Pregnant? What to expect!
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Fetal Development (First Trimester)
Surprise, surprise! Really you're not pregnant the first or second week! Crazy huh?!
Conception typically occurs 2 weeks after your last period. Calculating your due date, the health provider will count ahead 40 weeks from the start of your last period.
During week 3, the sperm and the egg will unite in one of your fallopian tubes and become one called zygote. The zygote has 46 chromosomes; 23 from you and 23 from the dad. These determines what the sex of the baby & traits the baby has like their eyes, hair
color, hair skin and maybe intelligent/personality.
By week 4, the zygote will be in the uterus, it's now known as a blastocyst. A blastocyst separates into 2 sections. The inner group will become the embryo, the outer group will become the cells that nourish and protect it. The blastocyst will bury it into the uterine wall for nourishment. This is called implantation. The placenta- nourish your baby throughout pregnancy will also start to form.
During week 5 and 6, the baby's brain and organs start form. Basic features will be appearing and buds will be the baby's arms and feet.
In week 7 & 8, the baby's head and face features will start forming and be visible. The trunk of the baby's body will start to straighten and the baby will be around 1/2 inches.
During week 9 & 10, the baby's neck and toes are forming and the eyes/ears are continuing to develop. Also the baby has grown bones and can bend their elbows.
In week 11 & 12, the baby is now a fetus and is developing genetials and fingernails. It's now about 2 1/2 inches and weighs about 1/2 oz.
First Trimester; What's going on with me
Pregnancy might leave you feeling delighted, anxious, exhilarated, and exhausted. Sometimes all at the same time! You might also experience misgivings, weeps and mood swings. Of course naturally as a mom you'll worry about your baby's health!
The physical changes during the first trimester,
- You'll have bouts of nausea. It can strike during any time of the day; eating small amounts of meals throughout the day can help.
- You'll also have swollen breasts, wearing a supportive bra or sports bra might help. You'll also have an increase in urinating, especially during the night.
- Fatigue also ranks high among first trimester symptoms. During early pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone soar, which can put you to sleep. At the same time, lower blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and increased blood production might team up to sap your energy. To combat fatigue, rest as much as you can. Make sure you're getting enough iron and protein. Include physical activity, such as a brisk walk, in your daily routine.
- You might have food cravings, and foods you may not like, it's common.
- Pregnancy causes your blood vessels to dilate and your blood pressure to drop, which might leave you lightheaded or dizzy. When you're lightheaded or dizzy, rise slowly after lying or sitting down. If you start to feel dizzy while you're driving, pull over. If you're standing when dizziness hits, sit or lie down.
- During first trimester pregnancy, the movements that push swallowed food from your esophagus into your stomach are slower. Your stomach also takes longer to empty. This slowdown gives nutrients more time to be absorbed into your bloodstream and reach your baby. Unfortunately, it can also lead to heartburn and constipation. To help, eat small meals throughout the day, avoid fried foods, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits or juices, and spicy foods.
Fetal Development (Second trimester)
During week 13 & 14, your baby's intestines have returned to his or her abdomen from the umbilical cord, where they've been growing for the past couple of weeks. Your baby is also beginning to form urine and discharge it into the amniotic fluid. Tissue that will become bone is also developing around your baby's head and within his or her arms and legs. Your baby's arms have almost reached the final relative lengths they'll be at birth and your baby's neck has become more defined. Red blood cells are forming in your baby's spleen. Your baby's sex will become apparent this week or in the coming weeks. For girls, ovarian follicles begin forming. For boys, the prostate appears. The baby will be about 3 1/2 inches and weighs around 1 1/2 oz.
During week 15 & 16, your baby's skeleton is developing bones, which will become visible on ultrasound images in a few weeks. Your baby's scalp hair pattern also is forming. The baby's eyes are beginning to move slowly and might be sucking it's thumb and its movements are coordinates.
In week 17 & 18, fat stores begin to develop under your baby's skin. The fat will provide energy and help keep your baby warm after birth. Your baby's ears begin to stand out on the sides of his or her head. Your baby might begin to hear.
In week 19 & 20, a greasy, cheese-like coating called vernix caseosa begins to cover your baby. The vernix caseosa helps protect your baby's delicate skin from abrasions, chapping and hardening that can result from exposure to amniotic fluid. For the girls, the vaginial might start to form during these week. You will also start to feel the baby's movements.
During week 21 & 22, your baby is poised to gain more weight. By this week your baby is becoming more active and is able to swallow. Your baby is completely covered with a fine, down-like hair called lanugo. The lanugo helps hold the vernix caseosa on the skin. Your baby's eyebrows might be visible. Your baby right now would be about 7 1/2 inches and weighs around 1lb.
In week 23 & 24, your baby fingerprints and footprints will start to form and begin to have rapid eye movements and have taste buds soon.
Week 25-27, your baby will start to respond to your voice and familiar sounds. It's fingernails are fully develop and your baby's lungs and nervous system are maturing fast.
Second Trimester; What's going on with me?
- Your breasts will start becoming larger. Stimulated by estrogen and progesterone, the milk-producing glands inside your breasts gets larger during this trimester. So wearing a supportive bra is a must.
- Your belly is starting to grow, as your uterus becomes heavier and expands to make room for the baby. Expect to gain 3-4lbs a month until delivery.
- Also your uterus might start contracting to build strength for the big job ahead. You might feel these contractions called Braxton Hicks Contractions in your lower abdomen and groin. They're usually weak and come and go unpredictably.
