The first trimester starts on the first day of your last period and ends on week 12. This means that by the time most women know they are pregnant, they could be five to six weeks into their pregnancy.
During the first trimester, your baby develops from an embryo to a peach sized fetus (about 9 cm long) by week 13. This is a critical time because all the major organs take shape. Your body will undergo significant hormonal changes to accommodate the new baby. The hormones will cause your breast to enlarge and your womb will begin to thicken to support the embryo.
Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is also known as morning sickness and is very common. Morning sickness affects up to 80% of pregnant women. It is usually limited to the first 7-12 weeks of pregnancy, but up to 20% of women will have it for even longer. Although it is called morning sickness, the nausea and vomiting can occur throughout the day.
Morning sickness can be very unpleasant, but the majority of the cases are not dangerous. About 1% of pregnant women will have a severe case of morning sickness. This is known as hyperemesis gravidarum. Pregnant women with hyperemesis gravidarum can vomit so severely that weight loss and dehydration can result. This can be a life-threatening condition if left untreated. Treatment usually involves a hospital stay where fluids and nutrition are given through an intravenous line.
The second trimester begins on week 13 and ends on week 26. During this time, most moms notice a small bulge and may feel the baby moving for the first time.
During this phase, all the baby’s major body systems are in place and will continue to mature. A fat layer also forms underneath your baby’s skin. Around week 16, your baby can start hearing your voice and may even move if startled.
There are also important physiological changes going on in your body. One of the most significant is the increase in cardiac output to support your baby’s growth. Your heart can pump up to 6 L of blood a minute during this time! However, this can cause some of the swelling, nasal congestion, and hemorrhoids that many women experience.
The third trimester begins on week 26 and ends on week 40. By this time, most moms find the sheer size of their belly affects everything they do.
During this phase, your baby is rapidly maturing to get ready for independent life. Their tiny bodies start to store important nutrients like iron and calcium. Your baby is also continuing to store greater quantities of fat and will begin to look plumper. There is also rapid growth and development of the brain and the lungs. This is when the brain’s cerebral cortex, which is responsible for higher thoughts, finally matures. To help support proper brain development, it is important to ensure you are getting the appropriate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil supplements, like Prenatal Ease Omega-3 DHA, can help.
Your body will become visibly pregnant by this time and you may start to feel uncomfortable because of the sheer size of the belly. The size of the belly can push against your bladder causing frequent urination and it can push against your diaphragm causing shortness of breath. All of these discomforts can aggravate your fatigue. Your expanded belly can also cause stretch marks and make your skin very itchy. It’s a good idea to use a moisturizer like Prenatal Ease Belly Therapy.