Becoming a new mother opens a new chapter in your life. All new moms need to understand what happens during pregnancy. We share what happens during the nine pregnancy stages and the possible complications of gestation. This article has suggestions on how to avoid them as well.
What happens at each stage of pregnancy?
Pregnancy usually lasts for nine months for humans and, therefore, comes in nine stages. A woman experiences physical and emotional changes during this time. These include heartburn, nausea, back pain, and abdominal discomfort.
It’s also one of the most challenging times of a woman’s life. Knowing what happens at each stage of her pregnancy will help her cope with them.
Pregnancy begins when the man’s sperm first fertilizes the egg, which attaches itself to the lining of the uterus. As it grows, the heart, lungs and spinal cord develop. The baby’s heart starts to beat. The embryo measures 1/8 inches and weighs about 0.03 ounces.
A woman usually experiences exhaustion, breast tenderness, and nausea during this stage of pregnancy.
The embryo starts to look like a baby instead of a tadpole. The baby has all internal organs at the end of this stage. Its eyes and ears begin to form. The finger and toe buds grow as well. The baby has fingerprints at this stage, is about an inch long, and weighs 0.1 ounces. Women may find their breast sizes increasing, and become moody.
The embryo becomes a fetus at this stage. Besides a face, it has fully-formed fingers and toes. It begins to look human. Although it has reproductive organs, the doctor cannot determine its sex. It measures about 3.5 inches. Women will start to notice their abdomens expand. Their mood swings will also diminish.
The woman’s abdomen becomes visible. The baby will start to hear sounds and respond to them. Its lungs continue to develop. Also, its hair and eyebrows start to grow. The baby is about 5.5 inches.
The woman will start to feel butterflies in her belly. There will be changes in her skin and veins too.
The baby’s senses become active. Its skin is sensitive to sounds and light. Furthermore, its kidneys start to emit urine. At this point, its immune system functions well enough to protect it from infections. It’s about 7.5 inches and weighs a pound.
Moms may experience indigestion, but not nausea. They will also feel the baby move.
The baby’s retinas develop during Stage Six. It becomes aware of sounds as well, is mobile, and kicks more often. It should measure about ten inches, and weigh about 2 pounds. The woman may experience cravings for specific foods.
Furthermore, a woman may experience weight gain. She may develop stretch marks, and her feet may start to swell.
In stage 7, the baby can see and hear and becomes aware of mom’s and dad’s voices. The lungs are continuing to develop; bones and muscles are becoming stronger. Eyelashes start to grow, and the reproductive organs emerge. The measurement of the baby is about 11 inches, and weight is 3 pounds.
At this stage, the baby is aware of his parents’ voices. His lungs continue to develop. His bones and muscles are also strengthening. He starts to grow eyelashes and reproduction organs. He gains about a pound a week. Mom may experience back pain, muscle aches, irritability, and urinate all the time.
In stage 8, the brain growth of the baby occurs. The baby’s body is almost fully formed. The lungs are still under development. The measurement of the baby is about 18 inches, and the weight is 5 pounds.
Brain growth occurs in Stage 8. The baby has an almost-fully-formed body, though its lungs are still developing. It’s about 18-inches long and weighs about 5 pounds.
Mom may experience breathing difficulties as the baby pushes its way upward. She will also have muscle cramps, insomnia, and urinate frequently.
At stage 9, the baby is ready to be born and turns its head down in preparation. The baby has fully-developed lungs, and it continues to gain weight. The measurement of the baby is about 21 inches and weighs between 6 and 8 pounds.
Stage nine is the time when the baby turns its head, and it has fully-developed lungs. The woman’s body gets ready for labor. She may find it difficult to sleep.
Her body prepares itself for the birthing process. It may be hard for her to relax as her belly is rather large.
Possible Complications During Pregnancy
Not taking care of yourself and your baby during the nine stages of pregnancy may result in complications that include:
Bleeding is indicative of different things throughout your pregnancy. Profuse blood flow during the first trimester, accompanied by severe abdominal pain or menstrual cramps may mean an ectopic pregnancy. Such a pregnancy happens when the fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus.
