Know Your Pregnancy Stages: Month-by-Month Changes

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Month-by-Month Pregnancy Guide for Indian Women

This pregnancy month by month guide will help you understand your pregnancy in a better manner.
Knowing that you are pregnant for the first time is a wonderful experience in itself. Each month of pregnancy is full of delightful surprises. Understanding the changes in the body with every passing month and adapting to a new regime with every pregnancy month and weeks will make you relish this wonderful phase.

Yay! It’s Double Lines or Positive Sign

Nowadays home pregnancy tests are the easiest option to know whether you are pregnant or not. Apart from the delayed period, there are some early signs of pregnancy that we have already covered in one of our blogs. If the screen of your pregnancy test kit shows two bands or sometimes a plus sign then congrats, you are an expectant mom. Usually this test is performed at home early in the morning with the first morning urine. The pregnancy result depends on your urine’s hCG level. Though reputed brands are trustworthy for taking pregnancy test at home; you should consider a doctor’s checkup for the final confirmation. If it’s a yes, get ready to make a creative way to announce your pregnancy.

Welcome to the First Trimester

1 month pregnant
The first trimester is a challenging phase for every expectant mom. After coming to know that a life is developing in your womb, you need to be physically and mentally prepared for oodles of changes that will happen during the first three months or the first trimester.

Wait, Your Body is Changing! : The First Month of Pregnancy

The first month of pregnancy is about two things: the changes happening in your body and the initial development process of the embryo. Some of the common changes occurring in the body include mood swings, fatigue, cramps, bloating, constipation, nausea, breast is sore or tender, frequently going to loo, missing your periods, urge to eat more and a few more changes. It’s not necessary that every woman goes through these early signs of pregnancy. You may not experience any or some of these signs during the first month of your pregnancy.

Some highlights of the first month of pregnancy are:

• Formation of amniotic sac around the fertilized egg
• Formation of embryo after the fertilized egg moves to the womb
• Development of placenta
• Facial features of the body like throat, mouth and lower jaw start forming
• Formation and shape of blood cells and initiation of blood circulation of the embryo
• Development of limbs and spine at about 8 weeks of pregnancy
• By the end of the month, the embryo reaches the size about 6 to 7 mm

What to Do?

• Doctor’s checkup
• Sticking with a proper nutritious diet including supplements or vitamins
• Cut down on stress and alcohol or smoking habits if you have
• Stay near your near and dear ones and talk to them about your feelings

Oh Look, The Baby is Developing! : The Second Month of Pregnancy

This is the time when you feel too many emotions developing inside you – happiness, stress, worry, excitement and so forth. You may feel dizzy at times and indigestion or heartburn may become everyday symptoms accompanied by some other symptoms that you have already felt in the first month. Your body may not undergo severe changes but your breasts will appear fuller and heavier. But, the good news is your baby’s pace of development is faster during this month. The embryo is now a fetus and some other facial features like tongue, mouth and nose are being developed. Ears will take prominent shape and some other features like toenails, toes and fingers will start developing. Also, you may feel some movements inside your belly. Isn’t it exciting?

Some highlights of the second month of pregnancy are:

• Complete development of the neural tube of the fetus
• Prominent shape of ears, mouth, toe, toenails, tongue, fingers, eyes and nose
• Cartilages are replaced by bones
• Sensory organs and digestive system start growing
• By the end of second month, the fetus is around 2.54 cm long
• Varicose veins may develop in some expectant moms
• You may develop some food cravings

What to Do?

• Remember your pregnancy appointments
• Consult your doctor for any dietary changes: healthy food is must
• Make sure you get emotional support as mood swings and breakdowns are common during this phase
• You can find your due date and note it down somewhere

Congrats, The Embryo has Completely Developed! : The Third Month of Pregnancy

3 months pregnant
Finally the last of the first trimester! First of all, congratulations for carrying a fully developed baby in your womb. Apart of knowing baby’s gender through ultrasound, many of his/her features are prominent by this time. Even his/her teeth and reproductive organs are in the development process. The last month of the first trimester is comparatively safer than the first two as the chances of miscarriage is much lower since the baby has undergone major developments.

