What Are The Stages Of Pregnancy Week By Week
Pregnancy can be different from woman to woman, symptoms of pregnancy last for several weeks or months, while other discomforts are temporary or don’t affect all women.
“Pregnancy is a long, 10-month journey,” but the wonderful thing is that, when a woman finds out she is pregnant, there are feeling of new developing inside her body. It’s an amazing experience, even though she may not always feel her best at some points along the way.
A normal pregnancy usually lasts about 40 weeks, counting from the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period, which is about two weeks before conception actually occurs.
Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters. Each of these periods lasts between 12 and 13 weeks. During each trimester, changes take place in a pregnant woman’s body as well as in the developing fetus.
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Also read:Early Signs Pregnancy
Conception and implantation process
Implantation conception is considered one of the early symptoms of pregnancy. When the 6-12 days-old fertilized egg attaches to the interior lining of the uterus, something known as implantation bleeding may occur. This movement of the egg can result in light bleeding or spotting, which is completely normal and should not require any kind of medical attention
The egg can be fertilized for 12 to 24 hours after it’s released as it travels down the fallopian tube toward the uterus.
If an egg meets up with a sperm cell that has made its way into the fallopian tube, it combines into one cell, a process that’s known as fertilization or conception.
At fertilization, the sex of the fetus is already determined, depending on whether the egg receives an X or Y chromosome from a sperm cell. If the egg receives an X chromosome, the baby will be a girl; a Y chromosome means the baby will be a boy.
Now, let look at how pregnancy is divided into three trimesters. And what experience pregnant women go through at every stages.
First trimester (weeks 1-12)
After fertilization and implantation, a baby is at first just an embryo: two layers of cells from which all the organs and body parts will develop. Growing quickly, your baby is soon about the size of a kidney bean and constantly moving. The heart is beating quickly and the intestines are forming. Your budding son or daughter’s earlobes, eyelids, mouth, and nose are also taking shape.
At this stage, a woman will experience a lot of symptoms during her first trimester. You may not even know you are pregnant, but you know you haven’t made it past 8 p.m. in a week before you fall asleep. Did someone drug you? For the seventh night in a row? But as she adjusts to the hormonal changes of pregnancy. In the early weeks, the pregnancy may not be showing much on the outside of her body, but inside many changes are taking place.
Also read: 3 Months Pregnancy Pictures
Other hormonal changes can contribute to pregnancy symptoms which usually happens at late first trimester interrupted sleep.
This means you are still bone-tired, and may fall asleep easily, but nausea and vomiting also known as morning sickness that a woman typically feels during her first few months of pregnancy. Despite its name, morning sickness can occur any time of day, night sweats and weird-ass dreams will wake you every few hours. Keep Cheerios by the bed, and expect to strip naked by dawn.
A woman will also feel more the need to urinate more frequently as her uterus grows and presses on her bladder.
Early in pregnancy, a woman’s breasts will feel more tender and swollen, another side effect of rising levels of pregnancy hormones. Her areolas, the skin around each nipple, will darken and enlarge.
A pregnant woman’s digestive system may slow down to increase the absorption of beneficial nutrients. But reduced mobility of the digestive system might also trigger such common complaints as heartburn, constipation, bloating and gas, according to the Office on Women’s Health (OWH).
Many parts of the body will work harder during pregnancy, including a woman’s heart. Her heartbeat will increase to pump more blood to the uterus, which will supply it to the fetus.
As more blood circulates to a woman’s face, it will give her skin a rosier complexion, described as a “pregnancy glow.”
Besides the physical changes in a woman’s body, she may also experience emotional highs and lows in the early months of her pregnancy and throughout it. These emotions may range from weepiness, mood swings and forgetfulness to fear, anxiety and excitement.
First trimester development of embryo/fetus
A developing baby is called an embryo from the moment conception takes place until the eighth week of pregnancy.
During the first month of pregnancy the heart and lungs begin to develop, and the arms, legs, brain, spinal cord and nerves begin to form. Around the second month of pregnancy, the embryo has grown to the size of a kidney bean. The ankles, wrists, fingers and eyelids form, bones appear, and the genitals and inner ear begin to develop.
After the eighth week of pregnancy and until birth occurs, a developing baby is called a fetus. During the third month of pregnancy, bones and muscles begin to grow, buds for future teeth appear, and fingers and toes grow. The intestines begin to form and the skin is almost transparent.
By the end of the second month, eight to 10 of the fetus’ main organs will have formed, it is important to note that a pregnant woman at this stage of pregnancy, pregnant women should avoid harmful medications, such as illegal drugs. It is also the period when most miscarriages and birth defects occur.
