What is a trimester? You may have heard of this term being related to pregnancy, but what exactly does it constitute and why is it important to know which trimester you’re in? First-time mums, this guide is for you.
What Is a Trimester?
A “typical” full-term pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, but it can last anywhere from 37 and 42 weeks. It is split into three trimesters. Each trimester is 12 to 14 weeks long, or around three months.
As you are probably aware, each trimester brings with it its unique set of hormonal and physiological changes.
Understanding how your growing baby affects your body may assist you in preparing for these changes when they occur. It’s also useful to understand the different risk factors (and related medical testing) for each trimester.
What are the 3 trimesters of pregnancy?
Trimesters are the three stages of pregnancy: the first, second, and third trimesters. A trimester lasts 12 to 14 weeks, while a full-term pregnancy lasts 40 weeks from the first day of a woman’s last period. Each trimester, the foetus will attain key developmental milestones.
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Pregnancy dates begin on the first day of your most recent normal menstrual cycle, and conception occurs in week 2.
Pregnancy’s 12th week. During this time, your baby’s body structure and organs develop.
Although you may not appear pregnant during the first trimester, your body is undergoing significant changes to support your growing baby.
During the first few weeks following fertilisation, your hormone levels change drastically. Your uterus starts to help the placenta and fetus grow, your blood supply grows to carry oxygen and nutrients to the developing baby, and your heart rate increases.
These changes are linked to a number of early pregnancy symptoms, including:
The first trimester is essential for the growth of your kid. The baby will have formed all of its organs by the end of the third month, so this is an essential time. It is vital to maintain a balanced diet that includes an adequate level of folic acid to help prevent neural tube abnormalities.
The second trimester (weeks 13 to 27) is the most comfortable for the majority of pregnant women.
Some people refer to it as the “honeymoon period,” when many of the unpleasant symptoms of early pregnancy fade. The bulk of early pregnancy symptoms will go away with time. You’ll probably have more energy during the day and get a better night’s sleep.
Your abdomen will appear pregnant as the uterus swells dramatically in size. It’s a great time to buy maternity clothes, avoid constraining apparel, and, if you’re feeling courageous, notify your friends and family about your pregnancy.
While the discomforts of early pregnancy should subside, there are a few new symptoms to be mindful of.
Leg cramps and heartburn are both typical problems. You may have increased hunger and your weight gain may accelerate. Backaches, varicose veins, and nasal congestion are all possibilities.
Most pregnant women feel their baby move for the first time around 20 weeks into their pregnancy. The baby can hear and recognise your voice throughout the second trimester.
Some 18 and 20 weeks. An ultrasound technician takes measurements of the baby during the anatomy ultrasound.
You may notice your baby’s first movements between 16 and 20 weeks, which is known as “quickening.”
Discuss with your doctor any medical history, family history, or genetic issues that could endanger you or your child.
These bodily components are as follows:
You may be able to learn the gender of your baby during the anatomy scan. Let your doctor know whether you want to know or not.
Doctors typically test for gestational diabetes during the second trimester. Between weeks 26 and 28, gestational diabetes can be detected.
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The Third Trimester
You’re nearing the conclusion of your pregnancy and are undoubtedly excited and worried about your child’s arrival. The third trimester happens from the 27th to the 40th week. From the 28th week, until your baby is born, you are in the third trimester.
Some of the physical symptoms you may have at this time include shortness of breath, haemorrhoids, urinary incontinence, varicose veins, and sleeping difficulties. Many of these symptoms are caused by your uterus expanding from 2 ounces before pregnancy to 2.5 pounds at the time of birth.
During the third trimester, the baby’s bones will be totally grown, its touch receptors will be fully matured, and the baby’s organs will be capable of working on their own. The baby’s body may move southwards into a head-down position for birth as your due date approaches.
Your doctor will usually administer the following tests and:
- Check your urine for protein.
- Check your blood pressure.
- Keep an eye on the foetal heart rate.
- Ascertain your fundamental height (the approximate length of your uterus)
- Check for swelling or oedema in your hands and legs.
- Your doctor will also establish your baby’s position and check your cervix to track how your body is preparing for childbirth.
Labour and delivery can be learned during the third trimester. Make time to attend a birthing education class. Childbirth programs are designed to prepare you and your partner for labour and delivery.
It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about the many phases of labour and delivery options, as well as to ask questions and express concerns to a qualified birthing educator.
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Most Critical Weeks of Pregnancy
The foetus is most vulnerable during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. At this stage, the fetus’s major organs and body systems are developing and can be injured by drugs, infectious agents, radiation, some medications, tobacco, and toxic substances.
The foetus’ organs and body systems are fully established by the end of 12 weeks, yet it cannot survive on its own.
The first trimester is crucial for the growth of your kid. During this time, your baby’s body structure and organ systems develop. The bulk of miscarriages and birth defects occur during this time.
Your body also undergoes considerable changes throughout the first trimester. These changes typically cause symptoms like nausea, tiredness, breast discomfort, and frequent urination.
Despite the fact that these are common pregnancy symptoms, each woman’s experience is unique. While some people may feel more energised during this time, others may feel exhausted and emotional.
When Is Your Due Date?
A full-term pregnancy might last anywhere from 37 to 42 weeks.
Your due date is only an estimated delivery date (EDD). Even when you conceive roughly two weeks later, it’s dated from the first day of your last menstruation.
The dating technique works effectively for women who have fairly regular menstrual cycles. However, the dating system may not work for people who have irregular periods.
If the day of your last menstrual period is unknown, you may need to determine your EDD using another method.
Due to the consistency of early foetal development across pregnancies, an ultrasound in the first trimester is the next most accurate method of determining the due date.
Check out our pregnancy section for a week-by-week guide on your pregnancy, what to expect and how to prepare for your baby’s arrival.
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This article was written by Margaux Dolores and republished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines.
Updates by Camille Eusebio
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