It’s positive! You are pregnant and are most likely anxious to know what the next months have in store. Will you get morning sickness? Will your feet swell? Strange cravings? It is easy to get caught up in all the questions. To answer some of them, we have created a timeline of what your pregnancy will look like month-to-month, even week-to-week.
The first month is the beginning of the first trimester. Each trimester is roughly 13 weeks. Your pregnancy is tracked from the date of your last menstrual period. This is considered gestational age—meaning that your pregnancy begins even before you are pregnant!
During the first couple of weeks, you probably won’t feel many symptoms. Often, early pregnancy symptoms are similar to premenstrual symptoms. If you think you might be pregnant, here are some common signs:
- Missed period
- Tender or sore breasts
- Sensitivity to smell
- Nausea (might not come until later)
- Cramping and/or light spotting
- Food aversions
- Mood swings
Of course, the best way to find out if you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test because symptoms can take a few months to appear. By the time of your missed period, you are roughly four weeks pregnant. Your baby’s heart is developing and is only about the size of a seed.
If you haven’t started a prenatal supplement, start right away. Your nutritional demands significantly increase as you now need nutrition for two. But, don’t just choose the cheapest prenatal on the shelf. Here are essential nutrients that need to be in the supplement you choose.
Folate folic acid are different forms of vitamin B9. However, folic acid is the synthetic form and not everyone can absorb folic acid. As such, it is best to choose a supplement with folate. Folate helps prevent birth defects, such as neural tube defects. It also helps support your body’s increased blood supply and is essential for DNA formation and new tissue growth.
Choline is not as well known but is emerging as an essential prenatal nutrient. It is essential before and after pregnancy. It supports the development of your baby’s brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system. Choline also plays an integral role in the mental health of your baby—extending from childhood to early adulthood. Recent studies suggest that choline supplementation during pregnancy and breastfeeding can reduce the risk of schizophrenia, ADHD, and mental illness.
Also known as omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA are essential for healthy fetal brain development. These nutrients often come in the form of a fish oil pill.
A calcium deficiency during pregnancy can cause serious complications. Without enough calcium, your risk of preeclampsia—a complication characterized by extremely high blood pressure—drastically increases. Preeclampsia can cause hypertension and kidney damage. Unfortunately, maternal hypertension is the leading cause of infant death. Luckily, proper calcium supplementation will reduce your risk significantly. To do so, you will need 1,000 mg of calcium per day.
Calcium also supports the development of skin and bones.
When it comes to your body, your symptoms will be pretty similar to the first month. Your nausea may become more persistent and your energy levels will remain low. Depending on how early your OBGYN does the first prenatal visit, you will probably have your first prenatal appointment this month! Here are some things you can expect from your first visit.
- Your doctor will want to review your medical history. This might include previous medical conditions, current medications, family medical history, allergies, diet, and exercise, etc.
- Be prepared with questions. Who should I call when I have questions? What happens if I feel cramps or experience bleeding? What should I know about prenatal nutrition?
- You will most likely have an ultrasound that will help predict your due date. Your OBGYN will measure the growth of your baby and track the progression of your pregnancy.
- Other tests may include a breast exam, pelvic exam, pap smear, blood pressure, and weight.
Now is a good time to start a baby budget. The earlier you start, the better prepared you will feel. It is easy to find free budget templates for planning for a baby.
During the third month of pregnancy, your baby grows from an embryo into a fetus. Your umbilical cord is now connected to the placenta and carries nutrients to your baby and discards any waste. Reproductive organs begin to appear, determining the sex of your baby. Skin and fingernails begin to grow and their bones begin to strengthen.
Your risk of miscarriage also begins to decrease. Which offers some relief from worry. Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Again, your pregnancy symptoms will still be pretty similar. You shouldn’t expect to gain too much weight during the first trimester—no more than a few pounds. There is a common misconception that you should be eating for two while pregnant. That would be a lot of extra calories! Though you need a lot of extra nutrition, your calorie intake doesn’t change as much as you think. During the first trimester, you might not even need extra calories. Put your attention toward choosing nutritious foods. At most, an extra 100 calories a day. During the second trimester, you can often have around 300 more calories a day. And third trimester, an extra 500 calories a day.
