My Guide to Pregnancy

Pregnancy Week By Week
 

The first trimester may be marked by excitement, anticipation, anxiety and fear. Most women experience one or all of these emotions at some point during the first trimester. You may be feeling exhausted, physically and emotionally, and have bouts of nausea and/or morning sickness. Fortunately, this is usually temporary and will typically subside during the second trimester.

You should schedule your first prenatal appointment with your OB/GYN, who will confirm the pregnancy, prescribe prenatal vitamins, administer routine blood testing, and listen for your baby’s heartbeat. You may also have your first ultrasound at this time, where you can see your baby in embryonic form.

By the end of the first trimester, your baby will be nearly three inches long, or the size of a medium shrimp, and weighs approximately one ounce. Your baby has hands and fingerprints, is beginning to grow fingernails, and can swallow and discharge fluids.

The following section provides more in-depth information about the changes you are experiencing along with the rapid development your growing baby is undergoing during weeks one through 12.


 

My Pregnancy:

Early pregnancy brings lots of new changes. These are completely normal and can change with each pregnancy. Some of the normal changes you may be experiencing include:

  • Nausea, vomiting,
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Light-headedness or faintness
  • Breast tenderness or increase in breast size.
Most of these changes will begin to subside as you enter the second trimester. In the meantime,  view our list of pregnancy comfort measures, which may help lessen the effects of these symptoms.

You should avoid over-the-counter drugs, medications, herbal and/or mineral supplements until you have spoken with your doctor. It is also important to avoid exposure to tobacco smoke, lead and alcohol, which can be harmful to your growing baby.

My Baby:

Week 3
  • Your baby’s brain, spinal cord and heart begin to develop.
  • The gastrointestinal tract also begins to develop.
Week 4  
The fourth week marks the beginning of the embryonic period, when your baby goes from being a compact ball of cells to an embryo about the size of a poppy seed. The following are just a few of the new developments:
  • Your baby’s arm and leg buds become visible.
  • The brain develops into five areas and some cranial nerves become visible.
  • The eye and ear structures begin to form.
  • The tissue that will become the vertebra and other bones begins to form.
  • There is further development of the heart, which now beats with a regular rhythm.
  • Movement of rudimentary blood through the main vessels.
Week 5
  • Your baby is now the size of an apple seed and looks like a very small tadpole.
  • Your baby now has three layers, which will eventually form all of the organs and tissues.
Week 6
  • Your baby is now the size of a lentil bean.
  • Arms and legs have grown longer, and foot and hand areas can be distinguished.
  • Hands and feet have fingers and toes, but may still be webbed.
  • Brain continues to form.
  • Lungs begin to form.
Week 7
  • Your baby is now the size of a blueberry.
  • Nipples and hair follicles form
  • Elbows and slightly webbed toes are visible
  • All essential organs have begun to form
Week 8
The end of the eighth week marks the end of the embryonic period and the beginning of the fetal period. Your baby is continuing to develop and is now the size of a raspberry and nearly one-inch long. You won’t be able to notice, but your baby is constantly moving around in your uterus.
  • Eyelids are more developed
  • External features of the ear begin to take their final shape.
  • Facial features continue to develop.
  • Intestines are rotating.
Hot Topics

The following topics are commonly discussed during this period. If you have questions or concerns about any of the following, you should consult with your doctor for further advice:
  • Blood work and lab tests
  • Recommended diet and nutrition
  • Foods and activities to avoid
  • Appropriate weight gain
  • The importance of prenatal vitamins, folic acid and iron
  • Safety concerns with the use of hot tubs or saunas. 

 

My Pregnancy:

You are now well into the first trimester, and are probably starting to feel pregnant. Some of the normal changes you might be experiencing include:

  • Nausea, vomiting,
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Light-headedness or faintness
  • Increase in size and tenderness of breasts
  • Increase in clear vaginal discharge
  • May be more prone to dental cavities
Most of these changes will begin to subside as you enter the second trimester. In the meantime, click here for a list of recommended measures for common pregnancy discomforts, which may help lessen the effects of these changes.

