Pregnancy is a life-changing experience, and the changes your body makes during this time are truly incredible. Every trimester comes with its own signs and symptoms as your little one grows and gets ready to enter the world, but it can sometimes be hard to know if what you’re experiencing is common or a reason for concern.
Here at Women’s Health Specialists, we want patients to feel confident in their bodies and our care. A big part of that is providing you with expert information on a variety of topics, including pregnancy. When you know what to expect from each stage, you can focus on all the exciting milestones you have to look forward to! Keep reading to learn more about how each trimester develops.
What are trimesters, anyway?
We talk about them all the time, but what is a trimester? Let’s go back to the basics to explain. Most women will go into labor about 37-42 weeks after conception. That countdown begins from the first day of the last menstrual period before a woman conceives, with an estimated due date of 40 weeks from that point. Pregnancy trimesters are the three stages in between those two dates last, each lasting approximately three months.
What to expect from your first trimester
Even the best-prepared woman can underestimate how overwhelming the first trimester can be, thanks to a jumble of excitement, stress, and hormones. For the first twelve weeks or so, you may experience nausea, breast tenderness, fatigue, and emotional changes.
Many women get the first signs of morning sickness around the sixth week of pregnancy, and some notice light spotting around the time their period would be due. Heartburn and discharge are also common in these early weeks (and sometimes in the later ones, too!)
In the first trimester, your baby’s organs and skeletal structure will start to develop. Most women schedule their first obstetric appointment at this point. Women’s Health Specialists has a large team of experienced providers, so you can count on us to provide comprehensive care throughout your pregnancy! As intense as your first trimester can be, it’s very exciting to watch the way your body changes as your baby begins to grow.
What to expect from your second trimester
In the second trimester, your baby will be growing very quickly. You’re likely to notice quite a few changes during these weeks! Morning sickness and fatigue often fade for many women around this time, so you may find yourself feeling more energetic than you have been. You may even find this to be the easiest three months of your pregnancy!
As your baby gets bigger, you might notice aches and pains in your back, abdomen, or thighs. Your fingers and ankles may begin to swell, and stretch marks could appear on your belly or breasts. While routine tasks like getting out of bed and tying your shoes might become a bit more difficult, it will soon be worth it. Many women notice the first fetal movements at about 16 weeks, and it’s one of the most exciting moments in pregnancy. It makes things feel much more real and can help you feel connected to your growing baby.
By 20 weeks, you’ll be halfway through your pregnancy. If you haven’t already, you should find a provider to regularly monitor your health and that of your baby. You’ll also be able to learn your baby’s gender at this point! Enjoy this special time by taking plenty of pictures of your growing belly and preparing for the baby’s arrival by purchasing the essentials like lots (and lots!) of diapers, a car seat, and a crib.
What to expect from your third trimester
The end is near! You’ll be holding your baby in your arms before you know it, but you’ve got to get through the third trimester first. This stage of pregnancy brings more physical changes—and often more complaints! Your breasts may increase in size, sometimes significantly, which can exacerbate any back pain you’re already experiencing. If you find yourself struggling with this, a belly band or flexible back brace can offer some much-needed relief.
You may begin experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions during this period. This tightening sensation in the abdomen is completely normal and nature’s way of getting your body ready for labor! As your baby continues to get bigger, there will be more pressure on your diaphragm and bladder. This may cause you to feel a little short of breath sometimes and can also increase the need to urinate frequently. The appearance of hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and disrupted sleep are also common.
Your baby will be kicking and moving more than ever during the third trimester, and most will begin to turn head-down in preparation for birth. As you get closer to your due date, you may begin to leak a bit of clear or yellowish liquid from your breasts. This is called colostrum, and if you choose to breastfeed, it will be your baby’s first food. Although overall growth slows down a bit towards the end of this trimester, your baby will still be gaining about a 1/2 pound every week. Hang in there! You’re almost there.
Mark your pregnancy milestones with Women’s Health Specialists
While it’s true that no two pregnancies are the same, there are many common milestones to celebrate as you make your way towards motherhood. Feeling the first flutters and kicks, seeing your baby on the ultrasound screen for the first time, and watching as your body changes as it prepares to give birth are important moments that you’ll never forget.
At Women’s Health Specialists, we’re committed to providing our patients with superior obstetrical, gynecologic, and urogynecologic care for all stages of a woman’s life, including pregnancy. Each of our clinicians is nationally and internationally recognized for their achievements and the efforts they’ve made to advance the healthcare of women.
Our experienced team will ensure you receive compassionate care throughout your pregnancy and provide you with the most optimal birthing experience possible. We love helping our patients bring new babies into the world! It’s an honor to play a role in this very special journey. To learn more about our services for expectant mothers, or schedule an appointment, call our office today or schedule one online through our website.