During your pregnancy, one of the things you’ll be told about is trimesters. The pregnancy trimesters are quite unique in that they each have their own distinct characteristics when it comes to changes experienced in both you and your baby growing inside of you.
This section will show you the different stages of pregnancy and what to expect in each one. You will be especially interested in the trimesters as they can offer a lot of information that cannot be found anywhere else.
Our online forums are bursting with women at all different stages of pregnancy and beyond. Our birth clubs are buzzing with expectant mamas who are not only in their first trimester, but also in their second and third plus those who have already given birth so you can learn from them too!
The Stages Outlined
A normal pregnancy (also referred to as a term pregnancy) typically lasts for 280 days, or 40 weeks (which is roughly nine calendar months), if calculated from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). This can be divided into three trimesters. Each trimester lasts for roughly 13 weeks: the first and second trimesters comprise thirteen weeks each and the third trimester lasts for fourteen weeks. The trimesters represent growth of your baby rather than calendar months.
Your pregnancy is broken into terms of completed weeks (weeks from the first day of your last period), rather than weeks from conception or LMP because many people do not know when they conceived or even if it happened on the same day in their cycle, which can be 365 days long. Thus, you may become pregnant at any given time in a year’s cycle.
Your baby will grow into an embryo that is like a ball of cells which continues to develop until two months and form distinct body parts.
In a typical pregnancy, an embryo will grow from a minute size, roughly equivalent to a pinhead, to an average length of 50 cm and a weight of about 3.5 kg. At the same time, your body will change to accommodate and support your developing baby. The average weight increase for a pregnant woman is 10-12.5 kg (22-28 lb), with almost 70% of this put on in the last 20 weeks. It is important to note that the weight gained during pregnancy will go away soon after you give birth. As such, a pregnancy weight change of as much as 20 kg can be considered normal so long as there aren’t any underlying problems.
During each trimester of pregnancy, a woman will undergo a particular set of changes that benefit her during the course of her pregnancy as well as assist in growing and bringing up a child. Increased hormone levels, such as oestrogen, progesterone, human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) and human placental lactogen (hPL), influence the physical changes she’ll undergo throughout each stage of her pregnancy.
Every woman and pregnancy is unique, just like all babies develop at their own pace. You’ll find that things you experience or feel don’t always mirror experiences reported or described by other pregnant women or what you read in books and online.
Going for regular check-ups, especially early on if you have a history of pregnancy issues and informing your healthcare professional in case something doesn’t feel right makes sense – and that reassures everyone involved.