Month by Month Pregnancy Guide

While every pregnancy is different there are common changes that occur from month to month. Knowing what to expect and planning for these changes can go a long way in reassuring you that all is well.

Following is a month-by-month pregnancy guide with descriptions on how your baby is growing and how you are changing at every stage of your pregnancy.

First Trimester - Months One to Three

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What are the changes and symptoms experienced?

It all begins with a missed period. You need to take a pregnancy test to confirm whether you are pregnant or not. If the test comes positive, visit your doctor for guidance on what you should and should not do during the next nine months and to calculate your due date. Symptoms of pregnancy during the first three months include:

  • Nausea and vomiting (morning sickness)
  • Exhaustion and fatigue
  • Libido may decrease
  • The size of your breasts increase and the color of the areola darken
  • Your belly may not yet show but your uterus would have moved to the top of the pelvis by the end of the second month
  • Increase in the frequency of urination
  • Weight gain

Fetal development:

  • Month One - Ovulation takes place and the egg is fertilized within 24 to 48 hours. Implantation of the fertilized egg then takes place in the next 7 to 10 days. By the end of the first month your baby is 2mm long.  
  • Month Two - By the second month, the heart, liver and other major organs begin to form along with the arms and legs. The baby's eyes, ears, bones, mouth; brain and sex organs start to become visible.
  • Month Three - All the major organs including the heart are developed by the end of the third month. The muscles and bones continue to grow and develop and your baby's face begins to look more formed.

What to eat:

Your diet is very important during all nine months of your pregnancy. You should include the following in your daily diet:

  • Pasteurized dairy products such as milk, cheese, ice cream and yoghurt
  • Raw fruits and vegetables especially leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Beans and pulses
  • Nuts such as almonds and walnuts
  • Plenty of water
  • Iodine and protein rich food such as meat and eggs

Second Trimester - Months Four to Six

What are the changes and symptoms experienced?

Things start getting better in the second semester as the hormonal changes in your body begin to balance out. The unpleasant symptoms such as nausea and fatigue tend to fade away during the next three months and you begin to get the pregnancy 'glow.'

Symptoms during this time include:

  • Increase in heart rate as your body starts pumping more blood to the fetus
  • You will have more energy
  • Your belly may begin to protrude and show as early as month four
  • By the fifth month, small fluttering movements may be felt in your belly. This is your baby moving!
  • From the fifth month onwards your breasts may start leaking small amounts of fluid. This is known as colostrum and is a preparation for the breastfeeding to come.
  • Heartburn and acidity may increase
  • Steady weight gain
    Swelling or water retention in the feet and hands

Fetal development:

  • Month Four - Your baby's hair and teeth begin to form along with his digestive system and sex organs.
  • Month Five - A fine layer of hair known as lanugo covers your baby's body.

    His ears are developed and he may be able to hear you.
  • Month Six - Your baby's lungs are beginning to develop and he is growing rapidly. By the end of the sixth month, he will be approximately 9-10 inches long.

What to eat:

Continue eating healthy as in the first trimester. The second trimester generally brings with it a surge of energy and good health. Make the most of this time by exercising regularly and increasing your intake of fresh and natural foods rich in iron, calcium and vitamin C.

Third Trimester - Months Seven to Nine

What are the changes and symptoms experienced?

Things start to get a bit ungainly now. What with your weight gain, the baby's kicking and your worries about the delivery, the last three months of your pregnancy may seem to drag on interminably.

Symptoms include:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Backaches
  • Loose joints in preparation for childbirth
  • Fatigue
  • Your belly grows very large
  • Breasts may start to leak
  • Shortness of breath
  • Constipation
  • Dehydration
  • Mood swings
  • Feelings of anxiety and irritability

Fetal development:

  • Month Seven - Your baby can open his eyes and even cry. He may be moving about actively. His body fat and bones are fully developed by now.
  • Month Eight - Your baby continues to grow and mature within the womb.
  • Month Nine - Your baby spends most of his time resting though there are periods of activity. The head may rest downwards in preparation for birth.

What to eat:

By the third trimester, your metabolic rate increases significantly. You will burn more calories and expend more energy as well. Keeping this in mind you need to eat several small healthy meals a day and maintain your increased intake of fluids. This also helps prevent dehydration, constipation and heartburn.

Month by Month Pregnancy Guide
Month by Month Pregnancy
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