develop its reproductive organs. However, it is too difficult to determine gender on an ultrasound. Now that your baby has experienced the most critical part of development, your chance of having a miscarriage decreases significantly.
You are now entering the second trimester of pregnancy. Morning sickness begins to subside and you may start feeling more energetic. Your baby’s bones are hardening and its facial features begin to form. With limbs moving and a functioning nervous system, your baby is now responsive to interactions outside the womb. For example, if something pokes your belly you may feel your baby try to move away. Your health care provider may now be able to use an ultrasound to see the gender of your baby.
Your baby is growing significantly and is learning to breathe and hear. If an ultrasound could not determine the gender of your baby in the previous month, it should be able to now. Weight gain and an increase in appetite are typical during this time period. The rapid growth of your baby may cause some abdominal aches, dizziness, swelling of ankles or backaches. The best thing to do is relax and move slowly when changing positions (i.e. sitting down, getting up).
This month marks the halfway point in your pregnancy. You’re finally showing and by the end of the month, your baby should be almost fully formed. You may be able to feel your baby hiccup and your partner can hear the baby’s heartbeat.
Now that you are entering your third trimester, you may feel growth changes for you and your baby. Your baby’s hearing is fully developed hearing, can cry and actively sucks his or her thumb. Typical pregnancy symptoms for this point include leg cramps, swelling of ankles and feet, difficulty sleeping, shortness of breath, lower abdominal aches, or Braxton Hicks contractions.
As you enter the final stages of pregnancy you are most likely anticipating the birth. Your baby continuously grows and should measure at about 18-20 inches and weigh about 4-5 pounds. This stage and the following weeks mark significant growth for your baby – your baby will gain most of its weight at this time. Now is the time to consider options for childcare, whether you plan on breastfeeding and if you wish to return to work after birth.
While you’re in the home stretch of your pregnancy, you may feel some discomfort. You may experience difficulty sleeping, pain in the buttocks and pelvis, and contractions. At this point you should visit your doctor weekly. Be sure to have a packed bag filled with all necessary items for when you go into labor.