While it is a joyous occasion, being pregnant may also be stressful. As you develop a new human being in your belly, your body will undergo many changes that you may or may not be surprised by. Not to mention the numerous changes the foetus experiences as it develops into a fully-formed child prepared for the outside world from a single-cell organism.
It can be frightening to determine what is typical and what isn't because every month presents its unique set of symptoms. Remember that each person's body is fantastic, so you might not experience all of the signs and changes described on this page. Always get advice from your doctor, obstetrician, or gynaecologist if you have queries or worries regarding your pregnancy.
What Are The Early Signs Of Pregnancy?
It is best to know early on if you are pregnant to quickly take the necessary steps to care for yourself and your little one in your belly. You must determine what to do if you experience the most common early pregnancy symptoms, whether you're trying to get pregnant or believe you could be pregnant. Here are some of the classic signs that will reveal themselves early on in pregnancy.
1. Missed Period
You may be pregnant if your period hasn't arrived after a week or longer and if you are in your reproductive years. Nevertheless, this symptom may be deceiving if you have an irregular menstrual cycle.
2. Nausea With Or Without Vomiting
One to two months after becoming pregnant, morning sickness, which can happen at any hour of the day or night, frequently starts. However, all women react differently to pregnancy; some suffer nausea earlier than others, and some never experience nausea. Although the exact reason for morning sickness during pregnancy is unknown, pregnancy hormones probably play a part.
3. Swollen And Tender Breasts
Due to the hormonal changes that occur in your body with the event of pregnancy, your breasts might begin to become more painful and sensitive to touch. Your breasts might even look swollen in the early stages of pregnancy. However, when your body starts to accept these hormonal changes, the breasts will begin to feel normal again.
4. Cramps And Light Spotting
When the fertilised egg adheres to the uterine lining, there may be light spotting, commonly referred to as implantation haemorrhage. Around the time you should start getting your period, this can occur 10 to 14 days following conception. In addition to cramping, light spotting may also be accompanied, which may resemble menstruation cramps.
5. Increase In Urination
It is possible that you will find yourself urinating more than usual if you happen to be pregnant. The increase in urination occurs because, during pregnancy, your body will start to produce more blood. This process will cause your kidneys to process more fluid which would then collect in your bladder, causing more trips to the bathroom.
What Happens In The First Month Of Pregnancy?
The first day of your last period marks the beginning of the first month of pregnancy. The gestational age or menstruation age is what gynaecologists commonly call it. It occurs roughly two weeks before conception takes place. Although it might seem unusual, the day of your last period will be an important date in figuring out when you're due. This date will be brought up by your gynaecologist or obstetrician, who will use it to determine how far along you are in your pregnancy.
There could be no overt signs of pregnancy during the first month. Light spotting is one warning sign for some women that an embryo has bonded to the uterine wall. Morning sickness, excessive urination, sore or painful breasts, and feeling more exhausted than usual are the standard month-one symptoms.
When an egg is fertilised by one sperm, a zygote is formed, and the pregnancy process begins. The zygote begins to divide as it moves through the fallopian tubes and adheres to the uterine wall, which takes many days. You are pregnant if it attaches correctly. If not, you'll have your period and lose the embryo and uterine lining.
How Many Months Is A Full-term Pregnancy?
Gestational age is a measurement of when a pregnancy will occur. The first day of your most recent period marks the beginning of your gestational age. Gestational age is not always apparent, and pregnancy is typically thought to last nine months. Therefore, a full-term pregnancy typically lasts around 40 weeks from your last menstrual period, or about 10 months, because pregnancy is counted from the first day of your last menstrual period, or about 3–4 weeks before you're indeed pregnant.
Three trimesters are created out of these 40 weeks. Over 13 weeks, each trimester lasts slightly longer. The first trimester officially starts in the first month. The second trimester begins in the fourth month which is between weeks 13 through 16. Finally, the third trimester starts in the eighth month which is weeks 29 through 32.
The egg that will turn into your baby immediately divides into several cells within 24 hours of fertilisation. The embryo will then turn into a fetus by the eighth week of pregnancy which is part of the fetal development stage.
Stages of Growth Month-by-Month in Pregnancy
Month 1 (weeks 1 through 4)
This month kicks off the beginning of the first trimester. You can anticipate experiencing your regular menstrual symptoms during the first week, including bleeding, cramping, sore breasts, and mood fluctuations. Your ovary will release a mature egg during ovulation in week 2, and the egg will then move into the fallopian tube, where it will wait to be fertilised by sperm. Lower back pain, painful breasts, a slippery discharge resembling egg whites, and an elevated basal body temperature are all signs of ovulation.
