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Week 1 to Week 6
Week 1 – you’re not pregnant. For some reason pregnancy is counted from the 1st day of your last period. Strange as you actually haven’t conceived at this stage.
Week 2 - 14 days after your first period over its time for bedroom action. This is when your partner is super excited about your eagerness for activity. Evidence suggests that most women ovulate during this period and is the time that conception is most likely to happen. For some women ovulation can be delayed (unbeknownst to them) which results in a VERY VERY happy partner getting lots and lots of action.
Week 3 - Are you pregnant? Not yet! It can take days for the sperm to travel and fertilise the egg. Evidence suggests that the fast little sperm that reach and fertilise the egg will result in conceiving a boy and the slow but steady sperm that fertilise the egg will result in conceiving a girl. There are many many recommendations on how to increase your chance of conceiving a girl including changes to diet, timing your love making to a couple days prior to ovulation, have hot baths prior to love making and list goes on.
Week 4 – You’re pregnant! So by now your period is late and you’ve purchased at least 3 pregnancy tests and they all come up positive! Every time you do one, you can’t stop smiling. You don’t feel any different but something has changed. Your baby is now called an embryo. All of its vital systems are forming quickly by this stage.
Week 5 – Your body may start to give you signs that there is a baby on the way. Your boobs may feel super tender and you may experience some cramps. Your body has already developed the placenta.
Week 6 – Oh here we go. On day 1 of Day 6 you may experience nausea. 75% of women experience morning sickness. It’s almost like a wave that hits you in the face. Just the day before you felt fine but then, bang you feel nauseous and normal smells that didn’t affect you before, can bring you to tears. You feel irritable and testy for no particular reason. My poor husband could no longer wear Lynx body spray, cook with onions or just breathe the right way. The vomiting for me was daily and if I didn’t vomit I felt like I was hung over 24 hours a day. I made regular visits to the hospital for rehydration for all three pregnancies. Zofran was my best friend along with iced finger buns in my case for pregnancy #1, chocolate Oreos for pregnancy #2 and hash browns for pregnancy #3. If morning sickness wasn’t enough, you also may need to wee A LOT.
Your baby is 5mm but already has a heartbeat and the lungs are already starting to form.
Week 7 to 13 – The nausea continues and feels like it will never end. If it’s your first pregnancy, you have the ability to curl up in a ball and wish the pain away. If you have little ones to look after, you’re in a whole world of pain. There’s no respite and you wonder how you will get through. You wish your partner could experience it just for 1 day so they knew you weren’t just complaining. On the outside you look the same but on the inside, your body has turned into one serious baby incubating machine. If you’re are in the 25% minority and not experiencing morning sickness and life seems unchanged, enjoy every moment of it. Motherhood will be a challenge in itself!
You will notice your breasts are starting to fill out and veins may start to appear on them as your volume of blood increases. Your hormones are on overdrive now which may lead to moodiness.
You make it to week 12. Yippee! You’ve either spilled the beans already to all mankind or you’ve just announced your wonderful news. Your 12 week scan is the most amazing experience and you are stunned at how ‘complete’ baby is. That first time you see your baby stays with you forever and never gets boring with each pregnancy.
Your tummy may be a little more rounded now particularly if it’s not your first pregnancy. Your uterus is shifting upwards out of your pelvis hopefully bringing some relief to your bladder which has been squeeshed down up until now. Your nipples may be starting to get darker. You’re beautiful pregnancy glow will start as the overall blood volume increases in your body. You’re complexion may start to clear as well. At the end of the first trimester, you’re energy will pick up and you will start to feel really excited about babys arrival. Some women do continue to have nausea past the first trimester but cross fingers you aren’t one of them. If you are, we feel for you! It’s so hard to stay positive and happy about this experience when all you want to do is curl up into a ball and wish away the sickness.
This is a nice time to start your baby journal. I’ve kept a journal for each of my children just so that one day they can have idea of what I was thinking and feeling during this special time.
