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The stages of pregnancy

How is my baby growing? What is happening to my body now that I’m pregnant? When can I expect to see my body change and my baby grow? Pregnancy is a time of many changes and growth for you and your baby. Sometimes it’s easier to prepare for these events and milestones if you know what to expect.

The chart describes what may happen to you and how your baby grows as you progress through each trimester of pregnancy.

First trimester: Weeks 1-13

First trimrster of pregnancy


You may not be aware you are pregnant, especially for the first six weeks:

  • Food cravings
  • Morning sickness
  • Mood swings
  • Breasts may swell and ache
  • Feelings of fatigue, lack of energy
  • More frequent constipation
  • Increased urination
  • By end of trimester you will be able to feel your uterus above your pubic bone
  • Weight gain: 2-5 pounds

Fetus development at the first trimester

  • Brain and spinal cord are forming
  • Lungs and heart are beginning to grow
  • Legs, arms, fingers, and toes are forming
  • Head is much larger than body
  • Heart begins to beat by the 25th day
  • Mouth forms 20 buds that later become teeth
  • By end of trimester baby is four inches long and weighs about one ounce

Second trimester: Weeks 14-26

Second trimester of pregnancy


  • Weight gain increases
  • Breasts still large, but less tender
  • May need to urinate less often than in previous months
  • Nausea and vomiting usually lessen
  • More energy
  • Increase in appetite
  • Possible swelling of hands, ankles, and feet
  • Pulse increases
  • May feel shortness of breath
  • Top of uterus continues to rise in your abdomen; by 16th week you may start to “show”
  • Light or dark patches may appear on facial skin
  • May have dark line down middle of your belly
  • Braxton Hicks (“practice”) contractions
  • Stretch marks may appear on belly and breasts; skin may itch as it stretches
  • Legs may get cramps at night

Baby in second trimester

  • Eyelashes and eyebrows develop
  • Fingers, fingernails, and toes are well defined
  • Baby can make a fist
  • By end of 17th week baby may begin to move
  • By end of 28th week baby can kick, cry, suck his or her thumb
  • Skin is very wrinkly and covered with thick, white coating called vernix
  • Has active and quiet times
  • Hair starts to grow on head
  • Eyelids open and close; eyes almost completely developed
  • Baby can hiccup
  • By the end of second trimester baby will weigh about 2 pounds and be up to 14 inches long

Third trimester: 27-40 Weeks

Third trimester of pregnancy

What does mother feel?

  • Belly rapidly increases in size
  • Easier to lose balance and fall
  • Hip joints are looser and may ache
  • May get dizzy if you stand up suddenly
  • May feel kicks against ribs and see belly bulge when baby moves
  • Colostrum (first milk) may leak from breasts
  • Hands and feet may swell slightly
  • May feel very warm
  • May need to urinate often
  • Top of uterus pressing against ribs, may have shortness of breath
  • Baby drops into pelvis before birth
  • May feel very tired
  • Just before labor starts, may feel a burst of energy

How does baby grow in the third trimester

  • Baby grows quickly
  • Activity may increase
  • Body is well formed
  • Can open eyes and see light
  • Fingernails grow
  • Baby has a good chance of surviving if born after end of seventh month
  • Most babies grow to about 20 inches and 7 pounds or more by the end of third trimester.

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