The fertilised egg implants into the uterine lining in the third week, and some patients have "implantation bleeding," which is characterised by faint spotting or minor stomach cramps. If you're bleeding profusely or have severe pain, call your doctor immediately, as this may signify an ectopic pregnancy. One of the earliest indicators of pregnancy in some women is breast soreness in week 4. In addition, some women report feeling tired, constipated, bloated, and having mood changes. However, if you experience no pregnancy symptoms, they can take an extra few weeks to reveal themselves, as each woman's body is different.
Month 2 (weeks 5 through 8)
At the beginning of week five, hormone-induced mood swings can cause a wide range of emotions. Your moods could fluctuate irrationally, going from joy to sadness to rage. This early on can also see the onset of other early pregnancy symptoms like exhaustion, breast soreness, and even nausea. Week six of pregnancy might bring up one of the most despised signs for some women: morning sickness. Your enhanced sense of smell may make this queasy feeling worse, which can lead to food cravings and aversions.
Another sign that would occur is frequent urine. The hCG pregnancy hormone, more fluid in your body, your kidneys working harder to clear waste, and finally, the pressure of your expanding uterus on your bladder are some of the causes. Many women are already experiencing pregnancy symptoms in full force, including bloating, mood swings, exhaustion, sore breasts, nausea, and many others.
Month 3 (weeks 9 through 12)
Due to the considerable reduction in miscarriage risk at this point, many parents-to-be begin informing friends and family. The drawback is that the second-month symptoms could worsen. Your breasts will enlarge, and the colour of your areolas will darken. If you suffer from acne, this month can increase breakouts. Some women will also experience the "pregnancy glow", in which you will look radiant and glowy due to the change in hormones.
A foetus develops from the embryo in the third month. The internal sex organs, ovaries and uterus or testes and penis, are growing into their ultimate shapes at this period. All the organs have formed, and the early bones that began to form last month are starting to stiffen.
Month 4 (weeks 13 through 16)
In this month is when pregnant women enter the second trimester which starts on the 14th week. Many early pregnancy symptoms will fade in week 13 as you get closer to the end of the first trimester. However, you might realise that you experience lightheadedness all day.
It's natural to feel lightheaded or out of breath since your heart is still beating rapidly to move additional blood for you and the baby. It could result in nosebleeds or bleeding gums. Additionally, you can suffer some back pain and diarrhoea and begin to develop a baby bulge.
Month 5 (weeks 17 through 20)
While you may not be experiencing full-on kicks, you will begin to feel your foetus moving in the womb during month 5. Hair will grow on your growing baby's head, and the muscles will start to develop.
Heartburn, constipation, and shortness of breath are also anticipated, just as in month 4. As your breasts increase by one or two cup sizes, you'll probably also require new bras. If you're becoming more forgetful than usual, you can thank the common "pregnancy brain" that most women go through during this time.
Month 6 (weeks 21 through 24)
By this month, your baby will often move about in your belly. When your baby in the womb begins to hiccup, kick, and rotate in the womb, you will start to feel it as well. In addition, leg cramps, gum bleeding, and constipation may all be more frequent than usual. Also, you may enter the first stage of developing breast milk by producing colostrum.
The sixth month is also when the Braxton-Hicks contractions can start to occur. These contractions are common and typically painless at this point as this is how your body is getting ready for labour. However, if the contractions are too painful to endure or happen too frequently, notify your doctor immediately and schedule a consultation.
Month 7 (weeks 25 through 28)
During the seventh month, you will be experiencing similar symptoms that you felt in the sixth month. You will also see your baby bump more clearly during this time. As you approach the third trimester, sleep may become more complex, from anxiousness, cramping in the legs, frequent urination or general discomfort. Additionally, you can get itchy hands and feet.
Your baby begins to put on weight; since its ears are fully formed, it can hear and respond to music. In addition, premature birth is possible during this period, and the infant will probably survive with medical attention.
Month 8 (weeks 29 through 32)
In month 8, the third trimester begins. You are probably already experiencing back pain and loose joints due to carrying your bundle of joy for a long time but you are almost at the end of your pregnancy! Stretch marks on your belly are likely to appear due to your fetus' rapid growth, which causes your abdomen to expand rapidly. You will also likely urinate much more frequently since your uterus will start pressing against your bladder. The increased pregnancy hormones in the body will also make your hair look more full and healthy.
Within the following few weeks, you might start noticing yellowish colostrum dripping from your breasts as your body gears itself to feed your newborn. The colostrum produced will help your baby's body adjust to life outside the womb while acting as a precursor to mature breast milk.
Month 9 (weeks 33 through 36)
As the ninth month arrives, you will mainly experience similar symptoms that you had in month eight. This includes exhaustion, varicose veins and stretch marks too. As your tummy is now its biggest size, you may have trouble falling asleep quickly at night.
