Pregnancy Stages From Week 1 To 40

Pregnancy Stages: A 40-Week Journey Through Pregnancy

 

 

 

Pregnancy is a 40-week adventure that will be filled with ups and downs. The journey will be long and often times uncomfortable, but at the end of it you get to meet your baby – the person you've been carrying in your womb for nine months. This guide will help you navigate through being pregnant by highlighting the developments of you and your baby the whole 40 weeks.

 

Pregnancy Stages by Week

 

Week 1

 

Technically, you aren't pregnant yet. It's difficult to know exactly when the sperm met the egg so healthcare providers calculate your due date by counting 40 weeks from when you last had your period. Most babies are born 38 weeks after the egg has been fertilized so the start of pregnancy is dated around two weeks before the sperm meets the egg. However, all of this is assuming your cycle is normal; some women have different cycles – some shorter or even longer – and as such, their due dates might be adjusted after they get an ultrasound.

 

This period is marked by an increase in estrogen and progesterone which causes your uterus to become a haven for a potential fertilized egg. At the same time, eggs that are in fluid-filled sacs called follicles are ripening.

 

Week 2

 

At this point, you are ovulating – which is the best time to conceive a child. One of your eggs will erupt from its follicle and will be carried away from your ovary into a fallopian tube. That egg has the potential to be fertilized within the next 12 to 24 hours – that is if one of the millions of sperm traveling in that direction can penetrate it.

 

If a sperm is successful, its nucleus will merge with the eggs, combining their genetic material. So if a sperm carries a Y chromosome, you will have a boy. In case its an X chromosome the sperm is carrying you're going to have a girl.

 

The fertilized egg – called a zygote – will then make a four- to five-day trip towards your uterus. During this time, it will divide into 16 identical cells and once inside the uterus, it will be known as a morula. In a day or two, it will make itself comfortable in your uterus' lining where it will continue to grow and transform.

 

At this stage, your baby is a blastocyst. Meaning, it has an inner cell mass that will become the embryo; it has a cavity filled with fluid that will be the amniotic sac; and it has an outer cell mass that will become the placenta.

 

Week 3

 

Congratulations! You are pregnant. Of course, one of the simpler ways to verify this  is to take a home pregnancy test. It's quite possible to be pregnant but have the test come out negative. The reason for this is you may have taken the test a bit early. A more accurate way of taking the test is to wait a few days to a week after you miss your period. But if weeks have gone by and your period didn't arrive or you aren't getting a positive result, then you have to see a doctor.

 

You can also watch out for signs of pregnancy such as:

 

  • tender, swollen breasts
  • fatigue
  • having to go to the bathroom with alarming frequency
  • heightened senses of smell
  • aversion to food
  • nausea or vomiting
  • elevated body temperature
  • bleeding or spotting

 

If all things are well, your baby is making itself comfortable in your uterus. And it's also receiving nutrients and oxygen through microscopic tunnels connected to the blood vessels in your uterine wall. This will eventually be replaced by the placenta later on.

 

Week 4

 

When you get a positive result on your pregnancy test, schedule a prenatal appointment. Usually, healthcare providers will ask you to see them when you're about eight weeks pregnant. This is also the right time to ask whether you should keep taking any medication – if any. At this point, you should be taking a daily multivitamin or prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid.

 

This stage is called the embryonic period. This is the time when the organs of your baby will start to develop – and some  will even function – and it's a process that will run into the tenth week. Your baby is just the size of a poppy seed at this point but they will be vulnerable to whatever might affect their development.

 

The next six weeks are crucial for the development of your baby. As such, you need to be careful about what you put into your body. Make sure you eat and drink food that will be good for the both of you.

 

Week 5

 

Your baby looks like a tadpole at this point and the size is about as big as a sesame seed. Three layers make up your baby at this stage:

 

  • ectoderm – this is the top layer where the neural tube (where the brain, spinal cord, nerves and backbone will grow) is developing. This is the layer where skin, hair, nails, mammary and sweat glands and tooth enamel will develop.

