Pregnancy is a wonderful experience. A new life growing inside you day by day is a fascinating miracle.
One thing you should know is that getting pregnant is just the first step, and that pregnancy itself is not just nine months long. It’s actually 40 weeks long, and each week, your baby develops something new. It helps to get a week-by-week pregnancy calendar to help you track your baby’s progress while he or she is growing, so we’ve provided one so that you can stay informed!
Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters, each lasting approximately three months.
Week 1 begins when your period begins (the last one for the next little while). It will take a few weeks for you to actually become pregnant – right now, you don’t even know that are pregnant.
By week 3, your new egg has been fertilized and is now dividing quickly into a ball of cells that will attach itself to your uterus.
By week 4, the embryo has attached itself to the endometrium (or lining) of your uterus and is beginning to grow. You might feel some early pregnancy symptoms, such as nausea, heartburn or fatigue. Many women also feel breast tenderness.
Weeks 5 to 7 show the embryo growing into a tadpole-like creature. It has a tail, a discernable head, eyes but no irises, leg and arm bumps and some digestive organs that are developing. By the end of the 7th week, the bones will start to ossify and the face will start developing.
Weeks 8 to 10 show your baby growing into a very tiny but recognizable human being. The face is discernable, the fetus has fingers and toes, developed legs, digestive organs, a heart and lungs. The gender has been determined, although there are no sex organs yet.
By week 13, your baby is totally formed – now the organs need to finish forming and the baby just has to get bigger! The fetus is already three inches long and weighs about an ounce.
Week 14 begins with your baby moving. It can swim around, kick its legs, move fingers and toes and urinate. However, the fetus is mostly asleep at this point in the game.
By week 18, your baby is the size of a small baby doll. It can suck its thumb and feel your touch on the outside of your abdomen.
By 21 weeks, you can feel it moving around and hiccupping. Its eyelids and eyebrows have formed, and you can also find out the gender of your baby.
Around the 22- to 24-week mark, your baby is gaining weight and moving around. Complications during pregnancy can arise during this time, so be careful.
By 26 weeks, your baby kicks very hard and can distinguish between light and dark.
At 27 weeks, your baby has the ability to survive outside of the womb, although you don’t want him or her out yet! The baby can also roll over, kick and move his or her hands.
By 30 weeks, your baby weighs almost three pounds. You can also perform certain tests to make sure your baby is OK. Ask your doctor if you are at a high risk for anything.
At 30 to 35 weeks, your baby growing and finishing his or her development, with the exception of the lungs. He has now fully turned into the birthing position – upside-down. You may feel pressure on your bladder and need to urinate a lot. You may also feel him kicking at your ribs.
After 35 weeks, your baby can come any time. He or she can recognize different sounds and is ready to be born. The baby will start to drop when it’s time to be born, and you will experience cramping or Braxton-Hicks contractions. You also might experience the breaking of the membrane, which is a gush of liquid from your vagina. When that happens, it’s time to go!
Enjoy this experience with your little one – remember to keep seeing your medical doctor throughout your pregnancy to make sure things are going well.
* Photos are used with permission.