Pregnancy Stages

Normally, pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks (280 days) counting from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP), which are grouped into three trimesters.

 The first trimester (week 1-week 12)

 During the first trimester the hormonal changes affect almost every organ system in the body and more often than not there are a number of symptoms clearly indicating the pregnancy. Thus, there will be no period, and women often experience extreme tiredness, tender, swollen breasts, an upset stomach with or without throwing up (morning sickness), nausea, mood swings, need to pass urine more often, headaches, weight gain or loss, etc. Fortunately, most of these discomforts will go away as the pregnancy progresses. On the other hand, some women might not feel any discomfort at all.

The second trimester (week 13-week 28)

Most women find the second trimester of pregnancy easier than the first, as symptoms like nausea and fatigue disappear. However, the body continues to change, as the abdomen expands, stretch marks appear on the abdomen, breasts, thighs or buttocks, and a dark line runs from the belly button to the pubic hairline. There may also appear dark spots on the face, cheeks, forehead, nose or upper lip (the so called “mask of pregnancy”). However, there is no serious discomfort.

The third trimester (week 29-week 40)

The body is now beyond recognition: the abdomen is huge, the belly button sticks out, and often the ankles, fingers and face are swollen. As the baby is getting bigger and putting more and more pressure on the organs, many women find breathing difficult and notice they have to go to the bathroom even more often. Shortness of breath, heartburn and insomnia are also common, and, of course, the kicks of the baby who is now almost ready to come out. As the due date approaches, the cervix becomes thinner and softer, preparing the birth canal to open during delivery. Contractions also appear, but they do not yet occur at regular intervals and vary in intensity.

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