A woman’s body goes through a number of phases and changes during her pregnancy period. These phases are divided into three major stages, also known as trimesters, where each of the trimesters is of three months. These trimesters also indicate growth of the baby in the womb along with the significant changes in the woman’s body. The developing baby is called an embryo during the first eight weeks of pregnancy, and later, it is called a foetus.
The period between the first and twelfth week of pregnancy is termed as the first trimester of pregnancy. During these three months there are not many visible changes in the woman’s body. Her waistline gets slightly increased, breasts become tender and the area around the nipple becomes darker in colour. Her heart rate increases by about 8 beats per minute. The body needs to supply blood to the developing foetus, and the increased heartbeats help with that. It is important to take enough vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, as during this period the major organs including the heart and the brain of the baby develop completely. The heart of the foetus starts to beat and by the end of the twelfth week, fingers and toes start moving. The facial features too are fully formed during this trimester.
The period from the thirteenth to the twenty-eighth week is termed as the second trimester of pregnancy. The internal organs of the foetus start to become complex and the senses start to develop. Gradually, the hands get well developed and now it can flex its fingers. Facial features like the forehead, lips, chin, and nose become more prominent. During these three months, the mother’s appetite increases, her abdomen swells and the growing weight of the foetus may begin to cause backache. The mother feels fluttering sensations in the abdomen as the foetus starts to make movements.
The period from the twenty-ninth to the fortieth week of pregnancy is termed as the third trimester of pregnancy. The foetus, during these last three months of pregnancy, develops rapidly and gets fully formed. Its eyes and lips are closed and head lies sideways. The face of the foetus is now clearly visible on the ultrasound scan. As a result of such a growth spurt, the mother puts on weight at a very high speed. The growing uterus puts pressure on the intestines and this may cause shortness of breath.