Pregnancy is the most wonderful feeling a woman experiences in her lifetime. It all starts with a missed periods and a rush of excitement follows. Symptoms like nausea and back ache are commonly seen in the first three months of pregnancy. You tend to feel changes both mentally and physically. At this point, it would be very exciting to know the causes for these changes and how your baby grows week by week. Read on to know more about the week by week progress of your pregnancy.
Pregnancy Week 1:
You are body is preparing for pregnancy. You are about to ovulate and prepare for fertilization. This is two weeks after the last day of your last menstrual period. Your doctor may suggest having folic acid so as to prevent any birth defects that could happen. Including calcium, iron etc in the diet is also good.
Pregnancy Week 2:
There is still no sign of baby in the second week. The ovulation has started and the ripened egg is waiting patiently in the Fallopian tube for that one lucky sperm that would penetrate it. The uterus has prepared itself for the arrival of the fertilized egg. You still have to wait to know if this would happen successfully.
Pregnancy Week 3:
Finally, fertilization has happened. The fertilized egg or the zygote soon forms the embryo which is your to-be-baby! Embryo will now travel to the uterus and gets attached on its wall by a process called implantation. You would be surprised by the fact that all the genetic characteristics like the skin, eye color, etc have already been fixed at this time. Even the baby’s gender is set according to the chromosomes inherited from the parents.
Pregnancy Week 4:
Now that the embryo has found its home, it undergoes an important change. The embryo splits into two. One half forms the placenta that nourishes the baby with vital nutrients and carries away the waste until you deliver. The other half continues to grow as your baby. The neural tube begins to take shape from a sheet of cells which forms into baby’s spinal cord, back bone and brain.
Pregnancy Week 5:
Now, the embryo has three layers – outer ectoderm, endoderm and middle mesoderm. The size of the embryo has now become that of an orange seed. The hCG hormone level in your body has begun to rise which can be detected using a home pregnancy test. There is one more exciting thing happening. Yes, your baby’s heart has started beating! You may not be able to hear it, but can see it move on an ultrasound.
Pregnancy Week 6:
By the end of six weeks, the baby will have become three times the initial size. With the heart beating with a regular rhythm, the baby’s head, liver, kidneys and lungs start forming. The heart beats 80 times a minute which keep on increasing day by day. It is better to measure the length of the fetus now because it becomes difficult as the legs bent in the coming weeks. As a would-be-mom, you would have many symptoms of pregnancy.
Pregnancy Week 7:
In the seventh week, the baby’s ears and mouth start forming. There will be dark spots where the eyes and nostrils take shape later. The brain becomes more complex and the baby starts small movements which you may not recognize until the fourth month. The tiny hands and legs come out in this week which starts growing longer and stronger. Now, the baby starts peeing. Don’t worry, it will be excreted and again swallowed by him and this continues.
Pregnancy Week 8:
The baby is growing at a tremendous rate of a millimeter a day. The embryo now looks more like a baby than before. The fingers and toes start differentiating and you can be happy that the tail starts disappearing. The upper lip, nose and a very thin eyelids start forming. The baby’s heart beats 150 times a minute, twice as yours. The amniotic fluid present in the sac increases every week so that the growing baby is comfortably accommodated.
Pregnancy Week 9:
This week sees the baby growing his reproductive organs, gallbladder and pancreas. The baby is now one inch long. The head is better developed and the ears are more prominent. The fingers are growing in length and its ends are larger. He makes more movements these days, but you still cannot recognize them. The heart is large and developed enough for you to hear it beat. Your doctor has a handheld ultrasound device called Doppler which helps you hear the baby’s heartbeat. But, if you are unlucky the baby’s position may not allow you to hear it.
