Many changes begin taking place inside your body as your baby grows. You won’t see most of these changes at first. There’s no doubt you’ll feel them.
If you have concerns or questions about what your body is going through, talk with your doctor. He or she can offer tips for dealing with pregnancy changes and also assure you that most of what you are feeling is normal and determine what may not be normal.
The Due Date
A normal pregnancy lasts about 280 days (about 40 weeks), counting from the first day of your last menstrual period. A normal range, however, is from as few as 259 days to as many as 294 days (37–42 weeks).
The 40 weeks of pregnancy are divided into three trimesters. These last about 12–13 weeks each (or about 3 months):
1st trimester: 0–13 weeks (Months 1–3)
2nd trimester: 14–27 weeks (Months 4–6)
3rd trimester: 28–40 weeks (Months 7–9)
The day your baby is due is called the “estimated date of delivery, (or EDD.)
Although only about 1 in 20 women deliver on their exact due date, your EDD is useful for a number of reasons.
- It is used as a guide for checking your baby’s growth and your pregnancy’s progress.
- The EDD gives a rough idea of when your baby will be born. Most women go into labour within about 2 weeks before or after their due date.
Changes in Your Body During Pregnancy
The First Trimester
Your period stops.
Your breasts may become larger and more tender.
Your nipples may stick out more.
You may need to urinate more often.
You may feel very tired.
You may feel nauseated and even vomit.
You may crave certain foods or lose your appetite.
You may have heartburn or indigestion.
You may be constipated.
You may gain or lose a few pounds.
The Second Trimester
Your appetite increases and nausea and fatigue may ease.
Your abdomen begins to expand.
By the end of this trimester, the top of your uterus will be near your rib cage.
The skin on your abdomen and breasts stretches and may feel tight and itchy.
You may see stretch marks.
Your abdomen may ache on one side or the other, as the ligaments that support your uterus are stretched.
A dark line, the linea nigra, may appear down the middle of your stomach from your navel to your pubic hair.
You may get brown patches (chloasma, or the “mask of pregnancy”) on your face.
Your areolas, the darker skin around your nipples, may darken.
Your feet and ankles may swell. You may feel your uterus in your lower abdomen.
The Third Trimester
You can feel the baby’s movements strongly. You may be short of breath.
You need to urinate more often as the baby drops and puts extra pressure on your bladder.
Colostrum—a yellow, watery pre-milk—may leak from your nipples.
Your navel may stick out. You may have contractions (abdominal tightening or pain) called Braxton Hicks. These can signal false or real labour so call the hospital if you are unsure.
Finally… Knowing how your baby grows and develops can help you prepare for the coming weeks. The due date helps your doctor measure the growth of the fetus and the progress of your pregnancy.
If you have any questions about what is happening with your baby or your body, talk to your doctor.