What to Expect from Pregnancy, Week by Week
Every stage of pregnancy comes with its delights and challenges! While each woman will have a unique experience, it can help to know what you can roughly expect to change as you go through your journey.
You won’t yet know for sure if you’re pregnant, but consider popping prenatal vitamins.
You may experience spotting, which looks like a very light period.
Breast tenderness is coming now, as are mood swings, and nausea in response to strong smells.
You can expect digestive upsets (e.g. diarrhea to kick in around now), and your clothes will gradually be getting tighter.
Dizziness and increased urination set in now due to increased blood volume (which keeps your baby healthy and growing).
You can now see your baby and hear the heartbeat during an ultrasound, which is majorly exciting. In addition, progesterone and hCG are likely making your face look smooth and supple.
You’re starting to show now, and your breast size may require a new bra! There’s also less pressure on your bladder so you’ll be urinating less frequently.
The hormone relaxin is making your connective tissue loose, resulting in clumsiness–be careful! However, your energy will be rising, and your mood stabilizing.
You may notice darkening patches of skin, but these will fade after birth. Meanwhile, combat constipation with fiber-rich foods, and try to accept that gas is a fact of life at the moment!
You’ll be gaining about a pound a week at this stage, and feeling kicks every now and again.
Hormonal changes make you susceptible to UTIs, so be sure to report any urinary symptoms to your doctor.
Many women report nightmares and increased stress at this time, when upcoming motherhood begins to feel more real. Try to develop a soothing bedtime routine.
Blood pressure lowers, so you may get dizzy when you stand. Iron supplements may help to prevent anemia and help you to feel better too.
Tiredness and achiness can reduce your sex drive, but pregnancy hormones can also increase it. In addition, your belly is getting bigger all the time!
Fluid retention can cause swollen hands and feet, but you can counteract it by drinking plenty of water. Maternal instincts often kick into overdrive at this time too, leading you to be more assertive about your needs.
It’s likely you’ll be rather uncomfortable due to weight gain, which causes physical pain and can interrupt sleep. Your breasts may also start leaking a little colostrum, which is the precursor to breastmilk.
As your body relaxes to make delivery easier, hip, pelvic and lower back pain can increase. Stretch marks can be itchy now too, so be sure to moisturize.
Shortness of breath and heartburn can develop due to pressure on your organs, and you may be experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions.
You may notice your mucus plug, which looks like slightly bloody, thick discharge.
Your baby is moving down to prepare for delivery, so your body can feel lighter.
Your water may break any minute now, though it’s not always a dramatic event! If you’re in any doubt about whether you’re going into labor, call your medical team to be safe.
You’re likely to go into labor now if you haven’t already–time to embrace motherhood and enjoy this wonderful new stage of your life!