Pregnancy Week 10:
Till now, the baby was called an embryo. After the tenth week, he can be called a fetus. A promotion indeed! At this time, the bones begin to harden and the baby brain is developing fast. It produces an astounding number of neurons in every minute. As the embryonic stage comes to an end, the baby becomes more strong and safe. He is less prone to development defects from this stage. Fingernails and toenails appear around this time. The baby develops his teeth under the gums, though it comes out only after he is four months old.
Pregnancy Week 11:
Your baby can slightly breathe from this week on. He starts inhaling and exhaling the amniotic fluids which help the lungs to develop. His ears have almost got its real shape. The head is equal to the weight of the rest of the body. But don’t worry, that’s pretty normal at this stage. It is common for you to feel bloated or develop a pooch belly by this time. It is about time you let the world know that you are carrying.
Pregnancy Week 12:
In the twelfth week you may feel pressure on your bladder since the uterus starts expanding. This is because your baby has doubled in size in the past three weeks to that of a large plum. The world may now start noticing that you are pregnant. The baby starts to open and close the fingers and curl the toes. He also starts to kick though you may not feel it. Since his reflexes are developing, he responds by moving when you place your hand over the belly.
Pregnancy Week 13:
You can be happy that your baby is growing faster now with ears and eyes in place. Till now the head was almost as big as the rest of the body. But now the body starts growing at a faster rate. His arms begin to grow in length and guess what; he can put his thumb inside his mouth! The intestines are ready to move into the baby’s abdomen. While the baby grows, the placenta is also growing with it. The baby’s vocal cords develop at this time though you can’t hear him make sound. There is this hormone called relaxing that loosens your ligaments and joints to prepare for birth which can make you clumsy.
Pregnancy Week 14:
Your baby has the size of a clenched fist now and is constantly making movements. But, it will take a couple of weeks for you to feel him move inside. He can stand up straight at this stage without slouching. This is because the neck grows longer making the head erect. The tiny thing has now developed the roof of his mouth and due to the sucking, his cheeks are also forming. In this week a baby boy would develop prostate and a girl would have her ovaries moving down into her pelvis. Now that you are in the second trimester, there are less chances of miscarriage. Your appetite increases and the hCG level drops.
Pregnancy Week 15:
By this time, you start noticing the most dreaded symptom in your body – skin darkening. It is common around areas like armpits, nipples, navel and inner thighs. You may avoid going out in the sun as a precaution. For your baby, this is the time for hair growth. The first hair called lanugo is all over his shoulders, back and forehead. This gives him comfortable warmth inside the womb. But, once he develops enough fat for this purpose, the hair sheds. The latest development seen in the baby is the facial expressions like squinting, grimacing and frowning.
16 Week Pregnant:
Even though the bones of your baby have hardened, they are still flexible so that they could cope with the process of delivery. The umbilical cord has developed fully with two arteries and one vein. They are protected by a thick substance called Wharton’s jelly so that the cord can move easily around the baby. For the to-be-moms, it is the exciting period of feeling butterflies in the stomach. The squatters could now be felt even though it may be difficult initially. It is surprising to know that your baby can now hear your voice.
Pregnancy Week 17:
By this week the size of the arms and legs of your baby is in the required proportion to that of the head. Your baby gains some weight as fat gets deposited under the skin and sweat glands form. You may also note that the placenta has also enlarged to fit the baby. He does a lot of sucking and swallowing to get practiced to it so that it is easy for him to drink milk from the mother. His eyes can perceive some light, but the eyelids are still shut.
Pregnancy Week 18:
As the ears have developed, your baby can hear the sound of your heartbeat and belly. You may very well start talking to him at this stage. He is definitely going to recognize your voice when he comes out. It is also suggested to hear soothing music for the well being of the baby inside. Stay away from loud noises because it could startle your baby. The butterfly feeling in your belly has given way to bigger kicks which you may feel several times a day.
