You have found out you are pregnant – congratulations! Now you want to find out as much information as you can, what can you expect in the first three months of your pregnancy or as it is also known First Trimester of Pregnancy, that’s weeks 1 to 12. This can be a time when you feel anxious and baffled with the unknown. But when you are armed with the correct facts, you will be prepared to tackle the varying signs which may occur. Take pleasure in the experience because before you know it your new arrival will appear.
During the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy you may encounter nausea, tiredness or sore back, and your mood can change very quickly from being extremely happy to being in tears and stress. However remember that this is all typical at this time. The cause of being this uncomfortable at the start of your pregnancy is due to your elevated hormones, e.g. human chorionic gonadotropin, progesterone, estrogen etc, which are actually helping your pregnancy and allowing it to progress, although it may not feel like it. Women who do not suffer morning sickness have a higher chance of miscarrying. Also remember a lot of these side effects will not be present in the second trimester.
The effects of smoking and drinking when pregnant are well documented in causing damage to your baby; therefore this is the time to stop. Well done if you have stopped already.
The first trimester is when you have your first prenatal visit (usually between 8 and 10 weeks) where your healthcare practitioner will take a full and detailed family medical history to assess if there is anything which could affect the pregnancy. Your own medical and sexual history will be discussed and you can expect to get a full physical examination. To check if everything is going well, an ultrasound examination may be carried out at this time.
You may be able to hear the heart beat of your baby round about the 12th week but in some instances it can be longer, so don’t worry.
Now you are between three and six months pregnant, also known as Second Trimester of Pregnancy, weeks 13-28. You have coped with the sickness and lethargy associated with the first three months. This stage you are now entering is sometimes called the ‘honeymoon stage’ as you will not experience as many pregnancy related symptoms. You are halfway through your pregnancy and it will now be showing, you will have a bump and be feeling very contented with it and getting excited about meeting him or her. Your hormones are now settling down and you are beginning to think: what décor will I use for the nursery, crib bedding sets, baby cribs?
You will still be seeing your healthcare practitioner every 4 weeks. When you are nearing week 28 and onwards, your prenatal visits happen more often. You are probably not having any feelings of nausea and fatigue by now and you will be seeing your body changing. Some women experience backache which is related to the pregnancy and it can be annoying. Pregnancy pillows may help alleviate the discomfort you are experiencing. By now you will be shopping for your maternity clothes and your growing bump will be getting bigger.
The quick growth of your baby begins about now and you may be able to feel movement of the baby between the 18th and 22nd week. Women who are in their second pregnancy can sometimes detect movement before this time. Your baby will weigh about 1.2 pounds and measure 8.5 inches. At this time the gender may be determined via ultrasound.
For some pregnant woman who did not hear the heart beat of their baby in the first trimester, this is a time when both parents can hear it and experience the wonder.
Around this time your visits to the bathroom should be lessening, you will also have more energy. This is the good time to do regular exercise as it will give you more energy and enable you to sleep better. It is also good for making you feel good about yourself and your body.
Where has the time gone? You are now between six and nine months pregnant, Third Trimester of Pregnancy, weeks 29-40 and not long to go before you meet the new addition.
Your baby bump will be growing more, and you will be putting weight on and feeling as if your bump is about to burst. Enjoy this experience.
Labor and delivery are approaching so rest up as much as you can and listen to the advice offered by your healthcare professional. This means the delivery will go well. Your baby’s lungs and respiratory system are maturing at this time and your baby is still growing and gaining weight.
Your baby is ready for birth and is mature between weeks 37 and 42. You may soon experience Braxton Hicks contractions and strong labor pains may occur which will mean you delivering your baby. The average weight and height of a baby is 7.5 pounds and 18-21 inches long, but remember that all babies are different.
You may also experience some of the symptoms from your first trimester, visiting the bathroom more often and feeling extremely tired. Your sleep can also be affected at this time, usually because you are trying to get comfortable. You could try to sleep on your side with a pillow wedged between your legs. Also use another pillow behind your back. You could be like many women at this stage, the only time you feel comfortable in bed is when you are propped up.
As the baby keeps growing and leaning against your stomach, your heartburn may get worse. Try to eat smaller amounts of food and try not to lie down until two hours have passed after eating.
This is one of the most exciting times during your pregnancy and all the ailments and discomfort are forgotten as you welcome your new baby home.