 

  • mesoderm – this is the middle layer where the heart and circulatory system begin to form. Your baby's heart begins to divide into chambers at this stage and will beat and pump blood. Also developing in this layer are the muscles, cartilage, bone and subcutaneous tissue.

 

  • endoderm – the third layer where lungs, intestines, early urinary system will develop. Also developing here are the thyroid, liver and pancreas.

 

It's also at this point where nourishment and oxygen for your baby is the work of the placenta and umbilical cord.

 

As for you, the pregnancy-related discomforts will start showing up. Although, you may experience them earlier in the pregnancy as well. Nothing much is changed about you physically yet. This is also a good time to be thinking about an exercise routine (some women prefer to do this until the first trimester has lapsed so all those discomforts won't interfere). Exercise is important because you will need strength and endurance to carry the extra weight and it may help prevent the aches and pains associated with pregnancy. Also, getting enough exercise prepares you for the tough task that is going into labor. Two of the best recommended exercises are walking and swimming.

 

Week 6

 

This is the week where your baby's nose, mouth and ears start growing. At this point, they are the size of a lentil but their form is similar to an oversized head with dark spots – these are the eyes and nostrils beginning to take shape. Their arms will look like protruding buds and marked depressions on the side of the head are their ears. Their heart starts beating as fast as yours and blood is running through their body.

 

Also developing this week are intestines as well as the bud that will eventually become the lungs. The pituitary gland is forming and so is the rest of the brain, muscles and bones.

 

This part of your journey is where you'll be rather difficult to deal with – you can be moody one day then super happy the following day. But don't be alarmed by this as it's completely normal. You can blame your fluctuating hormones or your roller coaster of emotions. For the sad part, you may experience spotting or bleeding – which is common – but it can also signal a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. Call your healthcare provider right away when it happens.

 

Week 7

 

Your baby is getting hands and feet at this stage, but they look like paddles than actual extremities. Your baby also has a small tail at this point which is an extension of their tailbone and will disappear in a couple of weeks. In terms of size, your baby is as big as a blueberry by now.

 

Eyelid folds will also be developing at this point and their eyes will already have color. The two hemispheres of their brain is starting to develop and their liver is making red blood cells until the bone marrow assumes this role. Your baby will also have an appendix and pancreas at this stage and will produce insulin to help with digestion. Your baby's umbilical cord also has enough blood vessels at this point to carry oxyden and nutrients to and from their body.

 

You may feel absolutely worse or nothing at all during this stage. You may experience morning sickness which makes eating feel like a chore. Due to the increase of blood volume as well as extra fluid processed through your kidneys, you will feel the urge to go to the bathroom more often. Your uterus will continue to grow and as such, this will put pressure on your bladder leading you to visit the restroom very often.

 

Week 8

 

Fingers and toes start developing on your baby's hands and feet. The tail they had earlier on will be almost gone and their eyelids will almost be covering their eyes. There will be breathing tubes developing from their throat to their lungs which is still developing. Also, primitive neural pathways are forming our of branching nerve cells. Your baby's sex can't be determined at this stage yet as genitals haven't developed. At this stage, your baby is about the size of a kidney bean.

 

You might start noticing some physical changes at this stage, one of which is your bra getting tighter. The increase of hormones lead to breast growth and other changes in tissue which are all to prepare for lactation. In time, you will need a bigger bra with much better support too.

 

You will also feel fatigued because of hormonal changes. If you're experiencing nausea and vomiting, those two are contributors to your feeling really sluggish. Trying to get some shut eye will be a chore as well because you're feeling uncomfortable or need to go to the bathroom.

 

Week 9

 

The person living inside you is about the size of a grape at this stage and is starting too look like a human being. All the necessary body parts have developed and they will continue to develop throughout the pregnancy. Your child will start developing teeth and their heart is finally divided into our chambers with valves starting to develop.

 

The organs, muscles and nerves are starting to function and the tail they had will be totally gone. Although external sex organs are present, you still can't tell whether you'll be having a boy or a girl – give it a few more weeks. Your baby's eyelids will be fully formed but those are still shut and won't open until their 27th week in the womb.

