Are Expecting a baby? Then you’re a member of the secret keeper Hub
We’ve developed this pregnancy calendar to guide you through every step of this beautiful journey, from finding out you’re pregnant to holding your little one for the first time.
Being pregnant is one of the most exciting times of your life. Learn all about your symptoms, your baby’s progress and development, and what to expect from the first trimester until birth using our pregnancy calendar tools. You can track by trimester, or break it down further to look at particular months or weeks. This will help you understand what’s happening to your body from conception up until you’re nine months pregnant and ready to welcome your new addition.
First Trimester of Pregnancy: 0-12 Weeks
But even before you miss a period, you may suspect – or hope – that you’re pregnant. For some women, early symptoms of pregnancy begin in the first few weeks after conception.
Pregnancy symptoms can also vary in their intensity, frequency and duration.
The following early signs and symptoms of pregnancy are only a guideline. Many early pregnancy symptoms can appear similar to routine pre-menstrual discomforts.
Tender, swollen breasts
Your breasts may provide one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. As early as two weeks after conception, hormonal changes may make your breasts tender, tingly or sore. Or your breasts may feel fuller and heavier.
Fatigue and tiredness also ranks high among early symptoms of pregnancy. During early pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone soar. In high enough doses, progesterone can put you to sleep. At the same time, lower blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and increased blood production may team up to sap your energy during your pregnancy.
Slight bleeding or cramping
Sometimes a small amount of spotting or vaginal bleeding is one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. Known as implantation bleeding, it happens when the fertilised egg attaches to the lining of the uterus – about 10 to 14 days after fertilisation. This type of bleeding is usually a bit earlier, spottier and lighter in colour than a normal period and doesn’t last as long. Some women also experience abdominal cramping early in pregnancy. These cramps are similar to menstrual cramps.
Nausea with or without vomiting
Morning sickness, which can strike at any time of the day or night, is one of the classic symptoms of pregnancy. For some women, the queasiness begins as early as two weeks after conception. Nausea seems to stem at least in part from rapidly rising levels of estrogen, which causes the stomach to empty more slowly. Pregnant women also have a heightened sense of smell, so various odors – such as foods cooking, perfume or cigarette smoke – may cause waves of nausea in early pregnancy. There are some hints and tips to help combat the effects of morning sickness.
Food aversions or cravings
When you’re pregnant, you might find yourself turning up your nose at certain foods, such as coffee or fried foods. Food cravings are common too. Like most other symptoms of pregnancy, these food preferences can be chalked up to hormonal changes – especially in the first trimester, when hormonal changes are the most dramatic.
Early in pregnancy, increased blood circulation caused by hormonal changes may trigger frequent, mild headaches.
Constipation is another common early symptom of pregnancy. An increase in progesterone causes food to pass more slowly through the intestines, which can lead to constipation.
The flood of hormones in your body in early pregnancy can make you unusually emotional and weepy. Mood swings also are common, especially in the first trimester.
Faintness and dizziness
As your blood vessels dilate and your blood pressure drops, you may feel lightheaded or dizzy. Early in pregnancy, faintness also may be triggered by low blood sugar.
Raised basal body temperature
Your basal body temperature is your oral temperature when you first wake up in the morning. This temperature increases slightly soon after ovulation and remains at that level until your next period. If you’ve been charting your basal body temperature to determine when you ovulate, its continued elevation for more than two weeks may mean that you’re pregnant.
Perhaps the most obvious early symptom of pregnancy is when you’ve missed your period. This possible sign of pregnancy is often what causes women to search for more details about the other pregnancy symptoms.
Some women might only experience a much lighter period compared to their usual. You might not experience any of the pregnancy signs listed below until around the time you notice you’ve missed your monthly cycle.
Just “Feeling” Pregnant
This early pregnancy symptom may be the reason why you are checking this list right now. Many women believe they have an intuition about pregnancy signs. Their intuition is often proven correct.
Maybe you just feel different; tired, moody, queasy, lightheaded. You may also have heartburn, constipation, or find yourself making more frequent trips to the toilet. Perhaps you feel a dull ache or stiffness in your lower back, you have sore breasts or they seem overly sensitive, or you are simply not feeling like your usual self.
How can you really tell if you are pregnant?
Unfortunately, these symptoms aren’t unique to pregnancy. Some can indicate that you’re getting sick or that your period is about to start. Likewise, you can be pregnant without experiencing any of these symptoms.
Still, if you miss a period or notice any of the tip-offs on this list, you might want to take a home pregnancy test – especially if you’re not keeping track of your menstrual cycle or if it varies widely from one month to the next. If your home pregnancy test is positive, make an appointment with your health care provider. The sooner your pregnancy is confirmed, the sooner you can begin prenatal care.
