The Different Stages of Pregnancy

Your body ― and baby ― undergo many changes during those 40 weeks of pregnancy. You may be expecting an increase in belly size that disrupts your balance, but that’s not the only thing happening to your body. 

At the office of Lena Speck Hopkins, MD, in Harlingen, Texas, our experienced OB/GYN has been providing expert women’s health care for more than 20 years. 

Given her experience and expertise, Dr. Speck Hopkins wants you to know more about the different stages of pregnancy, called trimesters, and what to expect. 

Stage 1: Conception to week 12

Stage 1, also known as the first trimester, begins at the moment of conception. This moment occurs when your egg meets up with a sperm, often in the fallopian tube. During fertilization, these two combine to form one cell, which is called a zygote. 

The zygote divides into more and more cells as it moves its way from your fallopian tube to your uterus. It then implants itself into the endometrial tissue and continues to grow.

While all this is happening, you may feel more tired or moody because of fluctuations in hormone levels. These hormonal changes may also cause morning sickness (nausea and vomiting) and breast tenderness.

The good news is that most of these hormone-related symptoms subside once you reach the next stage of pregnancy. 

Weight gain is expected during pregnancy, but you won’t need to gain much during the first few months of your pregnancy. We typically recommend a gain of no more than 1-4 pounds during the first trimester

Stage 2: Week 13 to week 28

When you hit 13 weeks of gestation, you’re officially in stage 2 of pregnancy, or the second trimester.

Without the fatigue and nausea, many women feel a lot better during this stage of pregnancy. But you can expect a lot of physical changes to happen to your body, such as:

These physical changes may also bring on more body aches and pains. Your growing belly may also put more pressure on your stomach and cause heartburn.

Steady weight gain of 1 pound a week is recommended during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. To meet your weight-gain goals, you may need to add an extra 300 calories to your typical diet. These extra calories should come from nutrient-rich foods to keep you and your baby healthy. 

Digestion actually slows down during pregnancy so your body absorbs as many nutrients as possible. Unfortunately, this slowdown may also cause constipation. 

Stage 3: Week 29 to birth

Stage 3, or the third trimester, is the final leg of your pregnancy journey. Though pregnancy is divided into three equal parts, this stage may feel like the longest.

During the third trimester, you may continue to experience the same aches and pains from the second trimester. As your belly continues to grow, you may find yourself feeling more uncomfortable, which may affect your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

Throughout every stage of your pregnancy, regular prenatal visits are essential for keeping you and your baby healthy. These visits also give you an opportunity to learn more about what’s happening to your body and what you can do to ease any discomfort.

When you reach the end of your pregnancy, many of these physical symptoms disappear. However, we continue to provide postpartum care to monitor your health and wellness as you adjust to life with your new baby. 

We also provide routine wellness exams and Pap smears to support general women’s health needs. And to help you get your pre-baby body back, we offer body sculpting and skin tightening treatments. 

Pregnancy is different for each woman. But knowing what to expect during each stage may help you prepare for the unexpected. 

For comprehensive care from an experienced women’s health expert, call our office today and schedule a consultation.

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