 

Your child will also have tiny earlobes and their mouth, nose and nostrils will be more distinct. The placenta will now be in charge of producing hormones and with their physiology in place, they will start to gain weight.

 

You won't look pregnant just about yet but you will have a slightly thickened waist. Although you don't look it physically, you will be feeling it: morning sickness and other symptoms, plus the emotional roller coaster.

 

Week 10

 

Although your baby bears human features, its size is still like a kumquat. The critical portion of development has been completed and the fetal period now begins. This is a time when their tissues and organs grow and mature.

 

This is the stage where you get to hear the heartbeat of your child when you go for your prenatal examination. Physical changes may start to show: clothes getting tighter and you will gain some weight. You can go for pants and skirts with elastic waistbands or go for the ones with low-rise waistlines so you feel more comfortable. 

 

Week 11

 

The tiny human calling your womb home is about the size of a fig. This stage is where their bones are starting to harden and soon enough, they can open and close their hands into fists. They are also in a stage where they are making tiny movements which will gradually increase as they continue to grow. Although they are moving, you won't feel it for another month or maybe two.

 

The physical discomforts associated with pregnancy should be subsiding right about now. However, hormonal changes might still bring symptoms such as constipation and heartburn.

 

Week 12

 

The greatest development this week for your baby are reflexes. They are about two inches long at this point and weight about half an ounce. Their intestines are growing at a rapid rate and their nerve cells are multiplying furiously. Your child now looks – without question – human.

 

Your healthcare provider can now feel the top of your uterus in the lower part of your abdomen. Maternity clothes might be an option for you at this point but if you don't like them, you might feel more comfortable in clothes that are loose and less restrictive.

 

You will also feel heartburn at this stage. Again, some women get this earlier. And those who have never experienced it before might experience it for the first time. It will truly be a discomfort that will leave you feeling annoyed and distracted.

 

Week 13

 

At three inches long, your baby looks like a pea pod and they weigh close to an ounce. They now have fingerprints and have very thin skin making veins and organs quite visible. Their body is starting to grow, catching up to their head. If you're having a baby girl, they now have a million eggs in their ovaries.

 

This is the last week of your first trimester and the good news is that the risk of miscarriage is lower than in the earlier weeks of pregnancy. Your sex drive might be heightened during this period too. Although your due date is months away, your breasts are now making colostrum, a fluid rich in nutrients that will be your baby's food source after birth.

 

Week 14

 

This is the beginning of your second trimester. This is a period of relative comfort if you were experiencing physical discomforts early on. But the biggest news is that your baby can do A LOT of things by this period: squint, grimace, frown, pee and maybe even suck their thumb. Your child is about the size of a lemon by now and their neck is more distinct. They are also developing really fine covering of hair – called lanugo – all over their body.

 

During this period, you will begin to feel more energy and the physical discomforts will slowly abate. If not, just be patient as there will be good to come out of all the pain. You will start to show by this time as well.

 

Week 15

 

Your little one is about the size of an apple and the air sacs in their lungs is starting to develop. Their legs are outgrowing their arms and they are capable of moving their joints and limbs at this point. They can also sense light even though their eyelids are completely shut.

 

Taste buds are starting to develop although they can't taste anything just yet. And if you've been eagerly awaiting the sex of your baby, this is the time you'll find out. However, there's also a good chance it might take a while for you to really find out as the quality of the picture and the position of the child can affect what's seen on the ultrasound.

 

Week 16

 

The approximate size of your baby is an avocado at this stage. And they will continue to grow with each passing week. Their legs are more developed by now and their head is more erect. Your baby is also growing toenails at this point. Internally, they are pumping about 25 quarts of blood and will continue to rise.

 

This is the stage in your pregnancy when you'll start to feel fine and will be looking forward to feel your baby move. Don't worry if you don't feel them move as some women start feeling their child move at 18 weeks, some even more.

