Your Pregnancy Calendar: Week by Week

Fertility and Pregnancy

“Everything grows rounder and wider and weirder, and I sit here in the middle of it all and wonder who in the world you will turn out to be.” “Before you were conceived I wanted you. Before you were born, I loved you. Before you were here an hour, I would die for you. This is the miracle of Mother’s Love.” “A new baby is like the beginning of all things—wonder, hope, and dream of possibilities.” 

All of these quotes are told by different mothers who experienced the difficulties and joys of pregnancy. If you are currently expecting your first child, read this article as we discuss the trimesters of your pregnancy, the week-by-week progress of your baby’s development, and common experiences you will encounter during the whole journey. 

Know Each Stages of your Pregnancy

There are three trimesters in pregnancy and each of them is defined according to specific fetal developments. At 40 weeks, the pregnancy is considered full-term. Read the following details carefully!

First Trimester (0 to 13 Weeks)

The first phase of pregnancy is the most critical point of your baby’s development because the body structure and organ systems of your baby develop in this period. Miscarriages and birth defects are usually evident in this stage. That’s why you need to be extra careful and mindful. 

Week 1-4:

Your body is gearing up for ovulation and getting ready for fertilization, which will happen in week 3. Week 3 is when you’ve officially reached the 1st month of your pregnancy but it will be several weeks until you can confirm the news by using a pregnancy test. At week 4, your body is starting to develop the placenta and amniotic sac. After 5-6 days of traveling, the cluster of cells burrows into your uterine lining.

The tiny clusters of cells are quickly growing in this period as an embryo is multiplying. Its size is similar to a pinhead. The blastocyst or soon-to-be embryo travels this week in about 5-6 days from your fallopian tube to your uterus. Your baby is extremely tiny, being less than 1 millimeter and smaller than a poppy seed. The embryo now has three distinct layers of cells: the inner layer or endoderm, the middle layer or mesoderm, and the outer layer or ectoderm.

Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs:

  • Your basal body temperature (BBT) drops to its lowest point before you ovulate and it immediately spikes as soon as ovulation happens. 
  • There will be an increase in your cervical mucus as you head toward conception.
  • A heightened sense of smell, tender breasts, spotting, and/or urinary frequency are some common signs you will experience after conception.
  • Lower abdominal pressure due to embryo implantation.
  • Metallic taste because of the hormonal changes in your system.
  • Morning sickness
  • Implantation bleeding
  • Mood swings
  • Bloating
  • Cramping

Week 5-8:

You are now in the 2nd month of your pregnancy. The placenta forms and the mass of cells are beginning to look like a fetus. Your baby is starting to take shape more. The umbilical cord joins the baby and placenta in delivering oxygen and nutrients and even eliminating waste into your bloodstream. A mucus plug that settles into your cervix opening acts like a cork that seals and protects your womb from bacteria. Your clothes may be starting to feel a bit tight while you’re experiencing morning sickness

The heart of the baby is made up of two tiny channels called heart tubes as they are already pumping hard. The cheeks, chin, and jaws are starting to form. His or her heart has started to beat about 110 times a minute and is getting faster every day. While the kidneys, liver, and lungs are taking shape as well. 

Your little one may look like a tiny tadpole at this moment. Your baby has developed web-like hand and feet stubs. Most of the growth is focused on the head as new brain cells are made at the rate of 100 per minute. Then, the arms and legs start developing but still looking more like soft paddles at this early period. 

Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs:

  1. Urine frequency
  2. Mood swings
  3. Fatigue
  4. Nausea
  5. Food cravings and aversions
  6. Excessive saliva

Week 9-13:

You are in the 3rd month of your pregnancy and nearly at the end of the embryo period. This also means your clothes are getting tighter around the waist. Also, you are having a hard time lifting your head off the pillow due to extreme pregnancy fatigue.

The tiny muscles are beginning to form and no more spinal cord “tail” as he or she is looking more like a tiny human. Then, teeny tiny tooth buds are now developing under the gums. Bones and cartilage are forming along with the knees, ankles, tiny elbows, fingers, and toes, and vocal cords. Your baby can stretch, somersault, and forward roll.

Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs:

  1. Acne
  2. Weight gain
  3. Pregnancy glow
  4. Breast enlargement
  5. Round ligament pain
  6. Visible veins
  7. Increased vaginal discharge

Second Trimester (14 to 26 Weeks)

The second phase of pregnancy is often called the “golden period” as most of the unpleasant effects of early pregnancy are gone. However, you may encounter some new set of symptoms such as abdominal and back pain, leg cramps, and more. Between 16-20 weeks, you may feel the first fluttering movements of your little one.

Week 14-16:

You are in the 4th month of your pregnancy and your baby is growing rapidly while becoming very active as he or she can leap and bound, moving constantly like a ballet. Also, your uterus is rising out of the pelvic region and settles into your lower abdomen.

Your baby can use facial muscles to smile or frown. His or her body has fully developed genitals. While the head could be sprouting some hair and the eyebrows are filling in the area. Then, the skeleton is starting to ossify or become visible and the parts such as the eyes, and ears are now positioned properly. 

Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs:

  1. Increased appetite
  2. Reduced fatigue
  3. Dizziness
  4. Darkening of skin
  5. Sensitive gums
  6. Loose ligaments
  7. Clumsiness
  8. Stuffy nose
  9. Leg cramps

Week 17-20:

There are times you may feel hungry enough to eat larger portions of food at this stage. Also, you may experience some dizziness with baby kicks. Plus, fingerprints are formed as well already. During week 19, you finally reached the 5th month of your pregnancy.

The baby is practicing and preparing to feed by sucking and swallowing. The ears are almost being fully formed as he may begin to hear your voice. It can yawn and move freely. Its sensitive skin is covered with a greasy, cheese-like coating to protect it from being wrinkled after birth. Also, you may know the gender of your baby when you take an ultrasound.

Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs:

  1. Backaches
  2. Stretch marks
  3. Baby kicks or fetal movements
  4. Heartburn
  5. Constipation
  6. Swelling in the hands and feet
  7. Dry eyes
  8. Varicose veins
  9. Trouble sleeping

Week 21-24:

Week 23 marks the 6th month of pregnancy. You will gain serious weight as your baby doubles his or her weight over only four weeks.

The skin of your baby creates a pinkish-red hue due to the developing veins and arteries right underneath. The little arms and legs are performing well these days. While the placenta completed its life-support system of transporting oxygen and nutrients to the baby and eliminating waste. When your baby frequently hears a particular song, he or she would likely recognize it and feel calmed and comfortable after being born.

Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs:

  1. Hip, groin, and abdomen pain
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Fast-growing hair and nails.
  4. Bleeding gum
  5. Snoring

Week 25-27:

Imagine a soccer ball and think that your uterus has a similar size to it. Your baby is now taller than two juice boxes stacked one on top of the other one compared to over a foot long. Week 27 is the end of the second trimester.

Lungs and nose are starting to gear up in the baby’s body. It may also surprise the baby’s reflexes. Your little one can not only hear noises and other sounds but can also respond to them. So, try to read and even sing to your baby through your tummy. This will encourage the baby in memorizing when he or she grows up.

Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs:

  1. Carpal tunnel syndrome
  2. Sleeping difficulties
  3. Itchiness in hands and feet
  4. Hemorrhoids
  5. Aches and pains

Third Trimester (27 to 42 Weeks)

Finally, you have now reached the final stage of your pregnancy as you start to get very excited while getting anxious about the arrival of your baby. You may experience several physical symptoms like shortness of breath due to the increase in the uterus size, expanding from approximately 2 ounces prior to pregnancy to 2.5 pounds at the period of childbirth.

Week 28-31:

At 28-31 weeks, you are in the 7th month of your pregnancy. Your baby is getting ready into the right position for birth. Your little one starts to experience REM (rapid eye movement) sleep which means he or she is dreaming. The baby kicks are keeping you up at night and you’re feeling very exhausted all over again.

Your baby is about 2 ¼ pounds and is almost 15 inches long when measured from head to toe. He or she is accumulating more fat with fewer wrinkles. The hands are now fully formed, fingernails are growing, and the brain is getting bigger as your baby can already process information, acquiring signals from all five senses.

Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs:

  1. Leaky breasts
  2. Growing stretch marks
  3. Fatigue
  4. Braxton Hick contractions 

    Week 32-36

You’ve entered the 8th month of your pregnancy. You may feel the tightness or hardness in your uterus periodically. We suggest that you learn early labor signs and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to soothe backaches during pregnancy and labor, making a more smooth delivery. Eat foods rich in Vitamin B6, Omega-3 fatty acids, iron, folic acid, and calcium. Prepare a birth plan right now. 

Your baby is preparing for birth while honing skills such as swallowing, breathing, kicking, and sucking. His or her digestive system is ready. Also, the baby has regular sleep and wake cycles. The skulls are still fairly pliable, making it easier for him or her to squeeze down the birth canal. The kicks are getting sharper. Most importantly, your little one has fully developed his own immune system.

Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs:

1. General discomfort
2. Regular fetal movements
3. Braxton Hicks contractions
4. Pelvic pains as the baby descend
5. Easier breathing

Week 37-42

Yes, you’re in the 9th month or last month of your pregnancy. Only a few weeks are left until the labor and birth begin! Your doctor will check for dilation or how far your cervix has opened that should open to 10 centimeters for your baby to pass through the birth canal. Get an exercise ball to strengthen your core muscles and provide relaxation and physical relief during pregnancy and labor. 

Until the end of week 38, your baby is technically considered as “early term” as he or she weighs about 6 pounds. His or her head is still growing. The hands and fingers can help your baby grasp smaller objects like his or her nose. Around week 39-40, your baby weighs around 9-10 pounds. Week 40 is the official end of your pregnancy journey. Yet there are times of overdue around 2 weeks.

Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs:

  1. Abdominal pressure
  2. Insomnia
  3. Loss of mucus plug
  4. Labor signs (contractions, back pains, restlessness, etc.)

CONCLUSION

Mary Mason said: “A baby is something you carry inside you for nine months, in your arms for three years, and in your heart until the day you die.” Pregnancy and being a first-time mom can make you feel a rollercoaster of emotions. Despite the challenges, experiencing every stage of your pregnancy, labor, and delivery is worthwhile as you take some time cherishing those moments and realizing the marvel of a growing little human inside you, as well as appreciating your body’s child-bearing ability.

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