If you are worried about possible early symptoms of pregnancy, you can put your mind at ease with a pregnancy test. More than just a pregnancy symptom, this is scientific proof positive of whether you are expecting a baby or not.
Pregnancy tests work best if you wait to take them until at least a day or two after you miss your period. Even if the pregnancy test result is negative you should try it again a few days later to be sure.
First trimester pregnancy can be overwhelming. Understand the changes you might experience and how to take care of yourself during this exciting time.
Body changes and Baby Development in the First Trimester
You may still be able to fit into your regular clothes, but they’re probably snugger than they were a month ago. It might be time to buy some maternity clothes so you can avoid constrictive clothing.
Typically, weight gain to this point is only about 2 pounds. What’s causing your jeans to fit a little differently these days is the other ways your body is preparing to carry your baby. Your uterus, for example, is growing rapidly. Your doctor may be able to feel your uterus in your lower abdomen.
During the first trimester of pregnancy, what starts as a tiny bundle of cells quickly turns into a fetus that’s about the size of a large plum. In these first few weeks of pregnancy, your little one’s brain, spinal cord, heart, and tiny limbs — complete with fingers and toes — will form. Meanwhile, your uterus is becoming a comfortable home for your little one, who will be nourished by the developing placenta and umbilical cord. By the end of the third month of pregnancy, all essential organs and body parts will be in place — albeit in teeny-tiny size. There’s a lot happening this trimester, but here are a few of the most exciting milestones:
4 Weeks: Implantation
The ball of rapidly dividing cells, called a blastocyst, implants in the uterus. The inner cells will become the embryo and the outer cells will become the placenta. The placenta will provide nourishment to your baby from now until delivery.
6 Weeks: Taking Shape
Around six and seven weeks, the heart, lungs, and other key organs start to develop, and the head and limbs also take shape. What was a ball of cells just weeks ago is forming a more recognizable c-shape.
9 Weeks: In Motion
From around week 9, your little one, now known as a fetus, may start moving around. You probably won’t be able to feel any movement until the second trimester.
10 Weeks: Fingers and Toes
This week your baby’s fingers and toes lose their webbing and continue to grow longer. It won’t be long until you’re able to count them!
10 or 11 Weeks: The Sound of Your Baby’s Heart
From around weeks 10 or 11 your little one’s heart may be beating loud enough to be heard with a Doppler ultrasound, which your healthcare provider may perform at your next appointment.
Things to do this week for a healthy pregnancy
Because you’re gaining weight simply due to the pregnancy, you should pay closer attention to your diet to make sure you don’t gain too much. Too much weight gain can lead to complications like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and pain in your back and legs. Carrying around a lot of extra weight can also lead to greater fatigue.
Also, don’t avoid eating. If you haven’t started following a balanced diet each day, try to end your first trimester on a healthy note. Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates. Avoid junk food. Instead, eat snacks like yogurt and dried fruit, which contain protein, calcium, and minerals.
Ask your doctor for suggestions, or talk with a dietitian. And if you haven’t already, talk with your doctor about taking prenatal vitamins.
If your usual diet hasn’t been especially healthy up to this point, now is the time to make a change. You and your baby need a variety of nutrients to get through the rest of your pregnancy.
Your skin is also becoming more sensitive. To help reduce the effects of “mask of pregnancy,” be sure to wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher whenever you are outside, and wear a baseball cap or hat to help keep the sun off your face if you’re outdoors for a prolonged period.
Week 12 can be a good time to start doing Kegel exercises to strengthen your vaginal muscles. This can help with delivery and recovery after the birth. If you’re unsure how to do Kegel exercises, talk with your doctor. You may also learn about these exercises if you participate in a birthing class.
Second Trimester of Pregnancy: 13-24 Weeks
The second trimester of pregnancy often brings a renewed sense of well-being. The worst of the nausea has usually passed, and your baby isn’t big enough to make you too uncomfortable. Yet more pregnancy symptoms are on the horizon. Here’s what to expect.
During the second trimester of pregnancy, you might experience physical changes, including:
- Growing belly and breasts. As your uterus expands to make room for the baby, your abdomen grows. Your breasts will also gradually continue to increase in size. A supportive bra with wide straps is a must.
- Braxton Hicks contractions. You might feel these mild contractions as a slight tightness in your abdomen. They’re more likely to occur with activity, including after physical activity or after sex. Contact your health care provider if the contractions become painful or regular. This could be a sign of preterm labor.
- Skin changes. Hormonal changes during pregnancy stimulate an increase in pigment-bearing cells (melanin) in your skin. As a result, you might notice brown patches on your face (melasma). You might also see a dark line down your abdomen (linea nigra). These skin changes are common and usually fade after delivery. Sun exposure, however, can aggravate the issue. When you’re outdoors, use sunscreen. You might also notice reddish lines along your abdomen, breasts, buttocks or thighs (stretch marks). Although stretch marks can’t be prevented, most eventually fade in intensity. Using your favorite moisturizer might help ease any accompanying itchiness.
