The 3 stages of pregnancy, ah! Such a journey it’s going to be.
Let me guess, you’ve just found out your pregnant? Congratulations. A 40 week journey which will bring you ultimate happiness towards the end. Your baby!
Pregnancy is broken down into 3 stages. The first trimester, second trimester and third trimester.
Each trimester is to it’s own. They all have different experiences and changes, as your baby develops.
Let’s take a look at what each trimester involves so you can get a head start of what to expect on this exciting roller coaster.
First Trimester: Weeks 1–13
Once you find out your pregnant, your probably 4-6 weeks already into your first trimester.
Not sure what the early pregnancy signs are? Check here
Despite all the early pregnancy signs you will be going through, you’ll still be overjoyed that your baby is growing inside you.
First Stage– First Trimester
- Start your pregnancy journey/journal. You can use or make a pregnancy diary to track your feelings and the changes in your body. Alternatively if you wish to wait, your midwife should also give you one at your first appointment. It’s a handy place to jot down questions for your doctor, any appointments or anything in general that comes to mind.
- Get bloods tested and get your record book. At your first prenatal visit, your doctor will confirm your pregnancy by doing additional checks along with testing your blood for everything from anemia to hepatitis B and check your immunity to diseases like rubella etc. You should get given your pregnancy log book at this stage, which we in the UK call it “the green book”
- Take your vitamins girl! Some ladies tend to take vitamins before conceiving, however once you have conceived, make sure to definitely take some vitamins to keep your body and baby healthy. If you aren’t already taking a prenatal vitamin containing at least 400 micrograms of folic acid, you can ask your doctor for a prescription. This will help prevent neural-tube defects like Spina Bifida and iron deficiency. A popular supplement provided in pregnancy is Pregnacare. Always consult your doctor before taking extra supplements. Sometimes it could be you don’t need these additional vitamins. Only your blood results and a doctor can advise.
- Stock up on snacks especially saltines/sweets. If morning sickness appears or the feeling of being nauseous does, it’s best to stock up on some snacks which can help make the time a little easier to pass. Morning sickness can occur for several reasons, it’s not harmful but can be draining. Snacking can help keep nausea to a minimum.
Your first trimester is the difficult one from all. As things progress, pregnancy begins to settle.
Avoiding certain foods in the first trimester
- Seafood/Sushi. Uncooked fish may contain parasites that could make you sick if eaten. During pregnancy it can be risky for baby too. Certain fish can contain high amounts of mercury which is why it’s best to stay clear.
- Alcohol is a simple NO-NO
- Caffeine. No need to avoid but recommended to reduce to one cup a day if required.
- Soft cheeses. Raw and unpasteurized cheeses again should be avoided. Anything that has been pasteurised is fine. Soft cheese, cheddar, feta are perfectly safe.
- Undercooked eggs. Eggs if not cooked properly can cause salmonella food poisoning. Avoid raw or undercooked eggs.
First trimester – Baby’s thoughts
In the first trimester, your baby is very much busy growing. Growing internally as well as externally. The first 3 months is where the magic happens with god almighty’s grace. By the end of three months your baby is pretty much formed. Heart, a brain, and lungs, you name it. From an embryo, your baby develops into a foetus. Fingers and toes are also developed and by the end of three months they will be measuring around 4 inches long.
Second Trimester: Weeks 14–27
This Trimester is known to be the best trimester for most mums. It’s less dramatic and more settled. Also known as the feel-good trimester.
During your second trimester, things begin to calm down. You will start to feel a lot like yourself, your energy will come back and not forgetting nausea will be a lot less or even null.
In addition, many mums in their second trimester find that their skin glows and their hair is shinier and thicker, thanks to the gazillion surging hormones.
Around week 20 your belly begins to show a lot more. You will also be able to find out the gender of your baby.
I kept both my genders a surprise. It was exciting finding out when they were born.
What’s going on inside you? Your ligaments will start to soften and stretch in preparation for childbirth, however it shouldn’t be painful. Some cramps here and there are normal and expected.
The second trimester is usually a good time to get your self some pampering sessions in. At this stage, your not too big and your not overly heavy either. Go and enjoy it!
Second stage – Second Trimester
- Give the dentist a visit. During pregnancy dental care is free with a maternity exception card. So make use! Any fillings or any pain left untreated will just add more pressure to yourself.
- Load up on fruits and vegetables for that balanced diet. During the second stage, your baby goes through a growth spurt. Ensure to eat the right foods so your baby can get all the nutrients. An additional of 300 calories is recommended a day. Give your body the boost with extra vitamins, minerals, and nutrients by eating foods like apples, spinach, blueberries, and broccoli etc. Enjoy food at it’s finest. This is also a time where cravings kick in. It’s the best time to indulge in what your body and baby wants.
