Being pregnant is a stage progression for you and your baby. Knowing what to expect as weeks flow into the next can help minimize the stress of pregnancy and bringing new life into the world.
Weekly guide to pregnancy
If you’re reading this and you’re pregnant, congratulations! This can be a very exciting time in your life and the life of your child. While it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything that’s going on, relax! Your body knows what it’s doing and will prepare the ideal environment for your baby to grow and develop. It will take care of everything for you. That said, it’s helpful to know what’s happening inside your body. Here’s a quick overview.
1 Week Pregnant: The egg’s winding journey & fertilization
Starting with the first week of pregnancy, we will go step by step through each week, starting with some of the early signs that you may be pregnant, and offering detailed explanations about everything that will change in your body, hormones and life in general, especially in the first trimester when your body is going through some of the most extreme changes of the pregnancy. Remember that growth rates differ from person to person — this is completely normal – and so try to read the weeks prior and following your estimated pregnancy stage for a better understanding of where you are and what you to expect. Being aware of what’s happening inside your body and your baby’s development will help you understand your own needs and that of your unborn child so that you can help take the best care of yourself and your unborn baby. This is a crucial time for you, your partner and your unborn child, and careful, detailed information will hopefully lead to a less stressful, happier pregnancy.
2 Weeks Pregnant: A great occasion for ovulation
At two weeks pregnant, you are still preconception. You may experience a few symptoms of ovulation. Common signs of ovulation include menstrual pain in your lower abdomen, lower back pain, and leg pain radiating down your legs, diarrhea, headaches, moodiness. Many women also experience increasing volumes of fertile cervical mucous. Some women notice heightened sexual desire.
3 Weeks Pregnant: Feeling that hunch
Congratulations! Your ovule and the spermatozoon have united and fertilized and you are now have an embryo growing inside of you. How does it feel? Probably not much different, since most women don’t initially realize they are pregnant. Nevertheless, there are some important changes happening inside of you. When the egg implants some women have a tiny bit of spotting called implantation bleeding, where the egg burrows into the uterine lining, leaking slightly. This is perfectly normal and no reason to worry. Your body also releases a protein called Early Pregnancy Factor (EPF). This immunosuppressant is one of the first signs of pregnancy and prevents your body from seeing the baby as an invader.
4 Weeks Pregnant: Ready, set, grow!
Although it’s only been two weeks since conception, your baby cells are multiplying rapidly. Right now, the embryo is the size of a poppy seed and consists of two layers the epiblast and the hypoblast, from which all of his or her organs and body parts will develop. By the end of this week, you should be able to find out whether or not you are pregnant by taking a home pregnancy test. If positive, call your doctor’s office and schedule your first prenatal appointment. Most health practitioners won’t see you until you are eight weeks pregnant, unless you have symptoms that need further investigation, you have medical condition, or have had problems with a pregnancy in the past.
5 Weeks Pregnant: Baby’s first heartbeats
This is the week when many women notice the first changes to their bodies. You may have breast tenderness, morning sickness or the increased need for urination. You won’t yet show, and your total weight gain is probably around 1 lb. Your embryo is going through some rapid changes – your baby’s heart and blood system is beginning to develop and he or she will have their first heartbeats. If last week you were still overwhelmed by the news and you didn’t manage to find a good obstetrician, now would be a good moment to do so. Once you set an appointment with the obstetrician, make a list of questions in case you forget something while face-to-face.
6 Weeks Pregnant: Mood swings and morning sickness
If you find your moods altering greatly, no need to worry, this is a normal part of this time of the pregnancy. And if you have already started morning sickness, it may become more intense. Stress can make morning sickness worse, as well as increase fatigue, indigestion and the chances of developing back and neck pain and headaches. So make sure that you schedule time to relax – it will help you and the baby.
7 Weeks Pregnant: Baby growing super-fast
In theory your baby is still an embryo because it has the remains of a small tail, which will disappear in the next few weeks. Everything else is getting quickly bigger. Your baby is growing rapidly and will double in size compared to the previous week. The heart and brain are becoming more complicated, the eyelids start to form and your baby gains the beginnings of a nose. This is an exciting time for you and your partner.
8 Weeks Pregnant: Time to see the doctor
You’re halfway through the first trimester of your pregnancy. Congratulations! Your baby is the size of a large raspberry and growing at an amazing rate. Your baby’s nose, ears, lips, nose, eyelids, legs, and back begin to take place. This rapid growth and associated hormones means that many of the classic pregnancy symptoms – bloating, gassiness, nausea, constipation, headaches, are in full swing this week. Don’t worry, but make time to schedule your first obstetrician appointment. Make a list of all the possible questions to ask so as not to forget face-to-face.