Some highlights of the third month of pregnancy are:

• You may feel a bit more energetic
• Varicose veins may appear
• Going to loo frequently and more vaginal discharge
• Feeling dizzy
• Skin pigmentation
• Formation of your baby’s genitals
• Movement of baby’s eyes and increase in the hearing capability
• Fetus produces bile from liver
• By the end of the month, the baby is about 7.6 to 10 cm long

What to Do?

• For the couples who don’t want to share the pregnancy news too soon during the first trimester, it’s the best time to open up and let the world know about the new member arriving in your family.
• Consider maternity leaves
• As your baby can hear muffled sounds from the outer world, it’s time to reinforce the bond by letting him/her listen to your voice/melodies
• As you got more energy during this time and your tummy is not that big, you can consider some pregnancy exercises
• Don’t hesitate to ask for help from your partner, friends and family

Welcome to the Second Trimester

Well, this is the time to say goodbye to your morning sickness. You will feel more energy in you by this time. You can plan many things related to the childbirth during this phase as most of your baby’s development is done and you feel more active without carrying a too heavy and big bump. The growth of your baby is comparatively faster in the second trimester.

Well-developed, Longer and Heavier Baby: The Fourth Month of Pregnancy

As you know you have crossed the milestone of a successful first trimester and you are one more step closer to arrival of the little new member in your family, the excitement level is too high during this phase. Well, some of the symptoms like gain in weight, varicose veins, growing breasts and tummy, stretch marks are visible, irritation in skin, nasal issues and some more problems may bother you. But your energy level is higher and so is your excitement.

Some highlights of the fourth month of pregnancy are:

• Development of eyelashes and eyebrows of your baby
• Some hair grows on head
• Baby’s body is covered with vernix and lanugo
• Since his hands float to his/her mouth, he/she may start sucking his thumb
• You may feel baby is moving even more than the first trimester
• Baby’s heartbeat is audible through Doppler
• Functioning nervous system and developed genitals of the baby

What to Do?

• It’s time for regular doctor’s checkup and important ultrasounds
• A bit change in your clothes may be required as you are heavier during this month
• Your hunger will increase but follow your dietician’s advice before eating too much and everything you crave for
• Spend some leisure time with your partner or family or go for a short vacation

Energy Boosts, Baby’s Jerks and More: The Fifth Month of Pregnancy

Well, many women find this pregnancy month delightful while some of them may experience some symptoms like cramps in legs accompanied by the symptoms faced during the fourth month of pregnancy. Your belly is still growing but a visible glow will appear on your face. Your belly button may also come out during this time.

Some highlights of the fifth month of pregnancy are:

• Baby has hair and eyebrow
• Baby is putting on weight
• You may feel baby’s hiccups and jerks
• Glow on face
• Poked out belly button
• Baby is around 10 inches long by the end of the month

What to Do?

• Research parenting blogs or join parental classes: time for gaining parenting knowledge
• As your baby can hear you and recognize your voice like never before, read books, talk to him/her and make him/her listen to some songs or poetry often
• Be aware of premature labour
• Add to your workout regime utilizing your energy boost
• Have proper diet
• Stay relaxed and comfortable

Baby’s Response, Opening of the Eyes and Fully Grown Body: The Sixth Month of Pregnancy

5 months pregnant
Finally, the last month of the second trimester has arrived and you are well-prepared for your baby’s arrival and gained much knowledge regarding your diet, childbirth and parenting. During this phase, some women undergo premature childbirth which is crucial as in such cases, the child has to be kept in intensive units for his/her survival. Your tummy is well-grown and you may experience swollen ankles, cramps, backaches, poor sleeping and unsteadiness on feet. Some of the earlier month symptoms may also appear.

Some highlights of the Sixth month of pregnancy are:

• Opening of baby’s eyelids
• Response to louder outdoor sounds/noises
• Development of baby’s taste buds
• You may find standing for too long uncomfortable
• Difficulty in sleeping
• Swollen face, ankles, hands and feet

What to Do?

• Include your caregiver/midwife or doctor in your birth plan discussions
• Arrange or organize your home for the last trimester when your energy level will be low due to your bigger belly
• Take safety measures in your home and car or other vehicle to prevent your baby
• Get ready for baby shower
• Read oodles and oodles of childbirth blogs and books during the day
• Take maximum possible rest and be comfortable as much as you can

Welcome to the Third Trimester

7 months pregnant
Can’t believe it’s the last phase of your pregnancy? Just a couple of weeks and you’re a mommy. Well, you are not alone in this roller coaster ride. Your baby’s head is in proportion with his/her body. It’s the 28th week of pregnancy now and your baby is almost 16 inches long. It’s the time when your baby will get calcium from you for stronger bones.

