What to Expect in Each Trimester of Your Pregnancy
Your journey to motherhood is one that is filled with awe and wonder as well as discovering new aches and pains that previously never existed. Read on to find out what to expect as you pass each trimester.
Being pregnant can be one of the most exciting times in your life. The miracle of growing a baby is an incredible experience. Although pregnancy is commonly referred to as a nine-month journey, you are actually pregnant for closer to ten months - 40 weeks total. Your pregnancy is divided into three trimesters, each lasting 13 to 14 weeks, and each with distinct changes occurring.
The first trimester can seem like the shortest, because by the time you see your OB/GYN - typically at the eighth week - two of the three months of your first trimester are gone. It can be hard to wrap your mind around the reality that you are pregnant since you may not be experiencing any pregnancy symptoms and since it is too early to be showing.
You may experience morning sickness during the first trimester. It can occur from day one and continue through the entire pregnancy, yet most women only have bouts of nausea for a handful of weeks. Although it is called morning sickness, it can hit at any time throughout the day or night. Ginger ale and saltine crackers can become your best friends. Other symptoms you may have to deal with include headaches, sore breasts, mood swings, and food aversions. All women and all pregnancies are different, so don't let your family, friends, or co-workers scare you with their horror pregnancy stories!
As for the precious angel you are growing inside of you, the changes in the first trimester are incredible. In these three months, your little one starts out no bigger than a sesame seed. By the end of the three months, they have grown to the size of a peach. Their entire bodies are formed during this trimester, from their arms and legs to their organs - even their hair follicles and nail beds are formed.
The first trimester is also the time to start strictly following all of the pregnancy rules. Basically try to live as healthy of a life as possible. Do not drink alcohol, smoke, eat unhealthy fatty foods, skip meals, or not get adequate sleep. It has been said that a pregnant woman's body while resting in a chair is exerting as much energy as a non-pregnant woman hiking up a mountain! Your body needs all the sleep, fuel, and energy you can provide at this time.
You need to be taking prenatal vitamins as well - which are actually recommended for several months prior to becoming pregnant - as your body needs all of the essential vitamins and minerals that even a healthy diet alone cannot provide. The most important vitamin needed is folic acid, which can prevent spina bifida, a serious birth defect that affects your baby's spine.
The second trimester takes place between weeks 14 and 27, ending around your seventh month. Thankfully, pesky first trimester symptoms usually disappear. This is also when your baby is the busiest. They sprout hair, their ears and eyes move into place, and they begin sucking and swallowing. By the 18th week, baby can yawn and get the hiccups, and has a full set of fingerprints. One of the most exciting events is around 22 weeks when you can begin to feel little flutter kicks. Between the sixth and seventh month, your baby will almost double in weight, reaching about two pounds by the conclusion of your second trimester.
This trimester will likely end up being your favourite. You will have more energy, and finally have that adorable belly bump that you have always looked forward to! The cute maternity clothes are in full swing and no one wonders anymore whether you are pregnant or if you have just been eating too many cookies.
Unfortunately, while some bothersome symptoms have disappeared, others may rear their ugly head. Sore gums, heartburn, constipation, and leg cramps may creep their way into your life. Eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables (especially raw veggies) and drinking plenty of water can help keep these annoying symptoms at bay. Keep up your exercise routine too, but be extra careful now that your body is a bit off-balance with your growing belly.
This trimester can also bring the excitement of finding out the sex of your baby, if you choose to do so. A routine ultrasound is performed around week 20 and the sex of the baby can usually be determined. For medical purposes, this ultrasound will confirm that baby is growing properly and proportionately.
By your 28th week, your baby is about 1.15kg and around 41cm long. While you are probably thinking there is no way your belly can grow any larger, it absolutely can, and will! The larger the baby grows, the less room they have, so you really feel them kicking up a storm. It can often feel like they are doing somersaults in your belly. Unfortunately, the majority of their movement is at night, which means your restful nights are all but over. The rhythmic movement of walking around all day actually rocks your baby to sleep. So when you lay down at night, the stillness rouses your little one - you are basically keeping exact opposite hours.
Even if baby doesn't wake you up constantly during the night, your big belly, leg cramps, and multiple trips to the bathroom will. It can be difficult to get comfortable at this stage. Body pillows to cuddle with and extra pillows behind your back can be lifesavers.
The last two months will have you seeing a lot more of your doctor for regular check-ups, as well as for a multitude of tests - for anaemia, glucose levels, and Strep B. You will also begin having regular cervical exams to check for dilation and effacement (thinning of the cervix). Babies can arrive early, so make sure you have your nursery prepared, your hospital bag packed, and your car seat safely installed. Your little one's arrival is just around the corner!