Prenatal Development

Family Living and Parenting

Ways to Prepare for a Pregnancy

If you are planning to get pregnant, you should begin prenatal care early before the child is conceived. This is called preconception health, which means knowing how health can affect a woman or her unborn baby.
You should start living a more healthy lifestyle if you aren't already. You should:

  • Take vitamins
  • Start a good diet
  • Exercise
  • Use no drugs/alcohol
  • Educate yourself
  • Prepare for the baby

Trimester 1 (Conception to 13 Weeks)

At the very beginning, you probably won't yet know that you are pregnant, because symptoms don't quite begin until several days, or even weeks after conception. The first major sign of pregnancy is a missed period.


  • Tender, swollen breasts
  • Fatigue
  • Light spotting, cramping
  • Nausea
  • Heightened sense of smell
  • Food aversions
  • Frequent urination
  • Cravings
  • Backaches
  • Nail growth

At This Stage:

Week Four-
  • The ball of cells is splitting into the embryo (your future child) and placenta
  • The amniotic sac and fluid is forming into protective cushioning for your baby
  • Your baby's heart will begin beating
  • The baby's neural tube, the building block of he spine, brain and backbone, is already formed
Week Eight -

  • Baby is moving like crazy (you cannot yet feel it)
  • Fingers and toes are now only slightly webbed, and tail is gone
  • Sex organs are developing
  • Taste buds also are forming

Week Twelve-

  • Most of the critical systems are fully formed
  • Developing reflexes
  • Opening and closing fingers and curling toes
  • Brain is developing fast


weeks 3 & 4

(size of a poppyseed)

week 8
(size of a raspberry)
week 12

(size of a plum)

Trimester 2 (14 to 27 Weeks)


  • Larger breasts
  • Growing tummy
  • Braxton Hicks contractions
  • Skin changes
  • Stretch marks
  • Nasal and gum problems
  • Dizziness
  • Leg cramps
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Bladder and kidney infections

At This Stage:

Week Sixteen

  • Baby is growing hair, lashes, and eyebrows
  • Taste buds are forming
  • Sex can be determined
  • Tiny bones are being formed in the ear, enabling the baby to hear
  • Baby can recognize your voice

Week Twenty

  • You have reached the halfway point
  • Taste buds are working
  • Baby is gulping down several ounces of aniotic fluid a day
  • There are definite sleep-wake patterns with your baby

Week Twenty-Four

  • Skin is becoming opaque
  • Skin has a new pink glow
  • Baby is able to survie outside of the womb with medical assistance


week 16

(size of an avocado)

week 20

(size of a banana)

week 24

(size of a canteloupe)

Trimester 3 (28 to 40 Weeks)


  • Leg cramps
  • Heartburn
  • Frequent urination
  • Backache
  • Spotted bleeding *May be a sign of serious problem
  • Braxton Hicks contraction
  • Breast enlargement
  • Discharge

At This Stage:

Week Twenty-Eight

  • Baby is developing fat, so wrinkly skin will start to get smoother
  • Lungs are mature enough that baby would probably be able to survie without much medical help

Week Thirty-Two

  • You are pretty much ready for arrival!
  • Baby is getting ready for her descent, so she should be turning to head-down position now

Week Thirty-Eight

  • Baby is sitting low on pelvis, so is causing much pressure
  • Baby may have and inch or so of hair already grown
  • Baby is shedding the white goo on her skin (called vernix caseosa), but you may see some of it at birth


week 28

(size of an eggplant)

week 32

(size of a squash)

week 38

(size of a pumpkin)



  • Only about 5% of infants are born right on due date
  • Around due date, mother is keeping an eye out for major signs, such as water breaking, or contractions
  • Oxytocin initiates contractions
  • Standing up or squatting takes away the pain
  • Delivery begins when the cervix opens
  • Adrenaline helps baby to cope and prepares the lungs
  • Once delivered, lungs drain of fluid, and lungs begin to work
  • Once doctors determine all organs and systems are working, umbilical cord is clamped and cut
  • Umbilical cord follows baby out after detaching from uterine wall
  • Baby's cries tend to match the pattern of mother's voice
  • Baby feels uncomfortable sensations of hunger and cold