Below is an overview of how your body is changing during the 9 months of pregnancy. Click on the links highlighted in purple to learn more about specific changes that are occurring. Because this is a general overview, you may notice your body develop slightly differently then what is mentioned below. This is because each body is different and your body's specific changes will be unique to you. To learn more, visit whattoexpect.com.
Weeks 1-4 In these first few weeks, your body will not feel very different. Fertilization can only occur within a 24 hour window when a woman is ovulating. (Do note that sperm can stay in the vaginal tract for up to 72 hours, so any form of sexual intercourse within a 72 hour time frame before ovulation may also result in pregnancy). When ovulation occurs, your uterus is already prepared for the life that may develop inside of it. After fertilization, the newly fertilized egg begins its journey form the fallopian tubes to your uterus, or womb. By week 4, implantation will occur. This may result in implantation bleeding, which is usually very light pink, red, or brown, that occurs earlier than your next expected period. With implantation, the fertilized egg will begin secreting hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin), which tells your body to stop producing eggs and produce more progesterone in order to sustain the pregnancy until the placenta takes over.
Weeks 5-6 At this point, you will have missed your first period. The hCG levels being secreted from the human embryo are now high enough to be detected by a pregnancy test. This would be a good time to schedule your first doctor appointment for prenatal care. During this period of time, you may feel more exhausted then usual. Your breasts may be tender and you may have slight nausea. Pregnancy hormones will also start to kick in and may cause you to be more emotional or foggy than usual. You may also have an excess in saliva, food cravings, and frequent urination. The amount of blood flow to your lower abdomen has increased by a ten fold and is one of many reasons that you may be experiencing the need to urinate more often. Your sense of smell will also increase. This can be both good and bad. If your increased sense of smell is causing you to be queasy all the time, try to surround yourself with smells that you find relaxing and soothing.
Weeks 7-8 By the 7th week of your pregnancy, your breasts will have increased significantly in size. Some women's breasts increase by an entire cup size at this point in pregnancy. Your nipples may stick out more and you may also notice goose-bump-like spots forming on the areola (colored part of nipple). These are normal changes and are important for breast-feeding that may occur in the future. With these changes you may also notice extreme tenderness in your breasts. Investing in a good bra will greatly help with the tenderness. By this time some of the more unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy may be arriving. Morning sickness may be in full swing. For most women, morning sickness begins to subside by 12 weeks; however, for some helpful tips on how to minimize morning sickness, click here. You may also be experiencing heart burn or constipation. It is a good idea to stock up on fiber as it is believed that pregnancy slightly decreases the efficiency of the digestive system.
Weeks 9-10 At this point in your pregnancy, you may feel extremely fatigued. Here are some tips to help keep you energized and ready for the day. It is key to remember to eat well, especially if you feel to nauseated to eat. By this time, you will also begin to notice the slight roundness of your lower abdomen as your uterus is now about the size of an orange. When looking at yourself in the mirror you may also notice that you have quite a few visible veins. This is due to the increase in blood that your body needs to circulate in order to nourish the growing human life inside of you. It is estimated that during a pregnancy, a woman's blood volume will increase by 20-40%!
Weeks 11-12 You are now near the end of your first trimester. Your uterus has stretched to the size of a grapefruit. You may or may not be showing by this time; every body is a little bit different. At this point, you may now also be experiencing dizziness. This is due to the relaxation of your blood vessels which makes blood flow to your baby increase, but causes blood return to be less frequent. It is a good idea to take things slower. If you feel dizzy, sit down, lie down, or put your head between your knees. Another cause of dizziness is low blood sugar. This is yet another reason to keep a healthy and consistent diet.
Weeks 13-14 As you are about to head into your second trimester, you may notice that many of your icky first trimester systems begin to go away. You may start to feel less nauseous and morning sickness may no longer occur anymore. You may also start to feel more energetic. At this point you may also notice an increase in vaginal discharge. This is normal and is caused by the increased production of estrogen. At this point, your uterus has grown to a significant size and you will probably have the classic "baby bump" by now. At this point you may also feel short and sharp pain or achyness in your sides. This is a result of something called round ligament pain. As your uterus grows, it results in the extension of the ligaments that support it. This stretching is what results in the dull pain you may feel. This best antidote is to sit in a relaxing position with your feet up. Your uterus is growing to accommodate the life growing inside of you. Your baby, in the fetal developing stage, is also steadily stretching out at this point. His or her body is growing twice as fast as his body. This increase in growth means a steady weight gain for you. Sounds terrible; however, remember as your baby grows in weight so will you. A healthy weight gain is normal; however, with increased energy it may be beneficial to start light exercise, if you have not already. Some great ideas for light exercises to do while pregnant include swimming, yoga, or Pilates. As your body continues to change, you are also more susceptible to getting sick. Make sure to drink plenty of water, take vitamins, and eat right in order to avoid coming down with something.
Weeks 15-16 By this week, you may be feeling real good. Your energy should be at full swing and most of your early pregnancy symptoms have diminished. However, you may notice that your gums are red, sore, and sensitive. This is again due to your pregnancy hormones. The increase in hormone production causes your body to react differently to the bacteria in the plaque around your teeth. It is key to keep your oral hygiene in order to avoid other types of complications that can come with swollen gums. At this point, your baby is also becoming very active. While you may not feel her because she is still quite small, your child is kicking her legs, moving her arms, curling her toes, and sucking and swallowing. Your child has begun practicing skills to make it in life outside of the womb. You will also notice that you are having a steady weight gain now. This is because your baby is growing so much! Not only is your belly swelling, your nose may also swell creating some congestion. Nasal spray and strips can usually help open things up.
Information was taken and modified from whattoexpect.com Visit this link for more information.
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