Understanding pregnancy symptoms week by week will help you to know more about your body and what types of changes that you can expect to have in the 9 months following conception. First, let’s divide the weeks into three time frames or trimesters (or three 3 month sections). They are the first, second and third trimesters.
First trimester: 1st-12th weeks
Second trimester: 13th-27th weeks
Third trimester: 28th-40th weeks
First Trimester – Pregnancy Symptoms Week by Week
During the first month of pregnancy, mothers may experience a range of symptoms. Some will likely be subtle and at times impossible to distinguish from pre-pregnancy discomforts; however, over time many signs begin to emerge as changes take place in your body. Fortunately all babies are usually normal and healthy which can help you feel confident during this period. Hormonal changes also happen during this time: estrogen levels increase, progesterone increases to prepare the uterine lining for implantation and other chemical changes occur as well. In some cases you may notice mood swings or gain a little weight due to water retention, especially in the face and hands. Cravings can also be expected along with some increased urination, fatigue, bloating (due to an increase in blood volume), giddiness caused by low blood pressure and waking up at night if your sleep cycle is out of whack.
Second Trimester – Pregnancy signs and symptoms change every week! As you know, every trimester in pregnancy brings its own set of questions and obstacles. In the first trimester, nausea tends to be more intense. Pregnant women may experience vomiting or even food aversions. Morning sickness usually subsides around the 12th week (6 months). Stretch marks are also unavoidable at this stage. Another symptom that commonly arises are varicose veins – especially for those who were unable to gain weight properly prior to pregnancy (a reason why being aware of your current weight and BMI is crucial before getting pregnant). There may be morning sickness during the next two weeks (the second trimester). The baby’s movements begin around week 16. And by weeks 23-27, many mothers notice that the baby is “active” inside their womb.
This is the stage where you begin to notice more tangible symptoms of the pregnancy. Bleeding gums, vaginal discharge, skin rashes, breathlessness (due to expansion of uterus against the lungs), abdominal aches (due to stretching of uterus against abdominal wall), leg cramps, back pain are all symptoms that can occur at this point. Some may also experience hip pain as their baby begins to put pressure on their growing bump later in this trimester.
As the baby starts to stretch out in the pelvic region and puts pressure on your bladder, it will naturally be more frequent when you use the bathroom. Walking may become difficult due to extra weight or pelvic pain, and breasts can swell with milk as well. Shortness of breath is usually gone by this time as the baby has settled lower in the uterus. Labor usually occurs within the 37th-40th week of gestation, so staying mentally prepared is a good idea just in case! Learn to differentiate between real and false labor. Braxton Hicks contractions are contractions that ring false in the sense that these are not the ones people will be rushing to the hospital for – though they may feel very much like it! False labor pain usually comes in waves and it often only occurs in your abdominal region, which differs from true labor which is more intense and will spread throughout your entire body.
Having a baby is tough stuff. It takes all of you short and long-term energy, can sometimes lead to sleepless nights, and there are also moments where it will hurt if not a lot. The proof that you are in labor is anytime your water breaks (it will be a gushing sound). Also when you feel like your contractions are growing more and more intense than they were the last time they hit, then you know the baby is coming one way or another.
Pregnancy is a miraculous thing, it’s one of the wonders of the natural world that happens millions of times across this planet everyday! Every pregnancy slightly differs for each woman so you’re truly going to have an experience that’s uniquely yours. By taking special time to understand what’s going on in your body and knowing beforehand many of the changes that are to occur with your body during each week of your pregnancy will go a long way towards helping you get ready for your baby!