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Supporting you through pregnancy and the early stages of motherhood
Pregnancy timeline
Track your pregnancy week by week, and find out about you and your baby in the three stages of Trimester.
Week by Week
1st Trimester
2nd Trimester
3rd Trimester
Pain Relief During Pregnancy
Week by week
Week 1
This is the first day of your period so technically you're not actually pregnant yet however you can prepare your self for pregnancy by taking folic acid supplements and getting your self in to a gentle exercise routine. Exercise in pregnancy is so important if you want to enjoy your nine months with minimum pain and discomfort and even a basic routine, like a ten minute walk every day will make a big difference.
You might also want to think about your diet, increase your intake of fresh fruit, vegetables and high fire foods and try to cut out highly refined starchy foods.
Week 2
If you are a smoker and haven't already thought about giving up then now is the time to do it. Smoking is associated with infertility in both men and women and the effects of smoking and passive smoking during pregnancy are well documented. Research also suggests that alcohol is a bigger risk at the time of conception and during the early weeks than was previously thought; there are links to certain birth defects and in extreme cases mental and physical abnormalities. To be on the safe side avoid drinking alcohol if you are trying for a baby.
Week 3
Time to conceive that baby!!
Your vaginal discharge goes through a series of changes throughout the month, just after menstruation there is very little mucus but it is cloudy, sticky and thick. As you approach the fertile period it becomes abundant, clear and stretchy, as soon as you notice this change you have entered your fertile period. When the mucus becomes cloudy, sticky and thick again you have left your fertile period. Depending on the length of your cycle your fertile days are usually between the 9th and 21st day after the first day of your last period. Frequent intercourse does not help conception, as the more often ejaculation occurs the fewer sperm are ejaculated. When trying for a baby it is more helpful for you partner to abstain from ejaculation for a few days before your fertile period and for you to have intercourse just once a day during your fertile days.
Week 4
The fertilized egg divides into two within 24 hours and continues to divide as it makes its way down the fallopian tube into the uterus; it is now a ball of cells known as a blastocyst. The blastocyst implants itself in to the wall of the uterus and you might experience some bleeding at around this time. The embedded blastocyst now starts producing a hormone; this stops you having your period, and shows in your urine.
Try a home pregnancy test, some can detect this hormone up to three days before you period is due.
Week 5
The embryo is gently floating in the amniotic fluid, attached by the umbilical cord and is easily seen with the naked eye. The spinal column starts to develop and the foundations of the brain and spinal cord begin to appear.
You might start to 'feel pregnant' already, are you suddenly very tired, do you feel nauseous, have tender breasts, need to urinate more frequently? All of these symptoms can begin as early as week 5, as can a sudden dislike for certain foods and drinks.
Week 6
The embryo is close to the size of the nail on your little finger, it's immature heart has started beating, the head is beginning to form and there are indentations where the eyes and mouth will develop. There are tiny limb buds which will become arms and legs.
You should make an appointment with your GP to have your pregnancy confirmed and arrange your booking appointment the hospital. If your job involves a risk to your pregnancy you might need to speak to your boss who will carry out an assessment and transfer you.
Week 7
There are tiny depressions where the fingers and toes will grow, the intestines are formed, as are the lungs, though they are still solid. There are holes for the nostrils and the inner parts of the eyes and ears are developing. What has so far been cartilage is beginning to develop in to bone as bone cells appear. Your baby is about 15mm long.
You might be feeling exhausted because of all the hormonal changes in your body. If you are suffering from morning sickness try eating ginger biscuits first thing.
Week 8
The embryo becomes known as a fetus (Latin for 'young one') and all the internal organs are in place, the major joints are becoming obvious and the fetus is beginning to look more human. The spine can now move and the genital organs are now visible.
Your baby is about 25mm long.
You may be feeling absolutely fine; some women don't suffer from any of the early pregnancy symptoms and find it difficult to believe they are actually pregnant at all.
Week 9
The mouth and nose begin to form and the limbs hands and feet are growing rapidly. Hearing has developed and although you can't feel it your baby is moving around quite a lot.
You may start to feel your clothes tighten round your waist and your breasts may feel bigger.
Week 10
The external parts of the ears are beginning to grow and the eyes have now formed. The fingers and toes are distinguishable though they are still joined by webs of skin.
Your baby's head is still large in comparison to the rest of the body and its development is pronounced. Length is about 4.5cm and weight is roughly 5g.
You are a quarter of the way through your pregnancy already!
Week 11
The fetus is about 5.5cm and may weigh about 10g. The external organs are all fully formed and functioning and it is unlikely that they will be damaged by infections, chemicals or drugs after this stage.
