Week By Week Stages

YOUR BODY WEEK BY WEEK

What is ovulation?

Ovulation refers to the release of an egg from one of the ovaries. This typically occurs 12 to 16 days before the next period is due. Once this egg is released, it travels down the fallopian tube, where it may meet a sperm (if you have had sexual activity recently) and become fertilized. A fertilized egg will then attempt to implant into the lining of the uterus where it can continue to grow. An unfertilized egg slowly stops producing hormones and dissolves as the body prepares for menstruation.(1)

Signs That You Might Be Ovulating:

  • Cervical mucus increases in volume and thickness due to increased estrogen.
  • There may be a slight increase in female body temperature due to progesterone. You are most fertile for 2-3 days before your temperature reaches its maximum.
  • Some feel a mild pain or ache in their lower abdomen called Mittelschmerz pain.  This may last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.(1)

Why do we calculate a pregnancy by the date of your LMP (last menstrual period) and not ovulation?

The gestational age (how far along you are) is calculated from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). (2) This is because the exact date of conception is almost never known, because sperm can stay alive in the female body and fertilize an egg for up to five days after sex. (3)

CHANGES IN THE BODY ASSOCIATED WITH PREGNANCY

You may notice changes in your body even before you miss your period. While there may be other causes for these symptoms besides pregnancy, it is still a good idea to know what to look for. It is also important to understand that every pregnancy is different. Even the same person may experience different symptoms with each pregnancy. These are just some of the common symptoms you may experience

COMMON EARLY PREGNANCY SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:
  • Breast Changes – You may notice that your breasts feel tender or swollen. This occurs because your hormones are preparing your body for lactation.  The breasts will become bigger and fuller later on in the pregnancy.
  • Nausea/Vomiting – Although this is often referred to as “morning sickness”, it can occur at any time of the day or night. These symptoms can lead to a feeling of repulsion towards certain foods or smells throughout your pregnancy.  Usually morning sickness goes away by the second trimester.
  • Increased Urination – You may find yourself needing to urinate more frequently. This is due to an increase of blood in your body, causing your kidneys to process extra fluid.
  • Fatigue – Early on in the pregnancy, your progesterone levels increase, which may make you feel extra tired.
  • Missed Period – The most obvious sign of pregnancy is a missed period. However, it is important to know that a late or missed period can be caused by a number of things other than a pregnancy.   Also, some pregnant women experience minor bleeding or spotting and may mistake that for a period.  If your period is late and you think you may be pregnant, Focus Women’s Center offers free pregnancy testing so that you can know for sure.  Contact us today to schedule your confidential Pregnancy Verification and Consultation appointment.

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THE FIRST TRIMESTER (Conception Through Week 12)
During this time, you might notice a variety of additional symptoms as your pregnancy develops:

  • Skin Changes – Rosy or shiny skin, also called “the pregnancy glow”, is caused by an increase in blood circulation. Pregnancy hormones can also increase oil production on the skin causing acne.
  • Heartburn – Muscles that break down food become more relaxed and slower. Food then stays in the stomach longer causing or worsening heartburn.
  • Constipation – This is often caused by the iron in the prenatal vitamin, as well as the slowed process of digesting food.
  • Visible Veins – Your veins may become more noticeable because your body makes extra blood and the heart pumps faster to meet the demands of pregnancy.
  • Lightheaded/Dizziness – Your body works hard to make extra blood to support the pregnancy thus causing some feelings of lightheadedness or dizziness.
  • Vaginal changes – The lining of the vagina becomes thicker and less sensitive. You may notice thin white discharge.
  • Emotion changes – Due to the overload of hormones during your pregnancy, you may feel moody, forgetful, and unable to focus. Fatigue and stress can worsen these symptoms.
  • Frequent urination – As the growing uterus pushes on the bladder, you may notice an increased need to urinate. Some even leak urine when coughing, sneezing, or laughing.
  • Growing belly – This occurs as your pregnancy and uterus grow.

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THE SECOND TRIMESTER (Weeks 13 -27)
As the pregnancy continues to grow, you may experience:

