Stages of Pregnancy

From the early signs of pregnancy, the missed period, and the final doctor’s confirmation there is a jumble of feelings that you are probably feeling. But as the confirmation strikes, your excitement might even soar higher than you can imagine. After all, there is new life budding within you. But just as you are certain that you have a bun in the oven, there a lot of questions that quiz your mind. Of course, they are part of all the excitement and anticipation. Yet, they can keep you up at night. One such point is the subsequent stages of pregnancy that are to come.

Stages of Pregnancy: The Three Trimesters

When there is life growing in your womb, it is only natural that more than half the time you are wondering how much the baby has grown. Or what is to follow next. Typically, your pregnancy starts with your last menstrual date (LMP) and extends till the date of delivery. This time period amounts to 40 weeks or 9 months as you know.

Each pregnancy is different from another. Even if this is your second child, you cannot expect the signs and symptoms to be the same at all. Therefore, your signs may vary but will, somewhat, fall in the parameter of all that is described specific to each trimester.

Beginning with a trimester. This is the duration of three months that divides your baby-in-the-womb period into 3 stages. Each trimester exhibits different signs. Your body will also experience varying changes. At the same time, your baby grows more and more with each successive stage.

To cut to the chase, here is how the 3 trimesters of your pregnancy are divided:

1st trimester: This stage commences with conception and goes up to the 12th week of your pregnancy.

2nd trimester: The second trimester starts with the 13th week of your pregnancy and extends up to the 27th week.

3rd trimester: This trimester picks up from where the second trimester ends and lasts until the birth of your child.

The First Trimester

The first trimester is where the stages of your pregnancy are initiated. In addition to the initial excitement, there is a lot of guessing game your child plays with you. Some women fail to pick up any early signs of pregnancy. Others might see a lot of signs.

So, essentially this is a stage where your child initiates the guessing game until you miss a period that starts to ring confirmation bells (in most cases of women who have a regular menstrual cycle).

By the time you figure that you are pregnant, your baby is almost a month old. So, that’s 1 month down and 2 more to go to complete the first trimester successfully. Let’s divide what happens to you and your baby to get a better grip of the situation.

Signs that you feel

In the first trimester, fatigue is the most common. You might even have to change your sleeping and eating patterns. There is a possibility that you might feel hungrier than your usual. Or you might lose your appetite altogether.

Nausea and morning sickness are also common along with a disturbed digestive tract. This is due to the change in your hormones. This hormonal fluctuation can also gift you mood swings. It is possible that you either gain weight or lose weight; both of which are common. What you need to be careful about though is trying to eat well so you can support your little one in the best way possible.

Here is a wrap of all the signs that you’d face during this time:

  • Nausea and morning sickness
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Food craving or aversions
  • Mood swings
  • Frequent urination
  • Headaches
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue

What’s happening with the baby?

In the initial journey, after fertilization, your little champ is nothing more than a mass of cells that travels to your womb to be implanted. Next, the cells divide rapidly and the placenta is also formed. This is an essential bonding tube between the mother and child for the exchange of nutrients and waste.

During this time, your child forms:

  • The heart and nervous system begin to form
  • Little fingers and toes start to grow
  • Buds for the future teeth also appear
  • Muscles begin to grow

This development is in the initial stages of pregnancy. As you near the second trimester that is towards the end of the first trimester, your child has:

  • Formation of all the major organ
  • The baby has a beating heart
  • The face begins to develop features
  • The external sex organ also reveals the gender of the baby
  • The umbilical cord becomes visible

By this time, your child is nearly 3 inches long. Be mindful that any defects in the pregnancy are detected during this stage. Miscarriages also often occur during these initial 12 weeks of your baby’s new life.

The Second Trimester

Among the stages of pregnancy, this one is comparatively easy. There is less fatigue during this period as compared to the first three months. Also, there isn’t as much weight as you’d put in the next stage so you are at peace somewhat.

Signs that you feel

This is the time when your baby bump will become visible. The abdomen expands to give space to your growing baby. And you will also be able to feel your baby move. Most of the changes in this trimester are noticeable ones.

Although your fatigue may abate but there are still aches that can come such as that of the back or thighs. Stretch marks also occur. Your hands might tingle too or feel numb. This is known as carpal tunnel syndrome. Your ankles, fingers, and feet may also swell.

Here is a sum-up of what you would feel in these three months:

  • Thigh, back, and abdomen pain
  • Appearance of stretch marks
  • Patches of darker skin. These are usually on the cheeks, nose, forehead or upper lip.
  • Itching on the soles of feet, palms, and abdomen
  • Tingling or numb hands
  • Swelling of fingers, feet or ankles

What’s happening with the baby?

There is a lot that is going on at this time of your pregnancy. By the sixth month, the baby’s eyes begin to open, hair grow, and the brain starts to develop rapidly. At the same time, your child’s lungs are also formed but they don’t function just yet.

By week 20, your baby can swallow, hear, and even scratch itself. Taste buds also form on your child’s tongue during the later stage of the second pregnancy. Your baby also sleeps and wakes up on a regular basis for this stage onward.

To sum up, your baby during this time has:

  • An active schedule
  • Your baby moves around and you can feel the movement
  • The baby can swallow and hear
  • Fingernails, eyebrows, and eyelashes are all formed
  • The baby is covered with a fine waxy layer called vernix and feathery hair termed lanugo that protects it
  • The baby has a regular sleep cycle

By the end of this stage, your child is about 12 inches long.

The Third Trimester

This is the final period of the stages of pregnancy. The discomforts of the second trimester may continue. But these will be accompanied by more issues. As the baby grows and takes up more space, there is more pressure on your internal organs.

Resultantly, you might face difficulty in breathing and urinating. The baby and the excitement of the new arrival can keep you up for long hours.

Signs that you feel

There is a lot that you would be feeling during these final months of your pregnancy. You might experience false labor. You will also feel the baby’s dropping or moving lower into the abdomen movements.

Thus, altogether you would be feeling the following signs during this trimester:

  • Herat burn
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • False contractions or labor pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty in urination
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Swelling of ankles, feet, and face

What’s happening with the baby?

The fetus assumes a head-down position so that it can make its grand entrance. The lungs are mature and functioning too. Also, the baby gains rapid weight. Your baby’s movements are not that forceful but you will feel the wiggles and stretches.

Here is a summary of what is happening with the baby in these final stages of pregnancy:

  • The protective layer around the baby called vernix grows thicker
  • Your child gain weight rapidly
  • The baby has a fully mature and functioning set of lungs
  • The bones fully formed but soft
  • The baby’s body also commences to store vital minerals like iron

By the end of this trimester, your baby’s organs are all ready and fully functioning. Typically, the child is about 19 to 21 inches long. And the weight ranges between 6 pounds plus 2 ounces and 9 pounds plus 2 ounces, which is the normal weight range of newborn babies.

During these stages of pregnancy, there is a lot that is going on. Your baby assumes various sizes and your body experiences a lot of changes. But now that you have a glimpse of what possibly happens during these 9 months, you might prepare yourself a bit better.

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A shopaholic at heart and an avid reader, Masooma is a freelance writer who loves to watch out for the latest trends and makeup items that swamp the stores. Additionally, she is a lover of beautiful prose and brews stories instead of coffee. She has two published short stories named Blues and The Alliance of Al Vertia.

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