This is also a great month to visit the dentist—before you get too uncomfortable sitting in the chair! Many pregnant experiences dental problems such as inflamed gums while pregnant. Scheduling a cleaning will help keep your teeth healthy during pregnancy.
Yay for the second trimester! Beginning in your 14th week, many women report that the second trimester offers much relief. Your nausea should begin to ease and your energy begins to increase. You might even start to get a little baby bump as your baby is rapidly growing! This is the time you might be able to feel some kicks.
Here are some of the pregnancy symptoms that you might see during the fourth month:
- Breast soreness
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or faintness
A lot is happening for your baby too. Their hair begins to grow, and they begin to experiment with movement.
Since your bump will start poking out soon, now is a good time to invest in some maternity clothes. Maternity clothes accommodate your growing belly and help keep you comfortable.
Boy or girl? This is the month to find out. Most OBGYNs will do a gender-reveal ultrasound at 20 weeks. Your baby’s movements and kicks, known as quickening, will become more recognizable. You also might experience leg cramps and some annoying back pain.
Now that you are in your second trimester, you get a few extra calories. But not many. You should still be focused on a healthy pregnancy diet and safe exercise. Here are some tips for achieving healthy weight gain during pregnancy:
- Eat five to six small meals a day instead of three large meals.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand like nuts, raisins, apples, or cheese and crackers.
- Don’t try to lose weight! This is not the time for the newest diet fad. If your physician feels you are gaining too much weight, they can give suggestions. But you need to gain weight while pregnant!
- Limit sugary drinks and high-calorie treats (but, its okay to give in every now and then).
- Don’t add too much salt when you cook as salt makes you retain water.
- Participate in mild to moderate exercise.
This month is a good time to go on a babymoon! It doesn’t have to be anything expensive or extravagant. It is some time for you or you and your partner to relax before the baby comes.
You are now past your halfway mark! Your growing baby is developing blood cells, eyelashes and eyebrows, and taste buds. They are becoming their own little person.
During this month, you might experience some new pregnancy symptoms. Some of these symptoms may include stretch marks, growing feet, seeing your belly button pop out, and Braxton-Hicks contractions. These contractions are not true labor contractions. They are like practice contractions and feel like a tightening in your stomach. It is just your body getting ready for labor. However, if they are painful or are frequent, check with your doctor to make sure.
This is a great month to start planning your baby shower. Many women have their shower at the beginning of the third trimester. It’s also a good time to narrow down your favorite baby names!
At this point, your baby is about the size of a cauliflower. During this month, your baby will also begin to open their eyes, blink, cough, and even hiccup. You will continue to have back pain and maybe some Braxton-Hicks contractions. Some new symptoms you might experience include:
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Trouble sleeping
- Baby hiccups (when you feel your baby hiccuping)
Between week 24 and 28, you will have a glucose screening test that will test for gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes means you have high blood sugar during pregnancy. However, being diagnosed with this form of diabetes does not mean you had diabetes before or will have it after your pregnancy. There are two parts to this test:
- First, you will be asked to drink a liquid that contains glucose. An hour later, your blood will be drawn and your glucose levels checked. If your levels are within a normal range, you do not have gestational diabetes.
- If your glucose levels are too high, you will then need to have another test. This glucose test will be three hours long and will not be able to eat for about 12 hours beforehand (or during). After you drink the glucose liquid, your blood will be taken every hour for three hours. If you do have gestational diabetes, you will work with your doctor to create a healthy diet and plan for the rest of your pregnancy.
Have you made a baby registry? Now is a good time to start! Let your friends and family know some things you will need for you and the baby.
You will also need to find a pediatrician. It is easier to find the one you want before your baby is born rather than after. You can weigh your options and even meet with potential pediatricians beforehand.
This is also a good month to make a birth plan. You can find free templates online or apps for your phone that will help you outline a plan. A birth plan outlines your goals and hopes for your labor and delivery. It communicates your ideal situation. But, remember: labor and delivery can be a little unpredictable. Don’t get too attached to your birth plan, just in case you need to make changes.