 

Week 17

 

The skeleton of your unborn child is transforming from soft cartilage to bone. Their umbilical cord is growing much more stronger and thicker. In terms of weight, your child is around five ounces by now. Also developing at this stage are their sweat glands.

 

Your center of gravity will change as your belly grows. As such, you will feel a bit off balance. Try as much to avoid situations where there is a high risk of falling. And if possible, try to wear low-heeled shoes to minimize the chances of you taking a tumble and hurting your abdomen – which is dangerous both for you and your baby. When driving, keep the lap portion of the seat belt under your belly.

 

You may also notice your eyes being drier at this stage. If so, use lubricating drops to help. If you're using contact lenses, try using them for shorter periods. If you are still experiencing discomfort, you may want to switch to glasses until after the birth of your child.

 

Week 18

 

The human being in your womb is about 5½ inches long and weighs about seven ounces. They can flex their arms and legs – these movements you'll start feeling more often. Blood vessels are visible through their thin skin and their ears are finally where they should be. Myelin is forming around their nerves and will be as such for a year after their born.

 

If you're baby is a girl, their uterus and fallopian tubes are formed by now. And  if you're having a little guy, their genitals are much more noticeable at this stage. However, it's still possible for it to hide during an ultrasound.

 

You will experience an increase in appetite at this stage. This is the point where you get particular food cravings. Although you might crave certain foods, try to make it as healthy as possible. Your cardiovascular system is going through some changes by now and as such, you will have a lower blood pressure than usual. To avoid feeling dizzy, lie on your side and place a pillow under your hip or feet for comfort.

 

You're also due for a second trimester ultrasound. This is an exciting time because you will finally know your due date and may even see your child do things inside your womb like sucking their thumb.

 

Week 19

 

This is a sensory development phase for your child – the brain is assigning areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision and touch. According to research, the might be able to hear your voice right about now. As such, you can get started on reading to them, talking to them and singing to them.

 

Your baby is also around 8½ ounces by now and measures about six inches. Their arms and legs are in proportion by now. Their kidneys are also making urine and hair is starting to sprout on their scalp. A protective coating called vernix caseosa is forming on the skin to protect from pickling.

 

Your belly is also growing and you may notice some aches, particularly in your lower abdomen. Your ligaments will also be stretching in order to accommodate the extra weight. Extra estrogen may also cause your hands to turn red and you may have patches of darkened skin because of a temporary increase in pigment.

 

Week 20

 

Your little one measures about 6½ inches at this stage and weighs about 10½ ounces, or you can think of them as being as big as a banana. At this point, they are swallowing more which is good for their digestive system. They will also be producing meconium, which is black gooey substance that is a by-product of digestion. You will see this in their first soiled diaper.

 

This is the halfway mark of your pregnancy. You will notice gaining about a pound a week as well. Eating red meat is good at this stage as you will need more iron not just for you but for your growing baby as well. Non-meat sources for iron include legumes, soy-based products, spinach, raisins and prune juice.

 

Week 21

 

Your baby is about 10½ inches long at this stage and is around three quarters of a pound in weight. This is also the period where you'll feel them constantly moving, particularly kicks and nudges. Physically, your child now has eyebrows and lids. And if your baby is a girl, their vagina will start forming at this point. This is also a good time to get to know you baby through their pattern of movement.

 

This will be a comfortable periods for you as you haven't gotten as big yet and most likely the discomforts you were experiencing early on have completely gone. Enjoy this period as a new set of complaints are coming in the third trimester.

 

This is also the tome for increased oil production. As such, it may contribute to acne or worsen it. Try as much to wash with a gentle soap and cleanser twice a day. Also, if you wear make up, try using oil-free products. Never take oral acne medication because this can be dangerous for the baby.

 

The increased pressure of the veins on your legs will also make you more prone to varicose veins. Minimizing the chances of this happening is possible through exercise.

