Month BY Month Progress


pregnancy

This is a basic guide to give you an idea of how you and your baby will develop throughout the nine months of your pregnancy.

First Month

You

have missed your first period and hormones are surging through your body, preparing you for the coming months. You may also notice your breasts are swollen and tender. You may feel queasy in the mornings and that your urinary frequency has increased (you need to empty your bladder more often than before).

Baby:

The blastocyst, as the fertilized egg is called at this stage, completed its journey from your fallopian tube where it was fertilized to your uterus in the first week and has since settled into your nutrient-rich endometrial lining and been dividing and growing feverishly. By the end of this month it has grown to about 1/4 of an inch long, and along with its extended tailbone that makes it look like a tadpole, it already has a head and mouth, eyes (partially covered by eyelid folds), buds that will become arms and legs, the beginning of lungs and a digestive tract, and a heart that will begin to beat at the end of this month. In the meantime, an early version of the placenta, the chorionic villi, and the umbilical cord – which delivers nourishment and oxygen to the baby – are already on the job. Your little blastocyst is now 10,000 times larger than it was when fertilized!

See 3D image of a one month old baby

Second Month

You

may experience increasing nausea and even vomiting (morning sickness) associated with the hormonal changes in your body. You may get some ‘food cravings’ or dislike certain foods completely. Occasionally, the nausea and vomiting can be of a degree that needs treatment by your doctor. Keeping a little food in your stomach at all times can help reduce the feeling of nausea. Your breasts are probably still sore and your areolas and nipples have darkened, and you may have put on a few pounds (although some women don’t and a few even lose some weight during the first trimester due to morning sickness and lack of appetite). You may feel tired especially at the end of the day.

Baby:

Your baby is now just less than one inch long (measured from head/crown to bottom/rump), or about the size of a grape, and is considered an embryo. Its little heart is beating away and he or she is wriggling in your uterus, even though you will not be able to feel the movements for many more weeks. Its liver is churning out large amounts of red blood cells, and will continue to until the bone marrow forms and takes over this function. Week eight marks the beginning of a very busy developmental stage: its face continues to change as the ears, eyes and the tip of the nose appear; the intestines start to form in the umbilical cord; and your baby’s teeth begin to develop under the gums.

See 3D image of a two months old baby

Third Month

You may begin to regain some of your energy and appetite about now, and although you probably still don’t look pregnant. You may also experience indigestion, bloating, and constipation, due to the hormone progesterone that your body is producing. To help relieve some of the discomfort, eat several small meals instead of three bigger ones. Also, avoid foods that cause flatulence (chana/ chole) and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (bananas, bhindi, beetroot, etc). Good news! Your nausea and vomiting symptoms should be reduced by the end of the third month.

Baby:

Your little fetus is about 2.5 inches long (head to bottom) and weighs nearly an ounce. His or her reflexes are functioning, and the digestive tract is active and secreting bile – all to prepare your baby for life outside of your body. Stem cells, the “mother cells” that will become heart, brain, liver, bone, blood, nerve, and immune cells, continue to differentiate to form your baby’s major organs. He or she now looks more like a little person and the head is the biggest part of its body – accounting for nearly 1/2 of its total size. He or she has eyes, a chin, bits of teeth, a nose, and a forehead and the fingers and toes are almost fully formed.

See 3D image of a three months old baby

Fourth Month

You

will find that this is the best time of your pregnancy- enjoy it! You have got past the fatigue and nausea of the first trimester, yet not as big and uncomfortable as in the third. This is a great time to begin or resume your exercise routine. Regular, moderate exercise can keep you and your baby healthy, as well as ease some pregnancy symptoms and even the ease labour-delivery process. Ask your doctor about antenatal classes, this is the right time to begin some exercises and understand some aspects about the labour and delivery.

Baby:

Your little one is six to seven inches long and weighs about five ounces now, and is developing reflexes, such as sucking and swallowing and may begin sucking his or her thumb anytime now. His heart pumps about 25 quarts of blood a day, his or her head is starting to become more erect, and the eyes have moved from the side of her head to the front of her face. He or she is also big enough that you may begin to feel him wiggle and kick inside you.

