Pregnancy is one of the most rewarding yet unfamiliar time of a woman’s life. The body goes through many changes in the 40 weeks (or anywhere from 37-42 weeks) when pregnancy occurs. Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters, with each lasting between twelve to fourteen weeks. Each trimester brings its own specific hormonal and physiological changes. Be prepared for the three trimesters by knowing what happens before it occurs.
1. 1st Trimester
The first trimester begins with the first day of your last menstruation cycle and lasts from the first week to the 13th week of pregnancy. The first trimester is when the body takes the biggest change as the body learns to navigate and accommodate the growth of a baby. The uterus begins to support the growth of the placenta and fetus by adding blood supply to the body to carry oxygen and nutrients to the developing baby. The changes accompany symptoms such as morning sickness, headaches, constipation and fatigue.
The first doctor’s appointment usually takes place six to eight weeks after the last menstrual period and a blood test is taken to confirm pregnancy. A doctor usually will order some blood tests to check your immunity, nutrition levels and health indicators of the baby. Taking care of your body during the first trimester is crucial as risks of miscarriage is significant. It is recommended that you take prenatal vitamins, avoid deli meats and shellfish especially during this time.
2. 2nd Trimester
During the 13-27 weeks, you’ll enter the second trimester which is also the most comfortable stage of pregnancy. Symptoms from the first trimester will gradually disappear, you’ll develop more energy and able to enjoy more rest. Your stomach will begin bulging and pregnancy will become more obvious. The second trimester will develop new symptoms including back aches, cramps, heartburn and nasal congestions. Walking and a more health, nutrient dense diet can help relieve certain symptoms and ease this stage of pregnancy.
The second trimester is also when most women start feeling their baby kick by week 20. It is also when the baby’s body features start to develop and can be seen, assessed and measured during the ultrasound scan. Most doctors would also start testing for diabetes and other hereditary diseases at this stage as well as monitor your baby’s health more carefully to prepare for third trimester.
3. 3rd Trimester
The third and final trimester starts from week 28 to the birth of your baby. This is when doctor visits become more regular and tests become part of the appointments, including testing urine for protein, blood pressure, listening to your baby’s heart rate and checking your hands and legs for any swelling. The doctor will also determine the position of the baby and check your cervix to monitor how your body is preparing for the birth of your child.
The third trimester is also a good time to educate yourself on labor and delivery as well as the development of contractions. Beginning at week 31, contractions may start and it is important to find easy to use pregnancy monitors to track the frequency of your contractions at home.
By following and getting knowledge on the stages of pregnancy, you’ll better understand your trimesters and ease the coming of childbirth. By understanding how your body works, feels and changes with the coming of your baby, it will help how to better care and love your child in the process.