Bigger Tummy, Stretch Marks and Baby’s Head Down Position: The Seventh Month of Pregnancy

You can feel that your tummy has grown too big after 28 weeks of pregnancy. You may feel the symptoms like respiratory trouble and anxiety. The other symptoms that you have experienced during the second trimester may also make you suffer but since every body is different, you may not face all or any of the symptoms during this phase. The growing baby bump will cause the stretch marks to appear on your tummy. Irritation of skin may also bother you sometimes.

Some highlights of the Seventh month of pregnancy are:

• Stretch marks on arms, thighs, buttocks and breasts
• Bigger and heavier baby bump
• Baby settles in head-down position for birth
• Baby shifts downward creating a pressure on your bladder – this affects your lungs causing breathing issues
• Uterus has cozy space and hence the baby moves slowly
• Unsteady while standing due to bigger tummy
• Bigger and heavier breasts with visible veins

What to Do?

• With bigger and heavier tummy sleeping may be difficult but take as much rest as possible
• Don’t mistake some common pregnancy symptoms of premature labour with Braxton Hicks Contraction. Gain knowledge about preterm labour to cut down on the chaos
• Stay near to your near and dear ones and talk to them often
• Share your problems and complications with your partner and family
• It’s time to shrink the selection of your favorite baby names

The Labour Panic, Dropped Baby and Too Many Emotions: The Eighth Month of Pregnancy

Since you are too close to your due date, you can expect labour anytime during the eighth month of pregnancy. There are still few weeks left for the child birth and hence it’s time for preparation; especially for the labour. Your baby is slowly moving towards your pelvis and hence you can expect slight movements inside. You may be surrounded by anxiety, complications, suggestions and too many things that may raise your emotional quotient. Being impatient is also natural in this stage.

Some highlights of the Eighth month of pregnancy are:

• You may become restless, emotional and impatient
• Trouble in sleeping
• Braxton Hicks contractions
• Respiratory issues
• Baby can recognize many outdoor sounds
• Baby tries to open his/her eyes and practice breathing
• Significant weight gain by the baby

What to Do?

• Give the final green signal to your birth plan
• Check the list of items you may need during the labour in a hospital
• Practice hospital drills: be prepared for all the complications that may occur later during your transfer to hospital from home
• Make sure all your plans and arrangements are safe and baby proofing is done
• You may work on your postures, do some exercises and work on your breathing

You Are Going to Give Birth: The Ninth Month of Pregnancy

9 months pregnant
Your baby is still covered in Vernix except his eyes and around his/her mouth. No more lanugo or downy hair is present on your baby’s body. Be prepared for the delivery anytime as it may exceed or occur before the due date. Don’t worry, it’s pretty natural.

Some highlights of the Ninth month of pregnancy are:

• Baby is around 53 cm long and weighs about 2.9 kgs
• All the five senses of the baby are functioning
• Under your baby’s skin, there is some fat deposit to keep him warm after the birth
• Baby drops down and move to your pelvis in a position where his/her head is down facing the birth canal
• Least comfort for the momma-to-be: pain and complications to the highest level
• You will be feeling huge, full of fatigue and very low in patience

What to Do?

• Arrange caregiver or nanny for your baby or make arrangements at home for the newborn
• Make your home baby-ready
• Time to plan your childbirth announcement
• Singling out a suitable name for your baby
• Get enough sleep as you have gone through a lot – even a roller coaster ride is an understatement

Disclaimer: This guide is not based on expert opinions but personal experiences and some prolonged research.

Congratulations! You are a new momma with a big smile on your face and a plethora of responsibilities on your shoulder. After doing all the preparations to take care of the newborn at home, you may need to focus on your weight, shape, nutrition and may be on stretch marks too. Visit your doctor regularly and follow the post-natal diet suggested by your dietitian. Everything may seem new to you but don’t worry, you have dealt with way more complicated stuff during these 9 months. Embrace your new challenges and welcome a new life ahead.

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Sapana

Software professional - now work at home mom

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