Pregnancy Stages- Monthly Changes in the Body and The Stages of Fetal Development

During pregnancy, the responsibility of a healthy baby falls on mother as her health directly affects the growing foetus. Consequently, pregnant women must take steps to remain as healthy and well-nourished as they possibly can. Pregnant women should take into account many health care and lifestyle considerations.

A pregnancy lasts 40 weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP) to the birth of the baby. It is divided into three stages: first trimester, second trimester, and third trimester. A female body undergoes various changes till the completion of the pregnancy. It’s just like crossing from one mountain to another by just sitting. In all the three trimesters the fetal development is divided into various phases.


It lasts from 1st week to 12th week (First three months). Most women don’t even know they are pregnant in the first month of pregnancy. This becomes obvious when expecting mothers notice their period stops. At this stage your baby is still a ball of cells, about 1cm in length. A lot happens during these first three months. The fertilized egg rapidly divides into stages called as morula and blastula and implants in the wall of your uterus where it continues to grow. These layers of cells become an embryo, which is what the baby is called at this stage. The heart, spine, lungs, brain, arms and legs start developing slowly after implantation. In the second month baby grows to 2cm and even starts developing a heartbeat. This is the time when the eyes, bones, ankles, elbows and genitals start to form. As you reach the end of the third month, baby is already 7-8 cm long and moving, although mothers can’t feel the movements at this stage. All major organs have started to develop and the face starts to look human. You may need to make some lifestyle changes at this stage. You have to avoid eating certain foods and medicines to keep your baby safe and healthy. You need to stop alcohol consumption and smoking and reduce caffeine intake. Start eating healthy for complete nourishment of your baby


It lasts from 13th week to 28th week (4th to 6th month). In the fourth month baby starts moving, swallowing, excreting urine and expecting mothers may start to feel their baby move. The baby at this stage is 13 cm long and its toes, fingernails and genital organs forms furthermore. In the fifth month, baby grows to 20 cm and even sometimes starts to suck its thumb. Babies have regular patterns of sleep now fixing their time and mothers can feel baby move. By the sixth month, baby is 30 cm and quite active. By this stage, hair has started to grow and baby’s lungs are fully developed. Mothers too feel and look more pregnant during these weeks, energy levels increases after completion of the first trimester. This will end as a great relief if you have been struggling with morning sicknesses, tiredness or nausea in the first trimester.


In the seventh month the baby is 35 cm in length and is kicking and stretching a lot, which can sometimes be uncomfortable, even painful. The baby responds to sound and can open and close its hands and eyes and can even hear. During the eighth month, all of baby’s major development and growth has completed. Baby has almost doubled in weight making mommy look more pregnant from the previous months and may start to turn upside down. By the ninth month baby can be up to 45 cm long and weigh somewhere between 2.5 to 4 kg. There’s not much room inside your dark belly for baby to move, so you can feel every movement your baby makes. The baby generally turns upside down with its head positioned towards the pelvic region and is ready to come out anytime! You’ll have more checks with the midwife as the bell can ring anytime in the third trimester and also it’s important to keep an eye on you and your baby’s health. You may start to think about what happens during labor or what will you go through. You can still feel active during the last three months, but you’ll probably find your body slowing down naturally. Walking is always an ideal exercise. Keep in mind, though, your wishes may change and you might also need some extra help during labor and birth, so keep an open mind and welcome any new changes with a positive outlook.

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