Congratulations! Pregnancy is an exciting time and a great opportunity to learn about your child’s growth and development. But with so much pregnancy information available in books, in magazines, and on websites, how can you hope to cover it all before giving birth?
We’ve made it easy for you to get all the pregnancy info you need in one place. Our illustrated pregnancy calendar is a detailed guide to all the changes taking place in your baby — and in you! Each week of pregnancy includes a description of your baby’s development, as well as an explanation of the changes taking place in your body. You’ll also find important medical info that will help keep you and your baby healthy.
A Word About Due Dates and Trimesters
After you announce your pregnancy, the first question you’ll probably be asked is “When are you due?” At your first prenatal visit, your health care provider will help you determine an expected delivery date (EDD). Your EDD is 40 weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). If you deliver on your EDD, your baby is actually only about 38 weeks old — that’s because your egg didn’t become fertilized until about 2 weeks after the start of your last menstrual period.
It’s important to remember that your due date is only an estimate — most babies are born between 38 and 42 weeks from the first day of their mom’s LMP and only a small percentage of women actually deliver on their due date.
Another common term you’ll hear throughout your pregnancy is trimester. A pregnancy is divided into trimesters:
- the first trimester is from week 1 to the end of week 12
- the second trimester is from week 13 to the end of week 26
- the third trimester is from week 27 to the end of the pregnancy
So let is begin our journey through depth of your pregnant body to see who is hidden their:
Your Baby’s Development
This first week is actually your menstrual period. Because your expected delivery date (EDD) is calculated from the first day of your last period, this week counts as part of your 40-week pregnancy even though your baby hasn’t been conceived yet.
During pregnancy, your healthy habits and your baby’s health go hand in hand. While planning to conceive, take the time to prepare your body for motherhood. Before becoming pregnant, you should:
- Avoid alcohol, drugs, and tobacco products. These substances can cause birth defects, fetal alcohol syndrome, respiratory problems, low birth weight, and other health problems.
- Talk to your doctor about any prescription and nonprescription (OTC) drugs you are taking. You’ll need to take special precautions with medications because many prescription and over-the-counter medications can negatively affect the fetus. But don’t stop taking prescription drugs without consulting your health care provider, who will help you weigh the potential benefits and risks of stopping your medications.
- Maintain a diet that contains an adequate amount of vitamins, especially folic acid. Women who are attempting to become pregnant should take 400 micrograms of folic acid a day. Adequate folic acid intake reduces the risk of neural tube defects (birth defects caused by incomplete development of the brain or spinal cord), such as spina bifida. Be sure to talk to your health care provider about taking a folic acid supplement while you are trying to conceive.
Your Baby’s Development
This may sound strange, but you’re still not pregnant! Fertilization of your egg by the sperm will only take place near the end of this week — read more about fertilization in the Your Body section below.
Although you’ll have to wait to find out what color to paint the nursery, your baby’s gender will be determined at the moment of fertilization. Out of the 46 chromosomes that make up a baby’s genetic material, only two — one from the sperm and one from the egg — determine the baby’s sex. These are known as the sex chromosomes. Every egg has an X sex chromosome; a sperm can have either an X or a Y sex chromosome. If the sperm that fertilizes your egg has an X chromosome, you’ll have a girl; if it has a Y chromosome, your baby will be a boy.
Your uterine lining, which will nourish the baby, is developing, and your body secretes follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which stimulates an egg to mature. At the end of this week, you will be at the midpoint of your menstrual cycle (if you have a regular 28-day cycle), and ovulation will occur (your ovary will release an egg into the fallopian tube).
This is when you’re most likely to conceive. If you have sexual intercourse without protection around the time that you ovulate, you can become pregnant. After your partner ejaculates, millions of sperm travel through the vagina, and hundreds make it to the fallopian tube, where your egg is waiting. One sperm generally succeeds in penetrating the egg, and fertilization takes place. When that happens, you will be pregnant — although you will not be feeling any body changes just yet.