- Baby scan. Many women have their second ultrasound between 18 and 22 weeks. Your doctor will check the baby’s size and can tell you the gender. Additional tests are also carried out during the second trimester to detect any complications or health issues in you or your baby. These prenatal screenings can include alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), gestational diabetes, and the amniocentesis test.
- Baby shopping. This is the perfect time to get some shopping done. You’ll feel well and energetic, so don’t leave it last minute. Items such as baby strollers, carriers, clothes, baby feeding essentials and all the other stuff you’ll need.
Not sure what you’ll need? don’t worry I’ve got you covered. Click here for the ULTIMATE baby checklist!
- Take a trip. You can always enjoy one last get away with the hubby if it’s your first baby before baby arrives. During the second trimester your energy’s up and your belly is still small. most doctor’s recommend that you stop travelling by air at the 36-week mark.
- Exercise – Walking. Take a 30-minute daily walk or a few days a week to help relieve the stress on your body. Drink plenty of water too. Remember, if you feel tired, then slow down and take a rest. Never put your body in stress because of tiredness.
- Prenatal yoga: You can join physical and online classes with instructors who teach pregnancy yoga. Breathing techniques are a fantastic way to learn self control in labour along with learning yoga poses which can help relieve tight muscles and open out the kinks in your lower back and hips.
Second Trimester- Baby’s thoughts
During the second trimester, your baby’s senses develop. They can taste food and create reactions if they don’t like them. They can even recognize your voice! So whenever mama and papa speaks, ensure to speak to baby too. Babies in the second trimester become more active. You’ll start feeling a kick here and there. I felt my baby’s first kick at 5 months. (Best feeling, like – ever!!)
By the end of the 27th week, your baby will be around ten inches long and weighing around 2-3 pounds.
Third Trimester: Weeks 28–40
Finally, the time has started coming to an end. Your nearly there, you’ve nearly made it. Soon you will be meeting your baby.
The third trimester is where the super growth happens. Your baby has developed internally and all he needs to do now is add fat to it’s cute little body.
Your belly will begin to stretch and you’ll feel a tight and itchy feeling. You may also notice a linea nigra—a dark line that runs from your pubic bone up to your navel—starting to appear. Your uterus expands up to 1,000 times its original volume. How cool is that!
Weight increase is each women to her own. Depends on your body and size to begin with. An average women puts on around 30ibs in weight.
Finally, you may start to feel all sorts of aches and pains here and there. It’s all normal as your body prepares for the final stretch before baby is delivered. Common changes may include Braxton Hicks contractions, irregular aches, tightening’s, weaker bladder, itchy belly etc. If you aren’t sure what you’re experiencing, call your doctor.
Third stage–Third Trimester
- Take a prenatal labour class. You’re probably thinking what labour will be like now that your nearing the end. You can Ease your delivery-day fears by learning about relaxation techniques for labor. I found the breathing techniques really helped.
- Complete the baby’s nursery. Purchase your baby’s crib/bassinet and install the car seat. The hospital won’t let you go home without a car seat – it’s law.
- Pack your hospital bag. You could go into labour any time after 36-weeks, so gather all the essentials you’ll need.
Struggling on what to pack for your hospital bag: See here for a simple list!
Third Trimester: Prepare for labour and stay calm
The third trimester passes super fast for some and super slow for others. Either way it’s best to remain focused and stress free.
During the last trimester you may experience uncomfortableness in certain places, such as:
- Aches and pains – braxton hicks
- Swollen feet. Fluid shifts from blood vessels into the tissues in your hands and feet, causing them to swell. You can combat this by elevating your legs as often as possible.
- Heartburn. Eating small meals, and not lying down for 30 minutes after you eat can help. Your doctor may also recommend an over-the-counter antacid such as Gaviscon.
- Shortness of breath. As your baby nestles right under your rib cage it may become a little harder to breath. Luckily, this gets much better after your baby drops, at around 36 weeks. More pressure on the pelvic bones it is then!
Third trimester – Baby’s thoughts
Baby is gaining all the weight he possibly can before his arrival.
Space will begin to get cramped in there allowing less movements and less kicks. Your baby will still enjoy eating their favourite foods and will begin to make there way down into the pelvic area to position themselves for birth.
It’s a 40 week journey, with aches and pain and ups and downs, but when you hold your baby for the first time, 100% time will stand still! The most beautiful blessing!
Related: Labour and Third degree tear!