Pregnancy brings about dramatic physiological changes for both the mother and her baby. During the course of the nine months, a woman’s body goes through an incredible transformation as it supports and nourishes a growing fetus. The baby also experiences accelerated growth and development, from the tiny cluster of cells at conception to a fully formed infant just before birth.
The first trimester (weeks 1-12) is when a lot of the important physiological changes happen. As the embryo grows into a fetus, the mother’s hormones are rapidly changing and her body is adapting to accommodate the new life within her. Her uterus will begin to expand in preparation for childbirth and she may experience morning sickness and food cravings. Meanwhile, the fetus’ bones and organs will start to form and its heart will begin to beat.
In the second trimester (weeks 13-28), the mother’s body will continue to change as the fetus grows larger. She may feel the baby beginning to move and her breasts may become more sensitive. The fetus will develop fingerprints, eyelashes, nails, hair, and its sex organs will be visible.
The third trimester (week 29-40) is a time of rapid growth for the baby as it gains weight and prepares for birth. The mother’s body may gain up to 30 pounds during this period, although exact amounts can vary greatly depending on individual circumstances. She may experience increased back pain, varicose veins, swelling, breathlessness, and trouble sleeping. The baby’s eyes will open and it will taste the amniotic fluid it has been living in, getting ready for the outside world.
When labor finally begins, it marks the end of this incredible pregnancy journey and the beginning of a new adventure for both mother and child.
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