You are pregnant from the first day of your last period. So if you have a 28-day menstrual cycle, you are four weeks pregnant on the day your next period would have been due. If it’s been a week since your period was due, you’ll be 5 weeks pregnant.
Get to find out what is happening to you and your baby as your pregnancy progresses.
1st Month – Conception to About Week 8 (after your last period)
- By the end of this period, your baby has grown from about ¼ to 1 inch long inside a beginning sac of amniotic fluid (bag of waters).
- Hereditary characteristics were set from the moment the mother’s egg (ovum) and the father’s sperm met.
- Brain and nervous system are forming.
- Heart and lungs are beginning to form.
- Tiny spots for ears, eyes and nose are appearing.
- Arm and leg buds are forming.
- Make an appointment to begin antenatal care.
- Avoid use of any medications (make sure you inform your Doctor before any use).
- Avoid cigarettes and alcoholic drinks; limit your drinks of colas, teas and coffee that have caffeine.
- Avoid radiological exposure.
- Eat a balanced diet
2nd Month – Weeks 8 – 12 (after your last period)
- Your baby grows to be about 2 ¼ inches long and weighs about ½ to 1 once by the end of this month.
- A distinct umbilical cord has formed.
- Its head is large because its brain is growing faster than its other organs.
- Its heart beats.
- Its stomach, liver and kidneys are forming.
- This is a critical period in developing your baby’s structures for seeing and hearing.
- Cartilage, skin and muscles are starting to give shape to your baby’s body.
- Its fingers and toes are forming.
- Its fingernails are beginning to appear.
- Its facial features are forming.
- Continue with antenatal and keep up with appointment.
- Know your results – blood pressure, weight and urine each time.
- Know your blood type and Rh factor.
- Ask for your hemoglobin or hematocrit results to know if you are anemic.
- Have enough rest and sleep.
- Start a daily habit of exercise – walk, swim, bike.
- Avoid cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, junk foods and any medications unless prescribed by your doctor.
- Take prenatal vitamins as prescribed.
- Eat a balanced diet
- Share with your partner your ideas and worries about how pregnancy is affecting the both of you because everyone has some feelings of doubt.
- Stay positive.
3rd Month – Weeks 12 – 16
- Your baby measures about 6 inches long and weighs about ¼ pound by the end of this month.
- Amniotic fluid surrounds your baby.
- Your baby swallows amniotic fluid and its tiny kidneys return the fluid back into the amniotic sac.
- The umbilical cord is well formed and blood is circulating between your infant and the placenta.
- Your baby can move but it is still too tiny to be felt by the mother.
- Its heart beats 120 – 160 beats per minute.
- Your baby’s vocal cords are formed.
- The sex of your baby is easy to tell now, if you could see inside the uterus.
- Your baby’s ears, arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet and toes will be completely formed at the end of this month.
- Reflex movements allow your baby’s elbows to bend, legs to kick and fingers to form a fist.
- Its taste buds are forming.
- Its neck is well defined and its head (still the largest part) can be held erect.
- Get your antenatal check-up this month.
- Eat a balanced diet with plenty of protein, fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water each day.
- Avoid cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine and any unprescribed medication.
- Get some exercise every day – like walking 15 minutes every day.
- Avoid using pesticides and aerosol sprays during your pregnancy.
- Examine your budget and begin to set aside some money for baby items.
- Communicate your fears and worries.
- Allow yourself and your partner to adjust to both negative and positive feelings about this pregnancy.
4th Month – Weeks 16 – 20
- Baby will measure about 10 inches long and weigh about ¾ of a pound by the end of this month.
- Amniotic fluid rises this month and your baby enjoys moving about freely inside the amniotic sac.
- Kidneys now make urine.
- Hair begins to appear on your baby’s head.
- A fine downy hair (lanugo) begins to appear over your baby’s body.
- Eyebrows and eyelashes begin to grow.
- Baby’s skin begins to fill out with fat.
- Growth spurt in both length and weight.
- Baby’s movements may become strong enough for some to be felt by the mother by the end of this month.
- Keep up with your antenatal appointment this month.
- Continue to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid caffeine drinks, cigarettes, alcohol and medications (unless prescribed).
- Get some regular exercise – work up to walking at least one mile a day.
- Make sure that seat belts fit low over your hips.
- Learn and practice the Kegel exercises every day.
- Continue to take your prenatal vitamins and iron.
- Wear comfortable clothes as you change size.
- Talk with your partner about what you both think the baby will be like: its sex, hair color, eye color, personality and your new role as parents.
5th Month – Weeks 20 – 24
- Your baby will weigh about 1 ½ pounds and be about 12 inches long by the end of this month.
- Your baby’s skin is covered by a white cheesy secretion (vernix caseosa) that protects its skin as it moves in the amniotic fluid.