My Baby:

From week nine to week twelve, your baby will have grown from the size of a grape to the size of a large plum. By the end of the first trimester, your baby is approximately two inches long. Here are some of the major developments occurring during this time:
  • Eyelids close and will not reopen until about the 28th week
  • Face is well formed
  • Limbs are long and thin
  • Genitals appear well differentiated
  • Red blood cells are produced in the liver
  • The head makes up nearly half of the fetus' size
  • The baby can make a fist with its fingers
  • Tooth buds appear for the baby teeth
  • Legs, arms, face and major organs are forming
Hot Topics:
The following topics are commonly discussed during this period. If you have questions or concerns about any of the following, you should consult with your doctor for further advice:
  • The results of your routine lab tests
  • If indicated, the “First Look” exam with an ultrasound
  • The duration and management of morning sickness
  • Safe exercise
  • Sex 

 

The second trimester marks the middle of the pregnancy and is often referred to as the best part. Typically, your nausea has subsided and your energy level has been renewed. Your body will experience even more physical changes. If this is your first pregnancy, you will likely begin to show around week 20. This is also around the time that your doctor can determine your baby’s gender. You can expect to undergo a gestational diabetes test towards the end of the second trimester.

By the end of the second trimester, your baby will measure approximately 14.5 inches long and weigh two pounds. Your baby can open and close her eyes now, and may even suck her fingers. Occasionally, you may notice a subtle rhythmic sensation, indicating that your baby has a case of hiccups.

The following section provides more in-depth information about the changes you are experiencing along with the rapid development your growing baby is undergoing during weeks 13 through 28.


 

My Pregnancy:
The following are among the most common, normal changes you may be experiencing as you start the second trimester, including:

  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Bleeding gums while brushing teeth
  • Nosebleeds
  • Breast changes include thinner skin and a darkening of the areola tissue
  • Weight gain from five to nine pounds, averaging approximately one pound per week
  • Backaches
  • Click here for a list of recommended measures for common pregnancy discomforts.
My Baby:
From weeks 13 through 16, your baby will have grown from the size of a peach  to the size of an avocado. By the end of week 16, she will weigh more than three ounces and will measure more than four inches in length. Major developments at this point include:
  • Toes, fingers and eyelids are formed.
  • Fetal skin is almost transparent.
  • Fine hair (lanugo) has developed on the head.
  • Meconium is made in the intestinal tract.
  • More muscle tissue and bones have developed, and the bones have hardened now.
  • The baby begins to make active movements.
  • The liver and pancreas produce fluid secretions.
  • The mouth may make sucking motions.
  • Facial expressions include grimacing and squinting.
Hot Topics:
The following topics are commonly discussed during this period. If you have questions or concerns about any of the following, you should consult with your doctor for further advice:
  • Tests that might be recommended (e.g. a Triple Screen, which includes an ultrasound, alpha-fetoprotein and amniocentesis)
  • Measures to take to avoid constipation
  • Upcoming travel plans that you may have scheduled. 

 

My Pregnancy:
The following are some of the most common, normal changes you may be experiencing at this point in your pregnancy:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Heartburn
  • Intestinal gas
  • Facial blotches
  • Darkening skin pigmentation of abdomen and breasts
  • Weight gain may be somewhere between nine and thirteen pounds.
  • Fluttering movements known as “quickening” may also be felt.
  • Click here for a list of recommended measures for common pregnancy discomforts.
My Baby:
From weeks 17 through 20, your baby will have grown from the size of an onion to the size of a banana. By the end of week 20, she will weigh approximately 10 ounces and measure 10 inches from head to heel. Some of the major developments at this time include:
  • The ears now stand out from your baby’s head.  
  • Your baby begins to hear.
  • Baby makes more movements
  • You may have noticeable fluttering in the lower abdomen.
  • Baby’s organs are now fully formed.
Hot Topics:
The following topics are commonly discussed during this period. If you have questions or concerns about any of the following, you should consult with your doctor for further advice:
  • Infant feeding recommendations (e.g. formula versus breastfeeding)
  • Rh-negative mothers’ need for Rh immune globulin
  • HIV testing for those at risk,
  • Recommended childbirth and parenting classes,
  • Choosing a hospital for delivery 

 

My Pregnancy:
The following are some of the most common, normal changes that you may be experiencing at this point in your pregnancy:

  • Increase in vaginal discharge,
  • Continued nosebleeds,
  • Possible leaking of colostrum from breasts.
  • Total average weight gain may be between 13 and 16 pounds
  • You may begin to feel your baby moving.
  • Click here for a list of recommended measures for common pregnancy discomforts.
My Baby:
From weeks 21 through 24, your baby will have grown from the size of a carrot to the size of an ear of corn. By the end of week 24, she now weighs a little more than one pound and measures more than one foot from head to heel. Some of the major developments at this time include:
  • Fine hair (lanugo) covers baby’s entire body.
  • Eyebrows and lashes begin to appear
  • Nails appear on fingers and toes
  • The baby is more active with increased muscle development.
  • Your baby is practicing how to swallow.
  • The fetal heartbeat can be heard with a stethoscope.
  • Bone marrow begins to make blood cells.
  • The lower airways of the baby's lungs develop but still do not produce surfactant (a substance that allows the alveoli to open for gas exchange).
  • Baby begins to store fat.
  • The skin is red and wrinkled.
Hot Topics:
The following topics are commonly discussed during this period. If you have questions or concerns about any of the following, you should consult with your doctor for further advice:
  • Knowing when you should call your doctor.
  • If you experience any of these symptoms, you should call your doctor immediately: vaginal bleeding or spotting, little or no urination, severe abdominal pain, extreme swelling, visual disturbances, etc.
  • Your doctor can give you a comprehensive list of symptoms to be wary of.  

 

My Pregnancy:
The following are some of the most common, normal changes that you may be experiencing at this point in your pregnancy:

  • Mild swelling of hands, feet and gums
  • Constipation, hemorrhoids and varicose veins
  • Heartburn
  • Intestinal gas
  • Shortness of breath
  • Total weight gain is typically anywhere from 16 to 20 pounds at this point.
  • Click here for a list of recommended measures for common pregnancy discomforts.
My Baby:
From weeks 25 through 28, your baby will have grown from the size of a rutabaga to the size of an eggplant. By the end of week 28, she now weighs more than two and a quarter pounds and measures 14-and-a-half inches long. Some of the major developments at this time include:
  • Eyebrows and eyelashes are well formed.
  • All eye parts are developed now.
  • Eyelids begin to open and close.
  • Footprints and fingerprints are forming.
  • Air sacs have formed in the lungs.
  • Brain is rapidly developing.
  • Nervous system is developed enough to control some body functions.
  • Respiratory system is still very immature, but gas exchange is possible.
  • Sucking reflex is present and taste buds may begin working
  • Your baby is kicking much more frequently.
  • Teeth are developing.
Hot Topics:
The following topics are commonly discussed during this period. If you have questions or concerns about any of the following, you should consult with your doctor for further advice:
  • Signs of pre-term labor
  • Glucose tests to rule out gestational diabetes
  • How to relieve common discomforts of pregnancy.

The third trimester means you are nearing the end of your pregnancy. You’re in the home stretch now. You may be feeling more exhausted during this time since it can be more difficult to get a good night’s sleep. You may notice more back pain and swelling in your legs and feet. You may be feeling more anxious as your due date gets closer, and slightly overwhelmed by the rush to get everything ready for baby’s arrival.

By the end of the third trimester, your baby may measure more than 20 inches long and weigh somewhere between seven and eight pounds. Your baby’s movements have likely slowed since she has run out of room to move around.

The following is more in-depth information about the changes you are experiencing along with the rapid development your growing baby is undergoing during weeks 29 through 41.  


 

My Pregnancy:
The following are some of the most common, normal changes that you may be experiencing at this point in your pregnancy:

  • Tingling, burning sensations felt in your lower extremities.
  • An irresistible, inexplicable urge to move your legs.
  • The top of your uterus is pushing into your lungs, causing shortness of breath.
  • Heartburn may become more of an issue.
  • Click here for a list of recommended measures for common pregnancy discomforts.
My Baby:

From weeks 29 through 31, your baby will have grown to the size of a large squash. By the end of week 31, she now weighs more than three pounds and measures 16 inches long. Some of the major developments at this time include:
  • Rapid increase in the amount of body fat
  • Able to turn head from side-to-side
  • Rhythmic breathing movements occur, but lungs are not fully mature.
  • Bones are fully developed, but still soft and pliable.
  • Baby's body begins storing iron, calcium, and phosphorus.
  • Baby’s senses are further developed.
Hot Topics:
The following topics are commonly discussed during this period. If you have questions or concerns about any of the following, you should consult with your doctor for further advice:
  • Discuss your birth preferences (e.g. labor options, methods of pain management, etc.)
  • Rh immunoglobulin injection if you are Rh-negative. 

