Being pregnant is like riding on a roller coaster. Women experience many ups and downs during the duration of their pregnancy. The first trimester could be compared to those beginning moments when one buckles up, preparing to be jettisoned up a ramp, and then taking in a deep breath as they crest over the hill.
The second trimester brings on new set of challenges for both the mind and the body of an expectant mom. It's easy to feel like you're being barrelled down the track, picking up speed, and flying through the second phase of pregnancy. You're growing belly starts stretching, the baby starts kicking, and a rush of adrenaline makes the ride feel exciting.
By the time the third trimester rolls around, you're ready to get off the ride. There are twists and turns, loops, and swoops that come along with each new day. It can be thrilling and scary as the time draws near to give birth. Your body has changed in ways that you didn't know it could.
Eventually, you near the end of the roller coaster. You've felt the exhilaration and survived each phase. The arrival of your baby makes the entire crazy journey worth while. From the nerve racking first moments, to the breathtaking second trimester, to the hectic last months, meeting your baby at the end is amazing. Here is a list of 15 stages of pregnancy told in gifs. Hopefully it will prepare you to be launched into pregnancy. Enjoy the ride!
15 Positive Pregnancy Test
The very first phase of pregnancy begins with a woman looking at the calender and realizing that her period is late. After a harried trip to the store to fetch a pregnancy test, she hides in the bathroom, pees on a stick, holds her breath, and sees a positive symbol on the test strip. Next, one might experience a full range of emotions including but not limited to excitement, disbelief, elation, or trepidation. Physical reactions may include heart palpitations, sweaty palms, shortness of breath, or feeling light headed.
Many women end up taking a few tests before accepting that they really are with child. Once the shock wears off, reality sets in, and at this point, it's totally normal to cry either out of joy or fear. One this is for sure, a woman's life will never be the same after the fateful moment they discover that they are pregnant.
14 Morning Sickness
Some time between the fourth and the ninth week of pregnancy, a woman mind find herself feeling queasy. Many expectant moms suffer from morning sickness, although the name can be misleading because it can strike at any time of the day. It affects every woman differently. Some may experience a bit of nausea but never vomit. Others might find themselves being more sensitive to smells, gagging over a mild scent that normally wouldn't bother them. The unlucky ones end up bowing to the porcelain god and throwing up.
The good news is that morning sickness often goes away in the second trimester. It's usually over around twelve to fourteen weeks. The bad news is that sometimes it can stick around for the duration of the pregnancy. Some ways to find relief including: eating smaller meals, snacking on crackers when you first wake up, nibbling on ginger, or wearing a motion sickness band.
It takes energy to grow a baby. Those first few months of pregnancy can be exhausting for a mom-to-be. You might find yourself waking up tired, dragging yourself out of bed, yawning the afternoon away, or falling back into bed well before it's even dark outside. Between building a placenta and dealing with the emotional upheaval, it's no surprise you feel pooped.
Be sure to listen to your body and give yourself permission to rest when you need to. Put your feet up and take a break if you work at a physically demanding job. Eat healthy foods and make exercise a priority. Take heart, fatigue usually subsides once you reach the second trimester. Keep in mind that it will return with a vengeance in the last trimester. So be sure to pamper yourself! Trust me. Before long, the baby will arrive, and taking a nap will be a luxury.
12 Eating For Two
An increased appetite is to be expected during pregnancy so don't be surprised if you suddenly find yourself wanting to scarf down everything in sight. It can be tempting to shove food in your face but it's important to make healthy food choices. Be sure to load up on fresh fruit and vegetables. Technically, you are eating for two, but that doesn't mean that you should double the amount of food you eat. Eating a few small meals a day may curb that ravenous appetite. Of course, sometimes you just have to eat all the french fries. Balance is the key.
You may also find yourself having odd food cravings. Often times, these cravings provide much needed nourishment for the baby. For example, if you suddenly have to eat an orange, more than likely your baby needs more calcium. Listen to your tummy and give in to those strange hankerings.
11 Hormonal Mood Swings
One minute you feel blissful and the next, you're in tears for no reason. Don't worry, you're not manic. Pregnant women often fall victim to mood swings. Hormones change in significantly pregnancy and can do a number on your level of neurotransmitters, the brain chemicals that regulate mood. Other factors can be physical stress, fatigue, or anxiety about your changing body. Mood swings appear in the first trimester between 6 and 10 weeks and then again as your body prepares to give birth in the third trimester.
So what's a lady to do to manage these big feelings? Take good care of yourself. Be sure to get plenty of rest. Exercise can make a huge difference. Pregnancy yoga and meditation can do wonders for an anxious mama's soul. Reach out to people you love for support. If your mood swings last more than two weeks, mention it to your doctor.
10 Pregnancy Glow
Being with child doesn't have to be all gloom and doom. Many women hit their stride in the second trimester and get that pregnancy glow. People may compliment on how beautiful your skin looks. You might catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and feel like a luminous goddess. Good skin is just one of the many perks for some moms to be. So what causes these lucky women to be radiant throughout their pregnancy?
The answer can be found in the changes and increase of hormones that cause your glands to produce more oil, which makes your face more shiny. Increased blood flow is another factor. Your body increases the production of blood by 50 percent. This increase in blood flow and circulation leads to your face looking brighter and fuller. If you happened to be blessed enough to have the pregnancy glow, enjoy it and shine on!
9 Second Trimester Energy Burst
As a pregnant woman moves into the second trimester an amazing thing happens. You start to feel more human. Suddenly the morning sickness subsides and you can get through the day without throwing up. You may feel energized instead of feeling zapped by noon. Some women have settled into the idea of being pregnant and feel less anxious about their changing body. At this point, you should be starting to show and can see the fruit of you labor.