Finally, consider taking a prenatal course! These classes teach you many things, including:
- Comfort and care during labor
- Breathing techniques
- Overview of different procedures such as epidurals, inductions, or c-sections
- Newborn care and breastfeeding
You are in your third trimester! The final stretch. Your baby continues to put on weight and grows smarter with each week. His/organs and systems are developing and preparing them for life outside of the womb. As your baby grows, the less space they have—which means they will start encroaching on your breathing. It is normal to feel out of breath or quickly winded.
You might also notice more stretch marks and the arrival of varicose veins. Why are varicose veins more common during pregnancy? According to the American Pregnancy Association, though your blood volume increases during pregnancy, the rate your blood flows from your pelvis to your legs decreases. This is why varicose veins are commonly found in the legs. Here are some tips for dealing with varicose veins:
- Elevate your legs to improve your circulation
- Exercise regularly (if approved by your doctor)
- Don’t sit or stand in the same position for too long
- Drink a lot of water and cut back on the sodium
Now is the time to really start preparing. You might find yourself getting a little antsy. It is around this time pregnant women start getting the urge to clean or organize. This urge is often called nesting. Here are some things you can do to get ready:
- Finish setting up the nursery
- Stock up on toiletries for you and the baby
- Cook some freezer meals and snacks to have on hand
- Wash your baby’s clothes with baby-safe laundry detergent
- If you have a pet, do some research on how to handle a pet and baby
- If you have other children, start talking about what is going to happen in the next couple of months
From weeks 28-36, you will most likely meet with your doctor every two weeks. At these appointments, your doctor will monitor your well-being, ask about your baby’s movement, give you an RH shot (only if you need it), test you for group B strep, and do physical exams.
You are entering your final weeks! The big day will be here soon. Your baby is about the size of honeydew melon and continues to rapidly develop. Their immune system is kicking into gear, their brain is growing, and their bones are getting stronger.
Your symptoms will be similar to previous months, just more intense or persistent. Your breath will become less and less easy to catch, you will need to go to the bathroom (A LOT), your lower back will feel more and more strain, and sleep will become harder to come by. This seems overwhelming—but you are so close to baby time!
If you feel like there is still a lot to do, make a list! You will feel better if you can check some of these off.
- Pack your hospital bag. Your bag should include items like toiletries, snacks, comfy clothes, hair ties, chapstick, socks, chargers, and flip flops.
- Make babysitting arrangements for your kids and pets. You will want to have this planned in advance since labor can be unpredictable.
- Pack the diaper bag. Fill your baby’s bag with clothes, socks, mittens, burp cloths, diapers and wipes (though the hospital usually provides some), and a swaddle blanket.
- Figure out your insurance. If you have insurance, make them aware that you will soon have a dependent!
- Pre-register with your hospital. This is an opportunity to get all of your paperwork done before you get to the hospital.
- Install the car seat. This can be trickier than it sounds so the earlier you do it, the better. You can even go to your local fire department to ensure the seat is installed properly.
- Gather your documents. Don’t forget your proof of ID and your insurance card!
Starting at week 36, you will meet with your doctor weekly until delivery. He/she may check your dilation and effacement and position of your baby.
Yes, there are ten months, not nine. That is a common misconception. Your pregnancy rounds out to about 40 weeks. Your baby has most likely dropped lower into the birth canal, causing you to feel increased pressure.
You are probably pretty uncomfortable at this point. As your cervix dilates, you might feel sharp pain and pressure. And with the increased pressure comes an increased need to go to the bathroom. Try and stay away from long drives or situations where you aren’t near a bathroom! For some good news, most women report their heartburn and shortness of breath eases as the baby begins to drop.
It is a good idea to ask your doctor about a game plan for if you are overdue. If this is your first pregnancy, you have a greater chance of missing your due date. Work with your doctor to decide if you want to be induced or wait for labor to start on its own.
Do your best to relax over the next few weeks. Enjoy some time to yourself. Baby is almost here!Shop Forte Prenatal Supplements