Pregnancy is an exciting journey, filled with joy, anticipation and unique sets of challenges. Understanding the different stages of your pregnancy and developments of the baby and your body will helps to ease any yourconcerns and better prepare you for motherhood:
First Trimester (Conception to 12 Weeks)
The first trimester is a time of many firsts. There will be signs of morning sickness, tender swollen breasts, visiting the toilet more frequently, weight gain, food cravings or dislikes, fatigue and so on. You can discuss with your doctor on managing these changes, undergo an ultrasound scan to check on the heart rate, whether there is more than one baby, the estimated age of your baby, and your expected delivery date so that you can plan towards it. Towards the end of this trimester, if you wish to find out if your baby is healthy or if there are any anomalies such as Down's Syndrome, screening is available.
While most pregnancies are smooth, others may not be so. If you encounter pain or bleeding between six and ten weeks and have had a miscarriage before, your obstetrician may get you to do an early scan to assess how best to manage your pregnancy and the risks.
This stage of your pregnancy requires changes to your lifestyle habits such as sleeping earlier to prevent fatigue, eating small meals often to meet your cravings while managing your weight gain, cutting down on caffeine, taking prenatal vitamins as prescribed by your obstetrician, and so on. Every woman is different; some may have more hormonal changes than others. Hence, every pregnancy is unique.
Your baby, too, will undergo developments. From being a cluster of cells to measuring about eight to nine centimeters in length, this is also the stage whereby the eyes, teeth buds, ears, fingers and toes start to develop. Vital organs too make their headway during development. By the end of this trimester, your baby's gender can be determined by your obstetrician.
It is also time to start exploring maternity care choices. To help you understand what our hospital maternity care and services are all about, we welcome you to join us in a maternity tour of Gleneagles Hospital.
Second Trimester (13 – 26 Weeks)
This is a time where pregnancy gets more exciting. Signs like morning sickness and fatigue that you have experienced in the first trimester will go away as you reach the second trimester. Other new challenges arise -– your baby bump becomes more obvious as your womb expands, you may start developing stretch marks and water retention leading to swollen fingers, legs, ankles and legs, and/or experience other symptoms like backache, headaches and giddiness,,all of which and these are normal. It is also a time where you may receive more comments on having a 'pregnancy glow' or radiance.
There are steps to take to manage a healthy pregnancy. For instance, to manage a healthy weight gain and have enough nutrients, it is also important to follow a healthy diet, drink plenty of fluids and water and take your prenatal vitamins as prescribed by your doctor. To address stretch marks, you can start using a stretch mark cream. If you notice sudden or extreme swelling or rapid large excessiveweight gain quickly, you should call your obstetrician soon as soon as possibleas this can couldbe a sign of pre-eclampsia.
As you move from the first to the second trimester, your obstetrician may ask you to go for an ultrasound scan and other tests to determine your baby's health. During this stage, your baby's bones will get stronger, fine hair will start to cover his or her body, and you may feel your baby's movement, kicks and even sleeping patterns. It is an exciting time where you and your spouse will get be delighted at your baby's movements and developments. Thus, it is a time to learn more about your pregnancy through antenatal classes and ParentCraft sessions.
Third Trimester (27 Weeks to Birth)
Finally, taking the leap towards motherhood and beyond! At this stage, your baby bump will grow even more and you may feel tiredness and backache, which is common. Your breasts may begin to leak breast milk and you should get plenty of rest and avoid lifting heavy items and other physical exertions. You will need to visit your obstetrician every fortnightly (two weeks), and start developing your birth plan: when, where, the type of delivery and who to help you in your delivery.