Pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks, counting from the first day of your last normal period. The weeks are grouped into three trimesters. A pregnancy test measures the level of hormone human chronic gonadotropin (HCG) in the urine or blood. The test may be positive before the first signs of pregnancy develop in some women.
Symptoms and early signs of pregnancy may include:
- the absence of menstrual periods,
- breast changes
- mood swings
Symptoms of late pregnancy may include:
- difficulty sleeping
- swelling of the ankles or fingers
- mild contractions
Many of these symptoms result from the weight gain and enlarging uterus in late pregnancy.
What is the first trimester of pregnancy (week 1-week 12)?
Hormonal changes during the first trimester affect almost every organ system in your body. Changes may include:
- Extreme tiredness
- Tender, swollen breasts. Your nipples might also stick out.
- Upset stomach with or without throwing up (morning sickness)
- Cravings or distaste for certain foods
- Mood swings
- Constipation (trouble having bowel movements)
- Need to pass urine more often
- Weight gain or loss
You might need to make changes to your daily routine as your body changes. Examples are going to bed earlier or eating frequent, small meals. Fortunately, most of these discomforts will go away as your pregnancy progresses. Pregnancy varies for some women might not feel any discomfort at all.
What is the second trimester of pregnancy (week 13-week 28)?
Most women find the second trimester of pregnancy easier than the first. It is important to stay informed about your pregnancy during these months.
Symptoms like nausea and fatigue may be gone but other new and more noticeable changes are happening in this period. Your abdomen will expand as the baby continues to grow. You may even feel your baby beginning to move.
As your body changes to make room for your growing baby, you may have:
- Body aches, such as back, abdomen, groin, or thigh pain
- Stretch marks on your abdomen, breasts, thighs, or buttocks
- Darkening of the skin around your nipples
- A line on the skin running from belly button to pubic hairline
- Patches of darker skin, usually over the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip. Patches often match on both sides of the face. This is sometimes called the mask of pregnancy
- Numb or tingling hands, called carpal tunnel syndrome
- Itching on the abdomen, palms, and soles of the feet. Call your doctor if you have nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice or fatigue combined with itching. These can be signs of a serious liver problem.
- Swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face. If you notice any sudden or extreme swelling or if you gain a lot of weight really quickly, call your doctor right away. This could be a sign of preeclampsia.
What is the third trimester trimester of pregnancy (week 29-week 40)?
Some of the same discomforts you had in your second trimester will continue. Many women find breathing difficult. They also notice they have to go to the bathroom even more often. There’s nothing to worry, the baby is fine this is just because the baby is getting bigger and it is putting more pressure on your organs.
Some new body changes you might notice in the third trimester include:
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face. (If you notice any sudden or extreme swelling or if you gain a lot of weight really quickly, call your doctor right away. This could be a sign of preeclampsia.)
- Tender breasts, which may leak a watery pre-milk called colostrum
- Your belly button may stick out
- You may have trouble in sleeping
- The baby “dropping,” or moving lower in your abdomen
- Contractions, which can be a sign of real or false labor
Your cervix becomes thinner and softer (called effacing) as you near your due date. This is a normal, natural process that helps the birth canal to open when you give birth. Your doctor will check your progress with a vaginal exam as you near your due date.