Pregnancy Stages | Department of Women's Health (2023)

Pregnancy Stages | Department of Women's Health (1)

Pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks, counted from the first day of your last normal menstrual period.The weeks are grouped into threequarters.Find out what is happening with you and your baby in these three stages.

First trimester (week 1 to week 12)

During the first trimester, your body goes through many changes. Hormonal changes affect almost every organ system in the body. These changes can trigger symptoms even in the first weeks of pregnancy. Stopping your period is a clear sign that you are pregnant. Other changes may include:

  • exhausted
  • Sore and swollen breasts. Your nipples may also stick out.
  • Stomach pain with or without vomiting (morning sickness)
  • Cravings or disgust for certain foods
  • humor changes
  • Constipation (difficulty having a bowel movement)
  • Need to urinate more frequently
  • Headache
  • Asia
  • Increase weight loss

As your body changes, you may need to make changes to your daily routine, such as going to bed earlier or eating small meals often. Fortunately, most of these discomforts will disappear as the pregnancy progresses. And some women may not experience any discomfort at all! If you've been pregnant before, you may feel differently this time. Just as every woman is different, so is every pregnancy.

Second trimester (week 13 to week 28)

Most women find the second trimester of pregnancy easier than the first. But it's just as important to stay informed about your pregnancy during these months.

You may notice that symptoms such as nausea and fatigue go away. But right now there are other new and more noticeable changes taking place in your body. Your abdomen will expand as the baby continues to grow. And before this trimester is over, you'll feel your baby start to move!

As your body changes to make room for your growing baby, you may have:

  • Body aches, such as pain in the back, abdomen, groin, or thigh
  • Stretch marks on the abdomen, breasts, thighs or buttocks
  • Darkening of the skin around the nipples
  • A line on the skin that runs from the belly button to the pubic hairline.
  • Patches of darker skin, usually on the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip. The patches are often combined on both sides of the face. This is sometimes called the mask of pregnancy.
  • Numb or tingling hands, called carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Itching in abdomen, palms and soles.(Call your doctor if you experience nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice, or fatigue combined with itching. These could be signs of a serious liver problem.)
  • Swelling of the ankles, fingers and face.(If you notice sudden or extreme swelling or gain a lot of weight very quickly, call your doctor right away. This could be a sign ofpreeclampsia.)

Third trimester (week 29 to week 40)

You are in the final stretch! Some of the same discomfort that you had in the second trimester will continue. Also, many women find it difficult to breathe and need to go to the bathroom more often. This is because the baby is growing and putting more pressure on her organs. Don't worry, your baby is fine and these problems will go away when she gives birth.

Some new body changes you might notice in the third trimester include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Asia
  • Swelling of ankles, fingers and face.(If you notice sudden or extreme swelling or gain a lot of weight very quickly, call your doctor right away. This could be a sign ofpreeclampsia.)
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Tender breasts, which may leak previous watery milk called colostrum (kuh-LOSS-struhm)
  • Your belly button may stick out
  • trouble sleeping
  • The baby "dropping" or moving into your abdomen
  • Contractions, which can be a sign ofreal or fake job

As the due date approaches, the cervix becomes thinner and softer (called effacement). This is a normal and natural process that helps the birth canal (vagina) open during delivery. Your doctor will check your progress with a vaginal exam as you get closer to your due date. Cheer up, the final countdown has begun!

Your developing baby

First trimester (week 1-week 12)

Nofour to fiveweeks:

Pregnancy Stages | Department of Women's Health (2)

  • Your baby's brain and spinal cord have begun to form.
  • The heart begins to form.
  • Shoots of arms and legs appear.
  • Your baby is now an embryo and is 25 centimeters long.


Pregnancy Stages | Department of Women's Health (3)

  • All the major organs and external structures of the body began to form.
  • Your baby's heart beats in a regular rhythm.
  • Arms and legs grow, and fingers and toes begin to form.
  • The sexual organs begin to form.
  • The eyes moved forward in the face and the eyelids were formed.
  • oumbilical cordit is clearly visible.
  • At the end of eight weeks, your baby is a fetus and looks more like a human being. Your baby is almost 1 inch long and weighs less than an eighth of an ounce.


Pregnancy Stages | Department of Women's Health (4)

  • The nerves and muscles begin to work together. Your baby can make a fist.
  • The external sex organs show whether the baby is a boy or a girl. A woman who has an ultrasound in the second trimester or later can find out the sex of the baby.
  • Eyelids closed to protect developing eyes. They will not reopen until week 28.
  • Head growth has slowed and your baby is much longer. Now around 3 inches long, your baby weighs almost 30 grams.

Second trimester (week 13-week 28)


Pregnancy Stages | Department of Women's Health (5)

  • Muscle tissue and bone continue to form, creating a more complete skeleton.
  • The skin begins to form. You can almost see through it.
  • Meconium (mih-KOH-nee-uhm) develops in the baby's intestinal tract. This will be your baby's first bowel movement.
  • Your baby makes sucking movements with his mouth (sucking reflex).
  • Your baby reaches a length of around 4 to 5 inches and weighs almost 3 ounces.


Pregnancy Stages | Department of Women's Health (6)

  • Your baby is more active. You may feel a slight vibration.
  • Your baby is covered in fine, furry fur called lanugo (luh-NOO-goh) and a layer of wax called vernix. This protects the skin that forms underneath.
  • Eyebrows, eyelashes, fingernails and toenails are formed. Your baby may even scratch himself.
  • Your baby can hear and swallow.
  • Now, halfway through your pregnancy, your baby is about 6 inches long and weighs about 9 ounces.


Pregnancy Stages | Department of Women's Health (7)

  • The bone marrow begins to make blood cells.
  • Taste buds form on the baby's tongue.
  • Footprints and fingerprints formed.
  • Real hair starts to grow on your baby's head.
  • The lungs form, but do not function.
  • The hand and startle reflex develop.
  • Your baby sleeps and wakes up regularly.
  • If your baby is a boy, his testicles begin to move from the abdomen into the scrotum. If your baby is a girl, the uterus and ovaries are in place and a lifelong supply of eggs has been formed in the ovaries.
  • Your baby accumulates fat and has gained a lot of weight. Now about a foot long, your baby weighs about half a pound.

Third trimester (week 29-week 40)


Pregnancy Stages | Department of Women's Health (8)

  • Your baby's bones are fully formed but still soft.
  • The baby's kicks and punches are strong.
  • The eyes can open and close and feel changes in light.
  • The lungs are not fully formed, but "breathing" movements are practiced.
  • Your baby's body begins to store vital minerals like iron and calcium.
  • Lanugo begins to fall.
  • Your baby is gaining weight rapidly, about a pound a week. Your baby is now between 15 and 17 inches long and weighs between 4 and 4 ½ pounds.


Pregnancy Stages | Department of Women's Health (9)

  • The protective waxy layer called vernix thickens.
  • Body fat increases. Your baby is growing and has less room to move. The movements are less vigorous, but you will feel stretching and movement.
  • Your baby is between 16 and 19 inches long and weighs between 6 and 6½ pounds.


Pregnancy Stages | Department of Women's Health (10)

  • At 39 weeks, your baby is considered full term. Your baby's organs are ready to work on their own.
  • As your due date approaches, your baby may be head down for delivery. Most babies "present" on their stomachs.
  • At birth, your baby can weigh between 6 pounds 2 ounces and 9 pounds 2 ounces and be 19 to 21 inches long. Most full-term babies fall within these ranges. But healthy babies come in many different sizes.
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