An egg is released from the ovaries and fertilized by sperm. The fertilized egg then travels through the fallopian tubes to the uterus over the 3-4 days. Once in the uterus the fertilized egg embeds itself in the uterine wall, creating an embryo, through a process called implantation which can take about 6 days. There the embryo continues to multiply into more cells.
Although every woman and every pregnancy is different, the most commonly noticeable symptom during the first month is the missed period. Other symptoms that occur may be slight breast tenderness, nausea, increased fatigue, and bloating.
As the embryo cells continue to grow internal organs and a circulatory system begin to form. By week 6 your baby has a heart beat! Buds for arms and leg begin to form and your baby has knee and elbow joints. External eyes, ears, and lips can be seen as well. By week 8 your baby's reproductive organs have formed as is either girl or boy.
Common symptoms noticed during the second month of pregnancy include: nausea, bloating, breast tenderness intensifying, frequent urination and heartburn. You may also notice your heart beating faster due to increased blood volume that occurs with pregnancy.
This marks the end of the embryonic stage of pregnancy. The fetus has defined external sex organs and the umbilical chord has now grown connecting your baby to the placenta and uterine wall. Your baby is approximately 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) long and has fingers and toes.
Symptoms are increasingly noticeable and you may feel your baby moving. Your breast begin to enlarge and the areola (area around the nipple) may darken or increase in size.
You have now entered into the second trimester of pregnancy. Your baby grows from 3-4.5 inches (8-10 cm) long and gender may be discovered on ultrasound.
You may notice some pregnancy symptoms like nausea decrease while others like heartburn or constipation increase. Your body's blood volume continues to rise so shortness of breath, feeling faint/dizzy, and bleeding gums may occur.
By the end of this month your baby is approximately 6.5 inches (18 cm) long and begins to grow hair. A protective coating called vernix has formed over baby's skin.
If you haven't noticed baby moving already, month 5 is where it is most likely to occur. Fetal movements are referred to as quickening during this time. Breast changes, shortness of breath, constipation, and heartburn continue
Your baby is now 8 inches (20 cm) long and has grown eyelashes and has taste buds!
You may begin to feel your first contractions. Braxton Hicks contractions can present with painless abdominal tightening and your milk may start to come in.
This is the beginning of the third trimister. your baby will begin to store more fat and has reached 10 inches (25 cm) long.
Your stomach will grow at a more noticeable rate and back pain is common. Your breasts may be 2 cup sizes larger as your milk ducts continue to enlarge.
Your baby is approximate 11 inches (28 cm) and continues to store more fat.
Varicose veins and hemorrhoids may surface due to increased straining and vascular pressure. Feeling more tired, heartburn, and constipation will continue. Stretch marks may also form caused by your skin stretching as your uterus expands upward.
Your baby's eyes are fully developed and movements become more apparent. He/She is 12.5 inches long and now has nice smooth skin. Your baby should also turn vertex (head down) in preparation for labor.
The increased growth rate of your baby places more strain on your body. Trouble sleeping, frequent bathroom trips, and increasing contractions are all normal symptoms. you may also notice your stomach dropping as the baby begins to lower into the pelvis.
Your baby grows from 14 inches to up to 22 inches and average birth weight is about 7-8lbs.
As the baby lowers into the pelvis you may feel increased discomfort and pressure. Your stomach dropping may relieve some heartburn and shortness of breath. As the baby grows, there is less room in the uterus and you may notice some decrease in movement.
When a pregnancy extends over 40 weeks it is considered "post term" and increased risks occur. Amniotic fluid levels begin to decrease as well as placental function causing inadequate nutrition and/or blood flow to the baby. If your body does not go into labor on its own your provider may choose to induce your labor.
Breech presentation is when a baby is positioned bottom first instead of vertex, or head down. Vertex positioning is the most ideal position for a vaginal delivery because it is easier for the baby's body to work its way through a woman's pelvis. Therefore, breech babies make for a more difficult and risky labor and delivery. While vaginal deliveries of breech babies was once a common practice more recently the high risk has caused most providers to perform automatic cesarean sections on breech babies.
While some doctors will plan to deliver the baby by C-section, some doctors may attempt an external version, under the right circumstances.An external version is when your provider manually turns the baby's position by pressing on the uterus guiding the baby to be head down in the pelvis. While there are risks with this procedure, if it is successful you may proceed with a regular vaginal delivery. Other less aggressive methods to help turn a breech baby can be done by you at home. Watch this video on spinning babies to see what at home exercises you can try.