What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Week by Week
Being pregnant is an exciting time in your life, and each pregnancy and person can have different symptoms. Some symptoms are common amongst pregnant women and can be broken down by what week you are in your pregnancy. Even if you have been pregnant before, each pregnancy is unique in its own way, and you may have symptoms you didn’t experience before.
Are You Pregnant for 9 Months or 10 Months?
When you become pregnant, your pregnancy date is based on your gestational age. Your gestational age begins on the first day of your last menstrual cycle, weeks before you are pregnant. A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks from the start of your gestational age. These ten months are split into three trimesters. The first trimester is months 1-3, the second trimester months 4-7, and the third trimester is months 8-10. The first two weeks of the first trimester are actively menstruating and ovulating.
Commonly Known Pregnancy Symptoms:
Most people know the common symptoms of pregnancy from having a loved one who is expecting or even just seeing it on television. Here are some common symptoms that you may recognize throughout your pregnancy.
The first two weeks of the first trimester are your monthly period, and your body begins to ovulate. During ovulation, the egg travels down the fallopian tube to be fertilized with sperm. During weeks three and four, your fertilized egg begins to divide into more cells as it flows down the fallopian tube to reach the uterus. When the fertilized egg starts to divide, it implants itself into the wall of your uterus.
During week one, you are on your period and can expect the typical symptoms you usually have while menstruating.
During week two, your ovulation is starting. You may experience a slight amount of lower abdominal pain, breast tenderness, slippery discharge, and an increased body temperature.
When the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterus in week three, you may feel a slight bit of cramping in the abdominal area and even some mild spotting.
In week four, your pregnancy test can come back positive at this point! Congratulations! In this week, you will also feel your breasts becoming tender, and you may feel fatigued, constipation, bloating, and mood swings. Your smell and taste may also be heightened at this point.
During weeks five and six, the fertilized egg becomes an embryo growing to be around 1/5 inch long and starts to form little buds for arms and legs. During weeks seven and eight, your baby embryo is now 1/4 to 1/2 inch long with a heart and little webbed fingers and toes! This is the week where genetic triggers determine the sex of the baby. Pregnancy symptoms in the second month include breast tenderness, fatigue, increased urination, heartburn, and nausea.
In week five of your pregnancy, you may experience mood swings induced by hormones. The feelings of fatigue, breast tenderness, and nausea will continue.
In week six, you may start experiencing morning sickness. Your sense of smell becomes heightened, causing queasiness and food cravings and aversions.
In week seven, your pregnancy symptoms may include frequent urination from increased pregnancy hormones causing your kidneys to work harder to eliminate waste from your body. Your uterus is also growing with your baby, so it starts to compress your bladder the more it grows.
Week 8 of your pregnancy symptoms include furthering your nausea, breast tenderness, fatigue, frequent urination, mood swings, and bloating. Due to the hormone increases, you may also experience headaches.
During weeks nine and ten, your baby is considered a fetus and is 1- 1.5 inches long. Their umbilical cord connects to your placenta. During weeks 11 and 12, your baby is 2-3 inches long, and their sex organs begin to appear! Symptoms in the third month of pregnancy include worsening nausea, darkening areolas, acne breakouts, and weight gain.
In week nine, your pregnancy symptoms and heightened hormones slow down your intestines, leading to constipation and gassiness. Your morning sickness will continue as well during this period
In week ten, you may notice your breast and stomach getting larger. Your hormones may also cause acne, or you may hear that you have that radiant pregnancy glow.
In week 11 of your pregnancy, your abdomen may ache as the baby grows, and the round ligament may be painful. Your discharge may change to be creamy or clear as your body tries to rid those areas of bacteria.
The pregnancy symptoms you may experience in week 12 may also include increased veins on your skin. This is due to the volume increase in your body. During your pregnancy, your blood volume increases by 50%
During weeks 13 and 14, your baby is around 3 inches long, and their sex may be able to be seen on an ultrasound! During weeks 15 and 16, your baby is about 4.5 inches long! In the fourth month of your pregnancy symptoms, your nauseous symptoms will lessen; however, you may develop heartburn, constipation, and growing and darkening of the areolas. You may be experiencing other pregnancy symptoms such as shortness of breath, faster breathing, increased bleeding, and dizziness.
In week 13, as you exit your first trimester and enter your second trimester, some of your earlier pregnancy symptoms may start to reduce. However, you may begin to feel dizzy as your hormones shift and your blood flow is reduced from the volume.
In week 14, your appetite may increase, and your sex drive will also be higher. Some people say this is the most manageable week of your pregnancy.
In week 15 of your pregnancy symptoms, you may experience cramps, sensitive gums, and clumsiness. Your clumsiness, if so, to a relaxing hormone that loosens your ligaments, causing you to be extra clumsy.
During week 16, you may have a darkening area of your skin, particularly your nipples. However, you may also see a darkening of your inner thighs, armpits, and belly button.
During weeks 17 and 18, your baby grows to 5.5 to 6 inches long! During weeks 19 and 20, your baby is around 6.5 inches long and begins to grow fine hair and vernix on the body. Vernix is a waxy substance that covers the baby to protect its skin. Symptoms in the fifth month of pregnancy include the feeling of fluttering called quickening. Heartburn, constipation, dizziness, shortness of breath, nose bleeding, gum bleeding, and breast changes.
In week 17, the symptoms of pregnancy you may develop are more backaches and starting to become forgetful, and developing the “pregnancy brain.” You may begin to start feeling fluttering or kicking from your baby during this time.
