Pregnancy Symptoms & Stages

Understand the Symptoms
Do you think you might be pregnant? You may be experiencing some of the following:
pointsLate or Missed Period
pointsNausea and Sickness
pointsSwelling/Tender Breasts
pointsMood Swings

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and you are concerned you may be pregnant; you should take a pregnancy test.

Pregnancy Stages
Women go through many changes during each stage of pregnancy. Many of the pregnancy symptoms they have and the changes they deal with are common to a healthy pregnancy. The stages of embryonic and fetal development also follow a common pattern:
pointsA wide range of physical & emotional symptoms during pregnancy
pointsPregnancy begins when a fertilized egg implants in the uterus
pointsFetuses grow and change dramatically throughout a pregnancy

Here is a description of the stages of pregnancy and the changes that women go through during a healthy pregnancy. There are 3 stages of pregnancy a woman goes through before finally giving birth. The total time a woman is pregnant is about 40 weeks. Obviously the exact number of days will vary from one woman to the next because of all the variables:

Stage 1: First Trimester (Weeks 1-12)
The changes to her hormones affect almost every organ. She may experience symptoms early on, or they may come later and this varies from person to person. Symptoms that may occur include: mood swings, nausea, vomiting, cravings for some foods and dislikes for other foods, constipation, urinating more frequently, fatigue, swollen, tender breasts, heartburn, headaches and a gain in weight. Her routine will certainly change. She will most likely go to bed earlier and even take naps during the day. She will want to eat smaller meals more often. Symptoms won’t all hit at once and they can come and go. No two pregnancies are alike, even if we are talking about the same mother.

Stage 2: Second Trimester (Weeks 13-28)
Most mothers discover that the second trimester is easier to handle than the first one. There is usually less fatigue and nausea. However, her body will change more radically. The baby will move a little during this time. She will likely get swelling in her fingers, ankles and face. If there’s a lot of swelling, she must contact her doctor urgently, as this can be an indicator of preeclampsia. The mother will have pain and aches in her back, legs, feet, abdomen, thigh and groin at times. Stretch marks may start to appear as the abdomen expands. Parts of her skin can go darker; this is usually on the cheeks, nose, upper lip or forehead. Both sides of the face may match in shade. Doctors often refer to this as the “mask of pregnancy.”

Stage 3: Third Trimester (Weeks 29-40)
Many of the issues she faced during the second trimester will carry on. She may find it hard to breathe and will probably go to the toilet more often, because the baby is putting more and more pressure on her organs. Additional symptoms can include: shortness of breath, trouble sleeping, tender breasts, contractions (which may be false or real labor), her belly button will stick out and the baby will drop lower in her abdomen. The doctor will do regular checks as the due date approaches and she feels the excitement getting more intense. It’s important for the mother to do everything in her power to maintain her health, as well as the health of the baby.