Congratulations, you're pregnant! As you enter your nine-month journey you are sure to have plenty of questions and even concerns running around your head, whether it's your first or even fourth baby.
Understanding and knowing what to expect over the next few months will help you feel better and be better able to cope with all the changes that are sure to happen.
The first trimester is guaranteed to go by a lot quicker than the second or third, as, for the first few weeks at least, you may not even know you are expecting, but it's still a good idea to know what's going on.
1. The fifth week is a critical time for your baby’s heart development. At this stage, the heart is starting to divide into separate individual chambers and is even pumping blood. In fact, the majority of growth your baby experiences in the fifth week will take place in the head. Your baby’s brain is rapidly developing so that it can regulate its heart rate and blood circulation.
2. Facial features start to become a little more defined around week seven: little finger buds are forming and your baby is starting to move.
3. Week eight sees the formation of the lips, nostrils, tip of the nose and tongue all take shape. The ears are starting to form from folds of skin, and your baby’s nipples are now present.
4. By week nine all organs and body parts are now present in various stages of development; Baby’s heart has now fully divided into four separate chambers and the heart valves are developing.
5. All major joints – shoulders, elbows, wrists, ankles and knees - are working.
6. Their nerves will have also formed in addition to the organ and muscle development that has been occurring for the last couple of weeks, your baby now has nerves that are functioning.
7. By week ten your baby’s gender will be revealed as the genital tubercle (the tissue that forms into your baby’s reproductive organs) becomes recognisable.
8. During week 12, your baby begins to develop reflexes and will move in response to stimulation.
9. The growth of your baby’s head has been rapid up until this point. At week 13, this growth begins to noticeably slow down. Up until now, your baby’s head made up about half of the full length of the body. From now until around the 21st week of your pregnancy, the body starts to catch up with the rapid head growth. By week 21, the head will be about 1/3 of the full length of your baby.
1. You will experience mood swings and the need to urinate more frequently fairly early on in your pregnancy – sometimes even before you know you’re expecting.
2. Headaches and heartburn are another one that can start early on, usually due to your changing hormones.
3. Around week eight, you will start to notice changes in your breasts as your veins become more visible through the skin now, and your areolas are getting darker in colour. Your bras may also be feeling a bit tighter than they did a few weeks ago.
4. As you near the end of first trimester, you are probably starting to feel bloated and are likely to notice a change in your weight gain, which is more likely just water retention at this point.
5. The increased hormones wreak havoc on some women’s complexion. You could find that your skin is now blotchy looking or that you have suddenly developed acne as if you were a teenager again!