Stages of Pregnancy: First, Second and Third Trimester

A pregnancy is divided into three stages called trimesters: first trimester, second trimester, and third trimester. A trimester lasts between 12 and 14 weeks, while a full-term pregnancy lasts around 40 weeks from the first day of a woman’s last period. In each trimester, the fetus will meet specific developmental milestones

The First Trimester (0-13 Weeks):

During this period, your baby’s body structure and organs develop. Your body will also undergo major changes, and you may feel nausea, fatigue, breast tenderness and frequent urination. These are all common symptoms, but every woman has her own unique experience.

The Second Trimester (14-26 Weeks):

Known as the “honeymoon period”, the second trimester is when many of the unpleasant symptoms of early pregnancy subside. You’re likely to have increased energy and sleep better. However, some women experience back or abdominal pain, leg cramps, constipation or heartburn. An ultrasound can determine the gender of the baby as early as 14 weeks, although some doctors may perform your first ultrasound between 18 and 20 weeks. During the anatomy ultrasound, measurements of the baby are taken by an ultrasound technician. Somewhere between 16-20 weeks, you may feel your baby’s first movements, this is known as “quickening”.

Third Trimester (27-40 Weeks):

You are now nearing the home stretch of your pregnancy and are probably very excited and anxious for the birth of your baby. Some of the physical symptoms you may experience during this period include shortness of breath, hemorrhoids, urinary incontinence, varicose veins, and sleeping problems. Many of these symptoms arise from the increase in the size of your uterus, which expands from approximately 2 ounces before pregnancy to 2.5 pounds at the time of birth. During the final trimester, your baby’s bones are fully formed, its touch receptors will be fully developed, and the baby’s organs are capable of functioning on their own. As you near your due date, the baby’s body may turn southwards into a head-down position for birth.