Week by Week: Pregnant Through Labor and Delivery

**Week by Week: Pregnant Through Labor and Delivery**.

**Week 1: The Beginning**.

* Your body begins preparing for pregnancy..

* The fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube and implants in the uterus..

**Weeks 2-4: Early Development**.

* The embryo develops rapidly, forming the major organs..

* Your body produces the pregnancy hormone, hCG, which can be detected in a pregnancy test..

* You may experience early pregnancy symptoms, such as fatigue, nausea, and breast tenderness..

**Weeks 5-8: Embryonic Development**.

* The baby’s heart begins to beat..

* The embryo becomes a fetus and starts to look more human..

* Morning sickness typically peaks during this time..

**Weeks 9-12: Fetal Growth**.

* The fetus grows rapidly and starts to move..

* Your belly starts to show..

* You may experience a boost in energy and a decrease in morning sickness..

**Weeks 13-16: Baby’s Growth and Development**.

* The fetus’s major organs continue to develop..

* You can start feeling the baby’s movements..

* Your doctor may recommend a prenatal screening test..

**Weeks 17-20: Feeling the Baby**.

* The baby’s movements become more frequent and stronger..

* You may experience heartburn, leg cramps, and varicose veins..

* The baby’s gender can often be determined through an ultrasound..

**Weeks 21-24: Growing Belly**.

* Your belly continues to grow and you gain weight..

* The baby’s lungs and digestive system develop further..

* You may need to adapt your wardrobe and activities to accommodate your growing belly..

**Weeks 25-28: Baby’s Rapid Growth**.

* The baby gains weight rapidly and its organs continue to mature..

* You may experience Braxton Hicks contractions, which are practice contractions that prepare your body for labor..

* Your doctor may recommend a glucose tolerance test to screen for gestational diabetes..

**Weeks 29-32: Baby’s Practice Breathing**.

* The baby starts practicing breathing movements in preparation for birth..

* Your belly is now large and noticeable..

* You may experience more frequent Braxton Hicks contractions..

**Weeks 33-36: Preparing for Birth**.

* The baby’s lungs continue to mature and its body prepares for labor..

* You may start attending prenatal classes..

* Your doctor will monitor your baby’s growth and your health..

**Weeks 37-40: Nearing the End**.

* The baby is now full-term and ready to be born..

* The baby’s head engages in the pelvis in preparation for labor..

* You may experience more intense Braxton Hicks contractions and a feeling of pressure in your pelvis..

**Labor and Delivery**.

* Labor begins when your contractions become stronger and more frequent..

* The three stages of labor are dilation (when your cervix opens), descent and birth (when the baby is delivered), and the placental stage (when the placenta is delivered)..

* The length and intensity of labor can vary greatly..

**After Delivery**.

* You will experience bleeding and discharge in the weeks following delivery..

* Your body will begin to heal and return to its pre-pregnancy state..

* You will receive instructions from your doctor on postpartum care and newborn care..

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