The external genital organs are formed as are the ovaries or testicles. The heart continues to pump blood all around the body.
You might be starting to gain weight already, average weight gain is 28lbs during pregnancy but most of that is during the 2nd and 3rd trimester.
Week 12
The end of week 12 marks the end of the first trimester and although the head is large in comparison to the rest of the body the fetus is beginning to look like a baby. The face is forming and closed eyelids are distinguishable. Muscles are starting to grow and co-ordinate with the brain, joints can contract, toes can curl up and your baby can suck his thumb.
You may be given your first ultrasound scan at around this time, the information from the scan is used to confirm your dates and sometimes your EDD can change slightly. It is a great opportunity to see your baby for the first time and many women feel that their mind is put at rest and they start to worry less about complications after the first scan.
Week 13
Your baby is fully formed and throughout the remainder of the pregnancy he will grow and his vital organs will mature to make him capable of independent life.
The risk of miscarriage is much less likely now than in the first three months.
You might be feeling relived that your now in your second trimester, morning sickness has usually disappeared now and many women fee that their energy levels have returned to a more reasonable point.
Week 14
Your midwife should be able to hear your baby's heartbeat using a sonicaid, though sometimes quite difficult to find, your baby is moving around quite a bit and is still only about 10cm long. The eyes have moved from the side of the head to the front and the ears have moved from the neck to the head.
You may be forgetful; experiencing what is sometimes called the fog of pregnancy. Your uterus is now the size of a grapefruit and throughout your pregnancy it will increase 20 times in weight and 14 times in size.
Week 15
Your baby can now suck his thumb and grasp the umbilical cord. Fine hair (lanugo) starts to grow all over the body to protect the baby while in the womb but this usually disappears before birth.
You may be feeling better as the placenta has taken over the job of nourishing your baby. Some women feel extraordinarily well and begin to bloom (although this doesn't happen to everyone.
Week 16
All of your baby's joints and limbs are fully formed and in place, movement, though rarely felt, is vigorous. Eyelashes and eyebrows start to grow and your baby is now about 16cm long from head to toes.
You may begin to feel hungrier than usual, your breasts might be getting larger and more tender as they prepare to feed your baby. You might notice some bleeding in you gums when you brush your teeth, if so it's a good idea to see a dentist as gingivitis (gum disease) can be quite common in pregnant women. Remember dental care is free throughout pregnancy and for the first year of your baby's life.
Week 17
Your baby will begin to practice breathing by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid. He is moving about, turning and kicking enthusiastically though it may only feel like tiny bubbles bursting or a tummy rumble to you.
Your veins may become more prominent with the extra blood circulating in your body, the area round your nipples (the areola) may darken and you may notice an increase in vaginal discharge.
Week 18
An ultrasound at this stage can reveal your baby's sex. The bones are forming and strengthening rapidly, adults have 212 bones but fetuses have more as they fuse later in life.
You might loose your balance from time to time as your bump grows and your centre of gravity changes. You might also begin to notice a dark line (linea nigra) running from your navel to your pubic hairline.
Week 19
Your baby's movements are stronger as his nervous system becomes more sophisticated and if you haven't felt them already you may now. Most first time mothers feel their baby's move between weeks 17 and 20. Usually 16-18 weeks in subsequent pregnancies.
You may experience some light breathlessness caused but the hormones circulating, this is nothing to worry about but if you find that you are severely out of breath then you should speak to your doctor.
Week 20
Your baby is growing very fast, his teeth are forming in the jaw bone and hair is beginning to grow on his head. The nerves in the brain are developing to serve the senses - sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch.
Congratulations, you're halfway there! You might start to experience leg cramps especially in bed at night, you may have some backaches and pain in you abdomen as the ligaments at either side of the uterus stretch to accommodate your growing baby.
Week 21
Your baby is steadily gaining weight and is developing a coating of a greasy whitish substance called vernix caseosa, this will help protect his skin from becoming soggy during the long soak in amniotic fluid.
You might want to think about booking in to antenatal classes if you haven't already done so. These can be invaluable at preparing you for labour and delivery and helping you think about what kind of birth you would like to have by discussing all the options in detail.
Week 22
Your baby now measures about 30cm and weighs about 1lb, he can hear your voice if you talk or sing and you might get some kicks in response. You might also notice periods of activity and quiet in his movements this is because he now sleeps and wakes.
You might be feeling quite tired make sure you are getting enough iron in your diet. Your shoes and rings may start to feel a little tight if your hands and feel are swollen.
Week 23
The fine hair covering your baby will now start to darken. He has the proportions of a newborn but is much thinner - baby fat hasn't yet developed.
