Pregnancy Stages

November 12, 2012

Pregnancy Stages

An average pregnancy extends for a period of 38 weeks from the day of conception, or for 40 weeks from the first day of the last menstrual period you had before getting pregnant. This period is divided into three pregnancy stages known as trimesters.

First Trimester

The first trimester is an extremely crucial period of small and big metabolic and hormonal changes which stabilize your pregnancy. It lasts from 0 to 12 weeks. Your baby starts adjusting to the environment inside your womb or uterus.

Different pregnancy stages are characterized by a different set of signs and symptoms. The first obvious change during the first trimester involves the breasts. They may become sore, hard and painful, especially during physical activity. The mammary glands enlarge and cause the breasts to swell. The nipples become prominent. These early changes prepare the breasts for breast-feeding.

The hormonal and physical changes lead to fatigue. The growing uterus puts pressure on your urinary bladder, and leads to frequent urination. Many women also develop morning sickness characterized by nausea, vomiting and gastric bloating. In fact, fatigue and digestive problems are normal signs of all pregnancy stages. Taking several small meals during the day may improve your symptoms. It is important to exercise regularly and consume a balanced and nutritious diet during all pregnancy stages. This will promote proper growth and development of the baby. It will also lower the risk of complications in the mother, and facilitate postnatal recovery. Consume at least eight glasses of water each day, and take your prenatal vitamins successfully. It is also important to relax and distress yourself. The first trimester is often very uncomfortable but the symptoms improve as the pregnancy stages progress.

Second Trimester

The second trimester is considered to be the easiest among the three pregnancy stages. While it is a very important stage for the growth and development of the baby, your morning sickness will start improving. You will also feel more energetic. Your physical appearance will change significantly. Your abdomen will expand, and you will start noticing your baby’s movements. Some women may experience body aches, especially back pain. Stretch marks will start appearing on your abdomen, breasts and thighs. Hyperpigmentation of the skin may occur especially around the cheeks, upper lips, forehead and nose. The expanding skin around the abdomen may become dry and itchy. Your ankles, fingers and face may swell.

Third Trimester

The third trimester stretches from the 29th to the 40th week of your pregnancy. This is the culmination of all pregnancy stages, and ends in labor and delivery. Your body starts preparing for the arrival of the baby. Many women experience shortness of breath, heartburn, swelling of ankles and feet, tender breasts and insomnia. You may notice drops of the first breast milk. Many of you may also experience false contractions. You should be very alert during this stage. Keep tracking your baby’s movements and your contraction. Contact your doctor if your suspect you are in labor.

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