The journey travelled and the bodily changes we experience between finding out we're pregnant and that 12 week mark is huge.
Let's break down the first twelve crucial weeks of your pregnancy:
Week One & Two:
Your due date is calculated from the first day of your last period, not from the day of conception, therefore the first few weeks of 'pregnancy' aren't always simply tracked or easily predicted in each women. It is during Week Two that ovulation occurs, and if the matured egg is met with sperm, a woman can become pregnant. The egg and sperm combine to make one combined cell, this is called fertilisation. A baby’s gender is determined at this moment.
The fertilised egg makes its way toward your uterus (this is when Ectopic Pregnancy can sometimes occur). The single cell (fertilised egg) becomes a collection of cells, and by the end of this week, the new cluster of cells will attach to the lining of your uterus (the endometrium.) This process is referred to as the implantation stage.
Most women don't have any symptoms at this stage, except some possible ovulation-pain twinges, cramps and aches.
It's around this stage that you may get a positive pregnancy test via a urine sample or blood test. Some cramping and/or spotting can also occur during this week which sometimes can lead women to think two things (1) I am not pregnant and this is my period or (2) I am pregnant and something is wrong! Relax though, some light spotting is common in women during this time as the cells implant into the uterus and your baby starts to develop. If you are worried or concerned about your symptoms though, seek medical advice straight away. It is now that your body is producing HCG (refer to this post about these hormones and their role) and you may start to feel the beginning of nausea, breast tenderness and/or fatigue.
Week Five marks the start of the Embryonic Period where the implanted cells are developing to form the baby's brain and spinal cord. It is now that the embryo is taking on a growing and obvious formation. Morning sickness may be setting in around this time for some women, and it is during this week that most women become very aware they are pregnant (with a missing period the biggest clue).
The embryo grows rapidly during this time. Arms, legs are eyes are forming. The baby's brain is developing rapidly and the heart is beginning to pump blood. Some women hear or see their baby's heart rate via ultrasound during this week. It is an exciting time for expecting mothers, as the baby is starting to resemble a small human-shape as apposed to a blob-like cell formation.
Another busy week of change, growth and development occurs now. Your baby is continuing to become more defined, with a more visible facial structure and the umbilical cord (which will provide your baby with water, nutrients and oxygen for the remainder of the pregnancy) is completing it's build.
Hands, feet and eyes are becoming more formed and obvious. Your health and the way you treat your body (and baby) is really vital during this time as your baby develops. Usually the genitals are still too small to identify via scan/ultrasound until well into the second trimester.
You may be feeling bloated and starting to slightly show in the mid section (some women pop out quicker in their second or subsequent pregnancies) and morning sickness may be causing havoc on your emotions, health and everyday life.
Your baby is starting to move around more, but you won't feel them yet - they're still too small & protected - approximately the size of a small grape. Their internal organs are starting and continuing to develop. Some women start telling their family, friends and work colleagues about their pregnancy around this stage (if they haven't already) as they know their morning sickness, hormonal changes and changing body are probably big give aways. A lot of women like to wait until after the first trimester to announce their pregnancy though, it's a personal decision when you want to share the exciting news.
It is during Week Ten that the embryo is now referred to as a fetus. The fetus's vital organs and all starting to work in sync.
Week Eleven & Twelve:
During these last two weeks of the first trimester, a lot of growth occurs within your uterus and the fetus. Tiny little finger and toe nails start to grow, organ's continue to develop and function and the baby is now able to produce urine via their newly created kidneys.
It is around this time that some women find their hormones settling and balancing, which in turn allows morning sickness to subside.
Well done - you and your little miracle have made it to Trimester Two!
You may also like:
- Dealing with Aches & Pains During Pregnancy
- Green Smoothies to Drink During Pregnancy
- Sleeping Well During Pregnancy
- Avoiding and Treating Stretch Marks