There are moments in our life that we will never forget. The day that he goes down on one knee and proposes. The moment when you hear the words, “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”, and when you look at a pregnancy test and you see a positive result.
When you find out you’re pregnant, so many thoughts start rushing through your mind. How am I going to announce my pregnancy? I wonder if it’s going to be a boy or a girl? How will I know what to expect during my pregnancy week by week? What do I need to learn to prepare for life being pregnant and life with a baby afterwards?
Let’s take a closer look at each stage of pregnancy so that you can put your mind at ease and learn more about what to expect when you’re expecting.
Understanding The Three Trimesters
Your 40 weeks of pregnancy is divided into three trimesters. The first trimester is counted from your last period to 12 weeks. The second trimester is from 13 to 27 weeks and the last or third trimester is from 28 to 40 weeks.
During this trimester, you would have missed your period. You may also experience one or all of these symptoms: tiredness, breast tenderness, headaches, nausea and vomiting or morning sickness, and more frequent urination. You may also notice that your nipples become darker in colour. This happens so that they are more easily visible to your newborn. In the first 4 weeks of pregnancy, your baby’s major organs like their brain, liver, and kidneys begin to form. By the end of this trimester, the baby’s kidneys are functioning, and the baby can practice using his/her lungs with intermittent breathing movements.
During this early stage of pregnancy, some women tend to be extremely tired and fatigued so your partner can help you out by giving you some extra TLC and helping with the household chores. When you are in a great mood one moment and irritable or emotional the next, remind yourself that it’s just the baby hormones.
During this trimester, the placenta moves deeper into the wall of the uterus and your baby goes into a rapid growth spurt because he/she is receiving more nutrients. The placenta allows the baby to ‘breathe’ and selects the nutrients that the baby will require and stores them for when the baby needs it. By the end of this trimester, your baby’s lungs are capable of breathing air.
During this trimester, you look obviously pregnant with your baby bump becoming clearly visible. This is the time when most expectant mothers experience the pregnancy glow with thicker, shinier hair and stronger nails, two welcome by-products of your pregnancy hormones. Your energy should return too as your body starts to settle down after the hormonal turmoil of the first trimester. You might experience mild Braxton Hicks contractions, however, they are more common in the third trimester.
Your baby now has a complete skeleton and all of their vital organs and he/she is getting fatter. Fat begins to be deposited on your baby in preparation for the birth and life outside the womb. You can really feel baby movements now and he/she can hear and respond to sound and light as their senses are well developed and they will have turned downwards ready for birth.
During this trimester, you might feel very uncomfortable with backaches and more frequent trips to the loo because of the pressure on your bladder. It might be difficult to sleep as it may be hard to find a comfortable position. Everything from indigestion to haemorrhoids to varicose veins can affect you. But remember, you’re in the homestretch and keep your eye on the ball, or in this case, the baby. In a few weeks, you will hold your baby in your arms. Dads can make sure that the baby room is sorted out, find antenatal classes you can attend together and make sure he knows exactly what you want at the birth if you have a birth plan.
You Can Do This
Impending parenthood is both exciting and scary. Your body goes through so many changes and it can be a wonderful experience. However, some women don’t have it easy when it comes to pregnancy and often some are very worried and anxious about the inevitable labour and delivery, especially if it’s your first baby. When things get too much, ask for help and talk things out. You are not in this alone and half the population of the world has experienced this too. You can do this. After all, your body was designed to.