You will be gaining weight steadily and may have put on between 2-3kg already. You may be experiencing some backache but try not to over compensate for your bump by arching your back, good posture will prevent most pregnancy aches and pains.
Week 24
Your baby is now considered legally viable, meaning that if he was born now he is capable of sustaining independent life with special care.
You may notice your baby having hiccups; it will feel like small jerky movements in a regular pattern. Your breasts may start to leak colostrums around this time although some women don't until after they have given birth.
Week 25
Your baby is beginning to fill the space in your uterus, he will still be able to turn somersaults but his movements will gradually become more restricted. You might notice him become more active when you take a bath.
You might have some difficulty sleeping, lying on your side with a pillow between your legs and under your bump might help. 'Pregnancy pillows' (like a regular pillow but about twice as long) can be very useful for taking the weight off your bump. You may have a glucose tolerance test around this time to check for diabetes.
Week 26
Your baby measures about 23cm from the top of his head to his bottom. He can respond to touch and may become more active if you gently rub your bump.
You should try to keep a mental note of how frequent his movements are and if you notice a lack of movement over a long period of time contact your midwife. Remember though that there will be periods where he is more active and a good way to get him moving is to drink a cold glass of milk and lie very still or to take a bath.
Week 27
Your baby can now open his eyes, he is going through a fast and furious phase of development and his heart beats at an incredible 120 - 140 beats per minute, that's twice as fast as yours.
You might find that you are almost always hungry, try not to snack on unhealthy food as good nutrition is still very important. Try to eat plenty of fruit and veg especially those with lots of fibre as constipation could become a problem, remember to drink lots of water.
Week 28
Your baby's head is now more in proportion to his body and fat stores are beginning to accumulate. His lungs are reaching maturity and if he was born now he would have a good chance of survival (about 80%).
Your antenatal visits may increase to once a fortnight from now on. As your bump continues to grow and your skin stretches your abdomen may become itchy, although this is common you should check it out with your midwife as it cam be a sign of something more serious.
Week 29
Some studies have shown that your baby can open his eyes and will even turn towards a bright light. He may weigh around 3lbs and 26cm long from head to bottom - 38cm from head to toe.
You may find yourself short of breath as your uterus pushes up towards your rib cage. Your breasts may increase by up to a third over the next few weeks.
Week 30
Your baby has grooves developing on the surface of his brain and it is starting to look more like an adult brain. He can recognise your voice but it will sound different afer he is born because he is hearing it through your body.
You might experience pins and needles in your hands and feet and leg cramps may become an issue - try wearing support stockings and put your feet up when ever you can.
Week 31
Your baby can already 'taste' and has a preference for sweet things; he will swallow amniotic fluid more quickly if sweet things are injected into it. He is about 40cm head to toe and probably won't grow much more in length but will continue to put on weight.
Heart burn may become a problem as your growing baby puts pressure on your stomach, speak to your midwife about which remedies are safe and try drinking cold milk. Think about what you have eaten when you have heartburn as some foods have a tendency to bring it on more than others.
Week 32
Your baby is probably lying with his head down in your pelvis now as the space becomes more restricted and he gets in to position for birth, don't worry if he's not as some babies turn quite late on.
Congratulations you are in your third trimester and may be quite relived to be two thirds of the way there. You may notice Braxton hicks contractions if you haven't felt them already.
Week 33
Your baby's lungs produce surfactant to keep the lungs expanded and able to withstand pressure after birth.
You may be feeling uncomfortable as your bump gets bigger and the baby's kicks become less pleasant. You might need to think about slowing down and taking more rest to cope with the extra weight.
Week 34
Fluid passes through your baby's kidneys and into the amniotic fluid, but it is not like adult urine - all waste is taken away through the placenta. He continues to put on weight and movements may become slower and smaller as his space becomes more restricted.
You may have swollen feet and ankles, particularly at night. If your hands and face become puffy too you should speak to your midwife as this can be a sign of pre-eclampsia.
Week 35
Your baby is gaining weight steadily at about half and ounce of fat a day to help him cope with the lower temperatures he'll experience after he is born.
It is perfectly normal to be worried about the approaching birth, especially for first time mothers, you should speak to your midwife, or your antenatal class instructor who will hopefully be able to put your mid at rest about any fears you have.
Week 36
Your baby's eyes are now blue and his nails have grown to the ends of his fingers and toes. Hair on his head may be up to 2.5-5cm long . He will put on about 1oz a day for the next four weeks and in most first pregnancies the head will move down into the pelvis now.
You may notice your baby 'dropping' down in your abdomen this is called lightening and some women find it uncomfortable when they walk. You may need to urinate more often as the baby puts pressure on your bladder.