Pregnancy Week 19
During week 19, your baby gets a cheesy coat all over his body. The skin is covered with a waxy protective substance called vernix caseosa. It protects the baby skin from the amniotic fluid in which he stays. This ensures that there are no wrinkles on the baby’s body from soaking in the fluid. The vernix disappears by the time of delivery. A growing tummy has shifted the center of gravity of the mother and may trigger back ache. You may stand straight so that the pain is not felt much.
Pregnancy Week 20
Congrats!! You are already halfway to your delivery. Though you are experiencing pains here and there in the body, your baby is happily kicking and exploring the womb. This is the time his eyebrows and hair pop out. The big question finally finds the answer in this week – boy or girl?! Even though the genitals are yet to develop fully, you can find out the baby’s gender on an ultrasound taken in the second trimester. A baby girl would have millions of eggs in her ovaries. If the fetus is a boy, his testicles start coming down.
Pregnancy Week 21
Your baby is growing at an amazing pace now especially because he starts taking in nutrients from the amniotic fluid. But, he still gets the necessary nourishment from the placenta. The fluid taste differs depending on what you ate. Since the baby has started developing his taste buds, do mind your eating habits. It is found that what he tastes in the womb is what he likes to eat after coming out of your belly. At this time, he is likely to sleep for around 12-14 hours a day.
Pregnancy Week 22
Your baby has grown to about 8 inches by this week. He has eyebrows and eyelashes that are well developed and more hair sprouts on his head. As the hair has no pigment yet, it will be white in color. The baby develops his grip and catches hold of the umbilical cord because there is nothing else in sight to hold. He can better hear and perceive light. At this time, you may feel dizzy when you stand for a long time. This is caused by a low blood pressure.
Pregnancy Week 23
The following weeks will see millions of brains cells developing in your baby’s brain. These will control many basic functions like breathing. The baby’s lungs are on its way to further development. The air sacs inflate and the lungs begin to expand fully. But, he can breathe air only when he comes out of your tummy. For the time being, he is taking in amniotic fluid. One interesting thing is that now you can hear your baby’s heartbeat using a standard stethoscope.
Pregnancy Week 24
Your baby has a lot of space to move around in the belly. He calms down when you rub your belly and responds to your familiar voice. His inner ear has fully developed by now. His face is almost complete like a human face with eyes, eyelashes, eyebrows and nose. As for the mother, you may feel your sexual desire diminishing. This is mainly due to the ache and tiredness in the body. But, there are women who feel otherwise. So it is completely fine either way.
Pregnancy Week 25
In this week, the baby prepares for the first bowel movement which forms in the large intestine. The baby poop called meconium is thick and dark. It is usually excreted after birth. But sometimes it comes out before that which means it has to be cleared from the lungs immediately. The nostrils of the baby open at this time so that he can practice breathing. You may feel your fingers as numb and tingly due to carpal tunnel syndrome. It goes away like every other pregnancy symptoms after delivery.
Pregnancy Week 26
You may have gained around 15 pounds now which makes your body very different from the slim trim figure you had (if at all you had!). But, never mind, it is the need of the hour. The weight gain is due to the baby’s weight, your increased breasts, expanded uterus etc. The baby now has a regular sleep-wake pattern. Sometimes, kicking is his hobby and other times, he is in a sound sleep. He develops brain wave activity this week which makes him respond to sounds.
Pregnancy Week 27
Your baby is hiccuping for many weeks now and this is the time you start feeling it. It is caused by the movement of the diaphragm. These hiccups are silent as his trachea is filled with fluid instead of air. Your baby recognizes both his parents’ voices. His heartbeat can be heard if your partner presses his ears to your tummy. His taste buds are well developed now and he may even respond if you have some spicy food.
Pregnancy Week 28
Your baby has not opened his eyes till this week. But now, he slowly opens and closes his eyelids. There is pigment in his irises which make it colored. But this color may change to the permanent one by the time the baby is six months old. Your baby might be dreaming too taking into account the rapid eye movement phase of his sleep. Well into the final trimester, you may have breathing problems, fatigue and muscle pain, not to mention the uncomfortable feeling lingering always.
