Let’s be real. Your baby is locked away on the inside like a surprise present you must wait nine months to open. Who doesn’t want to know what’s going on in there! Some women like surprises and would rather wait – but the reality of technology now is that if we don’t want to wait, we don’t have to.
Imagining what your baby looks like used to be particularly challenging. Now there is plenty of sites and videos on the internet to tell you (or show you) where your baby is at from one week to the next. Some of you will try them all. Others will flick from site to site to see if there’s a snippet of information that the other ones missed. Some of the information between sites will be conflicting. Mobile apps and YouTube videos will show you what your baby looks like this week by ultrasound, video or animations. Ultrasound imaging is now available in 2D, 3D and 4D, giving us seemingly endless options for observing our baby in the womb.
Regardless of whether we browse one site or ten what we are looking for a connection with our baby. That little person that we know is in there but just can’t quite imagine is real.
The first trimester can be a bit of a struggle for some. During these first 13 weeks, you will probably know you are expecting because of how your body reacts to pregnancy hormones. Some women get sore breasts, some have morning sickness and others are endlessly tired.
Some women have none of the above, and some get it all. Pregnancy hormones flood your body to protect your baby and provide it with the best home possible for the length of time it needs. While you might struggle with some of these symptoms from time to time, keep in mind that some days are better than others. These things will eventually pass, and for the time being at least, they are reminders that you are growing a baby.
The second trimester starts in week 14 and lasts through the end of week 27 of pregnancy. These three months bring lots of changes for you and your growing baby and, most likely, a welcome relief from your early pregnancy symptoms. You’ll probably be feeling less nauseous as the days go by and you’ll start to enjoy your food again.
You will have more energy and your breasts will probably be less tender but will retain their new size and shape. You will start to feel your baby move and your tummy will transform from a bit of a bulge to a beautiful pregnant belly. If you have an ultrasound during this trimester, you will be able to see your baby better. If you want to know if you have a boy or a girl in there, perhaps your baby will keep still enough to let you have a look!
Week 28 marks the start of your third trimester of pregnancy. These months are your final trimester and will last until your baby is born, whenever that may be. Your baby’s body is now fully formed. They will start to gain muscle and weight and lay down their fat. While your due date marks the start of week 40, your labour may start earlier or later. Your baby is considered full term after 37 weeks. However, you may need to wait until nearly 42 weeks for your baby to be ready. Each pregnancy and every baby are different.
Once you do make it to (or past) week 40, you can try a few tricks to bring on your labour. If your baby has not made an appearance by 41 weeks, please see your pregnancy care provider and discuss your options from here. However, once you reach week 42, you’ll be officially considered overdue. At this point, your doctor may recommend induction of labour if it doesn’t begin on its own. Those last few weeks when your baby is getting squashed can be not only uncomfortable but downright painful at times. Hang in there! It’s nearly time to meet your baby.
Dr Janelle McAlpine (PhD), Clinical Midwife
Photo by Romaset used under license from Shutterstock.com