An introduction to pregnancy
During your nine months, or more accurately, 40 weeks of pregnancy, the growth of your baby can be both daunting and delightful. Before the diaper changes, early morning feeds, and your baby’s major milestones, the first step is getting through your pregnancy.
Learning that you are pregnant can come as a surprise or as an expected gift. Either way, it will be an exciting ride. In preparing for your pregnancy, you may want to know what happens at every week, how your baby is growing, what you should eat, what check-ups you should have and other factors like exercise.
No matter what questions you may have, understanding and knowing about your pregnancy can assist you in making informed decisions that benefit both you and your unborn child. Pregnancy will change your emotions, your hormones, your body and your entire life. But the process does not have to be an intimidating one. The following information in the navigation menu above will help to put your mind at ease as we explore the basics of pregnancy on a week-to-week basis and answer some of the tricky questions you may have but are sometimes too embarrassed, or even not sure how to ask them.
Bear in mind that this information should serve as a guideline to inform you on the growth of your baby and what to expect at each week. Each week will be explored with a detailed analysis of the growth of your baby and other changes in your life that you may be going through.
Every pregnancy is different and every woman will experience the journey with her own ups and downs. Stages that other women found easy, you may experience with more difficulty and vice versa. The best idea is to speak to your doctor about any questions you may have and any information you require, they will be happy to help you and aid in making the journey of pregnancy as healthy and calm as possible, for your sake and the baby’s. Welcome to the biggest adventure of your life, welcome to the beginning of parenthood, welcome to your pregnancy...
The stages of pregnancy explored week by week
How did I fall pregnant?
When you are born, you have about one to two million eggs (oocytes), each woman has a specific amount of eggs. These will begin to die off and are released with each menstrual period, your eggs are not replaced. In total, you will release about 400 eggs until you reach menopause, which is normally between ages 45 and 55.
At the middle of your menstrual cycle, this is normally between the ninth and 21st day of a 28-day cycle, your egg will reach maturity in one of the two ovaries. This egg is then released and goes into one of the fallopian tube openings, which are two canals that lead from the ovaries into the uterus.
This release of a mature egg is known as ovulation. This egg will only last for about 24 hours once you have started ovulating, therefore, it will need to be fertilised soon after ovulation in order for conception to take place.
If this mature egg is met with a healthy sperm on its journey to the uterus, the two will join in most cases, and the process of life will begin. If not, then the egg will end its lifespan when it reaches the uterus, where it will either be absorbed or dissolve. If conception does not happen during ovulation, then your ovaries will eventually stop making progesterone and oestrogen, which are the pregnancy hormones, and the thickened lining of the uterus, which was preparing to host a fertilised egg, will begin to shed, this is known as your period or menstrual cycle.
First trimester - weeks 1 -13
The first trimester starts when your egg has been fertilised and implanted. At this stage, your baby is a small embryo, which is two cell layers, from which all the body parts and organs will form. Your baby will grow quickly during this stage and will soon be the size of a kidney bean, and will be moving a lot, although you will not feel these movements. Your baby’s heart will be beating and the intestines will begin to form. The eyelids, earbuds, nose and mouth will begin to take shape in the first trimester.