 

My Pregnancy:
The following are some of the most common, normal changes that you may be experiencing at this point in your pregnancy:

  • Increased fatigue
  • Minor dizziness from getting up too quickly
  • Blood volume has increased 40 to 50 percent since the beginning of pregnancy.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions, which are painless normal uterine contractions that facilitate blood flow through the placenta, may occur frequently (every 20 to 30 minutes).
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Baby’s movements can easily be seen from the outside.
  • Visual changes may occur due to fluid retention (swelling) in your eyes.
  • Decrease in tear production may cause dryness and irritation of eyes.
  • Click here for a list of recommended measures for common pregnancy discomforts.
My Baby:
From weeks 32 through 34, your baby will have grown to the size of a honeydew melon. By the end of week 34, she now weighs more than four-and-a-half pounds and measures 18 inches long. Some of the major developments at this time include:
  • Skin becomes less transparent as fat accumulates under the skin.
  • Eyes are closed when sleeping and open when awake.
  • Sleep cycles may be 20 to 40 minutes long.
Hot Topics:
The following topics are commonly discussed during this period. If you have questions or concerns about any of the following, you should consult with your doctor for further advice:
  • Continued discussion of your birth preferences
  • What to expect with labor and delivery
  • Test for Group B Strep
  • Certain symptoms to be aware of  

 

My Pregnancy:
The following are some of the most common, normal changes that you may be experiencing at this point in your pregnancy:

  • Increased frequency of urination with occasional stress incontinence when coughing or laughing
  • Backaches
  • Noticeable fatigue
  • Constipation issues
  • Not uncommon to see drops of colostrum (breast milk)
  • Connective tissue softening may lead to loose joints and pelvic pressure
  • You may begin to "waddle" from the weight of your large belly.
  • Click here for a list of recommended measures for common pregnancy discomforts.
My Baby:
By the end of week 36, your baby weighs nearly six pounds and measures 18-and-a-half inches long. Some of the major developments at this time include:
  • Fine hair (lanugo) begins to disappear.
  • Head hair grows longer.
  • Body fat increases.
  • Fingernails reach the end of the fingertips.
Many women become concerned about pre-term delivery. Fortunately, most babies born between 34 and 37 weeks experience very few, if any, health issues. However, your baby may require a short stay in the neonatal intensive for precautionary reasons.

Hot Topics:
The following topics are commonly discussed during this period. If you have questions or concerns about any of the following, you should consult with your doctor for further advice:
  • What to expect during labor and delivery
  • Signs of pre-term labor
  • Physician exchange and after-hours phone number 

 

My Pregnancy:
The following are some of the most common, normal changes that you may be experiencing at this point in your pregnancy:

  • Lower uterine segment is thinning.
  • Cervix shortens and softens in preparation for labor.
  • Breasts may be leaking colostrums (breast milk).
  • Braxton Hicks contractions become more rhythmic and noticeable, occurring every 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Feeling anxious anticipation of your impending labor.
  • Click here for a list of recommended measures for common pregnancy discomforts.
My Baby:
From weeks 37 through 39, your baby will have grown to the size of a watermelon. Your baby is gaining approximately one ounce a day, and by the end of week 39, she now weighs more than seven pounds and measures approximately 20 inches long. Some of the major developments at this time include:
  • Fine hair (lanugo) is gone except for some on the upper arms and shoulders.
  • Fingernails extend beyond the fingertips.
  • Small breast buds are present on both sexes.
  • Head hair is now coarse and thicker.
  • Inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid
Hot Topics:
The following topics are commonly discussed during this period. If you have questions or concerns about any of the following, you should consult with your doctor for further advice:
  • When to come to the hospital once labor begins or water breaks
  • Things to consider as pregnancy reaches term
  • Testing and Ultrasounds
  •  Review signs of pre-term labor 

 

My Pregnancy:
The following are some of the most common, normal changes that you may be experiencing at this point in your pregnancy:

  • Increased vaginal discharge that appears watery (can appear as though your water has broken)
  • Growing anxiety about the labor process
  • Excited anticipation to meet your baby
  • Fatigue
  • Nesting at home as you furiously prepare for your baby’s arrival.
  • Click here for a list of recommended measures for common pregnancy discomforts.
My Baby:
With very little room to move at this point, your baby has reached the finished line and is ready for delivery. At this point, she is comparable to a small pumpkin, weighing between seven and eight pounds and measuring approximately 20 inches long.

Hot Topics:
The following topics are commonly discussed during this period. If you have questions or concerns about any of the following, you should consult with your doctor for further advice:
  • Options if pregnancy goes past due date
  • Non-Stress testing
  • Bio-physical profiling