Second trimester stages of pregnancy (weeks 13-27)
At the beginning of the second trimester, babies are about 3 1/2 inches long and weigh about 1 1/2 ounces. Tiny, unique fingerprints are now in place, and the heart pumps 25 quarts of blood a day. As the weeks go by, your baby’s skeleton starts to harden from rubbery cartilage to bone, and he or she develops the ability to hear. You’re likely to feel kicks and flutters soon if you haven’t already.
By the second trimester, some of the unpleasant effects of early pregnancy may lessen or disappear as a woman’s body adjusts to its changing hormone levels. Sleeping may get easier and energy levels may increase.
At this stage of early second trimester, a pregnant woman may act funny most times. It is best for the husband to be more understanding to the wife when pregnant, because anything get them easily annoyed.
You have to pee. So, you get up to use the bathroom, then proceed to lie awake, staring at the ceiling for the next hour or longer. You toss, you turn, you take a tums for heartburn. You Google, “what my baby looks like at 15 weeks.” You kick your husband who is snoring soundly beside you. You make a mental list of baby names your mother hasn’t said she hates. Eventually, you doze off. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Nausea and vomiting usually get better and go away, but other symptoms may crop up as the fetus continues its growth and development. A more visible baby bump appears as the uterus grows beyond a woman’s pelvis, and the skin on her expanding belly may itch as its stretches.
As the fetus is getting bigger and a woman is gaining more pregnancy weight in the front of her body, she may also experience more back pain. The 20th week usually marks the halfway point of a woman’s pregnancy.
A woman is generally feeling pretty good at this point, there’s a lower risk of miscarriage and premature labor, and some health professionals may discourage airplane travel after the 36th week.
Second trimester development of the fetus
In the second trimester, the fetus is growing a lot and will be between 3 and 5 inches long. In addition, during the fourth month the arms and legs can bend, the kidneys start working and can produce urine, and the fetus can swallow and hear, according to ACOG.
In the fifth month of pregnancy, the fetus is more active and a woman may be able to feel its movements. The fetus also sleeps and wakes on regular cycles. A fine hair (called lanugo) and a waxy coating (called vernix) cover and protect the thin fetal skin.
By the sixth month of pregnancy, hair begins to grow, the eyes begin to open and the brain is rapidly developing. Although the lungs are completely formed, they don’t yet function.
Third trimester pregnancy stages (weeks 28-40) changes in the mother’s body
Babies weigh about 2 1/4 pounds by the start of the third trimester. They can blink their eyes, which now sport lashes. And their wrinkled skin is starting to smooth out as they put on baby fat. They’re also developing fingernails, toenails, and real hair (or at least some peach fuzz), and adding billions of neurons to their brain. Your blossoming baby will spend his or her final weeks in utero putting on weight. At full term, the average baby is more than 19 inches long and weighs nearly 7 pounds.
At the third trimester there is chances of little or no sleep. Sleep during your third trimester? Hahaha! As if your giant belly, constantly-kicking baby, perpetual heartburn, racing heart, aching feet, and restless mind would allow such a thing. At least sleepless nights are good training for the next stage of pregnancy sleep.
During the third trimester, as a woman’s enlarged uterus pushes against her diaphragm, a major muscle involved in breathing, she may feel short of breath because the lungs have less room to expand, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Her ankles, hands, feet and face may swell as she retains more fluids and her blood circulation slows.
A mother-to-be will need to pee more frequently because more pressure will be placed on her bladder. She may also have more backaches and more pain in the hips and pelvis, as these joints relax in preparation for delivery.
Her face may develop dark patches of skin, and stretch marks may appear on her belly, thighs, breasts and backside. She may also notice varicose veins on her legs.
False labor, known as Braxton-Hicks contractions, may begin to occur as a woman gets closer to her due date. A “nesting instinct” may kick in as a mother-to-be and her partner baby-proof their home, shop for baby items, prepare the nursery and await their new arrival.
During the final weeks of pregnancy, it will become harder to find a comfortable sleeping position, so women may be extremely tired.
Third trimester pregnancy stages of the fetus
By the seventh month of pregnancy, the fetus kicks and stretches, and can even respond to light and sound, like music, Burch said. Eyes can open and close.
During the eighth month of pregnancy, the fetus gains weight very quickly. Bones harden, but the skull remains soft and flexible to make delivery easier. Different regions of the brain are forming, and the fetus is able to hiccup, according to ACOG.
The ninth month is the home stretch of pregnancy, and the fetus is getting ready for birth by turning into a head-down position in a woman’s pelvis. The lungs are now fully mature to prepare for functioning on their own. The fetus continues to gain weight rapidly.
Additional resources on pregnancy stages
- Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island: First Trimester
- Mayo Clinic: Pregnancy Week by Week
- Office on Women’s Health: Stages of Pregnancy
Tags: pregnancy cycle, processes of pregnancy, stages of conception, stage of conception, stages of a baby, pregnancy stages week by week,
stages of pregnancy month by month