Preganancy begins when a fertilized egg implants in the uterus. Women may experience a wide range of common symptoms during the pregnancy. The fetuses grow and change dramatically through out a pregnancy. Women will go through many changes during each stages of pregnancy. Many of the pregnancy symptoms they have and the changes they deal with are the common to all healthy pregnancies. The stages of embryonic and fetal development also follow a common pattern.
Still, pregnancy can be confusing and sometimes mysterious. It is normal to wonder what happens during each of the stages of pregnancy. Whether you are pregnant, are a concerned partner or friend, or are just curious, you may have many questions. Here is a description of the stages of pregnancy and the changes that women go through during a healthy pregnancy.
Week 1 to Week 3
Your weeks of pregnancy are dated from the first day of your last period. This means that in the first two weeks or so, you aren’t actually pregnant and your body will be preparing for ovulation as usual. You ovulate around two weeks after the first day of your period. During the third week after the first day of your last periods, your fertilized egg moves along the fallopian tube towards the womb.
In weeks four to five of early pregnancy, the embryo grows and develops within the lining of the womb. The outer cells reach out to form links with the mother’s blood supply. The inner cells form into two, and then later, into three layers. Each of these layers will grow to be different parts of the baby’s body.
In the fifth week of pregnancy is the time of the first missed period, when most women are only just beginning to think they may be pregnant. Yet already the baby’s nervous system is developing, and the foundations for its major organs are in place.
By the time you are six to seven weeks pregnant, there is a large bulge where the heart is and a bump at the head end of the neural tube. This bump will become the brain and head. The embryo is curved and has a tail it looks a bit like a small tadpole. The heart can sometimes be seen beating on a vaginal ultrasound scan at this stage.
By seven weeks, the embryo has grown to about 10mm long from head to bottom. The embryo has a large forehead and the eyes and ears continue to develop. The limbs buds start to form cartilage, which will develop into the bones of the legs and arms.
By the time, you are eight weeks pregnant and the legs are lengthening and forming cartilage too. The foetus is still inside its amniotic sac, and the placenta is continuing to develop, forming structures called chorionic villi that help attach the placenta to the wall of the womb. At this stage, the foetus still gets its nourishment from the yolk sac.
What to do if you are pregnant
The most reliable way of finding out whether you are pregnant or not is to take a pregnancy test. Once you thing you could be pregnant, it is very much important to get in touch with a mid wife or a doctor to start your pregnancy care.
Read out and find out what’s happening to you and your baby.