A typical pregnancy lasts 40 weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP) to the birth of the baby and is divided into three stages called trimesters: the first trimester, the second trimester, and the third trimester. Both you and your baby will experience changes during these three stages. Each of these stages are completely different, present a unique set of challenges, and are filled with magical moments. Below is a breakdown of each of these pregnancy stages with information about baby growth, development, and physical changes to the mother.
Week 0 – Week 12. During the first trimester your body undergoes many changes and unfortunately carries the highest risk of miscarriage, which is the natural death of embryo or fetus. During the week after fertilization, the fertilized egg grows into a microscopic ball of cells (blastocyst), which implants on the wall of your uterus. This implantation triggers a series of hormonal and physical changes in your body. During this time, many women feel discomforts of pregnancy like nausea and tender breasts. The development of the mass of cells that will become the infant is called embryogenesis during the first approximately ten weeks of gestation. During this time, cells begin to differentiate into the various body systems. The basic outlines of the organ, body, and nervous systems are established. By the end of the embryonic stage, the beginnings of features such as fingers, eyes, mouth, and ears become visible. Also during this time, there is development of structures important to the support of the embryo, including the placenta, which connects the developing embryo to the uterine wall to allow absorption of nutrients, waste elimination, and gas exchange, and the umbilical cord, which is the connecting cord from the embryo or fetus to the placenta. After about ten weeks of gestational age, the embryo becomes known as a fetus. At this stage, a fetus is about 30 mm (1.2 inches) in length, the heartbeat is seen via ultrasound, and the fetus makes involuntary motions. The first trimester is a time of amazing development considering the embryo starts out looking like a tiny seed, then a tadpole with a tail, and then more human.
Week 13 – Week 28. Most women find the second trimester of pregnancy easier than the first cause symptoms like nausea and fatigue start to go away and the abdomen expands as the baby continues to grow. Before the end of the second trimester, around week 19, many women begin to feel the baby move. During this trimester, the fetus is still building up body fat and starting to put on a lot of weight. By the end of the second trimester your fetus is about 10 in. long and weighs about 1.5-2 lbs. This time period often brings an increased sex drive, tiredness, and weight gain for many women. All of these things are results of the baby’s development and growth. The good is around week 24 is when the baby has a chance of survival outside the womb since many of the organs have developed enough.
Week 29 – Week 40+. The third trimester of pregnancy spans from week 28 to the birth. Although your due date marks the end of your 40th week, a full-term pregnancy can deliver anywhere between week 37 and week 42. This trimester is the home stretch, and for many, the hardest part of pregnancy due to the aches and pains of late pregnancy. Sleep becomes harder for many as the bump continues to grow and frequent bathroom breaks are typical. By about 32 weeks the baby is usually lying with its head pointing downwards, ready for birth. The baby’s bones start hardening now, but the skull bones will stay soft and separated to make the journey through the birth canal easier. At 37 weeks, your pregnancy is considered full-term. In the last weeks, the baby’s head should move down into your pelvis. When your baby’s head moves down like this, it is said to be ‘engaged’. Most women will go into labour between 38 and 42 weeks of pregnancy. Any pregnancy lasting longer than 40 weeks is considered to be overdue.
Choosing a Name
A lot of consideration goes into picking a name for your child. After all, it will almost always be the first thing people learn when they meet your child, and first impressions are important! If you’re having trouble coming up with a name you like, we’ve assembled a list of the top 20 names for boys and girls, as well as some great gender neutral names!
Breastfeeding & Formula Feeding
There are so many things to think about and plan before your baby is born, and one of the most important choices is to decide how you will plan feed your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for about the first 6 months. However, breastfeeding isn’t always possible or the most preferable for all mothers. It’s important to remember that your baby’s nutritional and emotional needs will be met whether you choose to breastfeed or formula feed. Below we will list information, as well as advantages and disadvantages to help new moms make a more informed decision.
- Provides all the nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of life
- Satisfies hunger and thirst, so no extra water is needed
- Protects your baby against infections and diseases
- Reduces the risk of allergy in your baby
- Is always fresh, clean and safe, and at the right temperature
Advantages for Mom
Free, and always available whenever you need to feed your baby
Reduces your risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis
Burn up 500 calories per day, thus helping to shed those gained baby weight pounds
Helps your uterus return to normal after childbirth
Prolongs the amount of time before you get your period again
Helps to build a loving bond between you and your baby
Requires a big time and emotional commitment from a mother
Breast milk is easily digested, however those babies tend to eat more often than babies who are fed formula, thus requiring mommy to be present more often
Some women may feel embarrassed or worried about breastfeeding
A mother’s health may affect her ability to breastfeed
- Formula bottle feeding can offer more freedom and flexibility for moms
- Provides an option in cases where a mother cannot breastfeed
- Provides an opportunity for other members of the family to get involved in feeding and holding your baby
- It can give you a chance to rest
- Moms can have greater flexibility to return to work
- Formula does not have all of the same health benefits for you and your baby as breast milk
- It can be way more expensive
- Mixing the formula is time consuming
- If it’s not mixed correctly it can cause constipation or other illness in your baby