Pregnancy week by week



Pregnancy guide 101-A synopsis for the expectant mother, all you need to know

By Ty Lamai February 18, 2012

Amazingly, just like no two people have the exact same thumbprints, no two women the world over experience the exact same sets of symptoms. This phenomenon makes pregnancy a very special thing indeed. Nevertheless, there are certain highlights that are generally present where pregnancy is concerned. For example; certain times of fatigue and growth are commonly expected to occur in most pregnancies. Also, women who are pregnant are expected to go for regular checkups to determine if there are any complications or if the baby and mom are in good health. This article is a pregnancy guide that will look at the most commonly shared conditions and happenings of a typical pregnancy…

1. Time Frame - As a general rule, a pregnancy term, which spans over a nine-month period is divided into three trimesters. The first trimester is a period characterized by rapid surges in hormonal levels causing significant changes in your body in anticipation of the new life you would soon be carrying. The Second trimester is when the growth of your abdomen really begins to be noticeable amongst other physical changes. The third trimester is when you baby begins to rapidly develop and prepares to be born.

2. Features - The pregnancy term consists of about nine months of growth although your baby will grow at differing rates during these periods. Compared to the rate of growth in the later stages of pregnancy, the initial growth rate of the embryo is extremely rapid. The reason behind the so-called "morning sickness" which is actually characterized by nausea and vomiting is the need for pregnancy hormones that occur during the first trimester. Up to 80% of pregnant women experience this morning sickness early in their pregnancies.

3. Significance - One of the major characteristics of the second trimester is that the pregnant woman's energy increases. Appetites return for most women and the morning sickness fades away. Also, around this time, the abdomen begins to expand and food cravings also begin. This is also when the mother begins to feel the baby moving for the first time. Babies have the most space to move during this period and can really be very active.

4. Function - The baby begins to put on weight during the third trimester in preparation for the birth process. S/He would typically gain about an ounce of fat daily by the end of a typical 40-week pregnancy. After birth, as your baby begins to adjust to drinking milk and bowel movements, s/he will often lose weight. Due to its large size, the baby will move less during the third trimester and should move into a position with its head pointing downwards in preparation for birth.

5. Considerations - Undergoing a full physical exam is a requirement during your first trimester. This exam will also assess the heartbeat of the fetus. To ensure that the fetus is in the proper position, some doctors will order that an ultrasound be taken in the ninth or tenth week. Several blood tests are done during the second trimester to check for possible birth defects as well as high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and anemia. It may also be necessary to do a second ultrasound during this period to access the baby's rate of growth and organs. Weekly appointments to get your blood pressure checked and your baby's heart rate monitored for abnormalities is often necessary during the third trimester.

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