From week 7 to 13 your baby will grow from 1.25cm to 8cms long! By week 8 your baby is now a fetus and its eyes, ears, facial features, fingers and toes are formed. By week 10 the baby has fingernails and hair. Your baby’s eye color has already been determined. By week 11 your baby is already passing urine and can suck and swallow. By week 12, your baby is fully formed and only needs 28 weeks to grow in size and in proportion. Baby is wriggling like mad. You won’t be able to feel it just yet as your uterus is only just at the top of your pelvis. Once the baby can hit the walls of your uterus you will know about it and find it such a comforting feeling. This is the most critical time for babys brain development. Baby may start to suck his/her thumb, their digestive system is working properly as the placenta starts to do all the work in feeding nutrients and oxygen for growth and bone marrow is already producing white blood cells to keep him/her fit and healthy.
Week 14 to Week 27 – the glory days!
This is the best part of pregnancy. By week 14, you now have a pregnant tummy as opposed to looking fat. The morning sickness has hopefully subsided, you have your energy back, your partner may be a little taken back by how ‘keen’ you for some bedroom antics, and life seems to be back to normal except for the fact that your waist seems to be disappearing by the day.
Baby will grow 3 to 4 times its size during this period and is looking like a real baby. Your 20 week scan is scheduled and this is when you decided whether to find out the sex of your baby or not. A recent survey conducted by a Brisbane based ultra sound clinic found that 75% of couples find out the sex. The temptation to find out is almost unbearable. The idea of the radiographer knowing my future almost broke me but we chose not to find out with any of our three babies and it was an amazing surprise for each. If you’re like me, you’ve done the ring test, the hair test, your friends have assessed the shape of your tummy and all come up with a verdict. Also like me, they are all wrong but it’s made the fact that you don’t know, all the more exciting.
The weight gain starts to pick up and for some, this may be a worry. The average weight gain for women is between 10 and 25 kgs. Everyone woman is different and this, if at any time in your life, is the time NOT to compare. As long as you are healthy and baby is healthy, there is nothing to worry about.
Between weeks 14 to 17, your baby learns to swallow and its kidneys are now functioning. His/her legs are stretching out and by week 18 you may start to feel little kicks.
By week 20, your wardrobe has definitely changed and it’s time to get into your new Mamá y Bebé career wear and essentials for work and play. By week 21 your baby is as a long as a banana and it’s wriggling about very energetically. At week 22, baby can start to hear noises from the outside world. It’s no wonder that baby will recognise you and your partners voice once they are born. By week 25, the baby’s lungs are starting to get ready to breathe although the placenta is still providing the vital oxygen it needs. By week 26, your baby can see and will respond to torches or bright sunlight shining on your tummy. The baby’s growth rate is incredible at this time and by week 27 your babys weight would have doubled from week 14. At this stage, movements are visible.
Weeks 28 to 40
The countdown is on! You are starting to get more tired. Sleeping through the night is becoming increasingly difficult. Mother Nature is preparing you for a new sleeping routine you can’t even imagine. You think you know the meaning of tired. The novelty of pregnancy is starting to wear off by week 34. If you don’t know the sex of the baby, you’re really wishing you had found out. Your curiosity is killing you.
By the third trimester, baby is in serious development mode ready for life on the outside. Baby will shift so much during this time. One checkup it will be face down ready to go and then the next it will bounce back out of the pelvis and be staring up at you. If you’re like me, you’re madly crawling on all fours about the house trying to get it to turn around.
Your friends and family are probably now talking about the Baby Shower you don’t want to have. My advice: It IS an amazing time for you and if those close to you want to love you and celebrate this occasion, let them. Maybe restrict the crazy baby shower games they want to play. The one party game I actually loved was guessing the size of my tummy using a piece of string. I kept that piece of string and measured myself the moment I went into labour, a cute little keepsake for my baby to know just how big I got with them inside me.
The thought of labour may start to creep in but all you need to know is that your womanly strength and will power and body is amazing and is prepared for what’s ahead. It’s a good time to think about your antenatal class. I strongly recommend an active birthing class. This was amazing class offered by my local physiotherapist. It prepared me and my husband thoroughly for the big day. The active birth class gave me a number of pain coping techniques for the labour which helped tremendously for each of my labours.
