For men and first-time mothers, it may seem hard to grasp the idea of exactly what being pregnant feels like. It is an exciting and scary thought, but all at the same time. Thankfully, this isn't our first rodeo and we have just the guide to help you out.
Between the horror stories and the understatements, we will provide you with all the pregnancy facts you need while breaking down the symptoms and details of your child's development for each month of conception.
My nephew Logan was born last month, and I was lucky to be around enough to witness my sister's journey through this stage in life. We spent a lot of time talking about her feelings and thoughts before, during and after pregnancy. Although she had friends previously give birth, it was her first time carrying a baby.
Just so we get familiar, Nat is my sister's name and she explained her best and worst parts about being pregnant.
The worst part for her was the constant need to go to the bathroom. It interfered with her sleep, work and social life. Fortunately, Nat's family doctor gave her an ultrasound after every bi-weekly visit! This gave my sister an opportunity to watch him grow, change positions and listen to his strengthening heartbeat.
Don't forget, everybody is different. So, although you may loath the beginning of your pregnancy due to morning sickness, someone else may not even experience it. Here are some pointers to follow while growing your tiny miracle!
15 Day One, Month One - New Baby Syndrome
Whether you feel it coming, or you planned accordingly, every mom will experience what I like to call, "New Baby Syndrome." Just the mere thought of it excites you, so you might find yourself peeing on a pregnancy test everyday just to make sure! This is a brand-new feeling and the hype will be surreal. At first, you will be calling all your friends and family to let them know the great news!
As it really sinks in, you and your hubby will be overwhelmed with a ton of new emotions. Accepting and understanding is all part of the process. You will be reading tons of articles already and might already be using BabyGaga's Pregnancy Calendar! Obsessing over checking your stomach for a baby bump is also normal at this stage. Even if there is only the smallest sign of a bump, I am sure you will already be posting pictures on your social media accounts announcing the big news.
14 Beginning Of Month One - Embryo Begins To Grow
This is the start of the first trimester where the embryo is just two cells in size! During week 4, you will find that some home pregnancy tests might begin to detect that you have a pregnancy. Your body will undergo many changes at this stage. Not only has your period stopped, but your hormones will change too. This will affect almost every organ in your body.
Regardless, this is the stage in pregnancy when your baby forms the important systems of the body. It should be about the size of a sesame seed and this is when your baby will need the most nutrients. According to our pregnancy calendar, the reason you need more nutrients is because "your seed baby is now composed of three complex "germ" layers: the ectoderm, endoderm and mesoderm, which is just a fancy name for what will one day be your baby's nervous system, vital organs, and skeleton, respectively."
13 Months One And Two - Symptoms Kick In
As a mom-to-be, you will really start feeling the symptoms at this stage. Frequent urination, extreme fatigue, morning sickness and hormonal fluctuations are all common signs of pregnancy. The excitement of nurturing your own little creation is subdued as you focus on making it to the bathroom multiple times a day. A lucky number of women – like my sister - won't even experience morning sickness. Regardless, after witnessing a good friend of mine get up to vomit every 5 minutes for 2 weeks straight, I knew this was a curse some women must be warned about.
Don't worry though, once you get used to these symptoms, you will snap out of it. Moodiness and breast tenderness are also some symptoms you will feel. Since your baby is so tiny, don't expect to see a baby bump just yet. Do be prepared to feel many physical changes in this stage as your body adjusts to housing a human being.
12 Months Two And Three - Reproductive Organs
Your baby's heart is now officially beating, and the baby's brain is next on the list to being formed. Finally, your first trimester is coming to an end! You will be relieved to find that this is when you will start to have decreased morning sickness. All other physical changes may be present, but overall, you will feel much more hopeful about the coming months ahead. Your body will get used to the nausea for now and save it for the core developing period.
