Pregnancy is an important phase of every woman's life. The mother and the baby both undergo a number of changes during this phase. It is the mother's responsibility to take care of her as well as her baby's health. The duration of a full-term pregnancy is 280 days or 40 weeks. These 40 weeks are divided into three trimesters of 13 weeks each. If you are planning to have a healthy baby and a trouble-free delivery, it is necessary to know the pregnancy symptoms by week. This information may help you avoid a miscarriage or any other complications during pregnancy.
The First Trimester
Pregnancy Week 1
The first day of the last menstrual period is considered as the first day of pregnancy. It means your pregnancy has begun about two weeks before the conception when an egg leaves the ovary and travels through the fallopian tube for fertilization. Progesterone and estrogen are produced by the body to promote ovulation and fertilization. Start taking 0.4 milligrams of folic acid daily, stop alcohol consumption and smoking, intake diet rich in vitamins and other nutrients, etc.
Pregnancy Week 2
Your body ovulates, and when the sperm and the female egg unite, fertilization takes place. You should plan in advance about your health checkup, and also choose your health care provider.
Pregnancy Week 3
During this week, the egg will grow quite fast. Rapid division and growth of fertilized cells take place, and the egg then enters the uterus in the form of a blastocyst. When the blastocyst attaches itself to the uterus wall, it is referred to as implantation. Development of the amniotic sac and cavity begins as estrogen triggers the reproductive organs to begin preparing for motherhood. Some early pregnancy signs like bloating, cramps, breast tenderness, and mood swings may be noticed.
Pregnancy Week 4
Now, the blastocyst is implanted deeper within the endometrium. A pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is produced. The ovary will stop releasing an egg every month. The baby at this time measures around 0.04 inches. Progesterone has a sedative effect, plus the pregnancy hormones racing through your body can make you tired and sleepy. This early stage of pregnancy may result in cramping and some spotting, but many women feel no change in their bodies.
Pregnancy Week 5
You may experience morning sickness. During the 5th week, the embryo starts achieving a definite shape. The placenta, through which the baby gets nourishment, also develops and the baby's facial features, the neural tube, bones, and muscles begin to form.
Pregnancy Week 6
Now that your pregnancy is officially confirmed, your blood will be screened for its Rh factor and Rh incompatibility. It's time for a complete physical examination and noting down your weight. The baby's heart will start beating, which can be noticed in an ultrasound examination. The brain, nervous, respiratory, and digestive systems of the baby start developing. The baby measures around 0.08 inches in this week.
Pregnancy Week 7
The umbilical cord, and the leg and arm buds begin to develop this week. The cerebral hemispheres of the brain, pancreas, and appendix develop and an intestinal bulge is also noticed. The symptoms like breast tenderness, bloating, abdominal pain, frequent urination, nausea, and weakness might be noticed. The intake of folic acid can help reduce the chances of birth defects.
Pregnancy Week 8
The baby's eyelids, optical nerves, and the retina will be formed. Fast development of the ears, nose, and throat can also be observed. The baby's genitals appear like small buds. You may experience food cravings because of some sort of nutritional need of the body or nutritional balance required by the body.
Pregnancy Week 9
The arms and hands of the baby grow and become longer. The legs continue growing. Owing to the developed muscles, you can feel some movement. The ears and eyes can be seen during ultrasound examination. The baby measures around 0.90 inches and weighs around 2 grams.
Pregnancy Week 10
After the 10th week, the embryonic stage ends and the fetal stage begins. The baby has all the vital organs by now. Formation of tooth buds can be noticed, and if it's a baby boy, the testes start producing testosterone. The uterus is a softball size. Food cravings, mood swings, and constipation are some of the noticeable symptoms for this period.
Pregnancy Week 11
Your waistline may start growing. The number of blood vessels in the placenta increases to support the rapid growth of the fetus. The glands such as the pancreas, gallbladder, and thyroid start developing along with the baby's reflexes. Fatigue and stress are the main symptoms observed by the mom. You should start practicing kegel exercises which strengthen the pelvic floor, and tone the vaginal and perineal area, so that the later stages of pregnancy will be trouble free.
Pregnancy Week 12
The fingernails and vocal cords are developed, and the kidneys of the baby start working, and pituitary gland starts functioning in this week.
Pregnancy Week 13
Here ends the first trimester. Now, the face of the baby will appear more human-like. The fully-developed placenta provides the necessary nutrients and also helps in waste disposal. The intestines move from the umbilical cord towards the stomach.
The Second Trimester
Pregnancy Week 14
Your morning sickness may subside now. The baby's thyroid gland will start producing thyroxine. Now, the baby may start swallowing, breathing, sucking, etc.
Pregnancy Week 15
You should include calcium and protein rich food in your diet as the skin and hair of the baby start developing, your baby need it. The baby may measure around 3.98 inches and may weigh around 70 grams. Your waistline must have grown by now, and your belly will also begin to show soon. Due to the lack of space in your stomach, you are likely to experience more heartburn, indigestion, and flatulence. Frequent urination may also be experienced as the bladder has less room to expand.
Pregnancy Week 16
You may experience Braxton Hicks contractions which are painless and random. The baby's movements can be felt and various facial expressions can also be observed during the examination. Now the baby has stronger head and neck muscles, which enable him to hold his head erect.