In week 18, your belly looks increasingly pregnant, and your breasts will start to engorge as they prepare to make milk. Regular weight gain and stretch marks are common this week.
In week 19 of your pregnancy you may begin to experience worsening heartburn from the hormones causing your muscles to relax. As your baby grows, you may become more constipated as the baby puts extra pressure on your intestines.
During week 20, you should feel your baby kicking more in your stomach. You may also start experiencing leg cramps, swelling in your hands and feet, varicose veins, and dry eyes. Some women complain of trouble sleeping due to the size and pressure and belly.
During weeks 21 and 22 of your pregnancy, your baby is around 7 inches long and has started making its blood cells and taste buds. During weeks 23 and 24, your baby is now about 8 inches long and is growing eyelashes and eyebrows! During the sixth month, pregnancy symptoms include breasts starting to make small amounts of milk and Braxton Hicks contractions. Braxton Hicks contractions are feeling of squeezing in the uterus or abdomen.
In week 21, your pregnancy symptoms may increase with worsening pain in your round ligament as it stretches, increased pain in your groin areas, and shortness of breath.
During week 22, your hormones change and increase, causing your hair and nails to become thicker and shinier. However, your skin may become dry and irritated.
In week 23, your symptoms during pregnancy will continue to increase. Your leg cramps, pregnancy, brain, and back pains will continue. Your growing belly may cause your belly button to pop out if you have an “innie,” turning it into an “outie.”
During week 24, you may realize your hands are tingling, and your gums bleed when you brush your teeth. Due to your weight gain, you may also notice yourself snoring at night.
Symptoms of pregnancy during month 7 include a continuation from the other month and back pain. During weeks 25 and 26 of your pregnancy, the baby is growing heavier and longer, around 9 inches long. In weeks 27 and 28 of your pregnancy, the baby is 10 inches long.
In week 25, your hands and finger may continue to feel like they are tingling and start to swell with fluid retention.
In week 26, you may have a more challenging time sleeping as your pregnancy symptoms continue. You may still be experiencing leg cramps, frequent urination, and achiness. As your blood vessels open from increased blood flow, your hands and feet may feel itchy.
In week 27, you may also develop hemorrhoids from the increased pressure on your groin area. You may also still be experiencing constipation at this time.
In week 28, you are at the end of your second trimester and begin to enter your third trimester. You may be feeling exhausted and uncomfortable with aches and pains.
Symptoms during your pregnancy in month eight include feeling more fatigued, difficulty breathing as your belly continues to grow, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, stretch marks, Braxton hicks, heartburn, constipation, and mild stress incontinence. During weeks 29 to 30 in your pregnancy, the baby is around 10.5 inches long. In weeks 31 and 32 of your pregnancy, your baby grows to approximately 11 inches and starts to lose its fine hair.
In week 30, your itching, swelling, aching, and heartburn will still be there, and your stretch marks may be getting darker.
In week 31, most of your uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms may start to subside. Your breasts will continue to remain tender and swollen as it continues to make breastmilk, and the pressure against your bladder will still make your pee more frequently.
In week 32, your body may start to have Braxton Hicks contractions that your feel as contractions in the lower back and abdomen. These contractions should last for about 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Pregnancy symptoms during month nine include more strain due to the growing baby. During weeks 33 to 34, your baby is around 12 inches long now. They have developed eyes and working pupils that constrict and dilate. During weeks 35 to 36, your baby is around 12.5 inches long and filling out. Your baby may begin to drop towards the lower uterus during this time. The common pregnancy symptoms will continue throughout month nine, including fatigue, trouble sleeping, stress incontinence, shortness of breath, varicose veins, and stretch marks.
In week 33, your baby continues to grow and cause you to have mild incontinence, shortness of breath, and heartburn.
In week 34, your baby is still growing, and you may feel your bundle of joy trying to move into the correct position. However, you may feel less kicking and fluttering while this happens.
In week 35, you may start feeling more Braxton Hicks contractions, and weight gain should be slowing down. During this time, insomnia may kick in as well as it becomes more uncomfortable to sleep.
In week 36, you should feel your baby “dropping” into your lower abdomen. This should take pressure off your stomach and lungs, reducing your heartburn and shortness of breath.
In weeks 37 to 38 of your pregnancy, your baby is around 13 to 14 inches long. In weeks 39 to 40, your body is getting ready to give birth! Your baby should be about 7 to 8 pounds and 12 to 22 inches long. Pregnancy symptoms at month ten include shortness of breath, heartburn, and constipation improve when the baby drops lower in the uterus. The lower the baby drops, the more frequently you will have to urinate. As your cervix dilates, you may also feel aching in the pubic bone area of the lower back.
During week 37 of your pregnancy, you may experience discomfort in your pelvis and increased abdominal pressure.
In week 38, you can lose your mucus plug, causing pink-tinged discharge as your cervix begins to open.
During week 39, your body may be getting ready for labor. You can have regular contractions, pelvic pressure, back pain, and restlessness.
In week 40, if your water has not broken yet, you may experience this now, or your obstetrician may be asking you about alternate birthing methods such as a C-section.
You may experience multiple changes and symptoms during pregnancy, from breast tenderness to backaches and peeing more often. As a newly expecting mother, these new pregnancy symptoms may be surprising. Every pregnancy is different so you may experience varying symptoms in this pregnancy than in your last one. You can use this article as a guide for what to expect; however, if you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to your health care provider!