I Am Pregnant, Now What Happens To My Body?


This information is designed to give you a general idea of your baby’s development and of the signs and symptoms during pregnancy. You may not experience many of the symptoms or signs and every baby is an individual that develops a little differently.

Are There Any Very Early Signs Of Pregnancy Before Missed Period?

During weeks 1, 2 and 3 you will most likely not experience any signs or symptoms of pregnancy. I know it sounds weird, but in the first 2 weeks of the calculated period of pregnancy, you are not actually pregnant!
This is because your due date is calculated from the first day of your last period and ovulation (when the mature egg is released ready for fertilization) occurs about midway between menstrual cycles. Therefore conception can only occur approximately 2 weeks after your menstruation (if you have a regular 28 day cycle, ovulation will occur somewhere between day 10 and day 18).

Is A Discharge A Sign In Early Pregnancy?

On its own, it cannot be used as a predictor of pregnancy, but if it occurs with other symptoms, the possibility of pregnancy is good.

It’s implantation time! This is when the rapidly dividing ball of cells has found its way to the uterus and is looking for a suitable place to settle in. Implantation usually happens at around the time you would be expecting your period so you may experience a very slight bleed or spotting within the week before your period.
Your baby-to-be is now officially an embryo.

How Long Does Implantation Take?

The “implantation window” lasts about 4 days. This is the time when the inner lining of the uterus (womb) is best for implantation to occur.
On average, implantation occurs 6 to 10 days after ovulation or between day 20 to 24 of a menstrual cycle.
The process of implantation takes between 7 to 9 days (process of fertilization and attaching to the uterine (womb) wall).

How Long Does Implantation Bleeding Last?
Only about a third of women experience scant implantation bleeding or spotting.
If you do, it will be a short, brief spotting episode.

Signs And Symptoms In Week 4 Of Pregnancy
This is the time you may be anxiously waiting to see if you have missed your period. This will be the first real indication of a possible pregnancy.
Feeling tired? Your body is going through a lot of hormonal changes during this period and fatigue is often the first symptom at this stage of your pregnancy.
Other symptoms:

  • you may start to feel  bloated or have more wind than you usually do.
  • You could start to feel some nausea, (morning sickness),
  • your breasts may be tender and your nipples more sensitive and
  • you may want to urinate more often.

It could even feel like your usual premenstrual symptoms.
These symptoms are all due to hormone changes that are occurring.

I never experienced implantation bleeding with any of my pregnancies. I simply missed a period and then realized I could be pregnant. I did not experience any symptoms until about 6 weeks.

5 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms And Signs
A home pregnancy test will now confirm what you are hoping for.
Although still extremely small (about the size of an apple seed), your baby is growing at a rapid pace.
Fatigue, sore breasts and nausea are still the main symptoms at this stage.

Am I Pregnant? Test

6 Weeks Pregnant
This is when the realization of pregnancy kicks in! Your hormones are on a mission and as a result  mood swings, morning sickness, fatigue and frequent urination are what you can expect.
This can be a difficult time emotionally for many women in early pregnancy, so if you do feel like you’re on an emotional roller coast right now, it’s OK.
The most noticeable body change at this stage is your breasts. They may be larger and the skin around your nipples (areola) may darken and increase in size.
At 6 weeks your baby is in the process of developing eyes and limb buds. It is best described as looking like a tadpole.
The exciting part is that now you will be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat on ultrasound.

8 Weeks Pregnant: Symptoms And Signs
For you, this may not be a pleasant time due to your heightened sense of smell and nausea that will make your stomach turn.
If you are experiencing weird dreams, don’t worry, you are not going nuts, it is normal.
Heavy sensitive breasts, fatigue, constipation, bloating, heartburn and cramps are also on the list of symptoms.
By now, your baby will have webbed fingers and toes, all his or her organs and start developing eyelids, an upper lip, nose and ears. Your baby’s face is beginning to form.

When Does The Embryo Become A Fetus?
At the end of week 8 after conception (week 10 gestational age) until birth, your unborn baby is called a fetus.

What Is Gestational Age (vs Conceptional Age)?
Gestational age is calculated from the first day of your last menstrual period and expressed in days or weeks.

Conceptional age is calculated from the date conception (fertilization) takes place, which happens after ovulation, therefore the conceptional age will always be approximately 2 weeks less than the gestational age.

It is the true fetal age as it is based on the date of conception.

Gestational age is determined by the date of your last menstrual period, clinical examination and ultrasound. Of these, ultrasound is the most accurate in early pregnancy and can be used to calculate the gestational age as early as 5 to 6 weeks after the last menstrual period.

The gestational age is used as it is very difficult to determine the date of conception accurately (have to know exactly when you are ovulating and when fertilization took place).

When Does The First Trimester End?
The first trimester is from week 1 to the end of week 12 of pregnancy.