The spinal cord, muscle and bones are also beginning to develop at this stage. It is only normal that you start feeling yourself gain weight as you enter the third month of your pregnancy. Although you find yourself wearing looser clothes, it is unlikely anyone else will notice you're showing until later in the pregnancy. Of course, I noticed my sister had a small baby bump, but that's only because my anticipation led to me always making her reveal her tummy.
11 Month Three - Officially A Fetus
Your baby is about the size of a plum as it starts to grow and develop to survive in the outside world. If you aren't' already feeling nausea, expect to have extreme food cravings and indigestion. Some women even crave foods they never used to eat, and despise their usual favorites. By the end of the month, the nourishment you provide your child contributes to the development of their arms, hands, fingers, feet and toes.
According to Dr. Pamela Snook, with the embryonic stage over, your baby can now finish developing its reproductive organs. As a fetus, they now look more like a tiny newborn and will continue to develop and grow until the end of your pregnancy. Since you are at the end of your first trimester, your likelihood of a miscarriage decreases significantly. They have also already grown fingernails and on average weigh about ½ ounce!
10 Month Four - Bones Start Hardening
As you enter the second trimester of your pregnancy, you will find yourself more energetic and finally feel morning sickness officially leaving. An ultrasound should be able to tell the gender at this point as your fetus develops reproductive organs. Now that facial features are being formed and bones are hardening, you will also feel a bit heavier. Their crucial development period is over, and you will find your baby is now about the size of a peach.
They are beginning to move at this point, however you won't be able to feel it because, "they're still too small to trigger sensations in your uterus. Their movements are recognizable on an ultrasound, though." Although their eyelids will remain shut, they will start being able to move their eyes. Your baby's organs are getting bigger and their circulatory system stronger. At the end of this month your baby will have an even head-to-body ratio.
9 Month Five - Baby Starts To Move
With the bones hardened and nerves developed, your baby can start responding to interactions outside the belly. Having already developed eyelids earlier in the pregnancy, your baby's hearing is now in the works. You might begin to feel your baby move or kick, especially if you put your hand on your stomach. Your baby is also learning how to breathe, and you should find an increase in appetite. Some women recall being less hungry, others more. But at this stage, you must consider the fact that your baby is taking your nutrients, so make sure to keep up with your food groups.
Some common symptoms at this stage is backaches, indigestion, heartburn, headaches, water retention, dizziness, constipation, abdominal discomforts and mild swelling. This is due to the rapid growth of your baby so ensure to take it easy and move slowly as you adjust to the new addition.
8 Month Six - Halfway There!
Your baby is almost fully formed, and their heartbeat will be audible for anyone holding their ear to your belly. Your baby will also be able to dream as they learn rapid eye movement (REM). You will definitely see your baby bump at this point and might even find your little one even sucking on their thumb through an ultrasound. Although your legs haven't ballooned yet, be ready as your child is just learning how to regulate it's temperature through the "brown fat" that’s is starting to fill in.
Your baby's pancreas is also making hormones for the baby's body and brain. This means your baby will be sensitive to your behaviors, so if anything, make sure to be as stress-free as possible at this point. Their inner ear is fully developed, and they have maintained their own sense of balance. You might get itchy as your uterus stretches your skin past your bellybutton. This is because your baby is rotating to be in the position to come out head-first.
7 Month Seven - End Of Second Trimester
The baby's brain has now started processing light and sounds fully. Dr. Snook says "typical pregnancy symptoms for this point include leg cramps, swelling of ankles and feet, difficulty sleeping, shortness of breath, lower abdominal aches, or Braxton Hicks contractions." Now that your baby produces their own body heat, you are going to find yourself sweating a lot. Your symptoms may come back as you trudge out the last months of your creation.
After the baby is born, they will be unable to regulate their tiny-body's temperature. This is why you will find the pounds packing on quick as your baby prepares to come out. Their eyelids will be blinking as they can now respond to light and dark. Important blood components are being developed and you may even feel your little one hiccup! This is due to them practicing their breathing for when they are out of the womb.