Heavy bleeding accompanied by cramps, during the first or early second trimester is a sign of a miscarriage. Heavy bleeding that occurs during the third trimester may indicate placental abruption.
2. Severe Nausea and Vomiting
It’s common for women to experience nausea while they are pregnant. That said, nausea is dangerous if it happens too often. Should you find yourself not being able to eat anything, you may become dehydrated. Do visit your physician if this is the case.
3. A decline in Baby’s Activity level
You may have to do a little troubleshooting to determine if there is a problem with your pregnancy. First of all, have a meal or a cold drink. Then, lie on your side and see if your baby moves. Counting the baby’s kicks helps as well. Though there is no optimal number of movements, the baby should kick ten or more times in two hours.
4. Contractions Early in the Third Trimester
Early contractions are symptomatic of pre-term labor. Women, however, confuse true and false births. Surgeons term false labor contractions Braxton-Hicks contractions. These are unpredictable and irregular. Your doctor may be able to delay the labor until an appropriate time.
5. Your Water Breaks
Your water may break a little too early during any of the pregnancy stages because the uterus exerts pressure on the bladder. Go to the bathroom and empty your bladder. If the fluid continues, you’re water’s probably broken.
6. A Persistent Severe Headache, Abdominal Pain, Visual Disturbances, and Swelling During Your Third Trimester
These symptoms are a sign of preeclampsia and are potentially fatal. They include high blood pressure and damage to the organs. It can lead to deadly complications if left untreated. This disorder happens after the 20th week of pregnancy.
7. Flu Symptoms
Pregnant women should get a flu vaccine. The flu can cause complications. However, call your doctor first, as you may spread it to other pregnant women.
The Dos and Don’ts to Avoid Complications During Pregnancy
1. Folic Acid
Do take folic acid supplements. Folic acid, or Vitamin B12, is essential for the development of the baby’s nervous system. It lessens the chance of the baby developing spinal cord defects. Take a folic supplement for the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy. Furthermore, you should eat foods rich in iron, folate, and calcium.
Smoking has adverse effects on the fetus and you. Taking a puff during the various pregnancy stages increases the risk of miscarriage, premature separation of the placenta, premature birth, and the baby having a low birth weight. The infant’s intellectual development may slow.
2. Alcohol consumption
Alcohol consumption has links with infants having behavioral and learning difficulties. Mothers who drink during pregnancy may have babies with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. They may have congenital malformations or mental retardation.
Some studies suggest that a modest caffeine intake puts the fetus at a slight risk, while others suggest that caffeine intake increases the risk of miscarriage, low-birth-weight or preterm delivery. Limit drinks with copious amounts of caffeine.
5. Recreational drugs
Consuming substances like heroin, cocaine, and amphetamine (Ecstasy) is harmful to your baby and you. Pregnancy is the best time to avoid these drugs altogether. They have a propensity to cause miscarriages. Drugs also affect the baby’s brain development.
6. Travel in Pregnancy
Avoid the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis by seating yourself in a vehicle with plenty of leg room. Wear deterrent stockings, and prevent dehydration by taking enough fluids.
Wear a seat belt when traveling in a car. The belt should be a three-point restraint. It must have lap and shoulder belts.
Wear the belt under your belly, across the hips, and on your thighs. Shoulder straps should be between your breasts and off to the sides of the abdomen. Make sure that the straps fit well.
7. Carrying Heavy Objects in Pregnancy
Hormones cause ligaments to soften, and this makes it difficult for pregnant women to lift heavy objects. Also, the center of gravity has shifted to her back, which makes her susceptible to injury.
8. Clothing in Pregnancy
Most women can wear regular clothes until they are about three months into their pregnancies. The belly starts showing after 16 weeks, so start wearing elasticized pants then.
Since body temperature rises during pregnancy, wear light, breathable clothing. Skirts with drawstring are preferred.
9. Footwear in Pregnancy
Since your feet increase in size during pregnancy, wear flat, low-heeled shoes.
In all, your baby will be safe throughout the various pregnancy stages, if you observe some precautions.