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Pregnancy symptoms

The 3 stages of pregnancy are called trimesters. Each brings new physical changes for both you and your baby.

Elevit Pronatal

Is your pregnancy test positive? Congratulations! You’re about to go on a wonderful journey full of amazing transformations.

Right now, you might be feeling overwhelmed by questions. “How will my body change?”, “How quickly does the baby develop?”. Relax. You will be undergoing physical changes in pregnancy that can be startling at first, but with the right information and guidance, you can go through your pregnancy with confidence and peace of mind.

From the first trimester of pregnancy, Every woman’s experience is different, but generally, the stages can be plotted as 3 trimesters. To demystify this journey for you, we have prepared a comprehensive guide through each of these phases.

To help ease constipation, eat plenty of high-fiber food, keep active, drink lots of water and don’t ignore the urge to go to the toilet. If you are considering taking laxatives, check with your doctor first.

First trimester of pregnancy – weeks 1-12

Pregnancy is calculated from the first day of your last period because it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact date of ovulation.As conception typically takes place halfway through the menstrual cycle, you’re not actually pregnant for the first 2 weeks, but they are still considered part of your pregnancy.

As soon as the egg is fertilized at around week 3, pregnancy hormones will start to shake things up a bit.As a result, you may experience some of the symptoms listed below.

“ About 70% to 80% of women may experience morning sickness with symptoms such as nausea and vomiting in the 1st trimester2. “

Morning sickness

About 70% to 80% of women may experience morning sickness with symptoms such as nausea and vomiting in the first trimester of pregnancy, because of increased pregnancy hormones.

A small percentage of women may experience morning sickness in the 2nd trimester, and occasionally, it continues throughout their entire pregnancy. A common misconception is that that morning sickness only occurs in the morning. In fact, this condition can strike at any time as nature’s way of protecting the mother and the foetus from food-borne illnesses and chemicals.

If you do experience morning sickness, stay away from foods that make you feel nauseous, eat in small amounts but frequently, avoid greasy and spicy foods and drink plenty of water. Our pregnancy nutrition page has more tips to help manage the symptoms of morning sickness. There are also pregnancy supplements in your first trimester available to help you manage the symptoms such as Elevit Pronatal. It is clinically proven that Elevit reduces the risk and severity of morning sickness. If your symptoms are severe or worrying, contact your doctor.

What’s Your diet like

Breast changes

Your breasts will start to get bigger and they may be sore. Your nipples will become larger, darker and more prominent.

Tiredness

High progesterone levels, not to mention your body working overtime to grow a baby, can leave you feeling exhausted. Put your feet up as much as possible and eat as well as you can—tricky if you have morning sickness! thermometer.

Increased emotions

It’s normal to feel more emotional than usual because of high hormone levels. Ask your partner and friends to be understanding and tolerant.

Food cravings and dislikes

You may find you can’t bear or crave a particular food. This isn’t usually a problem unless you’ve developed pica or a taste for odd things, or if the cravings or aversions are so severe that they lead to poor nutrition. If you’re concerned, check in with your healthcare professional.

Increased need to urinate

As your body fluids increase and your uterus presses on your bladder, you’ll tend to void more often. Go when you feel the need to help ease unnecessary pressure on your bladder.

Feeling lightheaded

You may occasionally feel a bit dizzy, probably because of hormonal changes. Try not to stand for too long and get up slowly from sitting or lying down. If the dizziness is severe, see your doctor immediately.

Heartburn and constipation:

Your digestive system will slow down to give your food more time to be absorbed. This can lead to heartburn and constipation.

To help ease heartburn, try to eat small, regular meals and avoid fried or spicy meals and fizzy drinks. You may also like to take an antacid supplement that can be used during pregnancy, Always check with your doctor before taking any medicine as some of them can be harmful for your baby. Read our pregnancy nutrition page for more suggestions.

To help ease constipation, eat plenty of high-fiber food, keep active, drink lots of water and don’t ignore the urge to go to the toilet. If you are considering taking laxatives, check with your doctor first.

Your 1st trimester milestones

-  At early three weeks from the first day of your last period. The fertilised egg moves slowly along your fallopian tube towards your uterus. It begins as one single cell, which divides again and again. By the time the fertilised egg reaches your uterus, it has become a mass of over 100 cells, called an embryo. It is still growing. Once in your uterus, the embryo attaches itself into your uterus lining. This is called implantation.
-   Just 12 weeks after conception. Your baby has all of their organs, muscles, limbs and bones, and their sex organs are developed. Your baby is already moving about, but you will not be able to feel movements yet.

Baby’s 1st trimester progress

By the end of the 1st trimester:

-  All of the major organs have formed and blood is pumping.
-  The sex organs have started to develop.
-  Your baby will be about 8.5 cm long from head to bottom, and already recognisable. It’ll     be moving around in the amniotic sac, but you won’t be able to feel it yet.

Second trimester of pregnancy – weeks 13-26

Be prepared for a few new symptoms to appear.

Larger breasts

Your breasts might keep growing, thanks to additional fat accumulating and in preparation for producing milk. However, some of the initial breast tenderness will likely improve. A supportive bra is a must.

