A healthy pregnancy lasts for approximately 40 weeks, and counting starts from the first day of your last menstruation period. During a pregnancy, there are 3 stages. These stages are referred to as being the first, second and third trimester.
During this period of time, a woman’s body will increasingly be showing obvious signs of a pregnancy.
The increasing number of hormones may cause morning sickness.
The senses may become heightened, and offensive smells may provoke queasiness.
Extreme fatigue may be a problem, due to the rising levels of progesterone in the body.
The urge to urinate will increase in frequency.
Areolas may darken and the breasts may enlarge and become tender.
Heartburn, bloating, gas and constipation are also common symptoms at this time.
It is during the first trimester, particularly the first month of pregnancy, that the embryo’s heart, lungs, arms, legs, spinal cord, nerves and brain, start to develop.
During the second month, the embryo may be as large as a kidney bean, yet the baby’s eyelids, wrists, fingers and ankles are now developing. By the end of the eighth week period, the developing embryo is now called a fetus.
It is during the second trimester period that nausea and vomiting episodes may disappear for most women, however, not all, and a new set of symptoms will start to be experienced.
Back pain and pelvic pressure is common as the belly becomes heavy and the extra weight causes pressure.Sleeping during this period of pregnancy may now become easier, compared to the first trimester. Your skin may begin to itch.
As the pregnancy reaches the 18th week, the fetus begins to make fluttering movements. This is where the baby is learning to bend their arms and legs. The fetus learns to kick, squirm and turn inside the belly.
The baby’s kidneys start to function and begin to produce urine. Their ears can now hear sounds, and they also begin to swallow.
At five months, the fetus becomes even more active and starts to sleep and wake on a regular cycle. The waxy coating called vernix now starts to protect the skin of the fetus.
At six months, the hair of the fetus begins to grow. They can now open their eyes too. It is during this time that the fetus develops rapidly. The lungs have completely developed, although not yet functioning.
As the pregnancy progresses into the third trimester, many women experience a shortness of breath. This is due to the enlarged uterus pushing against the diaphragm, thereby giving the lungs less room for expansion and big, deep breaths.
The blood circulation also slows down and many women find their face, legs, ankles, hands and feet to swell as they retain more fluid.
Another sign during this period is the leaking of a yellowish liquid from the nipples, called colostrum.
This is the stage of the pregnancy when the baby suddenly kicks and stretches inside the womb. The baby is now capable of responding to light and sounds, such as music. The baby’s bones will also harden, and different parts of the brain are forming, while their skull remains soft and flexible for the actual birth.
The baby is now able to hiccup and is preparing for their delivery, as they turn head-down. Their lungs are now fully matured and are ready to take their first breath.