Stages of Pregnancy

During your pregnancy you will experience many changes, both emotionally and physically.  It is an exciting time and you may even want to keep a journal of the changes as they occur.

Knowing what these changes are and what to expect will help eliminate the worry and anxiety that may arise.

FIRST TRIMESTER Conception to 12 weeks

» More changes occur during this trimester, both to the mother and the baby, than any other time during the pregnancy.

The baby is more susceptible to harm from alcohol, drugs, and illnesses.

The mother may experience nausea, heartburn/indigestion, tender breasts, headaches, or faintness.

At the end of the first trimester, the baby will weigh approximately 1⁄2 to 1 ounce and will be 3 to 4 inches long.

SECOND TRIMESTER – 13 to 28 weeks

» This trimester is usually the most enjoyable for the mother because nausea, extreme fatigue, and breast tenderness usually subside.

» Physical changes for the mother may include: nipples getting darker; pressure on blood vessels resulting in hemorrhoids or varicose veins; and skin changes (dark splotches) occurring on the face.

» The baby’s heart and kidneys continue to develop, fingernails form, body hair develops, and periods of activity occur when the baby kicks or moves.

 The placenta and umbilical cord fully develop during this period

At the end of the sixth month, the baby weighs approximately 1 1⁄2 pounds and is 11-14 inches long.

THIRD TRIMESTER – 29 to 40 weeks 

» The mother may feel more uncomfortable as she continues to gain weight and the baby continues growing and taking up more room in the abdominal cavity.

 The baby continues developing and maturing.

 Between the 37 and 40th week the head will settle into the pelvic canal.

 During the last month the baby weighs 6-8 pounds and is 18-21 inches long.

Planning to Conceive

You can maximize your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and labor by making sure you are physically fit and healthy before getting pregnant. Start getting your body in shape by exercising and eating properly both before and during your pregnancy.

Most women do not conceive right away. Relax and do not worry if it takes longer than you anticipated. If you have not conceived after trying for a year, you may want to consult with your doctor.

Planning to Conceive

If you and your partner are trying to conceive then we can provide tips, advice and will support you every step of the way from baby’s conception to detecting early signs of pregnancy!

When you are trying to conceive it might feel like a lonely struggle, rest assured however that you are not alone. You can listen to what other men and women say about their infertility, talk about help if you are having trouble trying to conceive and get conception tips from others in our “Members Tips” section.

Preparing Your Body for Pregnancy

There are several things you can do to increase your chances of conceiving and to prepare your body for pregnancy.

» Wait approximately six weeks to three months after discontinuing birth control pills to give your uterus time to sufficiently rebuild its lining.

» Have a complete physical to check your overall health. Review your medical history with a doctor to determine if you have any medical conditions or if you are using any medications that may adversely affect your chances of getting pregnant or the well-being of you or your baby.

» Discuss with your doctor how to determine when you are ovulating so your chance of fertilization is at its maximum.

» Begin taking prenatal vitamins with folic acid as soon as you stop contraception and continue until the 12th week of pregnancy. Folic acid helps in the development of the baby’s spine.

» Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and protein-rich food such as fish, poultry, and whole grains.

» Exercise regularly before and during your pregnancy. Walking, swimming, and water aerobics are exercises that can be performed throughout your pregnancy. Drink plenty of water and listen to your body – if you are breathing too fast or feel too tired then slow down or stop.

» Stop smoking. When you smoke, unsafe chemicals get into your baby’s bloodstream which makes it more difficult for oxygen to reach your baby. Babies of mothers who smoke tend to be smaller, are at risk of being born premature, may develop respiratory distress syndrome, and are more likely to succumb to sudden infant death syndrome.

» Eliminate drinking alcoholic beverages. Alcohol affects fertility in both men and women. It can cause your baby to be born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or other birth defects.

» Check with your doctor before taking any medications including over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, antacids, or cold remedies. All street drugs should be avoided. Mothers addicted to drugs such as heroin or cocaine, may deliver babies who are also addicted.