Pregnancy is an exciting time in your life whether it is your first pregnancy or your fifth. One of the best ways to stay current on those special forty weeks between conception and birth, is to follow along with a pregnancy calendar, either online or with a printed calendar.
Monthly Pregnancy Calendar Overview
Since the months and weeks of pregnancy start at your last menstruation, women can't know when they are one week pregnant because they haven't conceived yet! Some pregnancy tests can detect conception before your next scheduled period, but women who are not actively trying to get pregnant may not take a pregnancy test until they are a week or two late, at which point they are already five or six weeks pregnant.
First Month: Conceiving
If you are trying to get pregnant, it is a good idea to develop healthy pregnancy habits, such as taking a prenatal vitamin, eating healthily, and getting regular exercise. As you prepare to conceive, monitor your basal body temperature, or use an ovulation predictor kit to anticipate when the best moment for intercourse may be.
Week three of this month is when ovulation and conception occur! In week four, some home pregnancy tests will be able to detect that you have conceived. In this week, the baby is the size of a pinhead.
Your Second Month of Pregnancy
During this month, you may begin to feel that you are pregnant. Early symptoms include extreme fatigue, frequent urination, morning sickness and hormonal fluctuations. Once you get a positive response on a home test, it is a good idea to schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN for a first prenatal visit. In week six of your pregnancy, the baby's heart is beating and the brain has formed. During this month, your baby will implant itself into the wall of your uterus, which could cause some cramping and bleeding. At this stage, early pregnancy symptoms may become more pronounced.
The Third Month
In week nine of pregnancy, the embryo officially becomes a fetus and weighs approximately one gram. As this month progresses, you may experience decreased morning sickness, but for many women nausea will continue. The increasing hormone levels may also result in frequent or persistent headaches, the best treatment for which is to relax and rest. Near the end of the third month, your baby will grow to about the size of an average plum; at the same time, the risk of miscarriage is decreasing. Many women use the 12-week mark as a guideline of when to share the exciting news with family and friends.
Pregnancy, Month Four
The start of the fourth month is also the start of the second trimester, which is considered the easiest trimester by many pregnant women. Most of the early pregnancy symptoms have worn off before this trimester starts, and the fatigue and heaviness of the end of pregnancy are not yet upon you. The fourth month is a time to focus on yourself: start collecting a maternity wardrobe from friends or family, or treat yourself to a shopping trip. As for your growing baby, his skeleton would now be visible on an x-ray since his bones have begun to harden, and he is steadily growing in size.
Fifth Month of Pregnancy
In the seventeenth week, you may be able to feel your baby start to kick and move. Up until this point, you may have felt something akin to a little fluttering in your stomach, but now the kicking becomes hard enough for someone else to feel. It's also fun to realize that your baby's hearing is now actively developing, which means that you can start talking and bonding with her in a new way. While these are fun developments, there are also some common symptoms that go along with this period of pregnancy, including:
- Indigestion and heartburn
- Breast tenderness
- Water retention
- Increased perspiration and warmth
Talk with your healthcare provider on a regular basis about your symptoms and concerns.
Six Months Pregnant
The sixth month actually signals the halfway mark in pregnancy; at the start of the 21st week, you are halfway to the 40-week mark. At this stage, your baby's movements will become more recognizable, your belly will continue to grow, and you may have gained ten to fifteen pounds. At the end of the 24th week, your baby is almost fully formed. While a baby born at this point would need intensive care, the chances of survival are good.
Seven Months Pregnant
If you have not yet worked out the details of your maternity leave, now is a good time to do so. In week 25, your uterus will have expanded to be the size of a soccer ball, a significant increase from it's normal size. You may begin to have frequent Braxton Hicks contractions around this time, which are normal as long as they subside if you take a rest and the contractions do not come at regular intervals. Call your provider if you are unsure about contractions or any other symptom or pain you experience. As for the baby himself, he is about 13 inches long by now, and the brain has begun to process sounds and sights already.
Eight Months Pregnant
In the third trimester, your baby is going to grow very quickly. Despite how much your uterus has expanded, in week 29 the baby will most likely make fewer large movements because there is simply no more room to do so. From this moment on, your baby will remain more or less curled up in the fetal position. Fully formed, your baby's task is now to put on weight and to further develop before birth. Because your baby is growing so fast now and you are carrying so much extra weight, fatigue may set in at this point. Listen to your body; rest when you feel the need, and enlist help for tasks you can't find time or energy to do yourself.
Pregnancy: Nine Months and Counting
In week 33, many pregnant women will experience increasing Braxton Hicks contractions, pelvic pressure, and difficulty sleeping. All of these may lead to a feeling of readiness for the delivery, but you're still a few weeks away. Now is a good time to get extra rest, pack a bag for the hospital, review your birth plan, and make sure your prenatal course is going well. Know your options for pain management prior to delivery.
In week 34, your baby has a basic immune system, and may have turned head-first to prepare for his trip through the birth canal. Your provider will be checking the baby's position to monitor whether or not your baby is breached and whether or not his head is engaged.
After this point, it is important to be on the lookout for signs of labor. Babies born after week 37 are considered to be full-term babies. If your water breaks, or you have contractions that come at regular intervals and do not subside if you lie down, your labor is beginning. Congratulations!
In the final weeks, you'll probably notice a decrease in your baby's movements. Do be aware of your baby's movement patterns and the amount of movements per day and contact your practitioner if your baby is suddenly moving much less. Try to get as much rest as possible to compensate for difficulty sleeping.
While forty weeks is the official length of pregnancy, your baby won't be considered overdue until week 42. Although it may be difficult to wait patiently for your baby's arrival, most healthcare providers do not recommend self-induction. Enjoy these last moments of pregnancy.
Printed Pregnancy Calendars
In order to keep a weekly record of your pregnancy alongside a source of tips and medical information, try a printed calendar, such as the The Pregnancy Calendar®: Your 40-Guide to Prenatal Care and Fetal Development or the The Pregnancy Calendar. While pregnancy can be a time of worry, it is also an amazing journey. Keep track of it all in one place for a nice souvenir of this magical period in your, your partner's, and your new baby's lives.