by Patricia Hughes
The nine months of pregnancy are a miraculous event. During this relatively short time, your baby goes from a fertilized egg to a fully formed newborn. The changes that take place over these nine months are astounding. By the end of the first month, the tiny heart has formed and is beating. The major organs and systems of the body have developed by the end of the first trimester.
This is a critical time in your baby’s development. It’s important that you take good care of yourself during this time. Eat nutritious foods and drink plenty of fluids. Take any vitamins or extra iron recommended by your health care provider. Avoid any substances which can harm the baby. These include smoke, alcohol and drugs. Don’t take any medication without your doctor’s approval.
The baby continues to change rapidly during the second trimester. You will get to hear his heartbeat and see him on the ultrasound. By this time, the gender can be seen clearly in many cases. Your baby is a fully formed little one at the end of this trimester. The lungs are the last organ to develop enough to sustain life outside the womb. During the third trimester, the lungs finish developing. Your baby puts on weight and body fat steadily through this trimester.
Your body will go through many changes over the course of your pregnancy as well. In the early months, you may experience discomfort from morning sickness. This is a common symptom and is usually not serious. Learn some methods of dealing with this, such as getting up slowly in the morning, eating crackers before you get up or wearing wrist bands made for sea sickness. Preggie pops are lollipops that are sold to ease the symptoms of morning sickness.
The first trimester is a time of rapidly changing hormones in your body. This change causes fatigue in most women. Be sure to get enough rest. You will find you need more sleep than before you got pregnant. The best way to deal with fatigue is to get more sleep. Go to bed earlier at night. If possible, take a nap during the day.
Most women feel their best during the second trimester. Morning sickness has gotten better for the majority of pregnant mothers. The fatigue you felt in the first trimester has improved as well. Pregnant women report feeling more energy and you will begin to feel pregnant. Some couples take a final vacation as a couple during this trimester. By the third trimester, you will be uncomfortable and won’t want to travel. As you get farther into the third trimester, travel will be restricted.
The third trimester brings more discomfort. The baby is putting on weight at a rapid rate. Toward the end of this trimester, the baby is gaining a half a pound in body weight every week. This increased weight leads to several discomforts. The baby is pushing up on your stomach and lungs. This makes breathing difficult and you may be short of breath. The pressure of the baby on the stomach causes heartburn and indigestion.
The uterus is getting very crowded now and your baby is also pushing down. This can cause a variety of problems such as hemorrhoids, constipation and the need to urinate frequently. You may feel pressure low in the abdomen as the baby moves down into position for birth. When this happens, you will find that the shortness of breath improves. This is called lightening, but don’t count on going into labor right away. This can happen weeks before the baby arrives.
At the end of the third trimester, it’s time for the big day. You will finally get to meet your new baby. As the day approaches, you will feel excited. It’s normal to feel anxious and nervous as well. Continue to read, practice breathing exercises and prepare for the delivery. Soon you will be holding your precious bundle and the discomforts of the past nine months will be a memory.
Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.
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