When it comes to pregnancy, every experience is different. There are, however, some general timelines that it may be helpful for you to know. It’s helpful to understand both the stages of growth for your baby and what kinds of changes and symptoms you should expect.
Dr. Parisa Pourzand provides outstanding prenatal care to expectant mothers, but if you’re not quite at that stage, she can also help with your family planning needs as well as infertility issues if they arise.
How pregnancy is measured
Pregnancy is measured in trimesters and weeks. Each trimester is just a little more than 13 weeks. Another measurement used to discuss pregnancy is gestational age. Although you probably think of a pregnancy as being nine months long, it’s actually measured from the first day of your last menstrual period, which means that a full term pregnancy is 40 weeks, or 10 months, long.
The earliest days
During the first two weeks of pregnancy, you’re not actually pregnant, because you’re having your period. Two weeks later (or so), you ovulate, and release an egg. If you’ve had unprotected sex in the six days prior to ovulation, or even on the day you ovulate, the process of pregnancy continues.
The egg begins to divide as it travels through your fallopian tubes to your uterus, which usually happens three or four days after fertilization. Eventually, usually around six days after fertilization, the dividing egg implants in the lining of your uterus. You may feel some cramping or even have a bit of spotting. It’s only in week four that you’re likely to have a positive pregnancy test!
During this time, you may begin to feel some symptoms, too. Breast tenderness is common, and you may feel sensitive to smells and flavors. Other possible symptoms are constipation, bloating, fatigue, or mood swings. Of course, you may not have any symptoms at all.
During the rest of your first trimester, you may begin to experience more symptoms, including morning sickness, frequent urination, and many of the other things people usually associate with pregnancy.
The mellow middle
At the beginning of your second trimester, around weeks 13 and 14, the biological sex of your baby is detectable in many cases. Your baby also begins to grow hair, and is about four and a half inches long.
Most women feel great during the second trimester, with renewed energy, less nausea, and an increased appetite. However, you may also have a stuffy nose, bleeding gums, and feel unusually clumsy. All of this is related to specific changes, such as more blood in the mucus of your membranes and loosening ligaments.
You’ll also be noticeably pregnant during your second trimester. The baby bump is cute, but it also causes backaches and other discomfort. Gentle exercise may help.
The last mile
By the beginning of the third trimester, your baby is about 10.5 inches long, and has begun to develop fat. Sometime during the last trimester, your baby’s eyelids begin to function.
As your baby grows, you’re probably going to feel increasingly uncomfortable. Digestive symptoms like heartburn become more common, you may feel fatigued, have difficulty sleeping, and develop varicose veins and stretch marks.
Around week 36, your baby is likely to begin getting in position for birth, which could lead to some pelvic discomfort. During week 37 or 38, about two weeks before delivery, most women lose their mucus plug, a bit of tissue that blocks your cervix during pregnancy.
You may have Braxton Hicks contractions, and Dr. Pourzand will discuss your plans for delivery with you during this period of time. If you’re having a C-section or being induced, this is the time to schedule the procedure.
Your pregnancy is unique
Each pregnancy is unique. If you are or you plan on becoming pregnant, schedule an appointment with Dr. Pourzand to discuss timelines specific to your body!