Guide to Pregnancy's Three Trimesters


Guide to Pregnancy's Three Trimesters

Each of the three trimesters of pregnancy lasts between 12 and 14 weeks. Pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks, or around 10 months, at full term. The person is regarded as being roughly two weeks pregnant because weeks are measured from the first day of the pregnant person's previous menstrual cycle, which is when conception happens.

A term pregnancy is defined as one that lasts 37 weeks or more, according to OBGYN Lisa Vernon of New Jersey. 37 to 38 weeks are regarded as the "early term," 39 to 40 weeks as the "full term," 40 to 41 weeks as the "late-term," and 42 weeks or more as the "post-term."

Each trimester has its own set of symptoms, foetal developmental stages, and hormone shifts. If you are a new mother, you might be in thoughts about what to expect for yourself and the baby during each trimester

     What Are the Pregnancy Trimesters?

First Trimester

Beginning at the beginning of your last period and ending after the thirteenth week of pregnancy, the first trimester lasts one to thirteen weeks. The day of your missing menstruation, or roughly 14 days following conception, is frequently when a pregnancy test will show a positive result if implantation has taken place. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a pregnancy hormone, can, however, occasionally be found as early as 10 days after conception.

It's crucial to make an appointment with your OBGYN as soon as your pregnancy test is positive. Your doctor will likely schedule a visit with you for an examination, an ultrasound, and several prenatal testing around seven or eight weeks. These examinations could involve genetic screenings, urine tests, and blood tests. Your medical history, both personal and family, will be examined by your doctor to rule out any potential genetic disorders. Your anticipated due date will also be determined during this initial visit.

According to Dr Vernon, "Accurate dating is highly critical in a pregnancy." It gives the doctor the chance to confidently schedule time-sensitive exams like a nuchal translucency ultrasound, a spina bifida screening, and a diabetes screening, assess whether the foetus' growth is normal (i.e., whether it is measuring too small or too big), and ultimately decide when to deliver the baby should a problem arise or if the pregnancy lasts past the due date.

The embryo is referred to be a foetus once the pregnancy has progressed to eight weeks. The foetus is currently forming an early version of the nose, mouth, and eyes, as well as a basic brain and brainstem. Important bones and muscles are also starting to form. The foetus is roughly three to four inches long and weighs between half an ounce and one ounce by the conclusion of this trimester. All major organs have formed at this point. Although it can move, the foetus is frequently not yet able to be felt. This stage can lay the groundwork for a successful pregnancy and is crucial for early growth. According to March of Dimes, the risk of miscarriage lowers from 1 per cent to 5 per cent at the end of the first trimester.

Ø Second trimester

Beginning from 14 weeks and lasting until 26 weeks, the second trimester. According to the University of Utah Health, by 24 weeks, the likelihood of survival outside of the womb is between 60 and 70 per cent.

If at all possible, prenatal care should begin before conception, say experts. According to Dr Vernon, one-third of patients seek prenatal care after 13 weeks. Since the major time for organ development lasts from three to thirteen weeks, preventing congenital abnormalities before conception is more significant than intervention at the first prenatal visit.

Your OBGYN will perform blood tests during this time to check for the antigen protein known as the Rh factor. If you test negative for this protein, a later pregnancy injection will be given to you to safeguard the foetus. Your body might produce antibodies without the injection that could harm the foetus during pregnancy and delivery.

You also have an ultrasound during the second trimester to track the growth of the foetus and take measurements of various body components. The imaging aids the doctor in making sure everything is progressing as it should. A glucose screening test monitors your body's glucose processing to look for any signs of suspected gestational diabetes. You are given a sweet drink, and an hour later you have a blood test. Additional tests can be required if the results of the initial test are negative.

All of the foetus' primary organs develop during the second trimester, and the umbilical cord keeps getting thicker. The placenta, which gives the foetus oxygen and nutrition, also grows fully at this time. The foetus can now hear sounds coming from outside the body and may feel movement. With the eyes going to the front of the head and the ears moving to the sides, the foetus also resembles a baby more. The foetus normally measures between 13 and 16 inches and weighs between two and three pounds by the end of the second trimester.

