For first-time moms-to-be, pregnancy can be a bit scary.
It's also a time filled with excitement, anticipation and changes.
Most people think the gestation period, or the time it takes for a fetus to fully develop, is nine months. Actually, it’s 280 days, or 40 weeks. Your pregnancy is measured in weeks and is divided into three phases called the First, Second and Third Trimesters. Here is a brief look at what to expect.
Morning sickness is a common occurrence during this time. Eighty percent of all pregnant women feel queasy or have morning sickness, and it usually subsides after the first three months of pregnancy. No one knows what causes nausea during pregnancy, although it’s probably a combination of the many physical changes taking place in your body.
During the first trimester, the embryo is growing and developing rapidly. The bones, muscles, lungs, kidney and liver begin to grow. During the third and fourth week, the heart begins beating.
As you enter your second trimester, if you’ve had morning sickness, you may find it becoming less frequent or it may have stopped entirely. You may have more energy, feel less tired and begin to enjoy your pregnancy. Perhaps the most exciting part of the second trimester is that you can feel your baby move.
At this point, the baby may be six inches in long. He or she is now able to hear and make grasping movements, and eyes, eyelashes and silky hair can be seen. This also is the time when your doctor may use ultrasound to determine the sex of your baby.
This is the final trimester, and you and your baby are preparing for labor and delivery. You may experience pain in your back as your center of gravity has shifted with the weight of the baby. You also may experience Braxton-Hicks contractions during your last month of pregnancy. You’ll feel your uterus harden for about a minute and then return to normal.
The baby's brain and lungs continue to develop during the third trimester. He or she will be active and turn freely in the beginning of the third trimester, but will have grown too big for somersaults near the end.
Next stop: labor and delivery!