Pregnancy week after week
Weeks of pregnancy are grouped into three trimesters, each with medical milestones for you and the baby.
During the first trimester (weeks 1 to 12), a baby grows rapidly. The fetus begins to develop its brain, spinal cord and organs. The baby’s heart will also start to beat.
A miscarriage probability is relatively high during the first trimester. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), it is estimated that about 1 in 10 pregnancies end in miscarriage, and about 85% of these occur in the first trimester.
Seek immediate help if you experience symptoms of a miscarriage.
During the second trimester of pregnancy (weeks 13 to 27), your healthcare professional will likely perform an anatomical ultrasound.
This test checks the body of the fetus for any developmental abnormalities. The test results can also reveal the gender of your baby, if you want to know this before the baby is born.
You will probably start to feel your baby moving, kicking and knocking inside your uterus.
A baby in utero is considered “viable” after 23 weeks. This means that it could survive outside your uterus. Babies born so early often have serious health problems. Your baby has a much better chance of being born healthy the better able you are to carry her pregnancy.
During the third trimester (weeks 28-40) your weight gain will accelerate and you may feel more tired.
Your baby can now feel the light and open and close his eyes. Their bones are also formed.
As you approach labor, you may experience pelvic discomfort and your feet may swell. Contractions that do not cause labor, called Braxton-Hicks contractions, can start to occur in the weeks before childbirth.
After the first day of your missed period, home pregnancy tests are very accurate. If you get a positive result on a home pregnancy test, you should immediately make an appointment with your doctor. To confirm and date your pregnancy, an ultrasound will be used.
By measuring the body’s levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), pregnancy is diagnosed. Also called a pregnancy hormone, hCG is produced during implantation. However, it may not be detected until after missing a period.
After missing a period, hCG levels rise rapidly. HCG is detected by a urine or blood test.
Urinalysis tests can be done at a doctor’s office, and they are the same as tests you can do at home.
Blood tests can be done in a lab. HCG blood tests can be as accurate as home pregnancy tests. The difference is that blood tests can be ordered as early as six days after ovulation.
The sooner you can confirm that you are pregnant, the better. To take better care of your baby’s health early diagnosis can help.
Pregnancy and vaginal discharge
One of the first signs of pregnancy is an increase in vaginal discharge. Your discharge production can increase as early as one to two weeks after conception, even before you’ve missed a period.
As your pregnancy progresses, you will continue to produce increasing amounts of secretions. The discharge will also tend to get thicker and occur more frequently. At the end of your pregnancy, it is usually the heaviest.
During the last few weeks of your pregnancy, your discharge may contain streaks of thick mucus and blood. This is called “the bloody spectacle“. It can be an early sign of labor. If you have any bleeding, you should tell your doctor.
Normal vaginal discharge, or leucorrhea, is thin and clear or milky white. It is also a sweet smell.
If your discharge is yellow, green, or gray with a strong, unpleasant odor, it is considered abnormal. Abnormal discharge can be a sign of an infection or pregnancy problem, especially if there is redness, itching, or swelling of the vulva.
If you think you are having abnormal vaginal discharge, tell your healthcare professional immediately.
Pregnancy and urinary tract infections (UTIs)
One of the most common complications of women during pregnancy is urinary tract infections (UTIs). Bacteria can enter a woman’s urethra or urinary tract and travel up into the bladder. The fetus puts extra pressure on the bladder, which can cause bacteria to trap, causing infection.
Symptoms of a UTI usually include burning and pain or frequent urination. You may also meet:
- cloudy or bloody urine
- pelvic pain
- lower back pain
- nausea and vomiting
Almost 18 percent of pregnant women develop a urinary tract infection. These infections can be prevented by emptying your bladder frequently, especially before and after sex. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Avoid using gentle showers and harsh soaps in the genital area.
Contact your healthcare professional if you have symptoms of a urinary tract infection. Infections during pregnancy can be dangerous because they increase the premature labor risk.
When caught early, most UTIs can be treated with antibiotics that are effective against bacteria, but still safe during pregnancy.