Your pregnancy will likely be the most tenuous, unpredictable 40 weeks of your life. Each week brings new feelings, new emotions and new sensations. Some of your bodily changes will reflect the development of the little one inside you. Enjoy your baby’s growth as much as you can while your body undergoes pain, stretching and movement.
First 12 Weeks
The first set of weeks is technically the shortest, although they may feel like the longest. The first two weeks actually occur before ovulation and conception so you won’t feel anything then. You’ll have PMS-like symptoms week 2 through week 4. Whether you were trying to conceive or not, you may confuse these cramps, headaches and breast soreness with preparation for your period. Around week 4, you will miss your period and take a pregnancy test. After you get a positive pregnancy test, you will notice the period symptoms continuing, with increased nausea, or morning sickness. You may notice changes in your digestive system, such as increased urination and constipation.
Second 16 Weeks
As you enter your13th week of pregnancy, you may notice some new changes. In addition to the nausea and exhaustion, you will start feeling some aches and pains as your organs stretch and move to make room for your baby. Although everyone’s experience is different, many pregnant women notice morning sickness start to dissipate around the 13th and 14th weeks. Sometime in these first weeks of your second trimester, your belly will start pushing out, making your pregnancy evident to those around you. The University of Cincinnati explains that you can expect to feel the baby movement between week 16 and week 20. In the weeks after this, you will start to see swelling in your ankles. During the second trimester, up until week 28, you may have the most energy of the your entire pregnancy, so take advantage while you can.
The Home Stretch
The final trimester lasts until both the baby and your body are ready for labor. If you make it all the way until week 40, or full term, it will be 12 weeks long. Your exhaustion may start to return during week 28 and continue throughout the trimester. False labor or Braxton-Hicks contractions may begin during this time. You will start gain 1 lb. per week starting in week 30, leading to exhaustion and irritability. Women should take it easy during this time so as not to trigger labor until at least week 38.
- pregnancy image by Adam Borkowski from Fotolia.com