Pregnancy is a condition in which a woman carries one or more offspring inside of a womb. Pregnancy lasts approximately 40 weeks from last normal menstrual period, and the childbirth usually occurs in 38 weeks after conception. The conception takes place shortly after the sexual intercourse – in about six to twelve days. The term embryo is used to explain the developing offspring during the first 8 weeks of conception, and the term fetus is used from 2 months of development until delivery. Pregnancy develops trough 3 stages, also known as semesters. The first, developmental, stage is the critical one and it is 13 weeks long.
2 – 4 weeks pregnant
The signs of pregnancy are not obvious yet. The fetus is just a small ball composed of several hundred cells that are multiplying at extremely high pace. Women’s body adapts to the new condition in this stage. It is important to keep away from alcohol and tobacco and preserve healthy life habits.
5 – 8 weeks pregnant
In this stage, hormonal levels begin to change and women may often complain about morning sickness. Breasts become very sensitive to touch, painful and the skin on them may become darker. The other changes in this stage include changes on the face, extreme fatigue for no obvious reason, pimples, food cravings and gaining weight.
9 – 12 weeks pregnant
In this stage women continues to gain weight and the belly slightly gets bigger. The black line, called linea-nigra, becomes apparent. This line starts from the upper abdomen and stretches all the way to the pubis. Women will gain approximately 20 pounds during this stage and they may experience fatigue, lower back pains, swelling of the ankles and mood-swings. Other unpleasant symptoms from the prior stage are usually gone by now. This is the best time to start with the skin care program and prevent formation of the stretch marks.
13 – 15 weeks pregnant
Symptoms of this stage include weight gain, passing out gas, insomnia and symptoms associated with the water retention, such as swelling of the ankles.
Women will feel the first movements of the fetus during this week. Hormonal levels are extremely high now, and it is not unusual to experience rise in the sexual desire. During this week doctors will examine baby’s heart and mother’s blood sugar levels.
17-20 weeks pregnant
Women will complain about the heartburn and indigestion during this stage. It is advisable to change eating habits in order to ease the symptoms.
21-24 weeks pregnant
During this stage, women will experience slightly stronger back pain and may become forgetful. These symptoms are completely normal and there is nothing to worry about. Mothers will also be examined for gestational diabetes in 24th week.
25-28 weeks pregnant
Fatigue and shortness of the breath are the most prominent symptoms of this stage. Healthy eating habits and nutritional diet may help to relief the symptoms.
29-32 weeks pregnant
This is the last trimester in which women usually gain around one pound per week. It is possible to experience the false alarm contractions. More vaginal discharge, especially if bloody, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, uterine tightening and contractions, may point out to the first signs of premature labor.
33-36 weeks pregnant
Women will experience more frequent urge for urination in this period. The pelvic pain is also present. Psychological changes may include the urge to clean the house and prepare it for the newborn. It is not advisable to travel during this stage.
37-38 weeks pregnant
It is not unusual to deliver a baby in this stage. Braxton Hicks contractions are becoming more regular and intense, as the body prepares for a delivery. Vaginal discharge that contains traces of blood is one of the first signs of the upcoming delivery.
39th week pregnant
It is important to have a lot of rest during this week and prepare for the delivery. Mothers will usually feel anxious and may be even worried.40th week pregnant
This is the last week of pregnancy in which labor usually starts. Women will gain about 25-35 pounds by then. Sexual intercourse during this week may provoke the labor.