Ø Third Trimester

Beginning at 27 weeks and lasting until the baby is delivered, or about 40 weeks, is the third trimester. According to the University of Utah Health, the chance of surviving outside the womb rises from 80% to 90% at 28 weeks. To monitor you and the foetus in preparation for delivery, your OBGYN will probably schedule your appointments more frequently—every two weeks, then every week. Your doctor may request a urine test to check for preeclampsia, a dangerous blood pressure disorder, along with the last ultrasound. Your OBGYN will examine you at 38 weeks to look for labour symptoms in your cervix. You should also talk to your doctor about your birth preferences and have a birth plan in place.

The foetus continues to acquire weight and develop its vital organs during this last trimester. The head may descend into the pelvic area as labour approaches to prepare for delivery. Vernix caseosa, a white protective layer that covers the skin, is now present on the foetus. The skull's remaining soft bones aid in the head's passage through the pelvic and vaginal canal during labour. The foetus normally measures 19 to 21 inches long and weighs between six and nine pounds at the end of the third trimester.

·       What to Expect Throughout Each Trimester?

Ø First Trimester

As the body starts to go through changes, the first trimester can bring on a variety of symptoms. While some pregnant people experience no symptoms at all, for others, they may persist the entire time. If any of your symptoms start to worry you or affect how you go about your everyday activities, it's crucial to talk to your OBGYN. 88 per cent of women who participated in a 2015–2016 study on first trimester symptoms reported experiencing nausea as their most prevalent early pregnancy symptom.

Typical signs of the first trimester include:

o   Bruised or sore breasts

o   Nausea and diarrhoea

o   Constipation

o   Fatigue

o   Muscle pain

o   Often urinating

o   Spotting

o   Mood changes

o   Aversions to or desires for food

o   Headaches


Ø Second trimester

Many expectant mothers report decreased nausea and exhaustion as well as an increase in appetite during the second trimester. It's common knowledge that the second trimester is the most pleasurable. Every pregnancy is different, though, as are every person's experiences. During this phase, the hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone declines, and progesterone and oestrogen levels may also vary. Symptoms frequently alter as a result of these hormonal changes.

During the second trimester, common symptoms include:

o   Ankle pain

o   Congestion

o   Dilated veins

o   Backachehe

o   Constipation persisted

o   Skin pigmentation alteration

o   Heartburn

o   Bluish gums

o   Contractions of Braxton-Hicks (tightening of the uterine muscles)

o   Continued cramping in the muscles


Ø Third Trimester

As the uterus and developing foetus continues to grow, the third trimester might present some difficulties. Unwanted symptoms from before, such as weariness and frequent urination could come again. The good news is that you can see the finish line now. At your final sessions, your doctor will look for indications of labour because the foetus is considered full-term at 37 weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)[4] reported that the preterm birth rate in the United States decreased from 10.23 per cent to 10.09 per cent in 2020. However, unless it is medically required, labour is not induced before 39 weeks.

Patients frequently receive advice to deliver before 39 weeks, according to Dr Vernon. “Fetal growth restriction, placentation problems, pre-existing maternal disease like hypertension or diabetes in the mother, diseases that manifest during pregnancy like preeclampsia or intrahepatic cholestasis, or very low or very high fluid levels are common reasons patients receive this advice,” he says.

During the third trimester, common symptoms include:

Following on from Braxton-

o   Contractions of Hicks

o   Often urinating

o   Persistent back pain

o   Growing breast size

o   Ankles, foot, hands, or facial swelling

o   Breathing difficulty

o   Haemorrhoids

o   Not comfortable at all

o   Difficulty sleeping

o   Fatigue

o   Heartburn, indigestion, and reflux

While you wait for your baby to arrive, you might want to get ready by putting together a hospital bag, enrolling in childbirth classes, going on a hospital tour, and completing your birth plan. If you are past your due date, your doctor may talk about a plan for inducing labour and, if necessary, set a date. Never be reluctant to ask questions when you see your doctor. The greatest approach to getting ready for a happy birth experience and welcoming your new baby into the world is to be knowledgeable.

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