The Stages of Pregnancy

It’s certainly exciting to “watch” your baby grow as you progress through your pregnancy. And it’s just as important to know what these changes mean and to track the changes that are happening with your baby and inside your own body.

There are three stages of pregnancy called trimesters:

  • First Trimester
    The first trimester of pregnancy lasts for three and a half months or 14 weeks. During this stage of pregnancy you may experience the dreaded morning sickness (which can occur anytime during the day and sore and enlarged breasts. During this stage it’s vital that you get enough vitamins, minerals and nutrients as they are essential for growth and development. It’s a good idea to consult with your health care provider to determine what is best for you.

Nutrition and Exercise

  • 2200 calories/day
  • Well balanced, healthy diets with adequate fiber promotes baby’s growth and mother’s energy and comfort
  • Take prenatal vitamins as prescribed
  • Avoid the use of alcohol and tobacco
  • Small, more frequent meals may help a nauseous woman get good nutrition
  • Many women can continue to exercise regularly.
  • Daily exercise that suits your level of fitness can help decrease fatigue and stress
  • Discuss your exercise habits with your health care provider
  • Avoid overheating and maintain good hydration during exercise
  • Second Trimester
    This second stage of pregnancy lasts until the end of the seventh month and is many times the easiest stage of pregnancy as most women will start to regain some of their energy. During this stage your stomach will begin to expand and those around you will start to notice that you are pregnant. At this time any feelings of morning sickness should dissipate, although some women may continue to experience it (usually to a lesser extent). At this point you may also feel your baby beginning to kick and move. If you wish, you can find out whether you are having a girl or boy.

Nutrition and Exercise

  • 2500 calories/day
  • Continue to maintain a well balanced diet with plenty of fiber
  • Continue to take prenatal vitamins if prescribed
  • Continue to avoid the use of alcohol
  • Modify your exercise regimen if needed to protect weight bearing joints, back and abdominal muscles
  • Take care with lifting and carrying
  • Third Trimester
    As you enter into the final trimester of your pregnancy you may notice that you feel more sensitive, emotional and anxious. Be rest assured, these feelings are very natural. It’s common to begin worrying about about what kind of mother you are going to be. Many times, the increased size and weight of your baby can cause increased pain (often in your back), making you feel more uncomfortable and anxious.

Nutrition and Exercise

  • 2500 calories
  • You may need to resume small frequent feedings to prevent heartburn
  • Continue prenatal vitamins as prescribed
  • Continue to avoid the use of alcohol
  • Adequate hydration and avoiding overheating are important to protect the baby and you
  • Further modify your exercise regimen as needed to protect muscles and joints
  • Shortness of breath is common on exertion-You may need to reduce the intensity of your exercise regimen if you are becoming too winded
  • Stretch and tone to prepare for childbirth

Tracking Fetal Development

Fetal DevelopmentFetal Organs
First Month (Embryo)Vital organs are forming and the brain and beginning of the spine are evident.
Fifth WeekHeart begins to beat and circulate blood; arm and led buds emerge; brain, spinal cord, and nervous system are established.
Sixth WeekDigestive system is forming and arms and legs begin to grow.
Seventh WeekThe umbilical cord joins the embryo to the placenta; long bones and internal organs are developing.
Second Month
Human face, arms, legs, fingers, toes, elbows, knees, eyelids and bone cells are forming.
Twelfth WeekSex is distinguishable; fingers and toes are moving; teeth buds are present and the kidney and bladder form. Baby is 2-4″ long and weighs an once or two.
Sixteenth WeekBaby moves and kicks, sleeps and wakes, swallows; hair forms, digestion becomes active; fetus is pick in color and has a large.
20 WeeksSpurt in baby’s growth; internal organs are maturing; hair, eyebrows and lashes are present; baby increases storage of iron. Baby is 8-12″ long and weighs 1/2 pound.
24 WeeksBaby’s skin is wrinkled; covered by lanugo and vernix; and baby has an audible heartbeat.
28 WeeksMost rapid growth; red and wrinkled; eyelids can open and close; baby storing large amounts of calcium and iron; fetus has a chance of surviving if born. Baby is 15″ long and weighs 3 pounds.
32 WeeksWeight gain and rapid growth; settles in favorite position; valuable fat increases.
36 WeeksBaby gains 1/2 pound per week; bones of head are soft and flexible; baby has developed immunities. Baby is 18″ long and weighs 6 pounds.
38-42 Weeks
Organs developed; respiratory system is mature.
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