- Nasal problems. During pregnancy, your hormone levels increase and your body makes more blood. This can cause your mucous membranes to swell and bleed easily, resulting in stuffiness and nosebleeds. Saline drops or a saline rinse can help relieve congestion. Also, drink plenty of fluids, use a humidifier, and dab petroleum jelly around the edges of your nostrils to help moisten skin.
- Dental issues. Pregnancy can cause your gums to become more sensitive to flossing and brushing, resulting in minor bleeding. Rinsing with salt water and switching to a softer toothbrush can decrease irritation. Frequent vomiting could also affect your tooth enamel and make you more susceptible to cavities. Be sure to keep up your dental care during pregnancy.
- Dizziness. Pregnancy causes changes in circulation that might leave you dizzy. If you’re having trouble with dizziness, drink plenty of fluids, avoid standing for long periods, and move slowly when you stand up or change position. When you feel dizzy, lie down on your side.
- Leg cramps. Leg cramps are common as pregnancy progresses, often striking at night. To prevent them, stretch your calf muscles before bed, stay physically active, and drink plenty of fluids. Choose shoes with comfort, support and utility in mind. If a leg cramp strikes, stretch the calf muscle on the affected side. A hot shower, warm bath, ice massage or muscle massage also might help.
- Vaginal discharge. You might notice a sticky, clear or white vaginal discharge. This is normal. Contact your health care provider if the discharge becomes strong smelling, unusual in color, or if it’s accompanied by pain, soreness or itching in your vaginal area. This could indicate a vaginal infection.
- Urinary tract infections. These infections are more common during pregnancy. Contact your health care provider if you have pain when you urinate or you have a fever or backache. Left untreated, urinary tract infections can become severe and result in a kidney infection.
During the second trimester, you might feel less tired and more up to the challenge of preparing for your baby. Check into childbirth classes. Find a doctor for your baby. Read about breast-feeding. If you plan to work after the baby is born, get familiar with your employer’s maternity leave policy and investigate child care options.
You might worry about labor, delivery or impending parenthood. To ease your anxiety, learn as much as you can. Focus on making healthy lifestyle choices that will give your baby the best start.
During the second trimester, your prenatal appointments will focus on your baby’s growth and detecting any health problems. Your health care provider will begin by checking your weight and blood pressure. He or she might measure the size of your uterus by checking your fundal height — the distance from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus (fundus).
At this stage, the highlight of your prenatal visits might be listening to your baby’s heartbeat. Your health care provider might suggest an ultrasound or other screening tests this trimester. You might also find out your baby’s sex — if you choose.
Be sure to mention any signs or symptoms that concern you. Talking to your health care provider is likely to put your mind at ease.
Your Baby’s Development in the Second Trimester
In the second trimester of pregnancy, your baby’s development continues upon the foundation set in the first trimester. Your little one goes from being the size of a nectarine to that of a head of cauliflower, and this growth spurt will become more visible to the outside world as your belly becomes more prominent. Each week of pregnancy brings something new; here are some of the highlights:
14 Weeks: Sucking and Swallowing
Around the time you’re 14 weeks pregnant, your little one may start practicing sucking and swallowing motions, possibly sucking that thumb in the coming weeks!
16 Weeks: Baby on the Go
Around the time you’re 16 to 18 weeks pregnant, or soon after, you may feel a tiny flutter in your belly as your little one rolls around or does flips in the amniotic sac. If this is your first pregnancy, it may take longer for you to detect the sensations of movement. You’ll probably notice your baby’s kicks and movements are getting stronger from around 19 weeks onward. Your baby is growing but still has plenty of room to move now, which is a good thing because it gets a little more cramped during the third trimester.
17 Weeks: Your Baby Gets a Waxy Coating
The glands in your baby’s skin may already be producing a greasy substance called vernix. This will cover your little one’s body and acts as a waterproof barrier protecting the skin.
22 Weeks: Your Baby Has Eyebrows
Those little brows are visible now: tiny tufts of fine hair, with no pigment yet. Though your baby’s eyelids are still fused shut for a few more weeks, his eyes can move now behind the lids.
23 Weeks: Your Baby Responds to Sounds
With his ears fully developed, your baby may respond by moving if he hears the sound of your voice or a loud noise. This is an excellent time to start singing to your baby and playing music — and don’t forget to talk to him and tell him what you’re up to.
27 Weeks: Your Baby May Smile
Your baby’s first smile could be happening any day now, as babies often start practicing inside the womb from around 27 weeks. Smiling typically occurs when your baby is asleep, often during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep.
Third Trimester of Pregnancy: 28 Weeks
You and your belly may be two-thirds of the way there, but your baby still has plenty of growing to do. Here’s more on what to expect in the third trimester of pregnancy.