Pregnancy Week 29
In this week you could expect more kicks and pushes from your baby as he is becoming stronger day by day. You could count the kicks twice a day to ensure he is doing good inside. His brain is becoming more complex and he reveals his identity by the reactions to different lights, sounds and food. One more development is the formation of permanent teeth buds under the gums. Some of you may find a yellowish fluid, colostrum, coming out of your breast which is produced before the breast milk.
Pregnancy Week 30
Most of the expectant mothers have to deal with stretch marks and itchy skin. Accept the fact that it is a very natural thing to happen. As for your baby, he is soon filling with fat in his body. As a result, he gains about half a pound every week. The fat helps regulate body temperature after birth and gives the needed energy. With all the body weight, he may find it difficult to move like before. But, ensure that there are occasional movements from his side.
Pregnancy Week 31
With the increased body weight, your baby stays in the fetal position from now on. A baby boy will have his testicles moving further down and a baby girl already has her clitoris formed. The baby is developing his five senses these days. The to-be-mom is likely to experience lower back pain. The expanding uterus puts pressure on the area starting from the lower back thereby increasing numbness.
Pregnancy Week 32
By this week, you can become happy that the baby has almost developed all his organs except the lungs. Babies born around this time have good chances of survival. Your tiny thing has been practicing a lot of swallowing, breathing and sucking these days. He is preparing himself for the life outside. Pressure on your internal organs may increase your breathing problems and urine leakage.
Pregnancy Week 33
By now, there is no enough room in your uterus for the baby to move around. Good for you, lesser kicks. Your baby has become less active and his movements reflect your daily routine – eating habits, sleeping habits etc. You may start developing contractions, but not labor contractions necessarily. This is the way of preparing yourself for the actual labor. You may sit with your feet elevated and drink some water for relief.
Pregnancy Week 34
The time for real excitement is only a few weeks away, yes your baby will come out shortly! The waxy coating, vernix caseosa starts thickening for better moisturizing. This can be easily washed off during the first bath of the baby. The fingernails have reached the tips of his fingers by this time. To your relief, the process of weight gain has slowed down. The belly has enlarged to an extent that you cannot see the shoes you are wearing.
Pregnancy Week 35
At this stage, it is interesting to know that the baby’s skull remains soft so that his journey through the birth canal is smooth. Most babies would have come in a head-down position by this time. This position increases the chances of a normal delivery. Another thing to be cautious about is the vaginal discharge that can be pink or blood-tinged. This is the mucus plug shedding which helped keep germs away from your uterus. Many of you may start losing it about two weeks before delivery.
Pregnancy Week 36
Your baby has formed fat that is necessary to survive outside the womb. He still has to fully develop his digestive system which may take a year or two after birth. Most of his bones and cartilage are soft so that he can squeeze out easily. You may feel a bit lighter these days as the baby fits into your pelvis coming down. This lighter feeling is called lightening.
Pregnancy Week 37
By this week, his sense organs are becoming sharper. The umbilical cord passes antibodies to your baby to protect him from germs after delivery. Since your cervix has more blood now, you may feel like having sex.
Pregnancy Week 38
Your baby’s lungs are on the way to being mature. He is ready to come out anytime now. His brain regulates digestion, breathing and circulation. Vernix and lanugo keep on shedding. You may expect a water break any day.
Pregnancy Week 39
Your baby has reached the birth weight by now. He has got enough fat for survival in the outside world. Most probably he is in an inverted position with head down, ready for delivery. You may have mild cramps which may give way to the actual labor pain or make you wait for more.
40 Week Pregnant:
Yuppie, your baby will arrive this week!! Those labor pains really hurt, but it is worth it. You can feel the pain spreading to your lower back and thighs. More contractions and yes, finally he has come out!! Your little darling has come out. Your journey called pregnancy has come to an end. Look who is more than happy. All the best, dear mother!