  • Nausea/Vomiting – For many, this begins to improve in this trimester.
  • Leg Cramps – This is related to the pressure a baby is putting on nerves and blood vessels that go to the legs. Call your healthcare provider to report this since a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) can cause similar symptoms and can occur during pregnancy.
  • Breast Changes – Breasts grow larger and fuller to prepare for lactation.
  • Skin Changes – As the pregnancy grows, the skin stretches and can cause stretch marks. Dry, itchy skin, increased sensitivity to sun, the formation of a dark line (linea nigra) down the belly from navel to pubis, and the formation of patches of darkened skin on the face can also occur.
  • Puffiness – This is caused by fluid retention and slower blood circulation. Call your healthcare provider if this becomes severe.
  • Back/Hip/Pelvis Pain – The growing pregnancy puts stress on the back, meanwhile, ligaments relax causing aches and pains in your hips and pelvis. Bones also move slightly to prepare for childbirth.
  • Abdominal Muscle Cramping – Muscles and ligaments supporting the uterus stretch as the uterus grows.
  • Nasal Congestion/Nosebleeds – This can occur as increased blood flows to mucous membranes.
  • Loose Teeth – Pregnancy hormones can affect the ligaments and bones in the mouth as well, so teeth may loosen. This returns to normal after pregnancy.
  • Heartburn – This may worsen in the second trimester.
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) – Hormonal changes slow the flow of urine. Additionally, your bladder doesn’t completely empty due to the enlarged uterus pressing against it.  Symptoms of a UTI include an increased need to urinate, burning with urination, presence of blood in the urine, or strong odor to the urine. Contact your healthcare provider if you develop these symptoms.
  • Braxton Hicks Contractions – The tightening of the uterine muscles causes discomfort and is sometimes mistaken as “false labor”. This is one of the ways your body prepares for labor. These contractions are irregular and should go away in a few minutes.  Call your healthcare provider if they become regular and painful.
  • Weight Gain – This is caused by the growing pregnancy, hormones, and fluid retention.
  • Fetal Movement – You will begin to notice movement of the pregnancy inside the uterus. Movement will feel more noticeable as the pregnancy grows during this trimester.

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THE THIRD TRIMESTER (Week 28 Through Childbirth)
As you go through the third and final trimester, you may notice:

  • Fatigue – Hormones and the physical/emotional stress of the pregnancy can cause tiredness.
  • Puffiness – This is caused by slowed blood circulation and fluid retention. Call your healthcare provider if this becomes severe.
  • Tingling/Numbness – Swelling may press on nerves causing tingling, and as the skin becomes stretched, it may begin to feel numb.
  • Varicose Veins – These are caused by pregnancy hormones triggering the vein walls to relax and swell. Fluid retention and pressure from the growing pregnancy can also slow blood circulation leading to varicose veins.  Additionally, the strain from a bowel movement can cause varicose veins near the anus called hemorrhoids.
  • Continued Back/Pelvis/Hip Aches and Pains – This occurs as the pregnancy grows and the body prepares for childbirth.
  • Abdominal Muscle Pain – This occurs as the pregnancy grows and the muscles and ligaments are stretched.
  • Shortness of Breath – As the uterus grows upward, the lungs have less room to expand.
  • Breast Changes – The breasts may continue to become larger and fuller. They may start to leak a yellow liquid called colostrum, the baby’s first food.
  • Vaginal Discharge – Discharge may increase. Call your healthcare provider if you notice any fluid leaking or see blood.
  • Stretch Marks – As the pregnancy grows more in size, stretch marks may begin to appear or increase.
  • Decrease in Fetal Movement – There will be less fetal movement as the pregnancy grows and has less room to move around in the uterus.

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FETAL DEVELOPMENT WEEK BY WEEK

2-3 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

Towards the end of week 2 into week 3, ovulation and conception can occur. After the sperm fertilizes the egg during conception, the fertilized egg moves through the fallopian tube to the uterus, where it implants in the lining of the uterus.

At the moment of fertilization, the eye color, hair color, gender, and more are already determined.

4 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

This is the time when your period would normally be starting. Although only the size of a poppyseed, the embryo is already experiencing major growth.

5 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

The brain, spine, and heart are beginning to form. At the end of this week, the heart will begin pumping blood. Your embryo is the size of a sesame seed.

6 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

The eyes, nostrils, and arms are taking shape. The heart beats about 110 beats per minute, and the embryo is about the size of a sweet pea.

7 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

The embryo has now doubled in size from the previous week. It is now about the size of a blueberry. Hands, feet, mouth, and face are forming. The heart is beating at about 120 beats per minute. The trachea and bronchi of the lungs have formed. An ultrasound done at this stage can detect your embryo moving, although you won’t be able to feel it yet.

8 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

Facial features are becoming more defined, and fingers and toes are starting to develop. Your embryo is about the size of a raspberry.

9 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

The arms continue to grow, and elbows develop. Tiny toes are visible and eyelids form. The heart is beating at about 170 beats per minute. Your embryo is about the size of a grape.

10 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

Now called a fetus, it is about the size of a prune, although it is ready for some pretty major weight gain. Toes and fingers lose their webbing, fingerprints are being formed, and bone cells are replacing cartilage.

11 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

Your fetus, now the size of a strawberry, is starting to make breathing movements and can open its mouth and swallow. Teeth buds appear, and external genitalia start to develop.