 

Week 22

 

Your baby is looking more and more like a newborn. Their lips, eyelids and eyebrows are becoming more distinct and tooth buds are starting to develop beneath their gums. Although their eyes have formed, the irises lack pigment. At this point, your baby has deep wrinkle on their skin which will be the case until they add fat. Their pancreas is also developing at this stage.

 

In your case, you might have more people wanting to touch your belly. If people start telling you that you should are to small or big at the stage you're in, don't worry about those comments as every woman is different.

 

Week 23

 

Your little human's sense of movement is well developed at this point. They are also more than 11 inches long and weigh over a pound. The blood vessels in their lungs are developing in preparation for breathing. They are also developing their sense of sound in preparation for coming into the world. They can start to hear loud noises by now and when they come out, these sounds won't faze them.

 

You will notice your ankles and feet start to swell, most particularly at the end of the day or during the summer. This is because of slow circulation in your legs mixed with changes in blood chemistry causing water retention and may cause swelling. You will get rid of these after delivering your baby. But while you're pregnant, lie on your side and avoid sitting or standing too long. Again, exercise really helps prevent these as well.

 

Week 24

 

The human resident in your womb is about the length of an ear of corn by now and would have gained about four ounces since last week. They are pretty lean at this point but will start to fill out. Their brain is growing at a rapid rate and their taste buds are continuing their development. Their lungs are developing that respiratory tree and their skin is still thin and translucent, which is about to change.

 

Your uterus is about the size of a soccer ball by now. And at this point, you might want to have a glucose screening test to check for gestational diabetes. If not now, try between now and 28 weeks. GCT is a pregnancy-related high-blood sugar condition that when left untreated may lead you to have a difficult vaginal delivery or you might need a cesarean section. Other complications include your baby having low blood sugar after birth.

 

Since some babies are born prematurely – which is before 37 weeks – it's time you know the signs of preterm labor which include:

 

  • vaginal discharge increase
  • change in type of discharge
  • vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • abdominal pain
  • increased pressure in the pelvic area
  • low back pain

 

When you experience the signs listed above, call your doctor right away so they can assist you with the next steps to take.

 

Week 25

 

Your unborn child is around 13½ inches and weighs 1½ pounds. As they add on more fat, they will slowly shed their wrinkly skin. They also grow more hair at this point.

 

As your baby grows hair, yours too will look more fuller – thanks to hormonal changes. Try to enjoy this as you will lose it after you've given birth. Your movement at this stage won't be the same as before. You can continue to exercise but stop when you feel any pain, dizziness and shortness of breath.

 

Week 26

 

Your baby's hearing will be more developed at this point and they can hear your voice as well as that of your partner's. They are also inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid which helps the lungs. Your little one is also putting on baby fat and is around 1 2/3 pounds by now and about 14 inches long. If you're having a boy, this is the stage where their testicles begin to descend into their scrotum and will take two months to complete.

 

As for you, you will notice an increase in your blood pressure. Preeclampsia, a condition that is characterized by high blood pressure, shows up after 37 weeks but can manifest as early as this period. Just beware of the warning signs, such as:

 

  • swelling of the face or puffiness around eyes
  • more than slight swelling of hands
  • excessive or sudden swelling of ankles or feet
  • rapid weight gain

 

Call your doctor immediately when you experience these symptoms.

 

Week 27

 

The weight of your child is about two pounds and they are about 14½ inches long with extended legs. They have a routine by now: sleeping and waking at regular intervals as well as opening and closing their eyes. Their brain is more active now thanks to more brain tissue. Although their lungs are still immature, they can function quite well if they were delivered at this point. Baby hiccups will also be common at this stage and will last a few moments.

 

Your second trimester is almost coming to and end. And because your body is preparing for the final hurdle, you will start to notice new symptoms. Together with back aches, you will also experience leg cramps – you are carrying extra weight after all. Sadly for you, the cramps will get worse as the pregnancy progresses.

 

Week 28

 

Your unborn infant is about the size of an eggplant by now. They can blink their eyes and now have lashes as well. Their eyesight is starting to develop and they may even see the light that filters through the womb. A billion neurons are also developing in their brain and they are adding more body fat in preparation for life on the outside.