See 3D image of a four months old baby

Fifth Month

You

may be beginning to feel the stress of the added weight you’re carrying, which can cause bowel problems, leg cramps, fatigue, and an increased heart rate. Calcium will help with leg cramps, drinking lots of water can help relieve constipation, and get enough rest – growing a new little person is hard work and you deserve a break! There is no need to be off work provided all is going well. A healthy work-rest pattern should be your aim. If certain types of activities at work are difficult for you, you may need to talk to your employer about redefining your job role and responsibilities.

Baby:

Your baby is nearly a foot long and weighs almost one pound by the end of this month and is sleeping in regular intervals. He or she can hear your heart beat and other sounds outside your body and you may notice that he or she reacts to sudden noises like a door slamming. Fine hair, called lanugo, covers your baby’s body, as does vernix, a creamy coating that protects your baby’s delicate skin from months of submersion in water.

See 3D image of a five months old baby

Sixth Month

You

may begin to experience tight, itchy skin because your tummy begins to bulge and the skin is stretched. Daily application of a moisturizing lotion can help relieve some of the discomfort. Your hands and feet may be increasingly swollen – especially by the end of the day or if you spend a lot of time on your feet. Wear supportive, low-heeled shoes and elevate your feet whenever possible. If you notice dramatic swelling over a short period of time, call your doctor. This may be a sign of pre-eclampsia (a condition specific to pregnancy in which the blood pressure increases and there is protein in the urine).

Baby:

Your baby is about 11 to 14 inches long (head to toe) and weighs a hefty 1.5 pounds. His or her eyelids begin to part and the eyes are open for short periods of time. His or her lungs are continuing to develop and she is practicing breathing – she may even have some hiccups occasionally.

He or she has fingerprints, eyebrows, and eyelashes. You will feel your baby’s movements quite well now, especially after
you have had a meal.

See 3D image of a six months old baby

Seventh Month

You

may begin to feel practice contractions, called Braxton Hicks contractions. As the name ‘practice’ suggests – these are not the real labour contractions. You should be seeing your doctor every fortnight. If you are concerned about aches, pains, discharge, spotting/ bleeding, etc these must be reported to your doctor as they may indicate preterm labour. Your doctor will need to examine and check the neck of the womb is not shortened or open (an ultrasound scan is the best way of doing this).

Baby:

By the end of this month, your baby is about 15 inches long and weighs a little over 2 pounds. He or she now has taste buds and is putting on more layers of fat in preparation of life. As your baby packs on weight and length, he or she is quickly running out of room and you may notice a decrease in the intensity of kicks and jabs, but you may be able to discern the shape of an elbow or heel through your belly!

See 3D image of a seven months old baby

Eighth Month

You

may be feeling very tired and uncomfortable at this stage. Your baby is pressing up against your spinal column, which may give you a backache and make it impossible to get comfortable. Try sleeping with a body pillow to support your belly and your back. Your Braxton Hicks may also be increasing in strength and frequency and your breasts may begin leaking colostrum. Your family and friends will be excited about your
baby’s imminent arrival, but you may be getting apprehensive about experiencing labour pains and the delivery! If you have been attending the antenatal classes and discussing these aspects with your doctor, you will be more confident about handling the labour and delivery. Make sure your maternity case is packed.

Baby:

Your baby is getting ready for birth and is probably in the head-down position. He or she is approximately 17 inches long and weighs about 5 pounds. Brain growth is dramatic this month while most of the other organs are ready to go, with the exception of the lungs, which still need a few more weeks of development. The vernix on his/her skin is reduced, his or her little fingernails continue to grow and his face is chubbier than before!

See 3D image of a eight months old baby

Ninth Month

You may be quite uncomfortable and slightly anxious now. This is quite natural even if you are well prepared for labour and delivery. Ensure that you maternity case is packed and ready. We still don’t know precisely what triggers the start of the labour process. Most babies are born within two weeks before to two weeks after their due date. You should be seeing your doctor on a weekly basis now and he or she will guide you best! In some cases, an induction of labour may be advised for a variety of reasons. If a Caesarean (cesarean) birth is required, this will also be discussed by your doctor in detail.

Baby:

Your baby is approximately 20 inches long and weighs about 7 pounds, although he or she is still gaining about an ounce a day. He or she is preparing for birth this month by shedding most of the lanugo and vernix that has been covering and protecting his skin. Your baby can survive outside your body now, even if he or she is born a little early (37 weeks is considered full-term). The lungs are still secreting surfactant, the substance that will keep the lungs from sticking to each other and inflate fully after she takes that first breath of air.

See 3D image of a nine months old baby