You may want to pack your hospital bag by week 36. You just never know! Here are my hospital bag tips – keep it simple with the following Mamá y Bebé essentials:
3 x Mamá y Bebé nursing pyjama tops (Two with long sleeves and one with short sleeves). Hospital can get really cold but you can also overheat once your milk comes in so you want the option to cover up or dress down. Plus having multiple tops will mean no need to wash as you can experience colostrum and milk leakage.
1 x Mamá y Bebé Nursing nightie like Siena. You’ll look dressed for your family and friends when they come to visit. The pull down design makes feeding so easy.
1 x Mamá y Bebé Sintra maternity and nursing dress – perfect to go home in. It’s so flattering on all body shapes plus the loose fitting design means it won’t press on your tummy especially if you’ve had a cesarean. The pull down design means you can feed at any moment.
1 x Mamá y Bebé Bounce Back post-partum band – perfect to get your tummy muscles back together. Wear in hospital and for up to three months.
Remember to pack toiletries that are lightly fragranced. You don’t want to spin baby out with your latest perfume. Pack plenty of undies (not white, like I did for my first delivery. What was I thinking???).
Everyone labours so differently. For my first pregnancy, I was woken at 1.30am with my waters breaking. Now nowhere did I read that waters breaking means Niagara falls happens between your legs. I thought it would be a trickle. No. No trickle here. It was litres and litres of fluid. Be sure to have pads handy so you can make it to hospital without being soaked. My contractions didn’t start for another 4 hours which gave me time to straighten my hair (there was no way I as delivering looking like Tina Turner). For my second delivery, I started to feel crampy but wasn’t sure it was labour. I decided to go to dinner with my husband and 15 month old daughter “Spike” and polished off a steak whilst having contractions 2 minutes apart in the restaurant. For some bizarre reason, I didn’t think about having to digest a ‘steak’ whilst in labour and obviously forgot what it was like to experience my first bowel motion after delivering a baby. With my third baby, I decided I would try for a drug free birth. Oh My Goodness is all I can say. I managed to do this (it was only 4 hours so no martyrdom here) and also rip off my husbands’ right side pectoralis major muscle in the process.
Whatever your situation, remain calm, focused and happy. Remind yourself that women the world over have done this every day. Contractions will come but then they go. Listen to your body and your intuition. Pain relief, no pain relief, vaginal delivery or cesarean - the most important thing is that you and your baby remain safe and well. Take your experience as it comes and just enjoy every moment of it.
The first few days:
Your body – everything will go back to normal, eventually! You will wee again and poop again just like you did before. What happens on Day 3? Oh My Goodness. I had been warned about day 3. From nowhere, your boobs will turn into the size of rock melons. I swear that one minute they were normal pregnancy size and then BANG they were rock melons. I clearly recall the moment I said to my husband while in hospital, “I’ll just have a shower”. I walked into the bathroom took my top of and held my breasts in my hands. I walked out in my undies topless and said to him “CHECK THESE OUT, and then the midwife walked in (of course). She giggled and said she’d seen it all before! With days ‘down there’ just goes back to normal. The female body is uber amazing.
“Spike” my baby # 1 was the dream baby. She slept from the beginning, fed perfectly, didn’t need burping, and had me in state of love sickness and giddiness I had never experienced before. The baby blues never came and life was amazing. Spike’s amazing nature led to baby #2 being born by the time Spike was 15 months old. Poor “Boo” Baby #2 was a colicky baby. She cried in pain from the day she was born until she was 5 months old. The baby blues hit me on day 3 like a baseball bat to the guts. I was in fetal position for about 12 hours crying uncontrollably and could only be consoled by my beautiful friend Jane who made me cups of tea and fed me Panadol. Then Baby # 3 “Tiny” arrived exactly 3 years after Spike and thankfully she was another dream baby. Every baby is different so read your baby’s cues.
Pregnancy is the most rewarding, challenging and amazing experience you can have. Remember every moment because like everything, it will be over before you even realise.