Pregnancy is an exciting time of your life. It’s also a time when your body goes through lots of changes. Here is an outline of what changes you can expect to experience as your pregnancy progresses, as well as guidance on when to schedule doctor appointments and tests.
Your First Trimester
Your pregnancy (expected day of delivery) is calculated by adding 280 days (40 weeks) to the first day of your last menstrual period.
And the fetus begins developing at the time of conception. Then your body begins producing pregnancy hormones.
As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, it’s time to cut out any unhealthy habits and start taking prenatal vitamins. You may also want to take folic acid supplements — they are important for fetal brain development.
Before the end of your first trimester, you should have a doctor in place that you’ll plan to see during your pregnancy.
Here’s a breakdown of what you have to look forward to!
|Week||What to Expect|
|1||Right now your body is preparing for conception.|
|2||It’s time to start eating a healthy diet, taking prenatal vitamins, and stopping any unhealthy habits.|
|3||Around this time your egg is fertilized and implanting in your uterus, and you may experience mild cramping and extra vaginal discharge.|
|4||You’ve probably noticed that you’re pregnant! You can take a home pregnancy test to find out for sure.|
|5||You might begin experiencing symptoms like breast tenderness, tiredness, and nausea.|
|6||Hello morning sickness! Week six has many women running to the bathroom with an upset stomach.|
|7||Morning sickness may be in full swing and the mucus plug in your cervix has now formed to protect your uterus.|
|8||It’s time for your first prenatal doctor visit — usually during weeks 8 to 12.|
|9||Your uterus is growing, your breasts are tender, and your body is producing more blood.|
|10||At the first visit, your doctor will do several tests, like examining blood and urine. They’ll also talk to you about lifestyle habits and genetic testing.|
|11||You’ll begin to gain a few pounds. If you haven’t already had your first doctor visit, you may be getting the first ultrasound and blood tests done during this week.|
|12||Dark patches on your face and neck, called chloasma or the mask of pregnancy, might also start to appear.|
|13||This is the final week of your first trimester! Your breasts are getting larger now as the first stages of breast milk, called colostrum, begin to fill them.|
Your Second Trimester
Your body changes a lot throughout your second trimester. Going from feeling excited to overwhelmed is not unusual. Your doctor will see you once every four weeks to measure the baby’s growth, check the heartbeat, and perform blood or urine tests to make sure you and the baby are healthy.
By the end of your second trimester, your belly has grown significantly and people have started to notice that you’re pregnant!
|Week||What to Expect|
|14||You’ve reached the second trimester! It’s time to break out those maternity clothes (if you haven’t already).|
|15||Your doctor may suggest a blood test for genetic disorders, called a maternal serum screen or quad screen.|
|16||If you have a family history of genetic defects, like Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, or spina bifida, this is also the time to discuss an amniocentesis test with your doctor.|
|17||By this time you’ve probably gone up a bra size or two.|
|18||People may really start to notice that you’re pregnant!|
|19||You may start to feel like your allergies are acting up a bit more during these weeks.|
|20||You’ve made it half way! An ultrasound at this prenatal visit can tell you the baby’s sex.|
|21||For most women, these weeks are enjoyable, with only small discomforts. You may notice some acne, but this can be taken care of with regular washing.|
|22||Now is a good time to begin birthing classes, if you’re planning on taking them.|
|23||You may start to have trouble sleeping at night due to normal pregnancy discomforts like urinating often, heartburn, and leg cramps.|
|24||Your doctor may want you to schedule a blood sugar test between weeks 24 and 28 to see if you have gestational diabetes.|
|25||Your baby may now be about 13 inches long and 2 pounds.|
|26||In the final weeks of your second trimester, you have probably gained 16 to 22 pounds.|
You’re almost there! You’ll begin to gain significant weight during your third trimester as your baby continues to grow.
As you begin to approach labor, your doctor or midwife may also do a physical exam to see if your cervix is thinning or beginning to open.
Your doctor may recommend a nonstress test to check on the baby if you don’t go into labor by your due date. If you or the baby are at risk, labor may be induced using medication, or in an emergency situation doctors may perform a cesarean delivery.
|Week||What to Expect|
|27||Welcome to your third trimester! You’re feeling the baby move a lot now and you might be asked by the doctor to keep track of your baby’s activity levels.|
|28||Doctor visits become more frequent now — about twice a month. Your doctor may also recommend a nonstress test to check the baby’s health.|
|29||You may start to notice discomforts like constipation and hemorrhoids.|
|30||The hormones your body is making at this stage cause your joints to loosen. In some women, this means your feet can grow a whole shoe size larger!|
|31||At this stage you might experience some leaking. As your body prepares for labor, you may start having Braxton-Hicks (false) contractions.|
|32||By this time you’re most likely gaining a pound a week.|
|33||Now your body has about 40 to 50 percent more blood!|
|34||You may be feeling very tired at this point, from trouble sleeping and other normal pregnancy aches and pains.|
|35||Your belly button may be tender or have turned into an “outie.” You might also feel short of breath as your uterus presses against your rib cage.|
|36||This is the home stretch! Prenatal visits are now weekly until you deliver. This includes a vaginal swab to test for the bacteria group B streptococcus.|
|37||This week you may pass your mucus plug, which was blocking your cervix to keep out unwanted bacteria. Losing the plug means you’re one step closer to labor.|
|38||You may notice swelling. Tell your doctor if you notice extreme swelling in your hands, feet, or ankles, because this could be a sign of pregnancy-caused high blood pressure.|
|39||By this time your cervix should be getting ready for birth by thinning and opening. Braxton-Hicks contractions may get more intense as labor gets closer.|
|40||Congratulations! You made it! If you haven’t had your baby yet, he or she will probably arrive any day.|