Growing belly

As your uterus becomes heavier and expands to make room for the baby, your abdomen expands — sometimes rapidly. Starting in the second trimester, expect to gain 3 to 4 pounds (about 1.4 to 1.8 kilograms) a month until delivery.

Braxton Hicks contractions

Your uterus might start contracting to build strength for the big job ahead. You might feel these “warm-ups”, called Braxton Hicks Contractions, in your abdomen. They’re usually weak and come and go unpredictably. Contact your health care provider if the contractions become painful or regular. This could be a sign of preterm labor.

Skin changes

Hormonal changes during pregnancy stimulate an increase in pigment-bearing cells (melanin) in your skin. As a result, you might notice dark patches on your face. You might also see a faint, dark line down your abdomen. These skin changes are common and usually fade after delivery. Sun exposure, however, can aggravate the issue. When you’re outdoors, use sunscreen.

Stretch marks

You might notice pink, red or purple streaks along your abdomen, breasts, buttocks or thighs during the second trimester of pregnancy.

Nasal and gum problems

As pregnancy increases your circulation, more blood flows through your body's mucous membranes. This causes the lining of your nose and airway to swell, which can restrict airflow and Lead to snoring, congestion and nosebleeds. Increased blood circulation can also soften your gums, which might cause minor bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth. Switching to a softer Toothbrush can help decrease irritation.

Dizziness

Pregnancy causes your blood vessels to dilate and your blood pressure to drop, which might leave you dizzy. If you’re having trouble with dizziness, drink plenty of fluids and rise slowly after lying or sitting down. When you feel dizzy, lie down on your left side to restore your blood pressure.

Leg cramps

Leg cramps are common as pregnancy progresses, often striking at night. To help prevent leg cramps during pregnancy, stretch your calf muscles before bed. It also helps to stay physically active and drink plenty of fluids. If a leg cramp strikes, stretch the calf muscle on the affected side. A hot shower, warm bath or ice massage also might help.

Vaginal discharge

You might notice a thin, white vaginal discharge. This acidic discharge is thought to help suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria or yeast. You might want to wear non deodorant panty liners for comfort. Contact your health care provider if the discharge becomes strong smelling, green or yellowish, or if it’s accompanied by pain, soreness or itching. This could indicate a vaginal infection.

Increased appetite

You might notice a thin, white vaginal discharge. This acidic discharge is thought to help suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria or yeast. You might want to wear non deodorant panty liners for comfort. Contact your health care provider if the discharge becomes strong smelling, green or yellowish, or if it’s accompanied by pain, soreness or itching. This could indicate a vaginal infection.

Growing a baby may make you feel constantly hungry, but you don’t need to ‘eat for two’. If you do need a snack, choose a healthy option like fruit or yoghurt.

Your 2nd trimester milestones

-   You may start to feel your baby move for the first time between 16 and 22 weeks.
-   You will be able to tell that it is the baby’s movements and you may even see the baby kicking about. Sometimes you will see a bump that is clearly a hand or a foot.

By about 14 weeks, your baby’s heartbeat is strong and can be heard by an ultrasound scanner. The heartbeat is very fast about twice as fast as a normal adult’s heartbeat. At  14 weeks, the baby is about 85 mm long from head to bottom. Your pregnancy may start to show, but this varies a lot from woman to woman.

Baby’s 2nd trimester progress

By the end of the 2nd trimester

Eyebrows and eyelashes are beginning to grow. Your baby’s eyes can move now, although the eyelids are still shut, and the mouth can open and close.

At around 23 your baby’s moving around and responds to touch and sound.

At around 26 weeks your baby’s eyelids open.

Your baby is now covered in a white, greasy substance called vernix. It is thought that this may be to protect its skin as it floats in the amniotic fluid. The vernix mostly disappears before the birth.

By week 22, your baby will be about 27 cm long from head to bottom.

Third trimester of pregnancy – weeks 27 - birth

Almost there! You may feel more uncomfortable in these final weeks of pregnancy as your baby continues to gain weight and move around in a confined space.

Try to rest as much as possible. You can also add a few more symptoms to the ones in the 2nd trimester, these include:

-  Swelling hands, feet: Excess fluids can cause your feet to swell. Try to put your feet up when you can.
-  Nipple leaks: Your nipples may start to leak colostrum, the liquid that feeds your baby until the breast milk kicks in. Wear breast pads to avoid any marks on your clothes.
- Braxton-Hicks contractions: You might feel some weak ‘practice’ contractions as your body prepares for birth. They’re called Braxton-Hicks contractions and they’ll come and go at irregular intervals. If they are strong and regular, call your doctor. You might be in labour.

 

“ You might feel some weak contractions as your body prepares for birth. “

Your 3rd trimester milestones

-  By your due date, you will probably be carrying extra kilograms mostly the weight of your baby, the placenta and amniotic fluid and the increased body fat and fluids.
-  At 37 weeks, your pregnancy is considered full term.

Baby’s 3rd trimester progress By the end of the 3rd trimester

-   At 30 weeks, the baby will be around 33 cm.
-   Baby’s probably pointing head-down into the pelvis, ready for birth by week 32.

More tips on pregnancy

Are you feeling more prepared for the 3 stages of pregnancy? Now take a look at our pregnancy diet and pregnancy care ideas pages. They’re packed with useful information to help you keep in top shape and provide the support your growing baby needs.