It may feel as if there’s no way your belly can get any bigger, but there’s no doubt about it — it will get bigger over the course of the third trimester of pregnancy. A lot bigger. Here’s what to expect from your body and your rapidly-maturing baby in these final few weeks.
When does the third trimester start?
The third trimester begins in week 28 of pregnancy and lasts until you give birth, which may be around week 40 of pregnancy. In other words, your third trimester lasts from month 7 through month 9 of pregnancy. It’s likely, however, that labor will start a couple of weeks earlier or later — in fact, about 30 percent of all babies linger past the 40-week mark. If that’s the case, you can try a few tricks to naturally induce labor on your own, but once you reach week 42 of pregnancy, you’ll be officially considered overdue, at which point your doctor will induce labor if it doesn’t begin on its own.
In the meantime, hang in there! You’re almost to the finish line.
Baby’s growth during the third trimester
Your little one will get a whole lot larger in the third trimester, growing from about 2 1/2 pounds and 16 inches long in week 28 of pregnancy to between 6 and 9 pounds and 19 to 22 inches long in week 40. Indeed, your baby is growing fast — so don’t be surprised if his increase in size (along with a decrease in living space) leads to some serious kicks and pokes in your gut.
Here are a few of the highlights happening in your third trimester of pregnancy:
- Bones: As your baby transforms cartilage to bone in months 7 and 8, he’ll be getting all of her calcium from you — so be sure to eat plenty of calcium-rich foods.
- Hair, skin and nails: By week 32 of pregnancy, baby’s formerly see-through skin will become opaque. In week 36, fat continues to accumulate as your baby sheds his vernix (the waxy substance that protects his skin from your amniotic fluid) and lanugo (the hairy coat that keeps him warm in there).
- Digestive system: In the final weeks of pregnancy, meconium — or baby’s first poop, consisting mostly of blood cells, vernix and lanugo — starts to build up in baby’s intestines.
- Five senses: Your baby’s touch receptors will be fully developed around week 29 or week 30. By week 31 of pregnancy, your baby will get signals from all five senses, perceiving light and dark, tasting what you eat, and listening to the sound of your voice.
- Brain: In the third trimester your baby’s brain will grow faster than ever, test-driving some nifty skills including blinking, dreaming and regulating his own body temperature.
Around week 34 of pregnancy, baby’s body turns southward, settling into a heads-down, bottom-up position — unless, of course, your baby remains stubbornly in the breech position (in which case your doctor will likely attempt to manually turn baby around week 37).
Changes in your body
With that busy baby inside your belly, you’re probably feeling lots of fetal activity. You may also be experiencing changes in your body as your bump gets bigger than ever, including:
- Abdominal achiness: As your round ligaments (which support your lower abdomen) stretch to accommodate your growing bump, you may feel cramps or sharp pain. There’s not much you can do other than take it easy.
- Fatigue: You’ll feel more zapped this trimester because of the demands pregnancy is putting on your body, so eat well and frequently, stay active and solve pregnancy sleep problems.
- Heartburn: In the last few weeks of pregnancy, your uterus will push your stomach and its contents upward, causing that persistent burn. If it’s really bothering you, talk to your doctor about proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) or H2 blockers, which are safe to use during pregnancy.
- Braxton Hicks contractions: Your body’s way of preparing for labor, you’ll start to feel these irregular practice contractions now until real labor starts.
- Varicose veins: You may notice these bulging veins (including hemorrhoids, which are actually a type of varicose vein) in your lower body due to all of the extra blood you’re pumping. The good news: If you didn’t have them before pregnancy, they’ll likely disappear after you deliver.
- Stretch marks: These tiny tears, which appear in skin that’s being stretched to the limit during pregnancy, are usually a result of genetics. Moisturize to minimize their appearance.
- Backache: As the pregnancy hormone relaxin loosens your joints and your growing belly pulls your center of gravity forward, you may start to have an achy back — another reason to put your feet up, literally. (Sharp, shooting pain from your back down your legs, on the other hand, may be a sign of sciatica.)
- Crazy dreams: Thanks to pregnancy hormones, your dreams may be more vivid than ever as you near your due date. They’re totally normal — so take them with a grain of salt and have fun swapping stories with a loved one.
- Clumsiness: Your hormones are on overdrive, your belly is throwing you off balance and you’re more forgetful than ever. You’re in good (pregnant) company — so just try to be careful and have a sense of humor about it!
- Lack of bladder control: You sneeze = you pee. Indeed, all that extra weight on your pelvic floor makes it harder to stay dry. To the rescue: Your daily Kegels regimen.
- Leaky breasts: Your body’s warming up to feed your baby.
With all of these pregnancy symptoms and more weighing on you, just try to keep your eye on the prize: your beautiful baby, who you’ll meet in just a few weeks!