Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the period during which a woman's body develops one or more babies. Multiple pregnancies are when a woman has more than one child, such as twins.
Pregnancy is normally caused by sexual activity, however, it can also be caused by assisted reproductive technologies. A live birth, a spontaneous miscarriage, an induced abortion, or a stillbirth can all occur during a pregnancy. Childbirth usually takes place around 40 weeks after the last menstrual period began (LMP).
Missed menstrual periods, morning nausea, and fullness and tenderness of the breasts are all early signs of pregnancy; however, the positive and certain signs of gestation are the sounds of the fetal heartbeat, which can be heard with a stethoscope between the 16th and the 20th week of pregnancy; ultrasound images of the growing fetus, which can be seen throughout pregnancy; and fetal movement.
There are three trimesters in a pregnancy, each with its own set of fetal milestones. At 40 weeks, a pregnancy is considered full-term; babies born before the end of week 37 are termed preterm. Premature infants may experience issues with growth and development, as well as breathing and digestion.
First trimester (0 to 12 Weeks)
Baby's development is particularly important throughout the first trimester. baby's bodily structure and organ systems develop throughout this time. During this time, the majority of miscarriages and birth abnormalities occur.
Almost every organ in the body will be affected by hormonal fluctuations. Many women experience symptoms such as:
- Extreme exhaustion
- Tender, puffy breasts as early pregnancy indications. Your nipples may protrude.
- Cravings for certain meals or an aversion to them
- Emotional ups and downs
- Urination regularly
Changes in a Woman's Daily Routine in the First Trimester
Some of the changes you'll notice during your first trimester may prompt you to make changes to your daily routine. You might need to go to bed earlier or eat smaller, more frequent meals.
Some women have a lot of discomforts, while others have none at all. Even if they've been pregnant before, pregnant women have different experiences. Pregnant women may experience completely different emotions with each pregnancy.
Second trimester (14 to 28 Weeks)
Because many of the negative effects of early pregnancy fade away in the second trimester, it is often referred to as the "golden period." You'll probably feel less nauseated, have better sleep patterns, and have more energy during the second trimester. Back pain, abdominal pain, leg cramps, constipation, and heartburn are some of the new symptoms you may experience.
You may notice your baby's first fluttering movements between 16 and 20 weeks of pregnancy.
You may find that the second trimester is easier than the first. Nausea and fatigue may become less severe or disappear entirely. Your body, on the other hand, will undergo more changes. As your abdomen expands to accommodate the growing baby, the "baby bump" will appear. You'll be able to feel your baby move by the end of the second trimester!
Physical and Emotional Changes in a Woman in the Second Trimester
In the second trimester, you may notice the following changes in your body:
- Aches and pains in the back, abdomen, groin, or thigh
- Darkening of the skin around your nipples
- Stretch marks on your abdomen, breasts, thighs, or buttocks
- A skin line that runs from the belly button to the pubic hairline (linea nigra)
- Darker skin patches, typically on the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip. This is sometimes referred to as the pregnancy mask (melasma, or Chloasma facies).
- Hands that are numb or tingling (carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Your baby continues to develop as your body changes in the second trimester:
- The musculoskeletal system continues to form.
- The skin starts to form and becomes nearly transparent.
- Your baby's intestinal tract produces meconium. The baby will have a first bowel movement.
- Your baby starts sucking with his mouth (sucking reflex).
- Your baby is 4 to 5 inches long and almost 3 ounces in weight.
Third Trimester (28 to 40 Weeks)
You've made it to the end of your pregnancy and are probably both excited and nervous about your baby's arrival. Shortness of breath, hemorrhoids, urinary incontinence, varicose veins, and sleeping problems are some of the physical symptoms you may experience during this time. The expansion of your uterus, which grows from about 2 ounces before pregnancy to 2.5 pounds at the time of birth, causes many of these symptoms.
The third trimester of pregnancy is the last stage of pregnancy. Discomforts that began in the second trimester are likely to persist, as well as some new ones. You may have difficulty breathing and need to urinate more frequently as the baby grows and puts more pressure on your internal organs. This is normal, and these issues should subside once you give birth.
Emotional and Physical Changes a Woman Might Go Through in the Third Trimester
You will notice more physical changes in the third and final trimester, including:
- The ankles, fingers, and face swell. (Call your doctor right away if you notice any sudden or extreme swelling or if you gain a lot of weight very quickly.) This could be a sign of preeclampsia, a serious condition.)
- Tender breasts that may leak colostrum, a watery pre-milk.
- It's possible that your belly button will protrude.
- Other symptoms you may notice in the third trimester include shortness of breath, heartburn, and sleeping difficulties.
Your cervix thins and softens as you get closer to your due date (called effacing). This is a normal, natural process that aids in the opening of the birth canal (vagina) during the delivery process.
As you get closer to your due date, your doctor will perform a vaginal exam to assess your progress. Get ready to be ecstatic: the final countdown has begun!