Time flies when you're pregnant. One day, you find out you're expecting as you see two lines on the pee stick, and a few months later, your life tremendously changes with the arrival of your baby. Though it feels like a snap, it never is for the female body that works at every space of a second. Interestingly, it runs on a tight schedule—not exceeding ten months—and it tirelessly overworks to create a new life.
Pregnant female bodies work round the clock to support life for a new offspring. Though they may not feel it, an unborn baby massively develops on a cellular level at every second. With this, it comes to no surprise that she finds her body largely different than what it used to be as every month pass.
As a rundown of these changes, here's what to expect for each month of pregnancy, plus one thing a mom-to-be should anticipate the most as she enters the "fourth trimester."
10 1st Month
At this point, a pregnant woman may have already realized her life is about to change. Most pregnant women don't get symptoms, except for a missed period, until they reach six weeks. However, they may feel early symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and breast tenderness as they move closer to the second month.
Some women also experience a heightened sense of smell as estrogen continues to rise, leading to food sensitivity. It's highly likely that they will experience fatigue as the body adjusts to hormonal changes that prepare a life-conducive environment.
Before the first month ends, the baby is only less than .2 millimeters long, complete with its genetic material, and with sex already determined.
9 2nd Month
The second month of pregnancy may be one of the hardest, as early pregnancy symptoms may develop more severe. Morning sickness, which involved nausea and vomiting, can be a frequent company for the mom-to-be. Contrary to its name, morning sickness occurs even at nighttime.
At this time, pregnant mama will experience increased mood swings. She may also find herself struggling just to get out of bed as the fatigue worsens, and will find herself sleeping in more than usual, thanks to bursting hormones like estrogen and progesterone. As the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin, known as hCG, also spikes, the bathroom will be an expecting mom's best friend since urination can become more and more frequent.
On the second month, the fertilized egg is now called a zygote and already develops a beating heart. The zygote will be less than an inch long, all complete with limbs, and already features a developing brain.
8 3rd Month
The month of partial relief, the third month in pregnancy marks the time when hormones start to subside, although not quite fully, as hormonal changes are still happening even after the baby is born. At this point, the pregnant body has already fully adjusted to the initial hormonal spike and may be finally relieved soon from nausea, vomiting, fatigue, excessive sleepiness, and other early pregnancy symptoms.
The appetite (finally!) comes back in the 3rd month, making the pregnant mama have her first food cravings. Since the body is working full-time, particularly the pumping heart that supplies nutrients from the blood, you may notice she's donning the "pregnancy glow" since more blood circulates in her body, including her face.
On this month, the baby is now officially called a fetus—complete with vital organs and is about two to four inches long—and can move its body on its own.
7 4th Month
At the start of the second trimester, the pregnant woman may feel like she's back to her old self, except with a subtly growing belly that starts to show. During this time, morning sickness and fatigue should be completely gone, and mama-to-be is expected to bounce back with energy.
Another good news: sex drive comes back! Generally, the hormonal havoc has stabilized by this time, but there will still be unpleasant symptoms like heartburn, for one, which is caused by the uterus as it presses the abdomen.
Now a fully-fledged fetus, the baby is about the size of a cellphone and has learned how to suck his or her thumb for comfort. The baby's first movement, quickening, may be felt by the mother as she reaches this stage.
6 5th Month
Now that she's halfway through pregnancy, expecting mama will notice that she has gained five to 15 pounds at this point and may already sport that cute little outtie. As her baby grows, there will be bouts of back pain and fatigue may be coming back because of the extra cargo she's bearing. Plus, the appetite increases further at this point.
Don't be surprised, too, if she has been completely forgetful during these days because the infamous "pregnancy brain" starts to kick in. Blame it (again) on the hormones, progesterone and estrogen, as their amount increase by 15 to 40 times.
On this month, the baby is already about six to nine inches long. The genitals are already developed and sex may finally be revealed through an ultrasound.
5 6th Month
At the end of the second trimester, pregnant mama will be putting on weight faster, gaining about a pound a week. This weight gain is due to the baby's rapid growth—who roughly doubles his or her weight. With this, the extra pounds are putting pressure on the feet and may lead to overpronation, a condition where the bones on the feet flats out to the ground.
Some symptoms like heartburn, constipation, bleeding gums, and leg cramps may also come on a usual basis and can intensify as the baby grows. Even sleeping can be quite troublesome for an expecting mom at this point because of the growing belly and shifted center of gravity.
At 6th month, the baby is now able to move his or her eyeballs, though they're still shut. The fetus can now also communicate with mama's voice by moving in response.
4 7th Month
The last trimester begins and the maternal instinct will be more evident than before. During this stage, feet and hands may feel frequently cramped, and the joints will start to soften as a preparation for birth. Braxton Hicks, or false contractions, may also start this month.
By this point, a mama should feel plenty of movements from the baby and should already have a pattern of movements. Some babies are active after dinner or during bedtime. As the months pass, a pregnant mom will get the hang of knowing if her baby is asleep or not. If the baby moves less frequently than usual for a while, it's best to monitor the movement. There should be at least 10 movements in an hour.
During this month, the baby starts to develop fats and now measures about 12 inches long. She or he can now also see, hear, and taste inside mommy's womb.
3 8th Month
It's been quite a while and the emotions will start to overwhelm an expecting mom. Her pregnancy is almost over, with a little over a month in waiting before she sees her precious bundle of joy.
But as the pregnancy is about to end, some new symptoms are just beginning to emerge. She may notice shortness in breath since the space in her abdomen is getting a little tight. Hemorrhoids, or enlargement of veins in the rectal area, can also be experienced at this time as the blood flow increases. Vein enlargement in her legs can also occur, which may result in varicose veins.
On the 8th month, the baby is nearing his or her "finishing touches" and is close to reaching the actual birth weight. However, the brain is still continuing to develop—from cerebellum responsible for motor control to cerebral cortex responsible for thinking, remembering, and feeling.
2 9th Month
Finally, the home stretch of pregnancy is here. Between all the inconveniences and heart-warming experiences, it's been a bittersweet journey for the mom-to-be. In a matter of weeks, she will finally meet the person who's half of her and half of the person she loves.
At nine months, everything is a whirlwind. She'll begin to feel tired one moment and then suddenly boast in energy at another. The "nesting" instinct, or the urge to prepare the home for the upcoming baby, will also kick in at this point. As the skin expands to cater to the growing belly, stretch marks will begin to arise. Pregnant mama may also not get a good night sleep from this time forward, due to her belly being at its biggest. Frequent urination, swollen legs, and pelvic pressure also accompany her until she reaches labor.
By this time, the baby is almost ready for his or her arrival and is still packing on the weight. Sometime this month, the baby will move head down as a preparation for coming out to the world.
1 Welcome To The World
The big day has finally come. After the long nine months of preparation, the baby has already made his or her way into mama's arms. It's true: as soon as she reaches into her baby, every pain, suffering, and inconvenience will vanish.
From this moment, lives have been forever changed and in motherhood, you can't really expect what's going to happen. Indeed, there's no manual that helps her through the ins and outs of being a mother, more so if it's her first time.
In this "fourth trimester", she has given birth two different persons: her bouncing new baby and her new self. The journey through matrescence is going to be as tough as sustaining the brand new life of her offspring, but while it's hard, it's going to be worth it.