- Your skin will also start to change. You might notice some dark spots on your breasts and inner thighs; and dark patches called melasma might appear on your face so make sure to wear plenty of sunscreen when you go out.
- You will start seeing stretch marks; pink or purple streaks along your abdomen, breasts, buttocks, upper arms and thighs during this trimester. Your skin might be itchy so use moisturizers; although most stretch marks aren't prevented but eventually it'll fade.
- You'll also have nasal and gum problems; so switching to a softer toothbrush can help decrease the irritations.
- You might experience occasional dizziness. If you're having problems with dizziness, drink plenty of fluids, rise up slowly after sitting or laying; you can also lie on your left side to restore your blood pressure.
- Leg cramps are common as pregnancy progresses, usually happening at night. To prevent leg cramps, stretch your calf muscles before bed, drink lots of fluids, stay physically active; also a hot shower, warm bath or ice massage may help.
- Your lungs are processing more air than they did before pregnancy, so this might leave you feeling short of breath.
- You might notice vaginal discharge, so you might want to wear panty liners for comfort.
- You might have bladder and kidney infections. so contact your health care provider if you notice burning sensation when you urinate, have a fever, or abdominal pain/backache.
During the second trimester, you might feel less tired and more up to the challenge of preparing a home for the baby. Check into childbirth classes, find a health care provider for your baby, read books about breast-feeding, get familiar with your employer's maternity leave policy and investigate child care options. Some women may feel heightened sexuality during pregnancy, others feel unattractive, you're struggling with your body image, sharing concerns with your partner. On top of everything else, you might worry about labor, delivery, and motherhood. It's totally normal so at this time, keep in mind that you can't control everything so learn as much as you can, and focus on making healthy lifestyle choices that'll give your baby the best start in life.
Fetal Development (Third Trimester)
In week 29; the baby's bones are fully developed but they're still soft and pliable.
During week 30 & 31; The baby's eyes are wide opened for a good part of the time. Your baby's head might have a good head of hair by the end of the week. Also red blood cells are forming in the bone marrow. The baby's nervous system has mature where it can control body temperature and the sexual development continues.
In week 32 & 33; Although the baby's lungs aren't fully developed, he/she is practices breathing. Your baby's body begin absorbing minerals such as iron and calcium from the intestinal tract. The lanugo (layer of soft, downy hair that has covered your baby's skin for the past few months) starts to fall off and the baby's pupils can constrict, dilate and detect light entering his/her eyes.
Week 34 & 35; By now your baby's fingernails have reach the tips of the fingertips and the pasty white coating that protects your baby's skin is about to get thicker. The baby's limbs are becoming chubby and the baby's gaining weight rapidly.
In week 36 & 37; The crowded conditions in your uterus makes it harder for your baby to give you a punch. You'll still feel a lot of stretches, rolls, wiggles and kicks. Ask your health provider how many movements you should detect in an hour. Also by this time, your baby's organs are ready to function on their own. Preparing for your birth, the baby's head might start descending into your pelvis.
In week 38 & 39; By this time, your baby is developing a firm grasp. Its toenails have reach the tips of his/her toes. The brain might weigh about 14oz, after birth the brain will continue to grow and the baby have shed all of his/her lanugo. By now the baby might weigh about 6 1/2 pounds. Also the placenta continues to supply your baby with antibiotics that will help fight infections after birth.
Week 40; Surprise surprise! The final day has come! Your baby now might be about 18-20 inches long, weighs 6 1/2 pounds or more! Remember healthy babies come in different sizes and don't be alarmed if your due date is a week or two early/late. It's completely normal!
Third Trimester; What's going on with me
- You'll have shortness of breath, so practice good posture and sleep with your upper body propped up on pillows to relieve pressure on your lungs.
- You'll also have heartburn, so eat small meals and drink plenty of fluids between meals. Avoid fried foods, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits or juices, and spicy foods.
- Your feet and legs will start to swell up. To reduce swelling, lie down or use a footrest. You might even elevate your feet and legs while you sleep. It can also help to swim or simply stand in a pool.
- You'll also have spider veins, varicose veins and hemorrhoids. If you have painful varicose veins, elevate your legs and wear support stockings. To prevent hemorrhoids, avoid constipation. Include plenty of fiber in your diet and drink lots of fluids.
- You'll continue to urinate a lot especially at night; continue to watch out for signs of a urinary tract infection, such as urinating even more than usual, burning during urination, fever, abdominal pain or backache.
- You'll also have vaginal discharge, it's common but if you wonder if the discharge is leaking amniotic fluid, contact your health care provider.
- You'll have backaches, so choose chairs with back support, wear shoes with good arch support and apply heating/ice pack to the painful area or ask your partner to massage.
- Your breasts will continue to grow, as your birth date approaches your nipples could start leaking colostrum- the yellowish fluid that will nourish your baby the first few days of life.
- Also by your due date, expect to weigh 25-30lbs more than you did before pregnancy.
- You'll also have Braxton Hicks Contractions; these are contractions are warm-ups for the real thing. They're usually weak and come and go unpredictably. True labor contractions get longer and closer together.
As anticipation grows, fear grows along with it. Don't worry, there's no right or wrong way to have a baby. The reality of a parent might sink in as well. You might start to feel anxious and overwhelmed. To stay calm, revel in the experience of being pregnant and think about the joy that will come.
Advice for soon-to-be Fathers
Information on the dad's advice;