Pregnancy: Week By Week
Learning about your pregnancy, week by week, can help you to see what is likely to happen and what is happening to you. Many expectant first mothers are interested in what is happening within their bodies, both to the baby and to their own body. Each woman’s pregnancy will be slightly different, but there is no doubt that each moment will be exciting. Look at what happens during pregnancy on a week by week, month’s look.During the first month, you will notice virtually nothing. Most women do not feel any different, look any different, or act differently. There are changes happening within your body, though. For example, the newly formed embryo will move from the tubes into the uterus and latch onto the wall. It will begin to grow, rapidly changing from a one-celled organism into hundreds of cells. As the baby grows cell layer by cell layer, your body is also making changes to accommodate the child. The third to fourth week of pregnancy usually will have some slight signs of bleeding. This is nothing to worry about, but is called implantation bleeding. It is a small amount of bleeding significantly only because it is the time when the fetus attaches to the uterus.
In the coming weeks, pregnancy will change even more so for most women, though you may still only have a small amount of change noticeable. You may start feeling morning sickness. You may begin to be more tired, too. This is caused by the change in hormones within your body at this time. Your body has to adjust to these various levels. By the time your second month is over, the baby will be about half an inch long. It will have many of its organs already beginning to form including the brain, muscles, bones and the heart.
In weeks 8 through 12, there will be many changes in your baby’s development. It will take until week ten for doctors to finally call the baby a fetus. It will be about an inch and a half long at this time. Once the baby reaches this 3-month mark, doctors considered the fetus to be more likely to continue development rather than to be miscarried. About this time, the doctor will allow you to hear your baby’s heart beating. You may also begin to feel differently. Many women experience mood swings now and you may be starting to gain a bit of weight. Those who have a significant amount of morning sickness may still be losing some weight, though. This will likely change in the next few weeks. Most women make it through morning sickness by the middle of the fourth month.
Once you enter into the second trimester, your body will start to grow in various ways. All organs of the baby are developing rapidly and will begin working as they do. The baby is growing too, and you may be able to have an ultrasound done (though most doctors like to wait until month five or six for this.) For your body there will be change, too. Many women begin to feel their uterus growing outward, pushing the belly button forward. The skin is stretching to accommodate.
Around the 20th week, your doctor will begin to check out baby in terms of health. Depending on the risk factors you have, your doctor may require that you have some extensive testing to help avoid complications such as gestational diabetes. Doctors will administer these tests only when they are needed. This is also a good time to talk to your doctor about your preferences in delivery as well as any concerns you may have.
Once you begin to head into the final trimester of pregnancy, you will physically become tired. The baby’s larger size usually wears on the mother to be. You may feel less sick, but now feel tired, sluggish and sore. This is all happening because of the growth of the child, which will pick up substantially at this point. By the time your child enters the seventh month, they will likely weigh about four pounds and be about a foot long. Yet, while he is growing substantially, he is still considered small and there is much more to do.
Women often find themselves feeling clumsy, out of breath and go through self-conscious periods. During your seventh and eighth month, your doctor will allow you to have an ultrasound (assuming you want to) and find out what the gender of the baby is. You can often see very clear images of the child’s face, hands and legs at this time.
During the final weeks of pregnancy, most women begin to feel anxious and worried. Some will also go through cramping. The need to urinate often is evident in most women since the baby is likely pushing onto the bladder. You will feel the child moving around and may even be able to feel his foot, head or hand punching into your ribs or abdomen. This is normal movement. Doctors believe that babies of this age actually do feel and hear you. Therefore, reading, singing or listening to music during this time is something you may wish to do.
While due dates that doctors assign are a good indication of when to prepare for baby’s arrival, it is important to realize that only a very small portion of children are actually born on their due date. You could go into labor several weeks before that due date or several weeks after. What is important is to make sure you know what to expect. Contractions feel like a strong cramp that grows in intensity before it levels off. The closer these get, the sooner the baby will be arriving.
This week by week look at pregnancy is a good way to prepare yourself for what is happening. Throughout your pregnancy, be sure to work closely with doctors to understand what is happening and what you should expect. Most pregnancies are successful and uneventful!