12 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

The thyroid, pancreas, and kidneys are functioning. The kidneys can now secrete urine, and the fetus’s facial features become more recognizable. The fingernails start to grow. Your fetus has more than doubled in size in the past 3 weeks and now is about the size of a lime.

13 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

The most critical portion of development is now complete. All major organs are formed now, but too immature for the fetus to survive outside of the womb. The fetus is the size of a peapod.

14 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

Toenails are appearing, and gender may sometimes be seen on an ultrasound. Your fetus is the size of a lemon.

15 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

The fetus has doubled in size from the previous week and is now the size of an apple. You may start to sense fetal movement such as kicking or hiccups, however, don’t be alarmed if you don’t. Some don’t feel the fetus moving until much later.

16 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

Your fetus can move its eyes slowly, and it has coordinated limb movements now. Hearing begins to form, and lung development continues. Your fetus is now the size of an avocado.

17 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

Lungs continue to form. There are still no air sacs where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide occur, so respiration is not yet possible. Toenails start to appear, and the fetus is more active now, rolling and flipping. It is the size of a pomegranate.

18 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

The ears are more noticeable, and the fetus begins to respond to sound. The digestive system has started to work. Further brain growth occurs. Your fetus is the size of a bell pepper.

19 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

Ears, nose, and lips are now recognizable. For girls, the vaginal canal and uterus are already forming. A cheese-like coating called vernix caseosa covers the fetus’s skin to help protect it. Your fetus is the size of an heirloom tomato.

20 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

Fetus is now covered in fine hair called lanugo and has some hair on the head as well. The fetus is now capable of producing two type of antibodies. By now it has a regular pattern of sleeping and waking. Loud noises or your movements may even wake your fetus, which is now about the length of a banana.

21 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

Your fetus is now able to suck its thumb and grasp, and it is as long as a carrot.

22 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

Your fetus continues to grow, and organ systems continue to improve. Survival outside of the womb would be about 9% now. Eyebrows and hair are visible. For boys, the testes begin to descend. Your fetus is about the size of a spaghetti squash.

23 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

Rapid eye movements occur during sleep. Survival increases to 33% outside of the womb. Ridges on the hands and feet form, beginning the development of fingerprints and footprints.  Your fetus is now the size of a large mango.

24 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

Last stage of lung development starts. The fetus’s skin is still translucent and wrinkled.  Survival outside of the womb increases to 65%.  Your fetus is about as long as an ear of corn.

25 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

Respiration is possible toward the end of this week. Survival outside of the womb increases to 81%.  Some fetuses respond to familiar sounds, such as your voice.  Your fetus is the size of a rutabaga. 

26 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

Eyelids open and close. Survival outside of the womb is 87%.  Your fetus is the length of a scallion.

27 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

By now you should be feeling your fetus kicking and moving around all the time.  Keep track of the movements because a sharp decrease or no movement could be a sign of potential distress on the fetus.  If you have any questions or concerns, contact your healthcare provider.

The fetus’s nervous system continues to mature.  The fetus has a 94% survival outside of the womb and is now the size of a head of cauliflower.

28 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

The fetus has eyelashes. Its central nervous system can direct breathing movements and control body temperature. Your fetus is the size of a large eggplant.

29 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

The fetus continues to gain weight and is very active kicking, stretching, and grasping. Your fetus is about the size of a large butternut squash.

30 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

Red blood cells are forming in the bone marrow. Some fetuses may have a nice head of hair by this week. Your fetus is about the size of a large cabbage.

31 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

By this point, most of the major development is finished. Now the fetus will continue to gain weight. Right now, it is about the size of a coconut.

32 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

The soft hair (lanugo) that covered the fetus’s body for the past few months starts to fall off. Your fetus is the size of a jicama.

33 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

The fetus is forming muscle and storing body fat. The pupils can change size in response to light. Your fetus is the size of a pineapple.

34 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

By now, your fetus’s fingernails have grown long enough to reach the fingertips. The fetus is considered late preterm and is the size of a cantaloupe.

35 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

The fetus’s skin smooths out as more and more weight is gained. Your fetus is the size of a honeydew melon.

36 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

Your fetus is as long as a head of romaine lettuce and is gaining about an ounce a day.

37 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

By now, your fetus has a pretty firm grasp. Also, its head might start descending into the pelvis in preparation for birth. The fetus is now considered to be early term and is the size of a canary melon.

38 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

The fetus’s toenails have grown to the tips of the toes. Most of the lanugo is gone. Your fetus is the length of a leek.

39 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

The fetus continues to put on weight. If it’s a boy, the testes continue to descend into the scrotum. Your fetus is the size of a mini watermelon.

40 Weeks After LMP LMP: Last Menstrual Period .

The fetus is now full term. Most full-term babies are between 19-21 inches long and weigh about 6 ¾ – 10 lbs. Your baby is about the size of a small pumpkin.

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