9 Weeks Pregnant: Fatigue and more mood swings
Your baby now has all the major organs, muscles and nerves. He or she has a heart with four chambers and a rapidly beating heart. Although moving often, you can’t feel these movements yet. While you probably won’t look much different, you may be overly familiar with at least some of the symptoms of the first trimester by now, the fatigue, morning sickness, mood swings, headaches, bloating and constipation. If its any consolation, many of these will ease up in a few weeks as you head into the second trimester.
10 Weeks Pregnant: Fast-growing tummy
Week 10 marks a milestone in your baby’s development. Though she’s barely the size of a kumquat and weighs less than a quarter of an ounce, your baby has now completed the most critical portion of his development. All the baby’s cells are in place, and the major organs and brain are growing rapidly. This is the beginning of the so-called fetal period, a time when the tissues and organs in his body rapidly grow and mature. For you, the same pregnancy signs – headaches, fatigue, morning sickness, bloating, constipation and gas will probably continue this week. Not to worry – most will ease up as you enter the beginning of your second trimester.
11 Weeks Pregnant: End of the first trimester
This is the last week of the first trimester. Congratulations! Your baby has gone from being a fertilized egg, blastocyst, an embryo and is now a fetus. Although you haven’t gained much weight yet – between 3-5 pounds, that will soon change as you hit the second trimester. According the American Pregnancy Association (APA), you’ll add 3 to 5 pounds in your first trimester and 1 to 2 pounds every week until your baby arrives. Towards the end of this week, you may find you start to regain some of your energy. The beginning of the second trimester marks a time when many of the most difficult aspects of the pregnancy – morning sickness, fatigue, aversions – start to ease, and you begin the most restful time of the pregnancy.
12 Weeks Pregnant: Woo-hoo! Less trips to the bathroom
You are in the twelfth week of your pregnancy and things are looking up! Your baby is the size of a kiwi and has developed his or her own reflexes. The placenta takes over some of the most important functions, like the hormone production. And as the uterus moves into the abdominal cavity, you find you need to urinate less too. As you approach the second trimester, this will be the first of several changes that will likely make your life a lot easier.
13 Weeks Pregnant: Baby and mama turn a huge corner
You are almost into the second trimester. Your body is going through a number of important changes from the stabilization of pregnancy hormones to the shifting of your uterus into the abdominal cavity. Your baby looks more human – you may be able to see some of yourself or your partner in his or her features. She is still small – about the size of a small egg, but her growth rate is about to accelerate.
14 Weeks Pregnant: Goodbye, morning sickness!
This week, your baby is about the size of a clenched fist and is covered in a protective fluff called lanugo. Your morning sickness has subsided, and you’re not running to the toilet after few minutes. You’re starting the second trimester (weeks 13-27). Congratulations! This is known as the gestation period and it’s considered the most relaxing and easiest time of the pregnancy.
15 Weeks Pregnant: Avoid sick people
You’re through the first trimester! How does it feel? There are still pregnancy symptoms that might be challenging, but you’re over the morning sickness, pregnancy headaches and the emotional roller coaster of the first three months. On the one hand, its time to relax, but on the other, you need to be really vigilant about germs. You’re more susceptible to colds and viruses now, since your body’s immune system is naturally suppressed to prevent your body from rejecting your baby. Wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap, and make sure to wash the cuticles and fingernails too. Avoid sick people, don’t share food or utensils, and be careful with food preparation.
16 Weeks Pregnant: Life in stereo and first kicks
At 16 Weeks Pregnant you are almost half way through this amazing journey and have made it through a number of challenges, including mood swings, morning sickness and others. And you have an important decision ahead. Weeks 16-18 are the first where the presence or absence of a penis and testicles can be detected, although sometimes its not visible until week 26. Do you want to know the sex or do you yearn for a surprise?
17 Weeks Pregnant: Stay happy, stay hydrated
If you thought 9 months was an eternity, you might reconsider that you’re almost mid-way through. Meanwhile, your baby is bulking up, adding extra fat (a brown layer), muscle and brains to survive and thrive outside the womb.
18 Weeks Pregnant: Your baby is about the size of a large tomato
You should be able to feel your baby moving, a fluttering feeling, known as quickening. Your baby’s bones continue to ossify and her intestines are jump started with the production of a digestive substance called meconium. Your low blood pressure may cause a sense of dizziness and feeling clumsy so be careful wearing heals and on the stairs.
19 Weeks Pregnant: Sex during pregnancy is healthy
Your belly is getting rounder by the day, as your baby is about the length of a summer squash. You may find that you need to rest more to keep your energy throughout the day. And your abdomen and back, especially the lower lumbar muscles, may be achy with the added weight. The nineteenth week is one where some of the more uncomfortable symptoms such as heartburn continue, but others fade for a peaceful period of the pregnancy.