Meanwhile, in your tummy, your baby is growing even more, and they are still pressing against your internal organs, which can cause a leaky bladder for some mothers. As the expanding uterus stretches the abdominal wall, many moms experience upper abdominal pain around the top of their uterus. By this point, your baby has wholly formed lungs and synchronised reflexes.
Month 10 (Weeks 37 through 40)
Contrary to popular belief, most women give birth between nine and ten months after becoming pregnant. Although 40 weeks is the standard for a full term, babies can sometimes be born later. This can vary from situation to situation. Your baby is prepared to be delivered by month 10. You may urinate more frequently if your foetus dips before delivery since it will strain your bladder more.
Watch for symptoms of labour, including contractions that come and go regularly. Mucus plugs are typically lost by pregnant women around week 37 or 38 of the pregnancy. To keep your baby safe from germs, the mucus plug covers the opening to your cervix. It usually bursts anywhere between a few days to a few weeks before birth and appears as a thick pink or blood-tinged discharge.
You can see a sudden burst of liquid or a gradual trickle if your water breaks. Some other early labour indicators are regular contractions, pelvic pressure, dull backache, and a restless feeling. The majority of births occur between weeks 39 and 41. You are now on your way to having your baby delivered safely and embarking on a new path of parenthood.
What changes does your body undergo in the weeks following giving birth?
Your body will go through a lot shortly after giving birth just as how your body underwent significant transformation throughout pregnancy. It puts a lot of effort into keeping your precious one safe and sound. Your body is altering once more now that your baby is here. Physical changes like your breasts becoming swollen with milk are among these. Some are emotional, such as experiencing more stress. Some changes can also include perineum soreness, afterbirth pains, swelling, haemorrhoids and many others.
The more common change would be breast engorgement. When the breasts are engorged with milk, they enlarge and become breast engorgement. Several days after giving birth is usually when it occurs. Your breasts could be painful and uncomfortable. Once you begin routinely breastfeeding, the discomfort typically disappears. If you're not nursing, it can last until your breasts stop producing milk, which often happens within a few days. A good tip you can follow is, by using a breast pump or by hand, you should extract a tiny bit of milk from your breast before feeding your baby. Also, wear nursing pads in your bra if your breasts leak in between feedings to prevent your clothing from getting wet.
5 fun facts about your ever-expanding baby bump
The baby bump of a pregnant woman can be pretty fascinating as they can range from different sizes and vary in shape, depending on the individual. Baby bumps can be small and hardly noticeable on some pregnant mothers, while other mothers would have bellies so wide that they cannot even see their toes. Here are 5 fun facts about your ever-expanding baby bump that you may not know.
1. The Dark Line Forming On Your Bump
Numerous skin abnormalities can be brought on by soaring pregnant hormone levels. Your linea nigra, the black, vertical line from your belly button to your pubic area that becomes visible at 23 weeks, is also a result of these pregnant hormones. It is natural and will go away a few months after giving birth.
2. Your Belly Button Innie Can Become An Outie
Your belly button shape may change once your baby bump grows more prominent. If your belly button is an innie, it might change to become an outie. Your belly button will begin to protrude at 26 weeks. This shift is not permanent for some pregnant women since your tummy will deflate after you give birth.
3. Your Baby Likes It When You Touch Your Baby Bump
Your baby may feel better within your womb if you touch, pat, or hold your baby bump from time to time. According to research, foetuses react to belly touches by moving about vigorously. When you start counting kicks, touching your growing baby bump can help to stimulate it.
4. Your Baby Bump Can Drop
Your baby's head would appear to be dropping because it would go into your pelvis. This occurrence is often referred to as engaging or lightening. Your baby should ideally be lying head down and facing your abdomen. Your pelvis could feel compressed and like a bowling ball sitting between your legs.
5. Your Baby Bump Will Not Disappear Immediately
You will have a post-baby bump when your child is born, making it appear that you are still pregnant. Do not be alarmed, as it will take time for your uterus, abdominal muscles, and skin to regain their original or almost original shapes. For comfort after giving delivery, you might even continue to wear your maternity clothes. Give yourself a break if your baby bump takes longer than expected to return to its standard size. Be ready to accept that your body will also take on a different shape. But give yourself some credit; you have just grown a human inside your beautiful body.
As every woman is different and can have a different pregnancy journey, some signs and symptoms would appear more prevalent than others signs. Some signs may not even occur, but that does not always mean something is wrong. You do not need to worry if your pregnancy doesn't proceed according to the exact period described in the article above.
Pregnancy can be unpredictable, much like life and the newborn you're welcoming. Naturally, you should discuss your worries with your maternity team or prenatal health care professional if you have any questions or concerns about the signs and symptoms of your pregnancy.