 

This is the start of your third and final trimester. At this point, it is advisable to see your doctor every two weeks. After your 36th week, you will be visiting on a weekly basis.

 

You might be recommended for repeated blood tests for HIV and syphilis depending on your risk factors. You might even do cultures for chlamydia and gonorrhea.

 

At this stage, you will also feel tingles in your lower legs as well as feel the urge to move them while you sleep or relax. You might have restless leg syndrome when you are relieved after moving them.

 

Week 29

 

Your baby weighs about 2 ½ pounds by now and are a little over 15 inches long. Their head is growing bigger in response to their developing brain. Their muscles and lungs are continuing to develop and they are needing more nutrition. As such, you will intake food rich in protein, vitamin C, folic acid andiron. Their bones are also soaking up calcium at this point so you have to drink milk or get calcium from other sources such as cheese, yogurt and orange juice.

 

Your baby will be very active at this point and if they ever become less so, inform your doctor. A couple of the discomforts you felt in the early stages of your pregnancy such as heartburn and constipation will be making a return.

 

Week 30

 

At this stage, the amniotic fluid surrounding your child is about a pint and a half. This will gradually shrink as they get bigger and take up more space in your uterus. Your baby is about the size of a large cabbage by now and their eyesight is in continual development and won't even be good when they are born.

 

You will be feeling fatigued at this stage, especially if you haven't had a good sleep. As you're heavier now, you might feel a bit clumsier. And thanks to hormonal changes, your ligaments will be more lax which cause you to be off balance.

 

Your feet will start to spread as well because of the relaxation of ligaments. Meaning, you have to invest in bigger shoes. Also, those mood swings that you had earlier on are making a triumphant return as well.

 

Week 31

 

Your baby is about the size of a coconut at this stage and is gearing up for a growth spurt. Your child can now turn their head from side to side and their arms and legs are starting to plump up. They will be moving constantly too so you will have trouble sleeping. While this may seem a discomfort to you, be happy that they are active and healthy.

 

The second half of a pregnancy is when Braxton Hicks contractions surface. These are the tightening of muscles in the uterus that lasts about 30 seconds. At this point, they will be irregular and painless. But if you get frequent contractions even without pain, it may be a sign of preterm labor. So call your doctor immediately when it happens, especially when combined with other symptoms associated with preterm labor.

 

Week 32

 

Your baby is about 3¾ pounds by now and is around 16.7 inches long. About half the pound you gain each week goes to them. During the next seven weeks, they will gain a third to half of their birth weight. As of this point, your baby has toenails, fingernails and real hair. Their skin is also becoming smooth and soft.

 

On your end, your blood volume increases 40-50 percent. You may also experience shortness of breath and heartburn as your uterus is pushing up to your diaphragm and crowding your stomach. To relieve the discomfort, try eating smaller meals and sleep propped up with pillows.

 

You may also experience lower-back pain and if you've never had it before, let your doctor know as it can be a sign of preterm labor. But if it's not the case, you can blame it on your growing uterus plus hormonal changes.

 

Week 33

 

Your baby is a little over four pounds at this stage and more than 17 inches in length. They are quickly shedding the wrinkled look for something smoother. Their skeleton is also hardening but their skull isn't fused together just yet – this makes them to fit through the birth canal.

 

You can be waddling at this point because of all the weight you are bearing. It is important to find an easy sitting and sleeping position because getting up will be a challenge.

 

Aches and numbness in your fingers, wrists and hands might happen as they retain fluid which increases pressure in the carpal tunnel. The nerves may end up pinched which leads to numbness, tingling or shooting or burning pain.

 

Week 34

 

The baby in your womb is about 4¾ pounds and measures close to 18 inches. The fat layers that will help regulate body temperature once they are born is helping them fill out. Their skin becomes much smoother and their central nervous system s maturing, as is their lungs.

 

Babies born between 34 and 37 weeks usually have no problems – just in case you're worried about preterm labor. That said, they may have to stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a couple short-term health problems. Other than that, they are just fine.

