Written by: Anne Marie Forgarty, RGN

 

Pregnancy — What to Expect

What are the anatomical changes in pregnancy?

Let’s look at some of the physical changes that can happen to your body and your baby during gestation.

Here are some common early signs and symptoms of pregnancy:

• Missing the first period after sexual intercourse

• Swelling and tenderness in breasts

• Needing to urinate more frequently

• Morning sickness

• Fatigue

 

The first trimester (Conception to 12 weeks)

The size of the baby: Your baby is now visible on the ultrasound screen and is typically the size of a grain of rice. At this stage, your baby is just 0.05 to 0.1 inches long, just similar to a tadpole size.

What physical changes do you notice in your body?

As pregnancy goes on, your baby grows and develops, and your body also thrives, making you experience various changes. So, what changes can you experience during this? Here is the list below:

• Belly Bump: The size of your bump varies differently depending on the shape and size of your body and your physiological features.

• Spotting: This is vaginal bleeding and is noted in 40% of pregnant women during early pregnancy. Bleeding through the vagina may be accompanied by pain (implantation pain). Consult your doctor when you observe this change.

The second trimester (13 to 26 weeks)

• Foetal movement: Now your baby has started to flex their little arms and legs and sometimes kick. While inside your belly, the baby can perform skilful acts like sucking their thumb or bringing their hands to their mouth.

• Size of the baby: With adequately provided nutrition, your baby is getting healthier and bigger with each passing week. Now the body is growing faster than the head, and the baby’s arms are also lengthening in proportion to the rest of the body.

• Hair development: In the ultrasound scan, you can notice that the body of your little one is wrapped around by fine, smooth hairs called lanugo. Hair development is not limited to the body only; hair could also be sprouted on the head.

What physical changes do you notice in your body?

Belly bump in the 2nd trimester: You may undoubtedly feel excited by seeing the bump on your belly, which indicates the new-borns arrival in this world. The belly bump at this stage has now grown to a considerable size.

Being overweight and having increasing weight gain at the rate of one pound per week is considered normal at 14 weeks of pregnancy.  

 

The third trimester (27 weeks to birth)

As you come to the end of your pregnancy, you may begin to feel ready for birth. Naturally, some women feel nervous and excited, while others may feel tired, emotional and impatient waiting for the big day.

During the third and final trimester, the baby continues growing, while the vital organs are still developing, the baby begins to get into position and is ready to make its arrival. By the 36th week, the baby’s head will have usually dropped into your pelvic area, the baby’s head is now engaged, this can also be known as lightening. The baby will be about 19 to 21 inches long and by the end of trimester 3, they will weigh on average, between 6 to 9 pounds, although weight varies will babies, some larger, some smaller.

What physical changes do you notice in your body?

• Haemorrhoids

• Weight gain

• Backache

• Tiredness may increase

• Braxton Hicks contractions, also known as false labour pains. These uterus contractions are the body’s way of preparing for true labour and can be painful.

• Mobility problems may arise if you suffer from back pain or symphysis pubic dysfunction (which occurs when your pelvic joints become stiff or more uneven).

• You’ll probably notice body changes such as stretch marks, and your body’s shape will change.

Free PDF Downloads

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Pregnancy Anatomy Activity Sheet PDF
AnatomyStuff
Pregnancy Anatomy Activity Sheet PDF
Pregnancy Anatomy Poster PDF
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Pregnancy Anatomy Poster PDF

Labour

During labour, dilation will occur. Here your cervix begins to widen to prepare for the baby’s arrival. Once it is dilated to 10cm and regular contractions are happening, the baby will be pushed down the birth canal and into the world!

Important to note:

• Try not to be too anxious, women have been giving birth for centuries, and it is natural.

• Make sure your birthing plan and choice of pain relief (if any) are planned in advance.

• Be prepared, and have your hospital bag packed and ready well in advance of labour.

• Have a few essentials such as newborn nappies, an outfit and feeding essentials at the ready.

• Inform family, and friends when you think you’ll be ready to receive visits. While everyone means well and wants to hold the new baby, it is important to soak up the precious time you have with the baby. Bonding is important, and visitors can wait if you don’t feel ready.

• Enjoy the early days and sleep while you can!

If you confront severe symptoms during any stage of your pregnancy, you should visit your doctor for prompt therapy.

 

Here’s a look at foetal development during pregnancy:

Free PDF Downloads

Developmental Anatomy Activity Sheet PDF
AnatomyStuff
Developmental Anatomy Activity Sheet PDF
Developmental Anatomy Poster PDF
AnatomyStuff
Developmental Anatomy Poster PDF

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