What happens during each trimester of pregnancy?
A normal pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks, counting down from the first day of your last normal menstrual cycle. It’s separated into three trimesters that mark the general stages of fetal development.
First trimester: During the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, your body undergoes major hormonal changes that affect nearly every system of your body. These changes are responsible for stopping your menstrual cycle and causing a variety of symptoms, including:
- Extreme fatigue
- Mood swings
- Tender, swollen breasts
- Morning sickness
- Food cravings or repulsions
- Aversion to certain smells
- Frequent urination
Second trimester: From weeks 13 to 28 of your pregnancy, your initial symptoms may ease up or disappear completely. As your baby grows bigger, you may begin to experience symptoms related to weight gain, such as lower back pain; you may also start to develop stretch marks, or experience swelling in your ankles, fingers, or face.
Third trimester: From week 29 until you deliver, your baby continues to grow larger every day, taking up more space in your body and leaving less room for your internal organs. Many women experience shortness of breath and the urge to urinate throughout the third trimester.
What does routine prenatal care include?
Prenatal care may begin with preconception counseling or with a pregnancy test, depending on your situation, and continues up to delivery. You’ll undergo a health assessment, a pelvic exam, and an ultrasound to help establish a due date. As the weeks continue, we will perform regular ultrasound screenings and a variety of tests to assess your health as well as that of your baby. Common tests include:
- Tests to determine your blood type and Rh factor
- Sexually transmitted infection screenings
- Hepatitis B and C screenings
- Glucose screening test (to check for gestational diabetes)
- Fetal health screening tests
Routine prenatal checkups in non-high-risk pregnancies typically occur once a month through the end of the second trimester, twice a month between weeks 28 and 36, and once a week until delivery.
What is a high-risk pregnancy?
A high-risk pregnancy means that you or your baby require special monitoring or care throughout your pregnancy. Some women have factors that qualify their pregnancies as high-risk from the start. If you’re over the age of 35, obese, or have a chronic condition like diabetes, your pregnancy is considered high-risk.
As a team of obstetricians who specialize in maternal-fetal medicine, we provide comprehensive prenatal, labor, and delivery care to women with high-risk pregnancies. We also offer our expertise and full support to high-risk midwifery patients.