Pregnancy Week 17
Get tests done for gestational diabetes. Your lower abdomen starts popping gradually, and the breasts get ready for milk production. There is a noticeable increase in the baby's weight. Now, the baby's kicks become more prominent.
Pregnancy Week 18
There might be difficulty in sleeping, as your baby bump grows. Now, the bones of the baby will start ossifying, the ears will continue developing, and the meconium (fecal waste matter) will start collecting in the baby's bowels. You may notice a dark line extending from your belly button to your vaginal area, which will disappear after birth.
Pregnancy Week 19
Vernix caseosa, a white creamy fluid, will now cover the baby's body to protect the glands and sensory nerves. In case of a baby girl, the egg cells will be formed in the ovaries.
Pregnancy Week 20
Along with the other symptoms, you may experience strong and frequent fetal movements. The baby's hands and nail grow remarkably, and the uterus expands to make room for the growing fetus. An ultrasound can help determine the gender of the fetus.
Pregnancy Week 21
You will notice that several pregnancy symptoms disappear. As the digestive system of the baby starts functioning, the baby starts swallowing the amniotic fluid which enhances the functioning of the digestive system. The baby now measures around 10.51 inches and weighs around 360 grams.
Pregnancy Week 22
The baby's taste buds and nerve buds are fully developed by now, whereas the sense of touch and the reproductive system continue to develop. Backache, heartburn, and indigestion may be experienced in this week.
Pregnancy Week 23
Your weight must have increased by 11-15 pounds. The baby starts responding to sounds and also starts producing insulin with the help of the pancreas.
Pregnancy Week 24
The developed lungs now produce surfactant, a substance that prevents the air sacs from collapsing after the baby is born. As the size of the baby grows the skin starts stretching resulting in itch feeling.
Pregnancy Week 25
Small blood vessels are developed, the color of the skin turns pink, and the baby is capable of hearing and recognizing some sounds. Swollen feet and ankles may be noticed by the mothers when they work for the whole day, without taking any break.
Pregnancy Week 26
All the five senses are fully developed by now, and the baby may develop a certain sleeping pattern. Hair and eyelashes have grown quite well. During this last week of the second trimester, the baby is around 14 inches long and weighs around 760 grams.
The Third Trimester
Pregnancy Week 27
This will be an exciting period as you will be able to feel your baby move. If the baby is not moving now, it will shortly. The optic nerve of the baby develops along with the sense of sight, while other organs, immune system, fore-brain, and lungs of the baby are still underdeveloped.
Pregnancy Week 28
The baby's brain develops the grooves and folds. Fats get accumulated under the skin which increases the body weight. The health of the baby is visible.
Pregnancy Week 29
There is a remarkable increase in the fetal activity, and the chances of survival in this case of a premature baby are high. Constipation is a common condition during this period.
Pregnancy Week 30
You may feel tired, achy, and sleepless. Convulsions may develop in the brain. Nerve cell activity is rapid during this maternity stage.
Pregnancy Week 31
Around this time, the baby starts urinating several times, into the amniotic fluid. As the growth of baby's organs continues, you also gain weight gradually.
Pregnancy Week 32
In the ultrasound examination, eyelids, eyelashes, hair, mouth, etc., of the baby are clearly visible. You might experience back pain and achy legs due to weakened stomach muscles.
Pregnancy Week 33
The baby can detect light, and the constriction and dilation of the pupils can now take place. As there is continuous deposition of fat, rapid weight gain is observed. Premature water breaking is a possibility at this stage, if such a thing happens to you, contact your doctor.
Pregnancy Week 34
The baby starts preparing for his entry into this world by adopting the position for delivery. A thick coating of vernix caseosa can be observed.
Pregnancy Week 35
The baby's position has now changed, normally it will be headfirst. You may experience shortness of breathing during this time.
Pregnancy Week 36
The baby's head is in the mother's pelvis. The skull bones of the baby naturally tend to overlap each other, so as to facilitate trouble-free movement of the baby through the birth canal. You may feel the false labor during this stage.
Pregnancy Week 37
The rate of weight gain will decrease by the end of this week. As the baby gains strength and develops coordination fast, the ossified bones help the baby to pass through the comparatively narrow birth canal. The amniotic fluid will decrease and the contractions will increase. You will lose the mucus plug during this week.
Pregnancy Week 38
The accumulation of fecal waste is noticeable, which will be passed as the first stool after birth. You may feel very hungry and tired during these last weeks of pregnancy. A full-term pregnancy is considered to be 38 weeks. Usually, a baby is born between 38-42 weeks.
Pregnancy Week 39
The baby now has well-developed organs and properly functioning systems. The immune system of the baby is now capable of protecting the baby from infections for 6-8 months after birth. The mother's body naturally begins to prepare for labor and childbirth.
Pregnancy Week 40
Labor sets in. Frequent contractions of the uterus indicate that it is the time for the arrival of the baby. The 40 weeks long pregnancy term ends in this week with childbirth. A healthy baby weighs around 8-10 pounds and is around 20 inches long.
Remember, that every case is unique and every pregnancy is different. The pregnancy symptoms week by week and growth rates of the babies may vary. Eat healthy food consisting of lots of fruits and vegetables, fish, whole grains, etc. Exercise according to the recommendations of your doctor and try to be happy all the time.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.