 

Week 35

 

At this point, your baby is about 5¼ pounds and is more than 18 inches long. They don't have as much room to move about in your room anywhere which means they won't be as active. However, still expect them to kick.

 

Their kidneys are well developed at this point and their liver is capable of processing waste. Basically, most of their basic physical development is complete and the remaining weeks are for putting on weight.

 

Your uterus is now up to you rib cage. Since your baby is taking up space, they are crowding your internal organs. As such, you will find yourself having to pee a lot. Not only that, you also have to deal with heartburn and other gastrointestinal troubles. That said, some women don't ever go through these problems.

 

At this point, you will be seeing your doctor every week. They will do a vaginal and rectal culture to check for bacterium called group B streptococcum between now and 37 weeks. This is harmless in adults but it can cause troubles when passed on to the child.

 

Week 36

 

Your baby is gaining about an ounce a day. As of this point, they are about 6 pounds and more than 18 inches long. They are starting to shed the hair covering their body as well as the vernix caseosa.

 

You are considered “early term” by the end of this week and your baby is most likely facing head down at this point. If not, your doctor may apply pressure on your abdomen so your baby faces that position.

 

You will have trouble eating a normal-sized meal now that your baby is taking up much space. Eating small yet frequent meals is the best option at this stage. You will also have lesser heartburn and you will even breath easier as your baby is dropping down your pelvis.

 

Week 37

 

You aren't at full term yet (which is at 39 weeks) and your baby remaining in your womb the next two weeks allows their brain and lungs to mature. A lot of babies have a full head of hair when they are born but don't be surprised if the hair color is different from yours – this happens quite often.

 

As for you, you will be experiencing frequent Braxton Hicks contractions and they will be more uncomfortable. An increase in vaginal discharge is also possible. When you notice mucus with a little bit of blood in your underwear, that's a sign you'll be in labor in a few days, maybe less.

 

Sleeping will become harder at this point. You might even have some intense dreams due to anxiety about labor and becoming a mother. Also, this is a good time to monitor the movement of your child. Let your doctor know if you notice a decrease.

 

Week 38

 

Your baby weighs close to seven pounds now and is more than 19 inches long. They now have a firm grasp which you will be able to experience when you hold their hand. Their organs are mature enough and are ready for life outside the womb.

 

You won't be able to tell the eye color of your child yet because that might change as they get older. For instance, if they are born with steel gray eyes, that might change to hazel, green or even brown as they get older.

 

For you, this is just a waiting period. Use the time to take care of the nursery or child-proof your home. If those have been done, then try to enjoy the rest of the time being pregnant.

 

Your feet and ankles may swell during this period, but it's completely normal. But if the swelling is rather excessive, call your doctor immediately.

 

Week 39

 

Your baby is now full term and is ready to meet the world. They still continue to develop a layer of fat which helps them control body temperature after birth. Normally, babies weigh a little over seven pounds and measure about 20 inches when they are born.

 

At this stage, your doctor might do an abdominal exam to check the position and growth of your baby. They might also do an internal exam to check whether your cervix has started softening, thinning out or dilating.

 

Use this time to monitor your baby's activity as they have to be active up until birth. Call your doctor if there is a decrease in movement.

 

Week 40

 

This is it. While you wait for your baby to arrive, sit back and enjoy the moment. Read a book, catch up on your favorite shows or do something that takes your mind off things. This can be a very anxious moment for you so its best to keep yourself busy. After all, when it's time, your body will let you know.

 

Keep in mind too that your due date may come early or late as each woman is different. It takes a couple of weeks before your baby is considered post-term. But if you don't go into labor between 41 and 42 weeks, you'll have to be induced.

 

What has been highlighted here are just what happens in general. Strictly speaking, each woman has a different experience – some may even have a smooth-sailing pregnancy without issues. Others may enjoy the whole journey while some may consider it uncomfortable. But at the end of nine months, you finally get to meet the person you've been caring for.