What To Expect During Each Trimester
A normal, full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks in duration, but can range from 37-42 weeks, divided into three trimesters. Each trimester lasts about three months, or between 12 and 14 weeks. The first trimester of your pregnancy will be marked by many changes for both you and your baby that occur rather rapidly. Although your pregnancy may not be obvious to others during the first trimester, your body will go through enormous changes as it accommodates a growing baby. Some first trimester physical changes you experience could include tender breasts, nausea, fatigue, more frequent urination, morning sickness, food and/or aroma sensitivities, heartburn, constipation, and food cravings.
You may notice heightened emotions ranging from excitement to anxiety and find yourself both exhilarated and exhausted at the same time. For your baby, the first trimester is a time of rapid growth and development as the brain, spinal cord and other organs begin taking shape and your baby's heart begins to beat. By the end of the third month, all the baby’s organs will be formed. To meet the demands of your growing baby, your body’s blood supply increases to carry oxygen and nutrients to the developing baby. You may experience mood swings during this time of adjustment, which is normal. If your mood swings become severe or intense, however, you should consult your health care provider for advice and support.
If you're in your first trimester of pregnancy and haven’t already done so, make an appointment with your health care provider to begin proper prenatal care. Your doctor will tell you what to expect during the first trimester and answer any questions or address any concerns you may have. Your first prenatal visit will likely focus on assessing your overall health, identifying any possible risk factors and determining your baby's gestational age.
Be honest with your doctor about your healthcare history. There is important information your healthcare provider will need to prescribe the prenatal care you need, so if you're uncomfortable discussing your history in front of your spouse or partner, schedule a private consultation. Your doctor will probably discuss screening for any chromosomal abnormalities with you, including prenatal cell-free DNA screening.
If you have a chronic health condition such as diabetes, epilepsy, high or low blood pressure or depression, your condition could affect your pregnancy. It is vital that you convey this information to your healthcare provider and understand any complications you might face. To prevent pregnancy problems, you may need close monitoring, a medication change, or a change in your treatment plan.
For many women, the second trimester of their pregnancy is the most comfortable and enjoyable one. During this time, growth of your baby is steady and constant, with the ability to move about in the womb and hear sounds from the outside. Initial feelings of nausea and heartburn may gradually lessen and subside during this time, and fatigue may lessen as your body becomes adjusted to the demands of a growing baby. Most pregnant moms will feel the first stirrings of their baby’s movements during the second trimester. Your breasts and belly will continue to grow, and you may notice skin changes. Week 20 marks the halfway point, and your doctor will order an anatomy ultrasound between week 18 and 24, if not sooner. You should be able to find out the sex of your baby during your ultrasound visit, if you desire. You may be tested for gestational diabetes around week 26, with your doctor ordering dietary changes if necessary.
By the time you reach your third trimester, you’re in the home stretch! This time can be physically and emotionally challenging as you anticipate your baby’s arrival and prepare yourself and your home. You may experience back aches, swollen ankles and feet, and difficulty sleeping. Your baby’s growth will continue, slowing toward the end of the last month. Carrying your baby to week 39 is considered a full term pregnancy. Travel will be restricted during this time, with most airlines requiring approval from your healthcare provider before allowing you to fly, due to the risk of early delivery.
The last month will mark the baby’s final weight gain and development of the baby’s lungs. Movement may increase or decrease during this time, especially in the final weeks when your baby is getting into birth position. You may experience spotting and/or false labor, known as Braxton Hicks contractions. Your monthly doctor visits will have become weekly visits by now, and it’s important to convey any changes to your healthcare provider.
Here at Colorado Obstetrics and Women’s Health, we are dedicated to providing Colorado’s female population with personalized, comprehensive healthcare for all phases of a woman’s life, not just when you are carrying a child. We provide complete obstetrical and prenatal care, are fully equipped and trained to handle normal pregnancy and childbirth as well as high risk pregnancies and offer free walk-in urine pregnancy tests. If you are looking for a team of dedicated professionals to help manage your pregnancy and ongoing health care, give us a call today at (719) 634-8800 to schedule an appointment at our clinic. We look forward to helping you achieve your best health.