Pregnancy is a significant time in any woman's life and knowing what to expect can go a long way in avoiding any additional anxiety or stress. We take you through the main stages of pregnancy and the changes you can expect to see during each trimester.
How Many Stages Of Pregnancy Are There?
Pregnancy is said to have begun from the moment the woman’s egg or ovum is fertilized by a sperm from the man - a phase known as conception. A human pregnancy lasts 40 weeks from the time of conception to childbirth.
Every pregnancy is divided into three trimesters and tracked week by week within each trimester:
- The First Trimester begins with conception and goes up to week 12
- The Second Trimester is from week 12 to week 24
- The Third Trimester is from week 24 to week 40
This allows you and your doctor to track the developmental markers and check that the foetus is developing normally for the stage of pregnancy you are in. It is also important to monitor the dates of the pregnancy as there are certain tests and scans you will need to take at specific times during the pregnancy. For example, the triple test for Down’s Syndrome in the baby can be conducted from week 15 to week 20 of the pregnancy.
The First Trimester Of Pregnancy
Your body begins to experience hormonal changes almost immediately. During this trimester you will first notice your periods stopping. You may also experience extreme fatigue. Some women develop morning sickness, others may develop a dislike or craving for specific foods. Mood swings are also common. Your breasts may become tender and swollen. You may feel the need to urinate more frequently and you may experience constipation and heartburn as well. Headaches may also occur due to all the hormonal changes your body is undergoing. While weight gain is normal during pregnancy, you may lose a little weight if you have bad bouts of morning sickness.
The Second Trimester Of Pregnancy
Often dubbed the ‘honeymoon’ trimester or the good trimester because it is considered ‘easier’, this is when your pregnancy starts to show with a cute little bump that’s visible but not enormous. You may also feel your baby’s movements for the first time. The tiredness as well as morning sickness that plagued you in the first trimester should ease. The baby’s development kicks into high gear and an ultrasound scan helps your doctor monitor progress. You may also develop a backache or pain in the abdomen and groin area as the baby grows. The skin around your nipples may darken as does the line running from the pubic hairline to your belly button. Some women develop darker patches of skin on the face and other parts of the body - this is known as the ‘mask of pregnancy’ and will go away with time. On the bright side, you may also notice your hair has become thicker - enjoy the luxuriant growth!
The Third Trimester Of Pregnancy
It’s almost time to welcome your baby into the world. This last trimester is usually a hubbub of activity as you prepare your home and life for this new member of the family. In this trimester, your baby sees further growth and development and finally changes position and moves down towards the birth canal(this process known as ‘lightening’ occurs around week 36) to prepare for his/her entry into the world. You may experience some shortness of breath and difficulty sleeping. Some women develop haemorrhoids. Your face, fingers, and ankles may become more swollen - this is normal. But do also watch for excessive or sudden swelling as this may be a sign of preeclampsia and needs medical attention. Your breasts may feel more tender and you might notice some watery pre-milk seeping from the nipples closer to your due date. You may also develop contractions from false labour before the actual contractions of labour. All this leads up to the actual day of your delivery when your baby arrives!
Look After Yourself!
It is important to stay in touch with your doctor throughout your pregnancy and ensure you make it to your prenatal appointments and checkups.
Support your pregnancy with some TLC for yourself with some healing products from Mamaxpert. Mamaxpert Intimate wash helps with vaginal hygiene, Mamaxpert Stretch Marks Cream gently moisturizes skin to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, Mamaxpert Legs Relaxing Gel offers respite from restless legs syndrome and Mamaxpert Soothing Nipple Cream helps soothe sore nipples that some pregnant women experience.
Mamaxpert products are safe and gentle making them ideally suited for use in pregnancy and beyond. Find out more!