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How to Keep Your Unborn Baby Safe: a Month-By-Month Guide

Most people refer to pregnancy length as nine months. In fact, a full-term pregnancy usually lasts closer to 40 weeks or ten months. Here’s a brief outline of what to expect and how to protect your baby every month.

9 Month (– weeks)

If you and your partner have been trying to conceive, one indication of pregnancy is a missed menstrual period. Other signs of pregnancy are nausea, sore breasts, frequent urination, and fatigue.

Take a home pregnancy test to be sure. Home tests are roughly 95% accurate. Also, make a doctor’s appointment for a blood test or a pelvic exam. It’s important to confirm your pregnancy as soon as possible. That way, prenatal care can begin early.

If you are, in fact, pregnant, this marks the beginning of your pregnancy and your first trimester. Your baby will develop quickly within the first four weeks.

The Baby Developing Inside of You

How to Keep Your Baby Safe

The first few weeks are a delicate time for your baby. Evaluate your lifestyle to ensure the safety of your developing child. If you smoke, drink alcohol, or take illegal, stop immediately. Also, inform your caregiver of any prescription drugs you may be taking. This is when prenatal vitamins will be prescribed.

Also, take care when you are handling cats, and avoid the cat litter box altogether. There is a risk of contracting toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease that spreads through cat feces, and by eating contaminated food.

8 Month (– weeks)

These weeks are especially vulnerable in the development of your baby. Drugs, viruses, and toxic substances, such as pesticides, can cause birth defects.

The Baby Developing Inside of You

How to Keep Your Baby Safe

By eight weeks, you may start to feel pregnant. Your hormone levels will change, so you may be affected my mood swings. Your breasts will swell because your milk ducts are growing. Also, you may experience nausea and chronic fatigue at this time.

Taking care of your baby means taking care of yourself. If you constantly feel tired, add an afternoon nap to your schedule every day. Listen to your body, and take time out when you need it.

7 Month (– weeks)

In the third month, you should have your first ultrasound. This scan will determine your baby’s age. Others screenings will test for birth defects.

The Baby Developing Inside of You

How to Keep Your Baby Safe

By the end of your first trimester, you should not be feeling as tired as you did in the previous month. Frequent trips to the bathroom and nausea should also subside.

To ensure your baby’s well-being, make an appointment for a prenatal checkup. Your caregiver will perform several tests between week 11 and week 13.

6 Month (– weeks)

Welcome to the second trimester! Month 4 is an exciting stage for expecting mothers. It’s when you may start to feel your baby kick. If you feel movement, take note the date so you can tell your doctor. Kicking can help determine the due date.

The Baby Developing Inside of You

How to Keep Your Baby Safe

At this stage, it’s probably obvious that you are pregnant. You should start to gain weight rapidly from here on end. To ensure that your baby is receiving optimal nutrition, choose your foods carefully.

As your waistline expands, you’ll need to change your clothes to be comfortable. Pregnant women usually start wearing maternity clothes in the 4th month. Consider a custom fitted maternity bra that provides comfort and extra support.

5 Month (– weeks)

Congratulations! You've reached the halfway mark of your pregnancy. During this month, your baby will grow tremendously. With strength comes more activity in the womb.

The Baby Developing Inside of You

How to Keep Your Baby Safe

In the 5th month, you will really notice your body expanding. You should not only feel your baby moving, but your baby will be quite active, especially when you lay down to rest. Continue to get as much sleep as possible, and eat well promote strong teeth and bones for your baby.

4 Month (– weeks)

Rapid growth continues in month six for both you and your baby. In this stage, your baby is almost fully formed, and resembles a tiny human being.

The Baby Developing Inside of You

How to Keep Your Baby Safe

In the 6th month, you will be noticeably pregnant. Your body will be working overtime to provide for your baby. At this stage, your heart and lungs are working 50% harder. Because of the baby’s weight, you may experience shortness of breath, and a pain in your ribcage.

To protect you both, practice good posture while sitting and standing. Protect your joints by elevating your feet when you sit. Also, make sure that your footwear is comfortable.

3 Month (– weeks)

Welcome to the third trimester! At this stage of pregnancy, you will probably notice stretch marks on your thighs and your abdomen. Pay attention to your belly button; it will pop out soon enough if it hasn’t already.

The Baby Developing Inside of You

How to Keep Your Baby Safe

Some women feel Braxton Hicks contractions. These are non-productive contractions that are generally painless. The reason they occur is to give your uterus a dry run for labor.

Unfortunately, it’s also common for future moms to develop lower back pain. As the uterus grows and as the joints of the pelvis relax in anticipation for labor, sciatic pain can occur. Pregnant women can also suffer with leg cramps. Help yourself and your baby through the 7th month by consulting with your doctor if you are experiencing these issues. If you are receiving an adequate supply of calcium, these conditions should be less of a problem.  

2 Month (– weeks)

You’re in the home stretch now, mom-to-be. Start packing your hospital bag because your baby is almost here.

The Baby Developing Inside of You

How to Keep Your Baby Safe

Your center of gravity is probably making you feel a little off kilter. Make sure you practice good posture. Standing up straight will not only protect your balance, it will also help with body aches.

It’s common for women at this pregnancy stage to have difficulty sleeping. Your increasing weight and the fetal activity of your baby will keep you up at night. At this stage, sleeping is easier said than done, but now is the time to get as much rest as possible. 

1 Month (– weeks)

The final month of pregnancy is a thrilling yet nerve wracking time for a soon-to-be mom. It is common for pregnant women to give birth between week 39 and week 40.

The Baby Developing Inside of You

How to Keep Your Baby Safe

Throughout these nine or ten months, 35 pounds is the average weight gain. Physically, this is an uncomfortable time for many reasons. Increasing weight causes body strains. Also, sleep deprivation can set in, causing nervousness and anxiety. The good news is that your pregnancy is ending.

In the meantime, keep your worries at bay by attending weekly prenatal appointments. Your doctor or midwife will check your vitals as well as the vital signs of your baby. While you are waiting for labor to begin, practice your breathing techniques. Make sure your hospital bag is packed, and in no time, you will be holding your precious, little newborn in your arms.

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