During the first 3 months of pregnancy, or the first trimester, there are many changes happening to you. As your body adjusts to the growing baby, you may experience nausea, fatigue, backaches, mood swings, and stress. Just remember that these things are normal during pregnancy. Most of these discomforts will go away as your pregnancy progresses, so try not to worry about them. Just as each woman is different, so is each pregnancy. When you are tired, get some rest. If you feel stressed, try to find a way to relax. Accept that your normal routine is changing.
Visiting your doctor is very important during these early stages. Your doctor will perform several tests to check the health of both you and your baby. She will also be able to answer questions about any concerns or fears you might have, and she will tell you what you can do to make your pregnancy as easy as possible. You'll need to know what types of exercises you can do, what you should eat for good nutrition, and what you might need to avoid during this time. Pay attention to what your body is telling you and listen to your doctor's advice. This is an exciting time, and it is important to understand what you should expect during your pregnancy.
You can opt for a NIPT test screening for Down Syndome and other chromosomal disorders after 10 weeks of pregnancy. With this test you may also elect to find out the gender of your baby.
Most women find the 2nd trimester of pregnancy to be easier than the 1st trimester, but it is important to stay informed about your pregnancy. By the 26th week, your baby will weigh almost 2 1/2 pounds and be about 23cm long. With this growth comes the development of your baby's features, including fingers, toes, eyelashes and eyebrows.
The second trimester of your pregnancy causes more noticeable changes to your body, relief to problems caused in the first trimester, new changes, and more exciting experiences. Morning sickness, fatigue, and many other things that might have bothered you during the first 3 months might disappear as your body adapts to the growing baby. Your abdomen will expand as you gain weight and the baby continues to grow. Before this trimester is over, you will feel your baby beginning to move. Most women feel movements before 22 completed weeks.
You should be gaining about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per week during the 2nd trimester. With this weight gain, you might notice that your posture has changed or that you are having backaches. Make sure to inform your doctor of any changes you might have noticed. During your visits your doctor will be able to hear your baby's heartbeat, see the baby's development and determine the baby's age. You might be given several kinds of tests at this time, including ultrasound, which allows the doctor to see your baby and check for structural abnormalities. Other, more invasive testing is rarely needed (amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling).
It might be hard to believe, but you are in your final trimester of pregnancy! This means that in a few short months you will be holding your new baby in your arms. Your baby is still growing and moving, but now it has less room. You might not feel the kicks and movements as much as you did in the 2nd trimester. You will also notice that you may have to go to the bathroom more often or that you find it hard to breathe. This is because the baby is getting bigger and it is putting pressure on your organs. Don't worry, your baby is fine and these problems will subside once you give birth.
During this final stage of your pregnancy, your baby is continuing to grow. By the end of your pregnancy you should have gained about 12 kg. Even before your baby is born it will be able to open and close its eyes and might even suck its thumb.
Be sure to continue to visit your doctor, and ask her to answer your questions and address your concerns about labour and delivery. The baby should be moving into its birth position, and your body will be preparing for the birth.
As the birth of your baby gets closer, you and your doctor will discuss what kind of delivery you will have. Some women need to have a caesarean section (c-section), in which a surgical incision is made to remove the baby. If you are able to plan on a non-surgical vaginal birth, you may want to have your baby naturally, without medications, and you may want to take a childbirth class. Something else to consider now is if you plan to breastfeed or bottle-feed your new baby.