Pregnancy and Stages of Pregnancy


Pregnancy can be an inexplicable time for any woman, whether it is her first pregnancy or whether she has been through it many times before. Your body changes is unusual ways and does strange things that may make you wonder just what is happening inside you. Most pregnancy symptoms are a direct result of changes in hormone levels and the development of the baby in your womb. Each trimester brings many changes to both the developing baby and to your body, and understanding these changes will make your pregnancy much more enjoyable.

Successful conception is helped by a healthy pre-pregnancy diet and an understanding of ovulation. A pregnancy is considered full-term at 40 weeks; from the time of a woman's last period.

This is the time, when a woman's body undergoes many changes as the fetus develops and grows.

Marked by an invisible yet amazing transformation, the first trimester of pregnancy can be overwhelming. Hormones trigger your body to begin nourishing the baby even before tests and a physical exam can confirm the pregnancy.

The first trimester is the most crucial to your baby's development. During this period, your baby's body structure and organ systems develop.

Your body also undergoes major changes during the first trimester. These changes often cause a variety of symptoms, including nausea, fatigue, breast tenderness and frequent urination. Although these are common pregnancy symptoms, every woman has a different experience. For example, while some may experience an increased energy level during this period, others may feel very tired and emotional.

Morning sickness, which can strike at any time of the day or night, sometimes begins as early as three weeks after conception. To help relieve nausea, eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Choose foods that are low in fat and easy to digest. Avoid foods or smells that make your nausea worse. It's also helpful to drink plenty of fluids.

Increased urination

You might find yourself urinating more often than usual. Pressure from your enlarging uterus on your bladder might cause you to leak urine when sneezing, coughing or laughing. To help prevent urinary tract infections, urinate whenever you feel the urge.

Tender & Swollen Breasts

Soon after conception, hormonal changes might make your breasts tender, sensitive or sore. Or your breasts might feel fuller and heavier. Wearing a more supportive bra or a sports bra might help.

Food cravings are common, too. Like most other symptoms of pregnancy, these food preferences can be chalked up to hormonal changes — especially in the first trimester, when hormonal changes are the most dramatic.

Fatigue also ranks high among first trimester symptoms. During early pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone soar — which can put you to sleep.

To prevent mild, occasional dizziness, avoid prolonged standing. Rise slowly after lying or sitting down. If you start to feel dizzy while you're driving, pull over. If you're standing when dizziness hits, lie down on your left side.

Pregnancy slows the movement of food through your digestive system. This gives nutrients more time to be absorbed into your bloodstream and reach your baby. Unfortunately, it can also lead to constipation. Pregnancy hormones relaxing the valve between your stomach and esophagus can allow stomach acid to leak into your esophagus, causing heartburn.

To prevent heartburn, eat small, frequent meals and avoid fried foods, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits or juices, and spicy foods. To prevent or relieve constipation, include plenty of fiber in your diet and drink lots of fluids. Regular physical activity also helps.


As long as the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterus the lining of the uterus thickens and covers the egg. The placenta develops inside the uterus. The fetus is connected in a thin membrane called the amniotic sac which is filled with a watery liquid called the amniotic fluid. The fluid surrounds the fetus and provides a cushion that protects it from outside pressure. The fetus grows rapidly, by the end of the first month the head and the trunk are formed. Fingers and toes develop later, and by the third month hair begins to grow and buds for teeth appear. The fetus is about 4 grams and weighs about 30 grams.

Broadly referred as the "golden period", under this trimester many of the unpleasant effects of early pregnancy disappear. During the second trimester, you're likely to experience decreased nausea, better sleep patterns and an increased energy level. However, you may experience a broad new range of symptoms such as back pain, abdominal pain, leg cramps, constipation and heartburn.

Somewhere between 16 weeks and 20 weeks, you may feel your baby's first fluttering movements.

Bringing in a renewed sense of well-being, under the second trimester of pregnancy the worst of the nausea has already passed. The nausea and vomiting of morning sickness should taper off, mood swings may lessen, and you'll probably have more energy. This will be a good time to tackle many tasks necessary to get ready for your baby.

Skin/Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes during pregnancy stimulate an increase in pigment-bearing cells (melanin) in your skin. As a result, you might notice dark patches on your face. These skin changes are common and usually fade after delivery. Sun exposure, however, can aggravate the issue.

Stretch marks

You might notice pink, red or purple streaks along your abdomen, breasts, buttocks or thighs during the second trimester of pregnancy. Your stretching skin might also be itchy. Moisturizers can help. Although stretch marks can't be prevented, most stretch marks eventually fade in intensity.

