Pregnancy is unlike any other experience you may have had. From wanting to devour an entire pepperoni pizza to crying your eyes out while watching a rom-com, pregnancy can make you do and feel things you’ve probably not done or felt before.
Pregnancy can also make you anxious, especially if it’s your first time. Being a first-time mom, I can vouch for that. Don’t worry though, feeling nervous, confused or even worried, is completely natural. After all, you’re growing a tiny human from scratch!
While you can’t anticipate how your pregnancy would turn out, this article can help you understand what to expect, how you may feel and what you can help.
Month 1: Yay! You’re pregnant
You may find out you’re pregnant when you miss your period and/or do a pregnancy test. Many women find out that they are pregnant around the fourth week mark.
Generally the symptoms don’t start appearing until the end of the first month but you may feel the need to urinate more frequently, have breast tenderness or experience food sensitivity.
The most important thing to do during the first month is to visit your gynecologist. This is because an assessment of your health is crucial to ensure that you can have a safe pregnancy. Your doctor would usually carry out routine test and prescribes supplements such as prenatal vitamins and folic acid.
Month 2: Oh no, the morning sickness
According to research, 70–80% of all pregnant women experience some form of nausea and/or vomiting. So if you haven’t started experiencing morning sickness during your second month, you can consider yourself as being quite lucky!
For the rest of us, who experience nausea, the good news is that it generally fades away as soon as you enter into your second trimester. Until then what you can do to ease the symptoms is to avoid strong smells, keep snacks such as crackers and dried fruits handy, have smaller more frequent meals, and most importantly stay hydrated.
On a positive note, this is the time you’ll probably get to hear a heartbeat. In second month of pregnancy your baby has a heartbeat and it can be picked up by a doppler or similar equipment at your doctor’s office.
Month 3: Is that food aversion?
As the third month approaches, the symptoms become more pronounced as your baby officially becomes a fetus. The little one already has limbs and the organs are being formed. At this point, the chance of having a miscarriage also drops significantly.
You may still be having morning sickness during the third month. Additionally, it’s not uncommon to experience food aversion. You may find that you can’t stand the smell or taste of certain foods. This could even be something you’ve previously loved.
During the third month, your doctor will most likely recommend genetic testing for your baby. Tests like Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS), which detects Tay-Sachs, sickle cell anemia, Down syndrome and other genetic defects, are optional but can give you information about the health of your baby.
Month 4: Feeling energized?
This month marks the beginning of the second trimester. It’s a general consensus that the second trimester is the best part of pregnancy. You suddenly have higher energy, less nausea, and you’ve probably not put too much weight as yet.
Your hormones are also stabilizing which means that you feel a lot more like yourself. It’s a good time to start exercising and monitoring your diet more carefully. Your doctor can help you understand how much weight gain is recommended during each month to ensure you have a safe, healthy pregnancy.
Month 5: Starting to show!
The baby bump is now more prominent. You might be starting to experience the ‘perks’ of being pregnant. When people give up their seat for you in crowded train, neighbors offer to carry stuff for you, and even colleagues offer to get you your morning tea (yes, it’s okay to have a small amount of caffeine during pregnancy).
During the fifth month of pregnancy, you are also required to have an anomaly scan. In addition to finding out the gender (it really helps if you are a planner), the ultrasound picks up any major physical abnormalities, if present. It is strongly recommended to have this ultrasound between 18-21 weeks of pregnancy.
Month 6: You’ve got that glow
Around this time, your hair and skin look great, all thanks to the hormones, multivitamins and a healthier diet. So expect to get compliments on your glowing complexion and healthier hair.
Your baby is also developing at a very fast pace when it comes to organs, facial features, and size. Your baby’s eyes now open and close, vocal cords have started to function, and hiccups have started happening!
You might even be feeling flutters when your baby moves around in the womb. If you haven’t started feeling the movements, that’s fine too. Especially when you’re a first-time mom, it takes longer to start feeling your baby move.
Month 7: Is that a kick?
It most probably is. This is when your baby’s movements become so strong that you can feel them happening. It’s not just you, finally the dad and other members of the family can have their first interaction with the little one.
Between the 24th – 28th week of pregnancy, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also recommends getting a one-hour blood glucose test done. This test is vital for screening for gestational diabetes in low-risk pregnant women.
Month 8: Feeling tired and bloated? Hang in there!
As the baby grows in size, the pressure on the pelvis and the back increases. This can result in more frequent aches and pains particularly in the lower back and thigh area. Additionally, indigestion and heartburn may also happen quite often.
You may also experience Braxton-Hicks contractions It may seem difficult to distinguish these from real labor pains but there are ways of telling if you’re having Braxton-hicks contractions or are in real labor.
Month 9: The baby is almost here!
Hang in tight. The baby is most likely positioned head-down and has dropped lower into the pelvis. By this time you will most likely have discussed your birthing options, pain relief methods, and/or delivery requirements with your doctor or midwife.
During your last month of pregnancy just try to take it easy; take rest (it will become a luxury once the baby arrives), enjoy your favorite meals, and maybe give yourself a spa treat. Most importantly, do keep a hospital bag ready. It’s always good to be prepared in case the baby decides to make a slightly early entrance.
If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding pregnancy, feel free to reach out to one of our doctors to chat completely free-of-charge.
Author: Erum is a public relations professional who specializes in technology comms. She is an avid reader, a travel enthusiast, and a self-proclaimed story-teller. Before joining the content team at Your Doctors Online, Erum was the PR manager at Hill & Knowlton Strategies and was handling communications and content strategy for a diverse portfolio of brands. She is also a new mom who is finding her way around motherhood.