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Pregnancy Stages

Pregnancy Stages


The nine months of pregnancy, from conception to birth are an exciting time of change. As the embryo grows and develops into a baby, many changes are also taking place in the mother’s body. So to easily understand these changes the whole pregnancy is divided into three trimesters which comprises of three months each.

First trimester

This stage comprises the period from conception to 12 weeks of pregnancy (or) 14 weeks from the first day of the last menstrual period. Some women find it very difficult to pass through this period as everything is so different, so exciting, so overwhelming all at once. There will be amazing development of the baby in this stage.

Conception to embryo development:
A healthy first trimester is crucial to the normal development of the foetus. The mother-to-be may not be showing many changes on the outside, but inside her body, all the major body organs and systems of the foetus are in the formative stage.

The male sperm and female ovum fuses around the day of ovulation and a zygote are formed. It undergoes rapid division leading to the formation of an embryo. The embryo gets implanted in the uterine wall (5-7 days after fertilization). After that, several developments take place.

A sac filled with amniotic fluid, called the amniotic sac, surrounds the foetus throughout the pregnancy. The placenta grows only during pregnancy. It attaches to the uterine wall with tiny projections called villi. Foetal blood vessels grow from the umbilical cord into these villi, exchanging nourishment and waste products with the mother’s blood.

  • The embryo develops a spinal cord. Three germ layers are seen which divides rapidly to form the different organs.
  • Limb buds appear which later develops into arms and legs.
  • By the second month, growth of the foetus is enormous. At the end of this month, major body organs, and systems are formed. 

Changes In The Mother:

During pregnancy, the mother undergoes a lot of changes in her body both physically and mentally. But these changes do not exist together in all the mothers. some people will have minimal symptoms some will have exaggerated symptoms.

Some of the common changes that all the women experiences are:

  • Breast feeling tender, sore and enlarged. The areola surrounding the nipple gets darkened .the veins on the surface of the breasts become prominent.
  • Enlarging uterus pushing against the bladder and the hormonal influence make the pregnant women urinate often.
  • Constipation, indigestion also can be seen.
  • Morning sickness with vomiting sensation on the sight of food due to rising in the hormonal levels especially in the morning but may found through out the day. But pregnant women despite this feeling should try taking essential nutrients.
  • Increased craving for some strange food like pickles, raw mango etc..
  • Fatigue, dizziness,headache—due to raised progesterone (hormonal effects) compounded by increased blood volume which leads to fall in blood pressure and fall in blood sugar hence leading to the deficient blood supply to the brain. This is also due to the increased metabolic needs of pregnancy.
  • Mood swings, dysphoric effects, depressed mindset due to the effect of progesterone on the mood regulatory part of the brain.

 There are increased chances of miscarriages in this stage as the foetus is susceptible to any abnormal changes or substances.

II Trimester

This stage starts from the 13th week and extends to 27th week. All the symptoms that appear in the first trimester fade away in this stage. pregnant mom feels so energetic and comfortable in this stage. Her pregnancy is shown out during this stage. The foetus has developed all its organs and shows growth in size and weight.

Foetal development:

All the embryological divisions are over and organs have been formed. From this stage onwards there is purely growth and maturation of the baby. By the end of this trimester, the foetus would have gained the required weight. Some of the changes that take place are:

  • The foetus makes obvious movements.
  • It responds to stimuli.
  • The gradual movement of the eyes and the ears toward their normal positions.
  • Skin if the foetus is wrinkled, covered by hair and creamy white material.
  • Development of eyelashes, eyebrows.
  • Development of the respiratory and digestive systems.
  • Limbs start growing and there appear fingers.

Changes in the mother:

The main discomforts of the first-trimester decrease and she feels energetic and happy. But some other bodily changes start gradually. They are:

  • Skin changes, hair fall, nose bleeds, & heartburn.
  • There will be a gradual increase in weight.
  • Their abdomen is shown out gradually.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Backaches becoming severe.
  • Depression and mood swings.
  • Indigestion, frequent urination, heartburn are common.

Since there is tremendous growth in baby the nutritional demands are increased and hence pregnant women are advised to take all kind of nutritious food rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals. There will be periods of depressions and the pregnant women should be able to divert herself effectively. Regular practice of exercises is recommended and should be done as per the advice of the doctor. Weight gain should be monitored regularly and should be maintained within the specific standard ranges.

III Trimester

This trimester starts from the 28th week to the day of delivery. Delivery will be around 38th week to 42nd week of pregnancy. During this period baby grows larger and is getting matured. Movement is increased in the earlier part of this trimester, which gradually ends in the final two months. At the end of the trimester, the baby is settled in a head-down position.

Foetal development:

  • Well developed senses.
  • Kidneys lungs and brain continue to develop.
  • By the 36th week, the head may drop into the pelvic area called as “lightening”.
  • Bones of the skull remains softer so that it will be flexible while passing through the birth canal.
  • Baby is covered in a layer of creamy material called vernix.
  • Eyes (iris) of the baby will be slate blue and the permanent colour appears after some few days.

Changes in the mother:

  • As the baby matures and the III Trimester progresses, there will be an increase in discomfort for the mother. Sleeping positions will be affected..
  • The pressure of the growing foetus on the bladder causes a frequent urinating sensation.
  • Pressure on the stomach and the digestive system leads to improper digestion.
  • Swelling of the legs, face as the mother retains the fluid
  • More frequent leg cramps.
  • False contractions start at regular intervals in preparation for childbirth.
  • Stretch marks appear in the thighs, abdomen, and buttocks.
  • Colostrum (first formed milk) very rich in nutrients is formed in the breast.
  • Persistent backaches.

After 36 weeks visit to the doctor should occur every alternate week or as required.

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