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What are the 3 stages of pregnancy called?

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If you’re a first time mom, you might be wondering where to start.

There is so much to learn about your changing body and the way a pregnancy should progress.

So, here’s some baby bump 101!

Pregnant women forms hands into heart over belly.

Pregnancy Stages

Pregnancy begins the first day of a woman’s last menstrual cycle and lasts up to 40 weeks or 9 months.

This time period is broken up into three stages called the first trimester, second trimester and third trimester.

Each pregnancy stage brings new and exciting things to look forward to, and sometimes uncomfortable changes, too.

The First Trimester

Many women will spend a good chunk of their first trimester (weeks 1-12) not even knowing they are pregnant.

Early pregnancy often feels just like a regular menstrual cycle. If you’re not keeping tabs on your period start and end dates, you may just think you’ve lost track of time.

Most pregnancy symptoms don’t develop until week 5-6 of pregnancy or 2 weeks after the first missed period.

If you are trying to become pregnant, this initial phase can be a time of anxious anticipation, waiting to see if things will progress to a confirmed pregnancy.

Stay calm and continue to take care of yourself and your body!

Once you miss your period, you should take a pregnancy test to confirm. If it’s positive, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your doctor or midwife.

You will receive a blood test and may even be able to hear baby’s heart on a monitor.

At this point, you’ll start to notice more pregnancy symptoms which range from:

  • Nausea
  • Food Aversions or Cravings
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Elevated Body Temperature
  • Irritableness
  • And more!

Thankfully, these side effects tend to wear off or disappear in stage 2!

The Second Trimester

The second trimester is from 13 weeks to week 26.

Some of your initial pregnancy symptoms may begin to wear off. BUT, you might pick up some new ones, too.

As baby grows and puts more pressure on your frame and organs, you may begin to experience back and hip pain, pressure in your rib cage and more lose and relaxed muscles and joints.

As your body expands and loosens to prepare for birth, you may also start to experience heartburn which is often intense.

On the bright side, this is typically when the sex of the baby can be determined and you can start thinking of baby names, gender reveal ideas and gender specific items for your baby registry checklist!

The Third Trimester

The third trimester is from week 27 through to delivery.

A pregnancy is considered full-term at 39 weeks, but many women deliver earlier than 39 weeks and some deliver later.

Just know that first time moms tend deliver late rather than early.

During the third trimester, you’ll really start to slow down as your body prepares for labor.

Baby will “drop” meaning he or she turns head down and lowers into the pelvis.

You may also experience heightened maternal feelings and begin to “nest”. Nesting is the maternal instinct to prepare for baby’s homecoming. This can manifest as a boost of energy with extra focus on organization, planning and cleaning.

If you haven’t experienced Braxton Hicks contractions yet, you definitely will in this last phase of pregnancy and leading up to true labor.

Here are some important things to know about first time mom labor to help you prepare.

Is there a fourth trimester?

There is no official fourth trimester, but this is what many people call the first few weeks of postpartum.

This can be an overwhelming time for new mothers so it’s important to learn and prepare all you can before the time comes.

Pay attention to your emotions and seek your doctor’s help if you notice intense feelings of sadness, loneliness, hopelessness anger, or rage that don’t get better over time. These can be signs of Postpartum Depression (PPD).

As you learn to take care of your baby, you should also continue take care of yourself.

Use these newborn baby hacks and newborn sleep tips to make your life easier and familiarize yourself with the common postpartum body changes and how to handle them.

You can also read tons of other helpful articles for the first time mom here!