20 Weeks Pregnant: Girl or boy? The first big ultrasound
This is the week of a big ultrasound – the one where you get to find out your baby’s sex. Ultrasounds use high frequency sound waves to image your growing little one. The technician applies a topical gel – usually clear and cold, to your belly so that the sound waves travel easy into the belly. Then the technician uses as a transducer, a handheld device, to sonically image the fetus. Ultrasound genetic testing is correct about 80-90 percent of the time. The technician examines the unborn baby’s body parts to figure out the sex. For girls, the labia shows up as three small lines between her legs. For boys, the penis and testicles give good indication. Some places offer a digital recording of the ultrasound, while others provide pictures. Both are mementos of a wonderful moment in the pregnancy.
21 Weeks Pregnant: Comfortable underwear, supportive bra and flat shoes
By now you should feel your baby moving inside you pretty often, and you might discover that he’s not keeping the same hours as you! You may find yourself waking up with a nudge to the stomach or the feeling of fluttering inside of you. Don’t worry – it’s just a sign that he’s healthy and everything is right on schedule.
22 Weeks Pregnant: Rejuvenate before the final trimester
Being 22 Weeks Pregnant is a time of consolidation. Your baby is developing senses like hearing and taste and your body is learning to adjust to the extra weight. It’s worth taking the time to eat healthily and eat right – at the end of this article are some recommended guidelines that have been adapted from the USDA Choose My Plate Guide for pregnancy.
23 Weeks Pregnant: Storing the stem cells
You’re right in the middle of the second trimester and your baby is about the size of an ear of corn. Your baby is continuously growing and you are adding about 1 lb per week. From now on you will need more rest and relaxation. You are more susceptible to urinary tract infections at this stage in the pregnancy, so talk to your doctor with the first signs.
24 Weeks Pregnant: An excellent time to create a birth plan
This is the age of viability, the age when your baby has a good chance of surviving outside the womb. In many hospitals, 24 weeks is the cutoff point for when doctors are prepared to use intensive medical intervention to attempt to save the premature baby’s life, although some use 23 or even 22 weeks. Of course, if your baby is born this early, she will generally require much medical intervention, followed by a lengthy stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). But if you’re feeling you’re not ready – not to worry – the chances are that you still have a number of months to go.
25 Weeks Pregnant: Choosing a birth method
The 25th week of your pregnancy is a time of vivid dreams, romantic getaways and birth plans. Your body is adjusting well to the pregnancy although you may still have heartburn, edema, constipation, gas, snoring, leg cramps, frequent urination and leaky breasts. Oh the joys of pregnancy! Your baby has an 85 percent survival chance if she was born this week, a statistic that will increase with every extra week of the pregnancy.
26 Weeks Pregnant: Time for a babymoon
Your baby is about to the size of a small pineapple, and has passed the age of viability. With every passing week, she gains strength. Your progesterone levels continue to rise (they increase throughout the pregnancy), leading to edema, headaches, heartburn, constipation, to name a few. Your uterus expands by 0.4 inches (1 cm) per week and you may have started to feel the Braxton-Hicks contractions. The 26th week is a time to take stock, and perhaps take a babymoon vacation.
27 Weeks Pregnant: Lie down and get some rest
This is the last week of the second trimester of your pregnancy. Congratulations! You’re gaining weight rapidly now, adding about two inches to your uterus every week. And while many of the pregnancy symptoms are still there – the constipation, gas, back pain, edema – you may also find a new one too– extreme fatigue.
28 Weeks Pregnant: Rockin’ the third trimester
Welcome to the third trimester of your pregnancy! You are gaining weight quickly now – the fetus will grow the most rapidly during this stage, gaining up to 0.06 lbs (28 g) per day. Your belly will change in shape as the belly drops due to the fetus turning in a downward position ready for birth. During the second trimester, your belly would have felt tight and higher, whereas in this trimester it will drop down quite low, and you can lift your belly up and down. Your baby will start to nap regularly for 20- to 30-minutes, finding her own routine.
29 Weeks Pregnant: Ballooning belly
Your baby is the length of a large cucumber and quickly gaining weight. Meanwhile, you are gaining about 1 lb per week, and your belly is rapidly ballooning. You may feel heavier and sluggish, and your legs and feet ache all the time. All these are signs that everything is going according to plan, and in just a few weeks, you will give birth to a beautiful, healthy baby
30 Weeks Pregnant: Try a candlelit bath – if it relaxes you
You’re baby is about the length of a bunch of celery – she’s getting tall! You are half way through the 7th month of your pregnancy, and you’re putting on weight quickly – your baby will probably double in weight by the time she is born. Expect more of the same in terms of pregnancy symptoms – the edema, pregnancy glow, constipation, passing gas, varicose veins, stretch marks, dizzy and clumsy feelings, leg and feet cramps, and back pain. You might seem extra tired now as the verve and energy of the second trimester has dissipated. But on the bright side, you’re only ten weeks away from holding your baby in your arms, when all this will seem like a distant memory.
