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

pregnant woman buying pregnancy books

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!

WeekWhat to Expect
1Right now your body is preparing for conception.
2It’s time to start eating a healthy diet, taking prenatal vitamins, and stopping any unhealthy habits.
3Around this time your egg is fertilized and implanting in your uterus, and you may experience mild cramping and extra vaginal discharge.
4You’ve probably noticed that you’re pregnant! You can take a home pregnancy test to find out for sure.
5You might begin experiencing symptoms like breast tenderness, tiredness, and nausea.
6Hello morning sickness! Week six has many women running to the bathroom with an upset stomach.
7Morning sickness may be in full swing and the mucus plug in your cervix has now formed to protect your uterus.
8It’s time for your first prenatal doctor visit — usually during weeks 8 to 12.
9Your uterus is growing, your breasts are tender, and your body is producing more blood.
10At 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.
11You’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.
12Dark patches on your face and neck, called chloasma or the mask of pregnancy, might also start to appear.
13This 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

second trimester pregnant woman

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!

WeekWhat to Expect
14You’ve reached the second trimester! It’s time to break out those maternity clothes (if you haven’t already).
15Your doctor may suggest a blood test for genetic disorders, called a maternal serum screen or quad screen.
16If 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.
17By this time you’ve probably gone up a bra size or two.
18People may really start to notice that you’re pregnant!
19You may start to feel like your allergies are acting up a bit more during these weeks.
20You’ve made it half way! An ultrasound at this prenatal visit can tell you the baby’s sex.
21For 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.
22Now is a good time to begin birthing classes, if you’re planning on taking them.
23You may start to have trouble sleeping at night due to normal pregnancy discomforts like urinating often, heartburn, and leg cramps.
24Your doctor may want you to schedule a blood sugar test between weeks 24 and 28 to see if you have gestational diabetes.
25Your baby may now be about 13 inches long and 2 pounds.
26In the final weeks of your second trimester, you have probably gained 16 to 22 pounds.

Third Trimester

third trimester pregnant woman

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.

WeekWhat to Expect
27Welcome 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.
28Doctor visits become more frequent now — about twice a month. Your doctor may also recommend a nonstress test to check the baby’s health.
29You may start to notice discomforts like constipation and hemorrhoids.
30The 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!
31At this stage you might experience some leaking. As your body prepares for labor, you may start having Braxton-Hicks (false) contractions.
32By this time you’re most likely gaining a pound a week.
33Now your body has about 40 to 50 percent more blood!
34You may be feeling very tired at this point, from trouble sleeping and other normal pregnancy aches and pains.
35Your 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.
36This 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.
37This 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.
38You 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.
39By 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.
40Congratulations! You made it! If you haven’t had your baby yet, he or she will probably arrive any day.