If you’re planning to become pregnant or recently found out you were pregnant, it can be an exciting but uncertain time. There are plenty of resources and books you can learn from when it comes to what to expect through your pregnancy, and of course your OB/GYN is the best resource. However, it’s also helpful to have a brief overview of the three trimesters of pregnancy when you’re just getting started with learning more.
The body goes through many significant changes during the first trimester, and virtually every organ system is affected by the hormonal changes that occur. You may even experience symptoms in the very first week of pregnancy. Of course, the first sign that most women experience is their menses (periods) stop. In addition, you may experience a variety of symptoms, which can include:
- Upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting
- Mood swings
- Frequent urination
- Cravings or distaste for various foods
- Weight change
Second trimester, weeks 13-28, is typically the easiest trimester and women find overall relief from the first trimester symptoms, such as nausea and extreme fatigue. However, new symptoms and changes also occur. Most notably, the abdomen begins to grow at this stage, and by 20-22 weeks, most patients have begun to feel their baby move. In addition, you may begin to feel symptoms including body aches, stretch marks, or pelvic discomfort with movement. You may also see some changes like darkening skin around the nipples or a line developing from the belly button to the lower abdomen.
The third trimester is defined as 29 weeks until delivery. The greatest fetal growth is in this trimester and many symptoms are related to this: shortness of breath, increased heartburn, and more frequently needing to use the bathroom, and sleep disturbances. Some symptoms are possibly associated with abnormal conditions such as itching palms or feet, swelling, or tingling or numbness in the hands; if you experience these symptoms, you should report them to your doctor.
Term pregnancy is considered after 37 weeks. At or approaching this time, you may experience your baby “dropping,” or move lower in the abdomen. Contractions are frequently noted. Braxton Hicks contractions are noted first and is non-painful uterine tightening against your baby. Braxton Hicks contractions do not cause cervical dilation but many times starts 1-2 weeks prior to delivery. Over time, these contractions typically get stronger but are irregular and more noticeable at night.
If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it’s important to schedule an appointment with an educated and experienced OB/GYN you can trust. Call Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates in New York City at (212) 235-1335 or request your appointment online.
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!