Week 37
Your baby doesn't have much room for gymnastics any more but will still move and wriggle about. His face is filling out and his eyelids can open and close easily.
You may find breathing becomes less restricted and there is less pressure on your chest and stomach as the baby moves further down in your pelvis. Walking may be uncomfortable if the baby's head is pressing on your pelvic floor.
Week 38
A baby born now is not considered pre-term and he is therefore fully developed and usually a good weight. Most of the lanugo and vernix has gone and your baby may have a full head of hair or none at all.
You may be feeling a little impatient, heavy and clumsy. You might be looking forward to the labour and birth willing it to happen now or you might be scared and anxious, quite happy to wait another couple of weeks.
Week 39
Your baby's growth rate is slowing down as he is fully developed but he will continue to put on some weight - laying down fat that will help regulate his body temperature after he is born.
You might notice some spotting of blood or a mucus plug, some women have a 'show' a week before they actually go in to labour. Your Braxton Hicks contractions may feel stronger and you may mistake them for the real thing, call your midwife if you think you might be in labour she should be able to tell the difference. Remember that 'real' contractions are usually more regular.
Week 40
There are only remnants of vernix left in the skin folds around the neck, under the arm and around the groin. Most of the lanugo has gone and the nails on the fingers and toes are long. The average baby weighs around 7lbs 8oz and measures about 51cm in length.
You will probably be getting very impatient and perhaps nervous. Remember that only 3% of babies are born on their due date but 80% are born within 14 days of it so the end is in sight. It might be a good idea to arrange to do something on your due date to take your mind off the baby, perhaps lunch with a friend or something to stop you sitting in the house waiting.
Week 40 Plus
Your baby is feeling very safe and comfortable in there and is taking his time, gathering his energy for the excitement that lies ahead when he will finally meet you.
You are no doubt very fed up! Try to bear in mind that most doctors won't allow a pregnancy to go more than 14 days over a due date, make the most of this 'extra' time. If you can, try to relax or prepare some meals to freeze for after the baby is born, you won't have much time for cooking then.
• Week by week
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 15
Week 16
Week 17
Week 18
Week 19
Week 20
Week 21
Week 22
Week 23
Week 24
Week 25
Week 26
Week 27
Week 28
Week 29
Week 30
Week 31
Week 32
Week 33
Week 34
Week 35
Week 36
Week 37
Week 38
Week 39
Week 40
Week 40+
1st Trimester
Your Baby
You
2nd Trimester
Your Baby
You
3rd Trimester
Your Baby
You
Think about your diet,
increase your intake of
fresh fruit, vegetables
and high fire foods
Pain relief
during pregnancy
Most expectant mothers experience some form of pain during their pregnancy that they need to use some form of self medication, whether it's a tension headache or minor back pain. There is a lot of confusion surrounding self medication and what pain killers are safe for the baby so hopefully this will help you to make it a little clearer. If possible check with your doctor before taking any medication and always read the label.
SAFE
• Paracetamol
This can be used to
relieve headaches, minor muscular pain and pyrexia (high temperature), and has been used safely by pregnant women for many years without causing any harm. It is available in a number of different products both on its own (Panadol, Tramil, Boots pain relief tablets, Anadin/paracetamol) and with other drugs (Beechams hot lemon, Panadeine, Paramol, Solpadine) but the cheapest and safest form of paracetamol to take while pregnant is Paracetamol BP and this is widely available. Never take more than the recommended dose and if possible check with your doctor before taking any medication. Do not take paracetamol if you suffer from liver or kidney problems.
UNSAFE
• Asprin
Should not be taken at
all during pregnancy unless prescribed by a doctor.
There are many products available on the market with aspirin either on its own (Aspro, Disprin, Alka-Seltzer and Beechams Powders are a few examples) or combined with other drugs (e.g. Anadin, Anadin Extra, Askit and Codis). These products should not be used as a pain killer or to relieve cold and flu symptoms during pregnancy, as there is a risk of bleeding and problems with labour. If taken in late pregnancy it may affect your baby's circulation.
Small doses of Aspirin may be prescribed by your obstetrician to treat connective tissue disorders or for rare blood clotting disorders.
• Ibuprofen
Should not be taken at
all during pregnancy unless prescribed by a doctor.
Again there are many products available containing ibuprofen on its own (Nurofen, Cuprofen, Ibuprofen) or with other drugs (Nurofen Plus, Lemsip Powder Plus) and neither type of product should be used during pregnancy to treat pain or cold and flu symptoms. Ibuprofen can cause similar problems to aspirin.
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