Nasal and gum problems

As pregnancy increases your circulation, more blood flows through your body's mucous membranes. This causes the lining of your nose and airway to swell, which can restrict airflow and lead to snoring, congestion and nosebleeds. Increased blood circulation can also soften your gums, which might cause minor bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth. Switching to a softer toothbrush can help decrease irritation.

Leg cramps

Leg cramps are common as pregnancy progresses, often striking at night. To help prevent leg cramps during pregnancy, stretch your calf muscles before bed. It also helps to stay physically active and drink plenty of fluids. If a leg cramp strikes, stretch the calf muscle on the affected side. A hot shower, warm bath or ice massage also might help.

Vaginal discharge

You might notice a thin, white vaginal discharge. This acidic discharge is thought to help suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria or yeast. You might want to wear non-deodorant panty liners for comfort. Contact your health care provider if the discharge becomes strong smelling, green or yellowish, or if it's accompanied by pain, soreness or itching.


Second trimester is the time, when your baby's muscles grow stronger as he/she learns to kick, suck and open & close his or her hands. Soon enough, the movements will become very noticeable. The fetus now sleeps and wakes; passes urine into the surrounding amniotic fluid and can hear sounds. Around the 5th month the fetus has a growth spurt. Its internal organs mature and it is physically very active. By the end of 6th month, the fetus will be about 11to 14 inches long and will weigh 500 to 750 grams. Fingerprints and footprints are well established by the middle of the second trimester. They appear on the hands first, then the feet. Fingerprints improve the baby's grip.

Keep going with Healthy & Enjoyable Second Trimester

  • Shop for maternity clothing and eat a new vegetable or try any different recipe, if you want
  • Maintain a food diary so that you can check whether you are carrying on with your daily requirements
  • Continue to exercise even if you need to slow down
  • Carry on with your prenatal checkups


Third trimester is usually physically and emotionally more challenging. Full of contrasts is the third trimester. You're revved up for the homestretch, but you're tired! You're thirsty, but you often have to go to the bathroom! Treating your body and mind to the right kind of care is essential.

You will now start to think ahead and prepare for labor and birthing. You might feel less comfortable as the fetus grows from about 1.5 kg to its birth weight of about 3 to 3.5 kg.

Your baby's size and position might make it hard for you to get comfortable. Maintain that positivity and sense of inner wisdom, while you step ahead and look forward to the end of your pregnancy.

Above all, remember that every labor does eventually end. And that end signals the beginning of the most miraculous event of your life. The beginning of your baby's life as well as your own as a parent!

Weight Gain – As your delivery date comes near, weight is growing continuously and by the end of the third trimester it is expected that you gain 11 to 16 kg. The gain is normal and is usually considered because of baby's size, large breasts, placenta, amniotic fluid and uterus. The increased volume of blood and fluid along with some extra fat stored also result in weight gain.

Braxton Hicks contractions

These contractions are warm-ups for the real thing. They're usually weak and come and go unpredictably. True labor contractions get longer, stronger and closer together. If you're having contractions that are painful or regular, contact your health care provider.


As the due date starts approaching, the joints between the bones of the pelvic area start relaxing due to the release of pregnancy hormones. These result in backaches. When you need to sit, choose a chair that gives you proper back support. Backaches along with other signs can be indicating something. So, contact your doctor.


Swelling in your legs, arms or hands can place pressure on nerves, causing tingling or numbness. To reduce swelling, frequently prop up your legs and don't sit with your legs crossed. If you have to stand for long periods, try to move around often.

Spider veins, varicose veins and hemorrhoids

If you have painful varicose veins, elevate your legs frequently and wear support stockings. To prevent hemorrhoids, avoid constipation. Include plenty of fiber in your diet and drink lots of fluids.

Frequent Urination & Vaginal Discharge

Continue to watch for signs of a urinary tract infection, such as urinating even more than usual, pain during urination, fever or backache. Left untreated, urinary infections increase the risk of pregnancy complications.


As your baby grows, under the third trimester; he or she adds layers of fat to help provide warmth after birth. The fetus kicks and stretches, sucks its thumb and opens & closes its eyes. Its bones are hardening as they absorb calcium from your body (so don't forget to take calcium). Most babies move to a head-down position in the uterus toward the end of the third trimester, with the head on the mother's pubic bone. The fetus moves into position for birth, head down with arms and legs curled in front.

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