Learning, anticipating and preparing for the birth of your child…
A full term pregnancy can range from 37 to 42 weeks. Moreover, a pregnancy is divided into three trimesters or periods. Each trimester will last for about 12 to 14 weeks. Moreover, each trimester is marked by specific pregnancy milestones and fetal developments.
It is important to know more about the components and milestones of each trimester, as this should help you prepare for what is about to happen. Moreover, by knowing the milestones for each trimester, you will be able to anticipate what needs to be done. You will also know if there are issues and complications that are worth reporting to your health care provider. If there are risks and complications, they can be addressed and resolved right away to make sure that you and your baby stays health all throughout the pregnancy.
The First Trimester
The first trimester lasts from the first week through the 13th week of the pregnancy. Even if there is not much physical change happening during this period, your body is undergoing a lot of changes to accommodate the growing fetus in the uterus.
A few weeks after conception, the hormone levels in a pregnant woman’s body changes significantly. Moreover, the uterus also begins to change as its supports the growth of the placenta and the fetus. Blood supply is also being boosted as this will help carry nutrients and oxygen to the developing baby. Moreover, the pregnant woman’s heart rate also increases. These changes are associated with pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness, constipation, headache and fatigue.
The first trimester is also considered a crucial stage for the development of the fetus in the uterus. By the end of the third month during this period, the fetus will develop all of its organs and form its body structure. It is very important to always maintain a healthy diet during this period. Your diet should include adequate amounts of folic acid to prevent neural tube defects. In addition, you should also avoid bad habits like drinking alcohol and smoking, as they can cause serious complications and birth defects.
As your body continues to change, a change in your daily routine may be necessary. For instance, going to bed early is a good way to start. Moreover, you should also consider eating small frequent meals throughout the day. The discomforts like fatigue and morning sickness usually disappears as the pregnancy progresses.
The Second Trimester
The second trimester is often referred to as the ‘golden period,’ as this is the period when the unpleasant effects of the pregnancy subside. This is the period between the 14th week of the pregnancy and the 27th week of the pregnancy. Some of the symptoms experienced during the first trimester will disappear as you reach the second trimester. However, there are cases wherein they persist. If they do, you should consult your health care provider right away.
During the second trimester, the nausea and vomiting or morning sickness will subside during this period. Moreover, you will likely have better sleep patterns in addition to an increased energy level. A new set of symptoms may eventually occur like abdominal pain, constipation, leg cramps, heartburn, and back pain.
Your abdomen will already start to look pregnancy, as your uterus grows in size. As the second trimester ends, the baby will have grown in size and movements may also be felt. This is also the time for diagnostic screening tests. You should consult your health care provider so you can discuss your medical history and discuss any issues that can actually put your baby at risk.
During the second trimester, you will experience body aches which usually occur at the back, on the abdomen or on your groin. Stretch marks will also start to appear on the breasts, thighs, and abdomen. Your nipples will darken and patches of darker skin will begin to appear. Swelling of the fingers, face and ankles is normal. However, if you notice extreme swelling, you should consider consulting your health care provider.
The Third Trimester
The third trimester is the period between the 28th week and the 40th week of the pregnancy. This is the final stretch of the pregnancy which leads to the birth of your baby. You will probably experience a new set of symptoms during this period. These symptoms will include shortness of breath, varicose veins, sleeping problems, hemorrhoids, and urinary incontinence. Most of these pregnancy symptoms can arise due to the increasing size of the uterus, as it accommodates the growing baby until delivery.
Additional symptoms may also be experienced during the third trimester like tender breasts and leakage of watery pre-milk substance known as colostrums. Your belly button may also stick out, as the baby moves lower to your abdomen. Contractions may also be felt. The contractions may be a sign of real or false labor. As you near the delivery date, your cervix will become softer and thinner. This is a natural process as the birth canal starts to open for the birthing process to begin.
During this period, your health care provider may require you to have regular checkups to monitor you and your baby’s health. Your doctor will test your urine for protein, listen to the baby’s heartbeat, check your blood pressure, and check your extremities for swelling. In addition, your doctor will also check and determine the position of the baby. This way, it can be determined how you will prepare for childbirth. There are cases when the baby’s head will not be in position and a cesarean delivery may be necessary.
This is a good time for you to become aware about going into labor and delivery. During this time, you can enroll in childbirth classes to help you and your partner prepare for labor and delivery. This is also a good time to voice out your concerns about childbirth to your health care provider.