The most important objective of pregnancy is to maintain good health for the baby’s growth and development, as well as the mother’s. Pregnancy is divided into three sections of three months each, called trimesters. The first trimester covers weeks 1 through 13, the second trimester covers weeks 14 through 26, and the third trimester covers weeks 27 through 40.
The first trimester of pregnancy is a time of great physical and emotional changes. Hormonal changes can cause nausea, vomiting, and fatigue, while the increased sense of compassion can lead to high emotional stress.
During the first month of pregnancy, the embryo begins to develop vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and brain. By the 25th day, the heart will start to beat. In the second month, the embryo develops further, growing limbs, a stomach, liver, and a spine. Baby’s facial features will also begin to take shape. By the end of the first trimester, the baby will be about 3 inches long, and you will be able to find out its gender. The baby will also begin to move its legs and head. The mother will gain 3–4 pounds during this time.
Pregnancy comes with a lot of changes, both physically and emotionally. During the first trimester, you may experience food aversion and changes, heartburn and indigestion, complex changes, frequent urination, constipation and dizziness. These problems can be mitigated by making changes in your habits, eating a nutritive diet, doing light exercises, taking sufficient rest and drinking ample water.
The second trimester of pregnancy usually lasts from week 13 to 27. Many women find that the fatigue and nausea they felt during the first trimester start to subside during this time. The baby also grows quickly, and you may be able to feel its movements. The umbilical cord, which carries oxygen and nutrients to the fetus, gets thicker during this trimester. To ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby, it’s important to eat well and stay active with light exercise. Good personal hygiene is also essential.
During the fourth month of pregnancy, the baby typically weighs around 6 ounces and grows rapidly, reaching a length of 8–10 inches. By the end of the fifth month, the baby’s heartbeat can be heard by a physician using a stethoscope. The baby will also start reacting to sounds from outside the uterus, such as music or voices.
During the sixth month of pregnancy, the baby is fully formed except for a layer of fat under the skin. The baby also starts sucking their thumb and can open their eyelids. At this time, there is also a rapid growth in brain tissue.
During the third trimester of pregnancy, babies continue to grow in size and show physical changes. Adequate oxygen supply should be provided to the fetus through deep breathing. Precautions should be taken against lifting heavy weights, standing for long periods of time, and eating a balanced diet regularly. Mild exercises like walking are also beneficial. In the seventh month, babies may kick, stretch, and change position, which can be felt by the mother.
Swelling of the feet is natural during pregnancy. By the eighth month, the baby’s face becomes smooth and resembles that of a newborn. The baby continues to gain weight during the ninth month, at a rate of about one pound per week. At 40 weeks, the baby is full term. The baby settles further down the mother’s pelvis and continues to grow, but has less room to move about. Prenatal care is essential for both the mother and the developing baby.
During pregnancy, the mother’s body undergoes many changes and needs extra calories and nutrients to support the growing baby. To ensure a healthy pregnancy, the mother should drink at least eight glasses of water, take prenatal vitamins, and consume an additional 300 calories per day. The baby’s immune system is not yet mature, so it continues to receive antibodies from the mother through the placenta.