Week 12: You are now close to the end of your 1st trimester, the one many women find the hardest. Clothes may start to feel a little tight now and it may be time to look at your wardrobe.
Your baby is now about 3 inches long and weighs about 1 ounce. The kidneys are now functioning, your baby’s face is developing and he or she can suck his or her thumb!
The good news is that if you have been experiencing  morning sickness and tiredness, this should start to improve. Feeling more like yourself, you may also start to find your partner more sexually attractive than you have for weeks (It is perfectly safe to continue to have sex throughout pregnancy, unless told not too by your midwife or doctor).

When Will My Bump Show?
At 12 weeks your uterus is just starting to lift out of your pelvis and a very small bump may be visible in your lower tummy. Usually your baby bump will appear between weeks 14 to 16.

When Does The Second Trimester Start?
The duration of the second trimester is from week 13 to the end of week 27 of pregnancy.

This is the most enjoyable time of pregnancy, so make the most of it! The pregnancy hormones are leveling off !

At 14 weeks of pregnancy, your baby will be very active but due to his or her small size, you will not feel it yet. He or she will be able to pucker his or her lips and hiccup! Your baby is now about 3½ inches long and weighs about 1½ to 2 ounces. The placenta is now well developed and fully functional.
Constipation may an issue due to the uterus pressing on your bowel and hormone related relaxed bowel muscles becoming lazy. Keep an eye on your fiber intake.
As you will have noticed,your body is also preparing for breast feeding. Your breasts will be getting fuller and will need good support.

 16 Weeks Pregnant Belly
Your baby bump is now visible for all to admire as the top of your uterus (womb) is now halfway between your bellybutton and pubic bone. Your baby now weighs 3 to 5 ounces and measures 4 to 5 inches and is about the size of your fist.
Hormonal changes also affect the lining of mucus membranes which become swollen and can lead to nasal congestion, nosebleeds and bleeding gums. This is also the time to chat to your healthcare provider about weight gain and get a better understanding of what is healthy weight gain.

When Can You Feel Baby Move?
Feeling your baby move for the first time is a magical moment. What begins as a barely perceptible flutter at around 18 to 20 weeks for 1st time moms, gradually turns into a full-on kick as your little one starts to make his or her presence felt.

At 18 weeks, it is possible to distinguish the baby’s genitals on ultrasound and tell if it is a boy or girl. Now it is also possible to see if there are any heart defects on ultrasound. His or her ears are well developed and can pick up sounds.
The size of the uterus may now press upon large blood vessels causing dizziness, so make sure you get up slowly from lying down or sitting.  You may also experience swollen feet or hands and backache.

At 20 weeks, you have reached the halfway mark and you should have a lovely baby bump to prove it!
Your baby’s taste buds are developing and he or she is swallowing a lot of amniotic fluid. Not to worry, he or she will poo the stored waste as meconium soon after birth.
Heartburn, swollen feet or hands and leg cramps are possible symptoms.
The temporary increased production of melanin causes an increase in pigmentation on your face, area around your nipples and a dark line down your belly.
You may also become aware of Braxton Hicks contractions. These are normal during pregnancy and often described as false labor contractions.

What Do Braxton Hicks Contractions Feel Like?
These weak contractions feel like a tightening of your uterus and are painless. They also only last for a short period of time, usually only for ½ minute to 1 minute and occur irregularly and infrequently. You could consider them as practice  for the real ones later.

22nd Week Of Pregnancy
Now your previously skinny baby is starting to gain fat layers. He or she will still have a button nose as the bridge of the nose has not completely developed yet. Baby still has lots of room to move about in the uterus (which means you will feel the activity).
You may also notice stretch marks developing, although they are more common in the third trimester.

Why do you get stretch marks during pregnancy? Blame the hormones! As your body expands the skin needs to stretch to accommodate this expansion. During pregnancy, the elastic tissue under the skin is changed by hormones to enable this expansion and stretching of the skin. Sometimes the skin over stretches and tears, causing stretch marks.
The stretching of your skin may also cause itchiness. Using an unscented body lotion may help alleviate the itching.
You may by now be experiencing some indigestion, heartburn, snoring, constipation or swollen feet.
Best to exclude spicy foods and include fiber in your diet. Wear comfortable shoes.

Week 24 Of Pregnancy
Baby now weighs just over a pound and is almost a foot long. His or her lungs are starting to develop.
If you are feeling emotional and find yourself crying at the slightest  thing, don’t worry, it is normal at this stage.
You may also notice small bumps that look like pimples developing around your nipple area. These are oil producing glands that help to lubricate and protect the breast area for breast-feeding. They have the unusual name of Montgomery’s tubercles!

When Does The 3rd Trimester Start?
The third trimester starts with week 28 and continues until birth. You are on the home stretch!

