While the physical, emotional and spiritual experience of pregnancy is special for each mom, several development stages exist for every pregnant woman. Typically, pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks; your future son or daughter develops over three distinct stages or trimesters. Knowing what to expect during each stage of your pregnancy can help you and your loved ones during this special time in your life.
The first trimester of pregnancy covers weeks one through 12, according to the Women’s Health website. At four weeks, your baby’s brain, spinal cord and heart have begun to develop. By your eighth week of pregnancy, your child’s heart will beat regularly; his fingers and toes also will start forming. Near the end of your first trimester, your baby’s sex organs will have formed, the umbilical cord is visible, and your child can make a fist. During this development stage, you may experience symptoms, such as food cravings or distaste of certain foods, and also likely will feel the urge to urinate more frequently.
During the second trimester, which covers weeks 13 to 28, your baby develops even more significantly. Any unpleasant side effects associated with your pregnancy will likely to decrease during this stage, according to Women’s Health. Your baby’s development during this trimester includes the formation of skin as well as an increased growth of muscle tissue and bone. As an expectant mom, you may experience physical symptoms, such as ankle and feet swelling, or body aches. Stretch marks may also form on your body.
Some women opt to seek an ultrasound during this stage. The doctor likely can determine the child’s sex, according to Women’s Health. Others may wait until the third trimester and/or ask not to learn their child’s sex.
The ultimate goal of a healthy delivery is even more in sight for you and your family as you enter the final development stage of your pregnancy. The third trimester, which encompasses weeks 29 to 40, may be somewhat physically difficult for you. It is likely you will need to go to the bathroom more often. You may also experience problems sleeping, develop hemorrhoids and have contractions. However, even if you experience unpleasant symptoms, your child is truly developing into the person she will become. By now, he has fingerprints and footprints that make him different from any other person on the planet. Also, your baby now kicks and jabs forcefully; you may feel this in the final weeks of your pregnancy. When you give birth, your child will most likely weigh between 6 and 9 lbs. and be about 19 to 21 inches long.
- pregnant image by AGphotographer from Fotolia.com