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Pregnancy week by week

May 28, 2012 § 1 Comment

The pregnancy period stretches up to 40 weeks. It can be divided into 3 stages. They are the first, second and third trimester. A pregnant woman should be aware of pregnancy week by week so that she knows what to expect next.

Fetus at 18 weeks after fertilization 3D Pregn...

Fetus at 18 weeks after fertilization 3D Pregnancy (Image from gestational age of 20 weeks). Retrieved 2007-08-28. A rotatable 3D version of this photo is available here, and a sketch is available here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first trimester is the period from conceiving up to 13 weeks of pregnancy. This period starts right from the day you conceive i.e. from the time the sperm fertilizes the egg. A feeling of nausea and dizziness generally marks these three months and in fact most women tend to lose weight during this period. There is loss of appetite and a tendency to feel drained out of energy. The hormonal changes are making you feel like this. There is release of the pregnancy hormone HCG (Human Chrionic Gonadotropin) which will give you a positive pregnancy test at the end of week 3 i.e. when you are due to get your next periods. You are already 3 weeks pregnant before your test confirms the same. The fertilized egg metamorphoses into an embryo by week three. The embryo is a ball of cells that multiply to form the fetus. At week 5 the cells are multiplying at a rapid pace and taking their positions to form various parts of the baby’s body. The umbilical cord and placenta have started doing their work. In week 6 the heart of the baby will beat for the first time and in these week the parts of the face i.e.. eyes, ears, nose and limbs will begin to form. Week 7 sees the hands and the feet appear and also a massive increase in the size of the baby. In week 9 the different parts are accounted for and will be fine tuned in the weeks to come. The organs, muscles and nerves have started functioning. In this trimester the embryo has developed into a fetus about 3” long and weighs about 11/2 ounces. The limbs, stomach liver, brain, spine and the central nervous system are all formed. The fetus starts making movements though the mother cannot feel them, as the fetus is very small in size. Most miscarriages are likely to happen during this trimester.

The second trimester is the period from the 14th week to the 27th week. Nausea is over by the time you reach this trimester. The baby grows rapidly at this stage and in the next three months your stomach will start showing that you are carrying a baby. The umbilical cord that carries oxygen and nourishment to the fetus thickens. Take important precautions about your nutrition and exercise for healthy development of the baby. In the next couple of months the limbs will grow rapidly in size and the baby will start vigorous movements of hands, legs and head. Small fine hair will cover the baby’s entire body. Your baby will be passing urine. By week 16 baby’s circulatory system starts working well. By week 17 the baby will be blinking, sucking, and swallowing. Hair will also start sprouting on the head. The baby is covered in a waxy substance to protect it from its wet environment by week 20, as well as to make its passage into the world smoother during childbirth. The baby digestive system is getting strong and it produces a black, sticky substance that you will see in the baby’s first stool. During week 20, baby begins to sleep and wake on regular basis. By about 21 weeks you can actually start feeling the baby’s movements. By week 24, the baby’s heartbeat becomes so distinct that it can be heard by placing an ear on stomach. Lungs are still immature but the brain is very active. By the end of this trimester the baby will weigh about 11/2 – 2 pounds and will be about 14” in length. In the ultrasound he will look like a fully formed baby but will be comparatively small in size.

The third trimester is the final stage of pregnancy and after this there is only labor and delivery. This is the period from the end of the second trimester to the 40th week of pregnancy. There is rapid growth of the baby in this trimester. The brain develops further. The bones are strengthening and the baby closes and opens its eyes basically all the sense organs develop at this stage. A mother has to be very careful of her diet, as she has to meet demands of the growing baby. In fact most of the baby’s birth weight is achieved in this trimester. The movement of the baby becomes less as its size increases and there is less space in the womb. By about the 37th week she sheds the hair and the waxy substance that covers her and is likely to eat it up herself. The lungs and nervous systems are fully developed and the baby gets into the head down position by the end of this trimester. The mother feels a lot of heaviness and swelling in this trimester. Frequent urination would also be experienced.
Be aware of the above pregnancy week by week steps and ensure a trouble free pregnancy.

Excerpt: http://www.content4reprint.com/women-s-issues/pregnancy-week-by-week.htm

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