All of these positive changes can give a woman an energy boost at about 14 weeks. You have a pep to your step and feel like you can survive pregnancy after all. This increased energy in the second trimester is like a little gift given to us by mother nature. It gives us the boost we need to make it to the finish line. Relish this moment to catch your breath.
8 Feeling The Baby Kick
Some time during the second trimester, an expectant mom may begin to feel a fluttering in her belly. Was it the chilli you ate? Is something wrong? Is it gas? More than likely, you're experiencing “quickening”, or the first fetal movements. It's an exciting and fun phase of pregnancy. Some women report feeling a bubbling sensation in their uterus. Second time moms tend to feel those first flutters sooner, as early as 13 weeks. Don't worry if takes a bit longer to feel them if you're a first time mom. Sometimes quickening doesn't start until 18-20 weeks. It can be different for everyone.
Soon after you feel those butterflies in your tummy, the baby will start to really kick. Before you know it, you'll feel a swift jab to the ribs as the baby runs out of room. Those first moments of feeling your little one wiggle are special and sweet.
7 Frequent Trips To The Bathroom
When you gotta go, you gotta go. Unfortunately, pregnant women need to go more often. You may find yourself doing the pee pee dance and running to the bathroom more often than usual. Frequent urination is a phase of pregnancy that can affect women in the first trimester and then again in the third trimester. It's cause by the pregnancy hormone HGC, which increases blood flow to you pelvic area and your kidneys. Your uterus also puts pressure on your bladder, making you need to go more often. Towards the end of your pregnancy, your baby may feel like it's tap dancing on your bladder as well.
So what can you do about it? Try leaning forward when you pee to help empty yourself out better. It may be tempting to quit drinking fluids but don't cut back on your water intake, you and the baby need to stay hydrated.
6 Sore Bosoms
Your breasts will go through many changes throughout pregnancy. They can grow exponentially until you feel like they deserve their own zip code. They can get so tender that you cringe at the idea of receiving a hug. They may look amazing to your partner but the last thing you want is someone fiddling with them. Breast tenderness is most common during the first trimester and starts sometime around week 4 and lasting through the first trimester. Around the 38th week, your body will begin producing colostrum, a yellow discharge that is a precursor to breast milk.
Other changes to look for are protruding nipples, enlarged areolas, and more visible veins in your breasts. Your body is preparing to become a human baby bottle. A few ways to ease breast tenderness is to invest in a good bra and tell your mate to proceed with caution when you get frisky.
There is nothing more annoying than the glow of the alarm clock when you can't sleep. To make matters worse, you're weeks away from giving birth and you desperately need to get some rest. Pregnancy insomnia can be a nightmare for 75 percent of expectant moms. So, if you find yourself twisting and turning throughout the night, you're not alone. Several factors can contribute to difficulty sleeping in the last trimester such as: pre-birth anxiety, trips to the bathroom, leg cramps, and the inability to get comfortable around a bulging belly.
Having a bedtime routine might ensure a restful night. Take a warm bath (not too hot), drink herbal tea, or meditate before turning in. Sometimes the best thing to do when you can't sleep is just to go ahead and get up. Pay a visit to the nursery and envision to the time you'll spend there with your baby.
4 Feeling Cranky
Towards the last few weeks of pregnancy a woman might feel irritable. It's no wonder, either. Your belly and baby are running out of room. You've spent the last nine months being kicked to no end and you're over it. Maybe you haven't slept in weeks and you're just downright exhausted. It doesn't take much for people to get on your nerves and you want to be left alone. You have swollen ankles and need to sit all the time.
You might feel overwhelmed by all that is left to do before the baby's arrival. The nursery isn't finished, you need to find a pediatrician, and you have to squeeze into a dress for the baby shower. Take a deep breath, put your feet up, and call a trusted friend to vent. If you can just hang on a bit longer, this last phase of pregnancy will be over soon.
3 Baby Watch
As your due date draws near you will enter a phase that I like to call, “Baby Watch”. The hospital bags are packed, the nursery is finally ready, and your OB has told you to be prepared to go into labor at any time. If you so much as sneeze, your mate grabs the car keys, and is ready to drive you to the hospital. Braxton hicks contractions can make this time tricky as well. This tightening of the uterus is your body gearing up for delivery. These practice contractions are important but can keep you on your toes in the last few weeks before the baby arrives.
Keep in mind that your due date is a prediction and not a guarantee that your little one will be born on that specific day. It can be easy to grow impatient once that day passes. Hang in there. You're almost done.
2 Ready To Pop
At this stage of pregnancy, all the signs of labor have appeared. You've passed the mucous plug, your water has broken, and you've timed your contractions. Before you know it, you jump in the car, check into the hospital, and have a fetal monitor strapped to your tummy. You've worked through contractions and the doctor just told you that you're fully dilated. It's time to give birth and all you can think about is getting this baby out of you. Rather you bear down and push or find yourself on the operating table for a C-section, the moment arrives when it's time to give birth to your baby.
This phase can be daunting but you can totally do this! Many women find themselves feeling exhausted but somehow, you reach inside, find your strength, and get to work. Your body has been preparing for this moment for the last ten months.
1 Baby Bliss
You did it! You delivered your baby! Congratulations! At this point, your adrenaline might be flowing in full force. Many woman feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and relief in the moments after they've given birth. There is excitement in the delivery room and if all is well with the baby, take a moment to enjoy some skin to skin contact with your little one. An entire range of emotions may take hold as they place your tiny bundle in your arms. Some new moms are overtaken with love while other moms might need a moment to catch their breath after working so hard during labor.
Whatever the case is for you, try to cherish bonding with your newborn. It can be the most beautiful and rewarding moment in time. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back. You made it through every phase of pregnancy. Now a new adventure begins.