Congratulations on your pregnancy. You may have some questions about what to expect during your pregnancy, what is happening with your developing baby, and what you should be doing to prepare for childbirth. Here is a quick guide for first-time moms on what to expect during a typical pregnancy.
Mom: You will more than likely feel more tired. You may have some cramping or PMS symptoms around the time of your expected period. You may have problems with nausea, otherwise known as morning sickness. One of your first symptoms might be frequent urination. This is a common problem for many women during early pregnancy. Some women do not gain weight during the first trimester but most women gain about a pound a month during the first trimester.
Baby: By the end of your first trimester, your baby will weigh about 1/2 ounce and measure about 3 inches long. You will be able to see your baby’s heartbeat via ultrasound by around your sixth week of pregnancy, and you might hear your baby's heartbeat with a doppler by the time you are nine to ten weeks along.
Doctor’s Visits: During your first visit, you can expect to answer a lot of questions about your medical history. Your doctor will usually do a pap smear and may do other lab tests. If you know when your last menstrual period was, your doctor will give you an estimated due date. You will most likely go for appointments once a month through your first trimester.
Mom: A lot of moms feel better during the second trimester. Morning sickness may be subsiding. You may have a little more energy than you did during your first trimester. You can expect to gain about a pound a week during your second trimester. You will most likely start showing in your second trimester, if you haven’t already. Sometime during the second trimester, you may start to feel your baby move. Don’t worry if you don’t feel your baby right away. Many first time moms don’t feel their babies move until they are about 20 weeks pregnant.
Baby: By the end of your second trimester, your baby will weigh about 1 ½ to 2 lbs and be around 13 inches long. Your baby is beginning to look more like the person she will be when she is born. By the end of the second trimester, all of your baby’s major organs are formed.
Doctor’s Visits: When you are around 15 weeks pregnant, you will probably be asked if you would like to have a blood test (AFP screening) done to screen for neural tube defects or down syndrome. You may be given an ultrasound when you are around 18-24 weeks to check for any anatomic abnormalities. Your doctor may be able to determine your baby’s gender during this ultrasound. You will most likely continue to have appointments scheduled for once a month during your second trimester.
Mom: You may start feeling more uncomfortable during your third trimester. It may be difficult to get a good night’s sleep. It is harder to find a comfortable sleep position, and you may be waking frequently to use the bathroom. You will gain weight at a faster pace during your last trimester. Expect to gain around a pound a week during the last part of your pregnancy. Towards the end of your pregnancy, as your cervix opens and your baby starts to descend, you may have more pelvic pressure and vaginal discharge. You might also have Braxton Hicks contractions. If you are in real labor, your contractions will become regular and get closer together.
Baby: Your baby may seem to move around less during the third trimester as she runs out of room. At birth, your baby may weigh around 7 ½ lbs and about 20-22 inches long.
Doctor’s Visits: Your doctor will probably start seeing you every two weeks once you are 30 weeks pregnant. Then around 37 or 38 weeks, he will start seeing you once a week. When you are around 37 or 38 weeks, your doctor may start to check your cervix to see if you are dilating or if your cervix is thinning out. Follow your doctor’s protocol on when to proceed to the hospital if you think you are in labor.