WHAT IS IT?
Pregnancy is the period of fetal development. Pregnancy begins when a sperm and egg meet and implant in the uterine wall and ends when a fully-developed fetus is delivered into the world.
HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?
Pregnancy generally lasts 40 weeks, although many people usually describe pregnancy as lasting nine months.
HOW DOES A BABY GROW?
A pregnancy is divided into three trimesters. Each marked by certain stages in fetal development.
The first trimester (10-12 weeks):
o By eight weeks, the baby is now called an “embryo”
o By the 25th day, the heart starts to beat
o At the end of the first month, the embryo is about ½ inch long and weighs less than 1 ounce
o During the second month, all major body systems are formed, but are not completely developed
o By the end of the second month, the fetus looks more like a person, is about 1 inch long and still weighs less than 1 ounce
o Between 10 and 12 weeks, the heartbeat can be heard for the first time
o By the end of the third month, the fetus is 4 inches long and weighs a little over 1 ounce
The second trimester (13-26 weeks):
o During the fourth month, the fetus moves, kicks, swallows, and can hear voice
o By the end of the fourth month, the fetus is 6-7 inches long and weighs about 5 ounces
o During the fifth month, the fetus turns from side to side and sleeps and wakes at regular intervals
o By the end of the fifth month, the fetus is 8-12 inches long, and weighs ½ to 1 pound.
o During the sixth month, the fetus continues to move and kick and may be able to survive outside the mother’s body
o Rapid growth continues and by the end of the sixth month, the fetus is 11 to 14 inches long and weighs 1- 1 ½ pounds
The third trimester (27-40 weeks):
o During the seventh month, the fetus can open and close its eyes, suck its thumb and cry
o By the end of the seventh month, the fetus is now 15 inches long and weighs about 3 pounds
o During the eighth month rapid brain growth continues, movement is limited due to space in the uterus, and the lungs are still immature
o By the end of the eighth month the fetus is now 18 inches long and weighs about 5 pounds
o Between 38-40 weeks, the baby is considered “full term”
o Lungs are mature and can function on their own
o But the end of the ninth month, the baby drops into position for delivery
o The baby will weigh between 6-9 pounds and is 19-21 inches long
WHAT ARE THE EARLY SIGNS OF PREGNANCY?
The most common sign of pregnancy is a missed or abnormal period. Other symptoms that someone might notice are breast tenderness, fatigue, weight gain, nausea, or frequency in urination. Symptoms vary from person to person.
HOW DO YOU TEST FOR PREGNANCY?
There are two ways to test for pregnancy. The most common way is a urine test which looks for the hormone HCG. Urine pregnancy tests are available at many drug or grocery stores and are also used in many physicians offices. A blood test is also available in most physicians offices and is often given to confirm a positive urine pregnancy test.