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Pregnancy Times

First Month:

Your Baby's Growth:

For the first eight weeks your developing baby is called an embryo. Limb buds, which will grow into arms and legs, appear during this time. The embryo resembles a tadpole. The heart and lungs are beginning to form. Around the 25th day the heart starts to beat. The neural tube, which becomes the brain and spinal cord, also begins to form in the first month. At the end of the first month the embryo is approximately a half an inch long and weighs less than an ounce.

Your Body's Changes:

The first change is a missed period. Your body is making the hormones needed to nurture your baby. Your breasts are slightly bigger and tender. Morning sickness may show up, which can be sometimes be relieved by eating small and frequent meals. You may have cravings, or an aversion to foods you usually like. You will urinate more often because your growing uterus is putting pressure on your bladder.

Prenatal Care:

It is important to supplement your diet with a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid (it's found in most multivitamins) to reduce the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine. During your first appointment you will have an ultrasound to confirm your pregnancy, and will also receive an individualized care plan. Consult with us before taking any prescription drugs or over-the-counter products and it is crucial to stop smoking and drinking alcohol. In the first few months your visits will be scheduled on a monthly basis.

Second Month:

Your Baby:

All of the major body organs and systems are formed, but are not completely developed yet. The placenta is visible and working. Tiny ears, ankles, and wrists are formed. The eyelids form and grow but are still sealed shut. The fingers and toes are developed this month.

By the end of the second month the fetus looks more like a person and is about one inch long, but still weighs less than an ounce.

Your Body:

Your breasts are probably still sore and your nipples and the area around them begin to darken. Morning sickness may continue along with feeling tired and needing to rest more as your body adjusts to being pregnant. The total amount of blood in your body increases.

Prenatal Care:

Eat a variety of healthy foods, and continue to supplement your diet with folic acid during your 2nd and 3rd months of pregnancy to reduce the risk of certain birth defects. Drink at least six to eight glasses of water every day.

Third Month:

Your Baby:

After eight weeks as an embryo, your baby is now called a fetus. The fingers and toes have soft nails. The mouth has 20 buds that will become baby teeth. You can hear your baby's heartbeat for the first time using a special instrument called a "doppler."

For the rest of the pregnancy all body organs will mature and your baby will gain weight. By the end of this month, the fetus is about four inches long and weighs just a bit over an ounce. The first trimester is completed at the end of third month.

Your Body:

You may still feel tired and be plagued by morning sickness. You may have headaches, or you may feel lightheaded or dizzy. Your clothes may begin to feel tight as your waist expands and your breasts become larger.

Prenatal Care:

You need more of almost all vitamins and minerals to nourish your baby. A healthy diet is especially important. You may have gained three or four pounds or more.

The average weight gain for a woman who starts her pregnancy at a normal weight is a total of 25 to 35 pounds. Your health care provider how will monitor your weight. Exercise is good for both you and your baby; walking is a good choice.

Between 11 and 14 weeks, prenatal testing is offered to all of our patients. Women under 35 years of age are offered Nuchal Translucency and blood screening to determine the risk of Down's Syndrome and other chromosome abnormalities. For those patients over 35 years of age, chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is considered the standard of care, but it is optional. In addition some patients choose to undergo Amniocentesis at a later gestation.

Fourth Month:

Your Baby's Growth:

Your baby moves, kicks, swallows, and can hear your voice. The umbilical cord continues to grow and thicken to carry enough nourishment from mother to fetus. The placenta is now fully formed and functioning completely. By the end of month 4, the fetus is six to seven inches long and weighs close to five ounces.

Your Body's Changes:

Your appetite increases now as any morning sickness disappears. You begin to feel more energetic as you feel better. Toward the end of this month (16-20 weeks), you might feel the faint movement of your baby for the first time (called quickening). Your belly begins to show and you will probably start to wear maternity clothes and bigger bras this month.

Prenatal Care:

Pregnant women need extra iron, so we may recommend iron supplements. You'll probably gain about one pound a week, or 12 to 14 pounds, during months 4, 5, and 6.

Prenatal Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) testing for neural tube defects is recommended between the 16th and 20th week of pregnancy. If indicated Amniocentesis is also done in this time frame.

Fifth Month:

Your Baby's Growth:

The fetus becomes more active now, turning from side to side and sometimes doing somersaults. The fingernails have reached the tips of the fingers. The fetus now sleeps and wakes at regular intervals. This is a month of rapid growth; at the end of the fifth month of pregnancy, your baby is 8 to 12 inches long and weighs between eight ounces and one pound.

Your Body's Changes:

If you haven't already, you will begin to feel your baby moving. Your uterus has grown to the height of your belly button. Your heart beats faster due to increased blood volume. You may need more sleep each night. Take rest breaks during the day if you feel tired. You may begin to experience leg cramps.