6 Months Seven And Eight - Time To Beef Up
According to our Pregnancy Calendar, measuring about 18 - 20 inches and 4 -5 pounds, this is when your baby gains most of its weight. You have already started producing breast milk, so this will also contribute to your overall weight. Since your baby needs breastmilk to be nourished later, it is only normal for them to be developing their immune system at the same time. This is a fundamental point as they get stronger and test their abilities.
If you didn't know, all babies also have blue eyes at his stage. They may change later, but this is an automatic pigment to start. You will find yourself less hungry, and more exhausted. For my sister, this is a point where I really saw her go from "pregnant" to significantly huge.
5 Month Eight - Lungs Are Almost Developed
The lungs are one of the last organs to develop and you will feel exhausted. Your baby becomes covered in vernix caseosa as they practice breathing in amniotic fluid. You will have a full baby bump as this is this when your baby starts to make its way from your uterus, to your pelvis. Due to this new shift, you may find new forms of back pain and discomfort. Your baby's liver is beginning to process small amounts of waste and the coming months mark significant growth for your little one.
Their digestive system is also underway as they get prepared to digest food versus taking in nutrients through the umbilical cord. Although your baby's bones are now completely hardened, his skull will still be soft. This is so they can safely exit out of the narrow birth canal. As they grow older, their heads will harden so don't worry yourself yet!
4 Months Eight And Nine - End Of Third Trimester
Discomfort accompanies the last month as you feel contractions, difficulty sleeping and pain in the pelvis. Your hormones will be everywhere, so expect to experience things like hot flashes and loss of hair. Not every new parent experiences this, but if you do, it is nothing to be concerned about! And the end of this trimester, they are 18 – 20 inches. Their weight will vary depending on delivery date and carrier. If you have twins or triplets, you will also be much heavier!
Since your baby's skull will be pressing on your cervix, you will want to try and stay upright and active. You can pace around the living room, go for a fast walk or do the stairs as much as you're capable. At birth, your cervix begins to dilate open, so being active will encourage a process called "effacement" - which is cervical thinning.
3 Months Nine And Ten - Waiting Game
If your baby isn't already out, this is the time you start to feel anxious, restless and cannot wait. You are bloated, hot and uncomfortable. The best part about this stage, is your baby has officially developed new brain cells that will be growing for years to come. Premature birth is now out of the question and you are ready to welcome a healthy baby into the world.
This is your time to keep your mind off the pain of labor, and prepare yourself for the responsibility of a newborn. When they cry, it will always mean something, and in the first month, it will be the hardest. You should also prepare yourself for breastfeeding. Although you feel bigger than ever, make sure you consider the breastfeeding benefits. Not only will it increase your love hormone, but your milk will also provide your baby with the necessary vitamins to boost their immune system.
2 Months Nine And Ten - Labor Day
This is the day in the last month of pregnancy where you conceive. Your baby has already fully developed and has taken advantage of the extra womb time to get stronger. Most moms don't know when it's time to go to the hospital until it happens. Runny or loose stool, a loss of mucous plug and contractions that are consistent and grow more intense, are all common symptoms that you're in labor. Your water will break, and it will feel like a sudden gush of fluid running down your legs.
Whether it's a c-section or vaginal, be prepared for blood and pain. My sister was 5 days past her due date. Despite the delay, her cervix was not dilating enough and, so she conceived with a c-section. Luckily, my nephew now shares the same birthday as our father!
1 Month Ten - After Shock
After the baby is born, you will experience the last phase in pregnancy. You will feel out of place as you get used to a new child, especially once you return to your quiet home. You feel like your head is in the clouds as you hold a gorgeous creation that you made all on your own. Skin-to-skin contact is a necessity for your newborn, so don't forget to talk to, hug and laugh with your little one as much as possible.
My nephew Logan ended up being a hungry monster, and woke up my sister multiple times a night to be fed. Be prepared to pump your breasts all day long until your baby is ready! Regardless, this is the most beautiful stage and you will evolve into a great mommy in no time.
Sources: WomensHealth.gov, myobgynorlando.com