- Bay’s heartbeat can be heard with a doppler.
- Baby’s movement can be easily felt.
- Some hair may be present on baby’s
- The eyelids are still closed.
- Its skin is wrinkled and red but slowly being filled out with fat.
- Baby’s fingernails continue to grow.
- Continue your antenatal check-ups.
- Continue to eat a balanced diet making sure you have enough milk and milk products.
- Keep up the routine of walking every day and doing the Kegel exercises.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, junk foods, caffeine drinks and unprescribed medications.
- Be careful to remember your vitamins and iron supplements every day.
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water or other fluids each day.
- Wear well-fitting support bras
- Take time for a rest period (left side is better for circulation to your baby).
- Talk about any concerns you or your partner may have about the responsibilities you will have to assume as parents.
6th Month – Weeks 24 – 28
- Your baby will measure about 12 to 15 inches long and weigh about 2 to 2 ½ pounds by the end of this month.
- Your baby can respond to noises from the outside; it may move or become quiet.
- Baby can kick, cry and hiccup.
- Baby’s skin is still wrinkled and red.
- The eyelids can now open and close; its eyes are almost completely developed for life outside.
- Ridges for fingerprints are forming.
- Get your antenatal check-up on schedule – even if you feel great.
- Prepare your breasts and nipples.
- Take rest periods as needed.
- Continue to eat a good diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Talk with other parents about their childbirth experiences; ask questions when needed doctor or nurse.
- Take time to talk about how you feel about your body changing.
7th Month – Weeks 28 – 32
- Your baby now measures about 16 inches long and will weigh a little over 2 ½ to 3 pounds by the end of the month.
- Baby’s body is now covered with fine, soft hair called “lanugo”.
- Fingerprints are formed.
- Baby’s definite periods of sleeping and waking.
- Baby moves frequently with noticeable kicking and stretching.
- Brain and nervous systems now mature rapidly.
- Stores iron and will continue until time to be born.
- If a boy, the testicles will start to descend into the scrotum.
- Get your antenatal check-up this month.
- Eat a balanced diet with plenty of protein and iron rich foods like liver, eggs and meat.
- Continue to drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluids a day.
- Practice relaxation and breathing exercises each day.
- Tour the labor and delivery section of the hospital if possible.
- Start thinking about items you will need the first 6 weeks at home
- Plan and spend some special times with your partner.
- Take some extra time for yourself to do things you want to do.
- Continue to talk about your feelings, being pregnant and the responsibilities that face both you and your partner.
- If you are working, start working towards maternity leave.
8th Month – Weeks 32 – 36
- Your baby gains about 2 pounds this month; by the end of the month it will weigh about 5 ½ pounds and will be about 18 inches long.
- All body systems and organs are now mature enough by the end of this month that your baby should be all right if it should be born early but still needs that extra time of growing in your uterus.
- Its skin is smooth as fat begins to fill out the wrinkles.
- Its eyes are open.
- The soft, downy hair gradually disappears.
- It is still active with noticeable patterns of sleep and wakefulness.
- It may settle down into the position for birth.
- Plan to get a prenatal check-up every two weeks this month.
- Eat a balanced diet of small frequent meals.
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluid each day.
- Continue your exercise program of walking and stretching.
- Practice exercises learned in your childbirth education class.
- Make financial arrangements with the hospital.
- Begin to make plans for someone to help you around the house after the birth.
- Make arrangements with a pediatrician, family doctor or clinic for baby’s health care after birth.
- Practice relaxation techniques during Braxton-Hicks contractions (normal tightening and releasing of the muscles of the uterus).
- Review what activities will take place during labor and delivery.
- Discuss names for the baby with your partner.
9th Month – Weeks 36 – 40
- Your baby grows 2 ½ inches and gains 2 pounds – now weighs 6 ½ to 7 ½ pounds and is about 20 inches long.
- The amniotic fluid equals about 1 quart.
- Your baby settles into a head down position, if this hasn’t already happened.
- Baby may seem quieter since there is less space to move about.
- Its definite sleep and activity periods continue.
- Its eye color is slate blue, but that will probably change after birth.
- Its fingernails become complete and may grow long.
- All your baby’s body systems and organs continue to mature; it will be ready to take that first breath and grow on its own just as soon as it is born.
- Get a prenatal check-up each week until baby arrives.
- Continue to eat a balanced diet but you may be more comfortable with smaller meals eaten more frequently.
- Continue to exercise and practice for childbirth.
- Limit any out-of-area travel now.
- Pack what you need for labor.
- Pack what to take to the hospital.
- Set aside clothes for you and baby to wear home.
- List people and phone numbers to call when labor begins.
- Take time to treat yourself and your partner to something extra special for the both of you.
- Cover your mattress and favorite chair with plastic just in case your bag of water breaks.