31 Weeks Pregnant: Welcome to the waddle and hemorrhoid help
Your baby is the length of a bok choy cabbage, and you are piling on the pounds at about 1 lb per week. Many of the familiar pregnancy symptoms are still with you – the edema, constipation, frequent urination, heartburn, fatigue, pregnancy brain and hemorrhoids. You may notice you have wrist pain and a pregnancy waddle too this week. On the bright side, you’ve only got a few weeks left, and your baby gains strength and weight every week.
32 Weeks Pregnant: Making friends with your Braxton Hicks
Congratulations! You’re just over four weeks into your third trimester! You’re probably still coping with many of the common pregnancy symptoms, and you may find that the Braxton-Hicks contractions have started to intensify. If you’re not sure, below are a few easy tips on distinguishing these contractions from those of labor. You’re probably still gaining about one pound every week. While it might seem like most of this is going to your thighs and ass, about half goes to your baby – she’ll gain a third to one half of her birth weight over the next few weeks, fattening up for life outside the womb.
33 Weeks Pregnant: Hearing mama loud and clear
You are five weeks into your third trimester and your baby is about the length of an average pumpkin. This is the week when the amount of amniotic fluid has maxed out and it begins to decrease to give more room for the baby to grow. From now on, her kicks and punches might feel pretty sharp as there is less fluid to soften the blows. Your baby is getting pretty cramped in there, and all her senses are sharpening. She can hear many sounds, including your stomach growling, your breath and your heart beating.
34 Weeks Pregnant: Baby starts to practice for the big day
Did you know that if your baby is born this week, she would have the almost the same chance of survival as a full term baby? At this stage of the pregnancy, your baby is preparing herself for the birth. She is practicing breathing with the amniotic fluid, and sucking her fingers in preparation for the early days of breast milk.
35 Weeks Pregnant: Understanding the stages of labor
Your baby isn’t moving as much anymore because it’s getting pretty crowded in there. He’s still gaining weight, putting on extra fat especially in the face, arms and legs. At about 20 weeks, your baby’s fat made up 2 % of his total weight, but now it’s close to 15 %. If you go to term, it will be about 30 % of the total – the fat will help him regulate his body temperature in the outside world.
36 Weeks Pregnant: Baby is no longer classified as a premie
By the end of this week (heading into week 37) your baby will be considered full term! Your baby is about the length of a loaf of bread and fattening up, to help him regulate his temperature outside the womb. Her internal systems, from musculoskeletal to central nervous are fully developed. Her digestive system will take its first run when she feeds outside of the womb. If you’re worried about everything that can go wrong, remember that women have been doing this for thousands of years, and in a bind, your maternal instincts will take over, and you’ll find surprizing confidence.
37 Weeks Pregnant: False or real labor
Preterm birth (Latin: partus praetemporaneus or partus praematurus) refers to the birth of a baby of less than 37 weeks gestational age. So beginning this week, you are now full term. Congratulations! This can be a strange time in the pregnancy, as your weight may go up or down, and your baby may move lower into the pelvis or not move at all. All are normal, so just try to relax and wait.
38 Weeks Pregnant: Keep your cell phone charged!
The 38th week is a time to prepare mentally for the big day, although no doubt you’ve been preparing for a long time already. Studies show that only 5 % of women give birth on their due date, so try to stay flexible and make sure that you have your cell phone on and charged. The Braxton-Hicks contractions have probably ramped up by now. It may feel like labor, until you’ve actually started labor, and you realize the real thing is far more intense.
39 Weeks Pregnant: Pulling into the home stretch
You could go into labor as you read this sentence. Or you might have to wait another three weeks, after which your doctor will try and induce birth or you will have a C-section. Whichever, you are in the home stretch, and are about to be a mom. Your body weight has stabilized, the baby has moved into your pelvis, and is not moving as much – the quiet before the storm.
40 Weeks Pregnant: Possible post-term popping
This is a time of hurry-up-and wait, or ideally, of enjoying the last few days of calm before the storm. Your baby is ready to rock and roll, or at least wriggle and squirm on the outside. She has likely stopped gaining weight, and you have too. Now that the long-awaited moment is actually within reach, it’s important to be as calm and mentally prepared as possible.
During the 40 weeks of pregnancy, your body goes through remarkable changes as your baby grows and develops. Morning sickness, fatigue, swollen ankles, breast tenderness, vaginal and breast secretions, and joint pain are all common and perfectly normal. Luckily for every symptom there is, if not a cure, a way of alleviating the inconvenience. And some women find that pregnancy is one of the most special times of their lives as they prepare to bring new life into the world.