Pregnancy is believed to last nine months only, but in reality, it is usually a little longer than that. A full pregnancy is usually calculated from the first day of the last period, instead of the actual day that you conceived. As such, a full pregnancy lasts approximately 40 full weeks.
Now, a pregnancy has three ultimate phases – these are called trimesters. Each trimester is three months long, and has its own symptoms, or rather highs and lows. When you know what to expect during each trimester, you will be able to understand which one you are in.
Looking at your pregnancy week by week will go a long way in helping you calculate your weeks. So, if you are confused and wondering which trimester, or which week your pregnancy is at, do not worry, we’ve got you covered.
The First Trimester – From Week One To The End Of Week 12
The first trimester is thought to be hard for most women, as your body is getting used to the hormonal changes, and the introduction of a foreign object in your body. Your body will immediately start to change, and the new hormones will affect every part of your body.
These changes then trigger symptoms in the first weeks of your pregnancy, such as stopping your period, which is the clearest sign that you are pregnant. Other changes you may start to experience include the following.
- Extreme tiredness
- Swollen, tender and painful breasts. Your nipples may also start to stick out a little more.
- Certain cravings may start to consume you, and you may also develop a distaste for certain foods.
- You may start to feel constipated and have some trouble with bowel movements
- You may have mood swings.
- You could start having headaches.
- You may start to see some weight gain.
- You may have heartburn.
Because your body has started to change, you may feel the need to change some of your day-to-day routines especially because you are feeling tired. Women tend to sleep a little earlier than normal, and they eat frequently as well.
Now, the good news is that these discomforts will go away as your pregnancy progresses. Also, it is important to note that, while these symptoms are common to most women, other women do not experience any of the symptoms at all.
Second Trimester – From Week 13 To Week 26
For most women, the second trimester tends to be much easier than the first one. You may start to notice that symptoms such as fatigue and nausea have started to go away.
Other noticeable changes will start to happen, such as your abdomen expanding because the baby is growing. Before this trimester is over, you will start to feel the baby moving.
The most common symptoms at this stage include the following.
- Body aches in your abdomen, back, thighs, and groin.
- Stretchmarks shall start to appear on your breasts, abdomen, buttocks, and thighs.
- A darkening of the skin around the nipples.
- A line will appear on your skin that runs from your belly button to the pubic hairline.
- Some patches of dark skin over your cheeks, nose, forehead and upper lip. These happen on both sides of your face and sometimes they are known as the mask of pregnancy.
- A numbing or tingling in your hands which is known as carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Itchiness in your palms, tummy, and the soles of your feet. – You should call your doctor if you experience loss of appetite, nausea, jaundice or fatigue that is combined with itchiness, and vomiting. This is because they could be signs of some serious liver problems.
- Some swelling in your fingers, ankles, and face. If, however, you notice some extreme and sudden swelling and too much weight gain that comes on quickly, you need to call the doctor immediately as this could be a sign of preeclampsia.
Third Trimester – From Week 27 To Week 40
Congratulations! You are in the home stretch now, but some of the discomforts you started to feel in the second-trimester will continue. Most women will start to find it difficult to breathe and they will also notice that they go to the bathroom more often.
This is simply a result of the baby getting bigger and bigger. As they grow, they tend to put more pressure on your organs. Here are some of the new symptoms you may start to feel.
- Shortness of breath.
- Excessive heartburn.
- Some swelling in your fingers, ankles, and your face.
- Your belly button will start to stick out.
- Your breasts will be tender and sometimes may leak a watery substance. This is the pre-milk that is known as colostrum.
- You may have trouble sleeping.
- There may be some contractions which is known as Braxton Hicks or false labor.
- The baby will drop and move on to the lower abdomen.
As you get closer and closer towards your due date, your cervix will become softer and thinner, which is known as effacing. It is normal, and part of the process of birth, which helps the birth canal. We wish you the best in your pregnancy.