Early Stages of Pregnancy
Pregnancy is an exciting time, but if you’re experiencing your first pregnancy, you may be wondering what to expect. Here is a breakdown month-by-month that explains what will happen as you work hard to grow a new little person.
Doctors calculate pregnancy based on the date of your last menstruation, so in the first weeks of pregnancy, you aren’t actually pregnant at all. You might experience pre-menstrual symptoms in the first couple of weeks of this month. Most women will ovulate during week two, and the fertilization occurs in week three. Week four is the earlier that a pregnancy test will register as positive because this is when the pregnancy hormones begin.
As soon as you suspect you are pregnant or actively trying, take some steps to help your baby. Stop drinking alcohol or using medications that could harm your baby, with your doctor’s help, of course. Start taking a prenatal vitamin. Reduce or eliminate caffeine intake.
This is when pregnancy symptoms often develop. If you don’t know that you’re pregnant, you may start to notice mood swings, sore breasts, nausea, and feelings of tiredness. By week six and seven, most women know they are expecting or suspect that they are. As soon as you get a positive pregnancy test, check in with your doctor about an appointment schedule.
By this point, it’s hard to deny what has happened. You’re pregnant! You may not be showing, but your skin may start to have that signature pregnancy glow. During these weeks, your blood volume increases by about 50 percent, and you may notice more visible veins on the skin.
As you near the end of the first semester, you may get some relief from those early pregnancy symptoms. The second trimester begins at week 14. This is the trimester when most new moms feel amazing! You may notice that the skin around your nipples, inner thighs, and armpits darkness a little, but this is a normal part of the pregnancy experience.
If your pregnancy symptoms don’t abate, that is not a cause for concern. Every pregnancy is different, and babies don’t keep timetables.
This is typically the stage when you will have your ultrasound that can reveal the gender of your baby if you wish. Most women can no longer hide the fact that they are pregnant at this point. During these weeks, heartburn is a common complaint. This occurs because pregnancy hormones start relaxing the muscles throughout your body in preparation for delivery, including the lower esophageal sphincter. Eating more frequently but in smaller amounts can help you avoid this common symptom.
The first few weeks of pregnancy set the stage for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. By knowing what to expect and how to support yourself and your growing baby, you can increase your chances of having a healthy, complication-free pregnancy and birth. Stay in touch with your doctor, and learn to revel in the experience of being pregnant.
If you are pregnant, or think you might be, and need assistance, be sure to contact Heartbeat of Toledo, a free women’s clinic in Toledo, Ohio.