At 28 weeks of pregnancy, your uterus is now well above your bellybutton. Finding a good sleeping position may be difficult and back pain and cramps may cause you discomfort.
Don’t panic if you find you have slight urinary incontinence when you laugh, sneeze or cough! This is due to baby pressing on your bladder and will stop once baby is born.
Your baby now weighs about 2½ pounds and is approximately 14¼ to 14½ inches long. His or her brain is now developing into a more complex organ. At this stage your baby may be able to open and close his or her eyes.

30 Weeks Pregnant: Fetal development continues at a fast rate with your baby’s lungs and digestive system almost fully developed and he or she now has eyebrows and eyelashes.
He or she now weighs about 3 pounds and is approximately 15½ inches long.
Developing hemorrhoids (piles) due to swollen blood vessels during pregnancy is fairly common. Do speak to your health care provider to prevent any serious discomfort.

What To Expect At 32 Weeks Of Pregnancy (8th Month) 
With the growth spurt of your baby, your uterus is now near your diaphragm and may cause you some breathlessness or heartburn.
You should be gaining weight steadily over the next few weeks.

In Week 34 Of Pregnancy, your baby is almost ready to be born. He or she has soft pink skin (no more wrinkles and the waxy white coating called vernix has almost gone. Only his or her lungs are still not 100% developed. He or she now weighs about 5 to 5½ pounds and measures around 17½ inches. A large weight to be carrying around!

At 36 Weeks Pregnant, expect your baby to arrive at any time from now on, so you should be well prepared and ready.  You may still be experiencing heartburn, difficulty sleeping, pressure on your bladder causing frequent visits to the bathroom, swelling and constipation. If you feel like you are waddling like a duck when walking, just watch other pregnant ladies at this stage of pregnancy, the waddle is normal. If it makes your mobility easier and more comfortable, forget what other people may think or say!

37 Weeks PregnantWeek 37 Of Pregnancy could be labelled “preparation” starting week. The amniotic fluid will now start to decrease and you will notice an increase in the frequency of Braxton Hicks contractions.  Baby should by now be in the head position ready for birth. Breech presentations (bum down, head up) do occur in a small percentage of pregnancies at term. Leakage from your breasts may occur in preparation for breast feeding. Feeling exhausted and full of aches and pains? Hang in there, it is not for much longer.

What Is “Passing A Mucus Plug” In Pregnancy?

As your cervix starts dilating in preparation for birth, the thick mucus “plug” that was occluding your cervix will come out, either as a mucus plug or as a vaginal discharge. Sometimes there may even be a small amount of blood present. This is a sign that the cervix is no longer closed but beginning to open in preparation for delivery of your baby.

What Does “Baby Dropping” During Pregnancy Mean?
A few weeks before birth, during your first pregnancy, your baby’s head moves down into your pelvis, getting ready for delivery. This relieves the pressure on your diaphragm but increases the pressure in your pelvis. As your baby has moved down, it is perceived to have “dropped”. In subsequent pregnancies it may happen much later, that is closer to birth.

How Many Weeks In A Full Term Pregnancy?

Babies born after 37 weeks were regarded as being ‘on time’ or ‘term’. In other words, if baby is born between the 37 week and the 42 week, it was considered a term birth.

You may be wondering exactly how many weeks in a normal full term pregnancy?
On average, full term refers to the pregnancy having lasted 40 weeks (280 days) from the first day of your last menstrual period (which works out to around 9 months) and 38 weeks (266 days) from conception.
This is how your due date is calculated, but only a small percentage of pregnant women actually deliver on the exact calculated due date.

Traditionally:

Babies born before 37 completed weeks gestation (<259 days) were considered premature.
Babies born between 37 weeks and 42 weeks gestation (259 to 293 days) were considered term.
Babies born after 42 weeks gestation (>293 days) were considered post-term.

Each woman, pregnancy and baby are unique, therefore the timing of  the actual birth is impossible to predict accurately. But based on averages, 39 to 40 weeks can be considered normal.

Update: Full Term Pregnancy Gets a NEW Definition (October 2013)

Early term: Between 37 weeks 0 days and 38 weeks, six days

Full term: Between 39 weeks and 40 weeks, six days

Late term: Between 41 weeks and 41 weeks, six days

Post term: 42 weeks and beyond.

A pregnancy is  now “full term” only in the narrower two-week window that starts at 39 weeks, under new definitions published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology and endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

 

Pregnancy Diary and Photos

Try and capture all those important milestones, all the joys, fears, memorable and funny moments before pregnancy amnesia sets in.
Try to write in a journal at least once a week so that memories are not forgotten.
Take some belly pics!
To put things into perspective, read Stop Telling Me I Should Get My Old Body Back by Kate Fridkis when she was 5 months pregnant.

First time pregnancy is a very special time to be enjoyed and remembered.


Can’t wait for the First Ultrasound In Pregnancy?