An average full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks and typically ranges from 37-42 weeks. This time is broken up into three trimesters, each lasting approximately three months. During pregnancy, women experience many physical and emotional changes as they progress through each of these trimesters. Being aware of what to expect during the stages of pregnancy is an important key to more easily adjusting to these changes.
How Many Weeks Are in Each Trimester?
There are approximately 13 weeks in each trimester:
- First trimester: Week 1 – Week 13
- Second trimester: Week 14 – Week 27
- Third trimester: Week 28 – Week 40 (or until delivery)
The first trimester lasts from the week 1 to the end of the 13th week. For many women, this is the most uncomfortable stage of pregnancy. During the beginning of the pregnancy trimesters, pregnancy isn’t fully visible, but you can begin to feel significant changes occurring in your body. As hormone levels change significantly, it’s common for women to experience the following symptoms:
Tender or Swollen Breasts
Because of the hormonal changes that occur in pregnancy, it is common for the breasts to become tender and swollen. Many women feel soreness or a tingly sensation, and breasts may feel fuller or tender to the touch. There can also be a darkening of the skin around the nipples.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are the hallmarks of morning sickness, which usually begins in the month after conception. It’s important to keep in mind that some women may experience nausea earlier than this, and some women may not experience it at all.
Tiredness and Fatigue
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms in the first trimester. This is as a result of increased levels of progesterone, which can make you feel more tired or sleepy than you usually would.
Food and Smell Aversions
During the first trimester, you may find that your sense of taste and smell begins to change- favorite food dish may suddenly not seem so appealing, or your favorite perfume may become off-putting.
The first trimester is crucial for the development of your baby. The risk of miscarriage is highest in this stage of pregnancy, and your doctor will advise you to take certain precautions as a result. These would include avoiding drugs, alcohol consumption, and smoking, as all of these pose a significant risk to your growing baby. It’s also a great time to be taking a prenatal vitamin and changing your diet to avoid certain high-risk foods.
The second trimester runs from week 14 to the end of week 27. Most women begin to feel more comfortable during their second trimester. You may find that you have increased energy and can sleep more comfortably. At this point, you begin to look pregnant as your growing baby begins to grow and expand inside of the uterus. During the second trimester, weight gain accelerates, and it becomes possible to feel your baby move. It is not uncommon for women to experience leg cramps, heartburn, backaches, and even nasal congestion. It is also important to note that while morning sickness usually eases during this stage of pregnancy, food and smell aversions can persist.
The third trimester lasts from week 28 until delivery. During the final trimester, you will begin to have more frequent doctor’s visits as the time for birth approaches. During this phase of pregnancy, the baby continues to grow and develop, and many women begin to experience difficulty breathing and more frequent urination as the baby puts pressure on the lungs and bladder. During the third trimester, it’s a good idea to educate yourself more on labor and delivery and assess what options will be best for you during your upcoming delivery.
North Florida Ob-Gyn of Jacksonville Beach
Pregnancy is a wonderful and memorable time. It’s important to see your physician regularly through the stages of pregnancy to help ensure the healthy progression of your pregnancy. At North Florida Ob-Gyn of Jacksonville Beach, we strive to be your partner in personal and family-oriented care. We are committed to providing exceptional obstetric and gynecological services through every stage of pregnancy. If you are interested in learning more about the stages of pregnancy, contact us today to make an appointment.