Pregnancy Calendar: A Timeline Through Pregnancy

“What will my pregnancy be like?” While it’s a question every OB/GYN expects to be asked, especially by first-time mothers, it’s one that can’t be answered definitively. Women experience pregnancy differently. However, there are common physical and emotional changes that every mom-to-be should expect. Every week, pregnancy comes with new surprises. Our pregnancy calendar will summarize this special experience week by week.

Pregnancy calendar’s first trimester: Weeks 1 – 13

During the first trimester, hormones are in command! As your hormone levels increase and your body prepares for the months ahead, numerous changes begin taking place:

  • Breasts start to feel tender and grow in size
  • Heightened sensitivity to smell develops
  • Ovulation cycles stop within two weeks
  • Mood swings may become pronounced
  • Urination becomes more frequent
  • The uterus begins to grow
  • Vaginal discharge may increase, appearing white and milky

Weight gain is minimal in the first trimester, and most women do not begin to “show.” The surge in hormones at the onset of pregnancy causes many women to experience nausea or morning sickness. Often accompanied by vomiting, morning sickness can even lead to weight loss for some.

Good prenatal care and nutrition are essential to a healthy pregnancy. You should contact your Women’s Care Florida OB/GYN to begin scheduling your prenatal visits as soon as possible.

Second trimester: Weeks 14 – 27

The second trimester of the pregnancy calendar is when most early pregnancy symptoms lessen or disappear (farewell, nausea!), making it a favorite time for many expectant mothers. However, as your baby continues to grow, you can expect several new changes that accompany middle pregnancy. Some physical changes may include:

  • Aches in the abdomen, back, and thighs
  • Congestion due to increased blood flow to mucous membranes
  • Dizziness caused by lower blood pressure from extra blood flow
  • Expanding uterus; most women begin to show
  • Patches of dark skin on the face (mask of pregnancy)
  • Sensitive or bleeding gums
  • Swelling of the ankles and feet
  • Varicose veins

Emotionally, you may be feeling a bit forgetful this trimester; “pregnancy brain” is yet another side effect of surging hormones. Rest assured, this fogginess and lack of focus will disappear after pregnancy.

The second trimester is also when your physician will perform a level two ultrasound. While most mothers equate this to the exciting moment when a baby’s sex is revealed (or not!), it is also a critical opportunity for your doctor to ensure the baby is growing properly. For more information on the ultrasounds and screening tests offered by Women’s Care Florida, click here.

Third trimester: Weeks 28 – 40

This is it — the last leg of your pregnancy calendar. Growing a baby is hard work. By now, you’re probably feeling the effects of pregnancy sleep problemspregnancy weight gain, and the anxiety of the big life changes to come. But these stresses are tempered by the excitement of knowing you’ll soon meet your baby!

Physically, your growing body continues to meet the demands of pregnancy, and you may experience:

  • Abdominal aches as the round ligaments supporting your lower abdomen stretch to accommodate your growing bump
  • Braxton Hicks contractions— uterine muscles (used to push the baby out) begin to tighten
  • Breasts continue to grow, and milk may start leaking from nipples
  • Fatigue
  • Heartburn as the uterus pushes stomach contents upward
  • Lack of bladder control
  • Sciatica — a sharp pain or numbness that starts in your back and runs down your leg
  • Vivid dreams

As you continue to prepare for your baby’s arrival, you may want to consider attending childbirth classes, developing a birth plan, and touring birth centers at local hospitals. Also, understanding the stages of labor and delivery can help alleviate pre-birth jitters. Don’t get overwhelmed — your OB/GYN is an excellent source of information and guidance!

Postpartum

Congratulations! Your baby has arrived. All those months of planning and doctor visits have led to one of the most incredible experiences of your life — motherhood.

While your natural tendency is to turn all focus on your baby, it is essential you also continue caring for yourself. You may experience some postpartum changes, including:

  • Abdominal cramps as your uterus contracts
  • Breast discomfort
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Fatigue
  • Leaking breasts
  • Night sweats
  • Pain or numbness around C-section incision
  • Perineal discomfort, pain or numbness
  • Sore or cracked nipples from breastfeeding
  • Vaginal bleeding

It is common for new mothers to feel anxious or depressed after giving birth. Postpartum depression affects up to one-in-seven women and usually begins a couple of days after giving birth. While it often gets better on its own, some women need to seek treatment. If you have signs of postpartum depression, you must contact your doctor.

Remember, becoming a new mother is a fantastic experience, but it comes with many changes. The best way to prepare for your pregnancy journey? Understand the stages of your pregnancy, take good care of your mental and physical health, and partner with your Women’s Care Florida OB/GYN to prepare for the months ahead.

The Social Mom: Pregnancy Support Groups

When you’re pregnant, you are certainly not alone. At any given time, there are millions of pregnant women in the United States. Many local hospitals don’t offer maternity support groups. However, thanks to the Internet, you can find pregnancy support groups online. Dozens of sites provide a place for moms-to-be to connect, share information, and experience pregnancy together.

Sharing your pregnancy experience with other women can help you feel connected. You also might reduce your anxiety about giving birth. Finding other women who know what you are going through can be a great comfort, especially if you are experiencing a difficult pregnancy.

For help with parenting tips to birth plans, we’ve compiled this list of the best parenting forums and sites to get you started on your journey to parenthood.

The Bump

The Bump gives you advice on pregnancy and parenting from preconception to toddlerhood. The website also features:

  • A baby registry
  • Deals on baby and children’s items
  • Birth month clubs where you can find other women who are due on the same day

In their Real Answers section, you can find answers to all kinds of questions. Forums range from finances, baby showers, weight gain, and more. All are created by experts and other moms who have been there. You can access the pages and pages of advice on The Bump from your computer or through their app on your phone.

BabyCenter

BabyCenter has thousands of users sharing advice and experiences on several pregnancy support groups. By inserting your due date or clicking Try to Conceive, you can receive personalized information based on where you are in your pregnancy journey. You can even get weekly emails giving you an update on your baby’s development.

BabyCenter also offers tools such as

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

The quintessential pregnancy book is now a website and pregnancy support group where moms-to-be can learn more about conception, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and more. You can explore week-by-week pregnancy symptoms and changes in your body, find advice on everything from car seats to nutrition, and connect with other parents and parents-to-be for advice.

Sprout App

The Sprout Pregnancy App offers a variety of tools in one easy-to-use app. It features a weight gain tracker, contraction timer, kick timer, and personalized information on symptoms as your pregnancy progresses. It even features an organizer to help you schedule prenatal tests and appointments with your physician. The goal of the app, which was written by doctors and expectant moms, is to help you have a healthy pregnancy.

While this app doesn’t have a social feature to connect with other women, it can provide help for new moms.

Remember, while these sites and apps are a great place to socialize and find support, they aren’t your best source for personalized medical advice. If you have a medical question about your pregnancy, you should always ask your trusted OB/GYN.

Make your plans for a healthy pregnancy and delivery with help from a maternity expert at Women’s Care, Florida. Contact us to schedule an appointment.