The Body in Bloom – What to Expect Each Week of Pregnancy

Finding out that you’re pregnant, especiallyfor the first time, can be both brilliant and terrifying. Every ten seconds, more than 60 women around the world become pregnant, you’re not alone on this journey. You may have already started to notice physical changes to your body

The First Trimester

Weeks 1 – 2: Although we don’t know exactly when the sperm meets the egg, the date of conception is estimated from the first day of your last period. Start taking folic acid and pre-natal vitamins and cut out alcohol and smoking immediately. Increase the amount of protein and iron in your diet and learn about the vitamins and minerals your baby needs to thrive.Estrogen and progesterone increase after ovulation, and your breasts will begin to feel tender during the first few weeks of pregnancy.

Weeks 3 – 4: The egg becomes a zygote, and now gender, hair and eye color are determined, although you can’t see it yet. Light spotting is normal, but if you experience heavier blood flow or stabbing pains in your abdomen, contact your doctor.Heightened senses as smelling them could make you nauseous.

Weeks 5 – 6: Your hormones are in full throttle right now, as the embryo becomes the size of a grain. You may feel elated one minute and utterly despondent ten minutes later, especially for the next month or so. Your body is hard at work, and you’ll feel nausea, exhaustion, headaches, constipation and faintness. On the bright side, these symptoms shouldn’t last much longer.

Week 7: You may have gained a couple of pounds, even though you’re not showing. Morning sickness could be at its worst right now, but you’ll have a healthy pregnancy glow.

Week 8: Sharp pains in your pelvis can occur when you stand, but miscarriage rates drop significantly now. Your cravings for weird foods are at their highest, and you’ll definitely want sweet treats, but try to eat healthy.

Week 9: Drink plenty of water as you’ll be urinating frequently and may feel dehydrated. Your blood volume will be increasing and your veins could be bulging as a result. Baby is developing well at this point, especially its heart and arms, which may give rise to hiccups!

Weeks 10 – 12: The end of the first trimester is looming. Your baby is growing teeth and is now officially a fetus. You will now start to show your tiny baby bump and your cleavage will probably be getting compliments too! On the other hand, you may feel gassy and your hips will widen to accommodate your growing uterus.

The second trimester

 Weeks 13 – 14: Feeling clumsier?The hormone, relaxin, flows through your body now. Your vision may also be affected as the extra fluid your body holds can thicken the lens or outer cornea. Let your doctor know about any changes to your vision. They are usually nothing to be alarmed about but it’s still to get things checked out along the way.

Week 15: Here come the Braxton-Hicks contractions. As many as 90% of women notice their skin darkening around their nipples, navel and armpits and some even develop skin tags during this trimester. If you get a frequent, uncomfortable discharge from your vagina, contact your doctor as it could be a sign of a vaginal infection.

Week 16: Your pelvis starts to feel hard and firm, and your baby has reached about 5 inches, and can even make some facial expressions that you can detect on an ultrasound!

Week 17: You’ll notice the weight gain (around a pound a week right now, but the amount may vary). Have a look at the average 17 weeks pregnant pictures – there’s definitely a bump! Just keep getting the right nutrition from foods such as broccoli, salmon and sweet potato to provide your body with the nutrients it needs. Yoga or Pilates will help build muscles and keep you in shape to make delivery easier.

Weeks 18 – 19: An ultrasound can tell what gender baby is, although you may just see him/her sucking their thumb. Leg and tailbone pain are common at this stage of pregnancy and if you have pain in your back, try sleeping in the fetal position to ease it. Your baby can now respond to light and sound and you may even feel some somersaults in there! Don’t worry if there’s nothing for a day, and then a lot of movement the next, as this is perfectly normal.

Week 20 – 21: You may feel a little off-balance, as your bump changes the way you balance. Although it only affects about 3 – 6% of pregnancies, if you are over 35 or have a history of pre-eclampsia in your family, watch out for any symptoms.

Week 22: Enjoy those thicker locks and strong nails; show off that baby belly in a t-shirt! You may get a yeast infection right now, but you’re looking fabulous!

Week 23: Don’t take on anything more strenuous than a gentle walk because you’re likely to feel zapped of energy right now. Keep those iron levels up.

Weeks 24 – 25: Get yourself in a warm bath to soothe your sore feet, dizziness and muscle aches. You may also feel some heartburn, which is often equated to the hair growing on baby’s head!

Week 26: Welcome to the end of the second trimester. Now, it’s time to get ready for baby’s arrival.

The second trimester

Weeks 27 – 28: Hello, world! You are pregnant and not afraid to shout about it. Don’t stand for too long, make people give you a seat – your back hurts!

Weeks 29 – 30: Between napping and visiting the toilet, you may feel like you have enough going on, but your breasts may also start to leak colostrum, which is the precursor to breast milk.

Week 31: Short of breath and feeling huge? Join a prenatal class with other expectant moms and you’ll see it’s perfectly normal.

Week 32: Your belly expands as baby takes up more room in the womb. Drink some juice if the baby feels still during the day.

Weeks 33 – 34: Your baby is sleeping a lot and should be moving to the head-down position in preparation for delivery. You should sleep a lot too, as you’ll be feeling tired and possibly have a loss of appetite.

Weeks 35 – 36: Sit down, put your feet up. Nourish your baby as their immune and nervous systems develop. Your baby can dream now too!

Weeks 37 – 38: The baby could arrive any day. Your belly and breasts are bulging, but you may enjoy sex quite a bit now, so go ahead and enjoy yourself.

Weeks 39 – 40: Practice those pelvic floor exercises and stretch your hands and knees. Baby is ready to come out, but may decide to stay warm a little longer. Labor often begins with your water breaking, but this may be just a trickle of water down your leg. Breathe deeply and smile – a new life is entering the world, all because of you and your amazing body.