Pregnancy is a time of dramatic change. A fetus begins as a small cluster of cells, grows into a newborn baby in just nine months, and in the meantime, transforms your family and your life.
Whether you’re pregnant now or you’re thinking about the future, it’s normal to have questions about what pregnancy holds in store. Pregnancy covers three trimesters, with each trimester lasting just over 13 weeks.
Your trimesters are marked by exciting milestones, and our team at OB/GYN Specialists in Denton, Texas, is with you every step of the way. Daniel McDonald, MD, and Marc Wilson, MD, provide comprehensive prenatal care, and today we’re taking a closer look at what you can expect during each trimester of pregnancy.
Your first trimester
The first trimester of pregnancy starts on the first day of your last menstrual period. While you’re not pregnant at that point, it’s the date you use to track your pregnancy as it progresses.
Conception occurs when sperm fertilizes an egg, and it can take up to two weeks before the fertilized egg implants in your uterus. Pregnancy tests may not be accurate in the early days, but your body is already experiencing change.
In fact, your baby’s organs start developing in week 4. Their heart starts beating around week 5, and their arms, legs, and facial features start developing in week 6.
Early signs of pregnancy include:
- Missed menstrual period
- Tender breasts
- Food cravings or aversions
Most women confirm their pregnancies around week 8 or 9. If you’ve missed a period or you think you might be pregnant, contact our office to schedule a pregnancy test.
At your first prenatal appointment, we estimate your due date. Your due date is roughly 40 weeks after the first day of your last period, but it’s important to note that few women actually give birth on their due dates.
Your second trimester
The second trimester begins at week 14 and continues through week 26. Your risk of miscarriage drops significantly in your second trimester, and any symptoms from your first trimester typically improve.
You continue to attend regular prenatal appointments, and your baby is still developing rapidly.
You may be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time early in your second trimester. At your mid-pregnancy ultrasound between weeks 16-20, our team might ask you if you want to find out if you’re having a boy or a girl.
In the second trimester, you can expect to start feeling your baby move and kick. They grow to be about one pound and up to a foot long by week 24, and may even start making facial expressions or sucking their thumb during this time.
Your third trimester
The third trimester starts in week 27 and ends when your baby is born. Your prenatal appointments get more frequent in your last trimester, as our team monitors your baby’s growth and helps you prepare for birth.
Your baby gets bigger, and starts developing features like hair, fingernails, toenails, and eyelashes. You may develop symptoms of late-stage pregnancy, like:
- Braxton Hicks contractions
- Muscle cramps
- Frequent urination
- Shortness of breath
Your pregnancy is considered full term at week 38. Remember that it’s unlikely your baby will be born on their original due date, so be prepared to give birth any time during weeks 38-42. If your pregnancy continues into week 42, our team may recommend intervention to reduce your risk of complications.
From conception to birth, find answers to all of your pregnancy questions at OB/GYN Specialists. Book an appointment with Dr. McDonald, Dr. Wilson, and our caring team to get started.