Prenatal Care:

At around the 20th week, you will have a Comprehensive ultrasound, formerly called a Level 2 ultrasound, Continue eating a healthy, nutritious diet and drink lots of water every day along with exercising.

Sixth Month:

Your Baby's Growth:

The baby's skin is red and wrinkled and covered with fine, soft hair called lanugo. At this stage the fetus is usually too small to be born; its lungs are too immature for life outside its mother. If born now because of preterm labor, the fetus may possibly survive with intensive care. The eyelids begin to open this month. Fingerprints can be seen.

The fetus continues its rapid growth to a length of 11 to 14 inches long and a weight of about one and a half pounds by the end of month six.

Your Body's Changes:

You may feel your baby kicking strongly now. The skin on your expanding belly may start to itch. Your back may hurt; wear low-heeled shoes and take breaks by putting your feet up. Exercise can help prevent backaches. You may feel pain down the side of your belly as your uterus stretches.

Prenatal Care:

Continue eating a healthy, nutritious diet and take your vitamins. Be sure to exercise daily. Between 24 and 28 weeks, you will be screened for gestational diabetes. This test consists of drinking a glucose solution and drawing your blood exactly one hour later. In addition you willl start monitoring the baby's movements on a daily basis.

Seventh Month:

Your Baby's Growth:

Rapid brain growth continues in month 7. The fetus is getting too big now to move around very much but can kick strongly and roll. You may notice the shape of an elbow or heel through your belly. The bones of the head are soft and flexible which make it easier for the baby to fit through the birth canal. The lungs may still be immature, but even if born before 37 weeks pregnant, the fetus is premature but has an excellent chance for survival. Your baby is now about 18 inches long and weighs about five pounds.

Your Body's Changes:

If your ankles and feet swell from standing or walking, lie down with your feet raised. If swelling lasts longer than 24 hours, or if your hands or feet swell suddenly, call your health care provider immediately. Stretch marks may appear on your abdomen and breasts. You may feel false Braxton Hicks contractions which will prepare your body for labor. This is normal, but call the office if you have more than five contractions in one hour. As your belly gets bigger, you may lose your sense of balance.

Prenatal Care:

Continue to eat a variety of foods that are good for you. You should gain about one pound a week this month. This is the month to start looking into childbirth education classes.

Eight Month:

Your Baby's Growth:

Rapid brain growth is continuing in month 8 of your pregnancy. The fetus can kick strongly and roll. The bones of the head are soft and flexible to make it easier to fit through the birth canal.

The lungs may still not be fully developed. If born before 37 weeks pregnant, the baby is premature but has an excellent chance for survival. The baby is now approximately 18 inches long and weighs about five pounds.

Your Body's Changes:

Stronger contractions may start this month. Your breasts may leak colostrum (the fluid that will feed your baby until your milk comes in) as they begin to produce milk. You may have trouble sleeping as your belly grows and your discomfort increases.
Try putting a pillow between your knees to align your spine. You may also develop shortness of breath as the baby crowds your lungs. The baby may also crowd your stomach so eating five or six smaller meals during the day can help. The top of your uterus now lies just under your rib cage.

Prenatal Care:

After the 30th week of pregnancy, you'll need to schedule your prenatal visits every two weeks. You should gain one pound a week this month. Call right away if you have:

** Blurry vision, or spots before your eyes
* Bleeding or a gush of fluid from your vagina
* A noticeable decrease in your baby's movements
* Cramps, stomach pains, or a dull backache
* More than five contractions in one hour
* A feeling that the baby is pushing down

Ninth Month:

Your Baby's Growth:

At 37 weeks your baby is considered full term. The baby's lungs are mature and are able to function on their own, although some babies need more time. For that reason scheduled cesarean deliveries and inductions are not performed prior to 39 weeks. During this month the baby gains about a half a pound a week. The baby usually drops into a head-down position. By the end of the month 9, the baby weighs 6 to 9 pounds and is 19 to 21 inches long.

Your Body's Changes:

Your belly button may be protruding. Your breathing should be easier once the baby drops but you'll have to urinate much more frequently because of the pressure on your bladder. The swelling of your ankles and feet will possibly increase.

Your cervix may begin dilate and thin out (efface) as it prepares for birth. You may be very uncomfortable because of the pressure and weight of the the baby. Now is the time to get extra rest.

Prenatal Care:

After the 36th week of your pregnancy, you should schedule weekly visits. You may not gain any weight at all this month, or as little as one or two pounds. Read and learn as much as possible about breastfeeding. Studies have shown that the more you know before increases your chances of success.

Labor and delivery. If you begin having contractions, time them.
Call if your contractions:


* Become increasingly more painful and it is difficult move around
* Are regular or evenly spaced apart (every 5 minutes for an least one hour for first time moms)
* Last for 30 to 70 seconds

Call if you think you're in labor.

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