Week 1

Your baby, about 4 months old.
You may be thinking about having children. When planning for a baby, you should evaluate both you and your partners lifestyle to make sure you are both in the best physical and emotional shape. If you are planning a pregnancy, this should be done at least one month, but preferable three months, in advance. Before pregnancy, you should:

  • Quit smoking, refrain from doing drugs and avoid drinking alcohol
  • Be at an ideal weight and eat healthy meals
  • Have an IUD removed and do not take birth control pills

Most women do not know the actual date of conception, but they do know the date of their last menstrual cycle. This is the point from which a pregnancy is dated. Your due date will help your doctor determine when to do certain tests and to evaluate the growth of your baby.

Day one of your cycle is the first day of actual menstrual bleeding. This is when the lining of the uterus is shed. Around day five of your cycle, an egg begins to mature inside of a fluid-filled sac inside of one of the two ovaries. Around day 14, the sac ruptures and releases the egg. Because ovulation normally occurs around day 14, a missed menstrual period about two weeks later will indicate pregnancy. After ejaculation, millions of sperm travel from your vagina to the fallopian tube. Only a few hundred make it to the egg and release enzymes that will allow one of the sperm to penetrate the protective coating of the egg . Once one sperm has penetrated the egg, a change takes place and no other sperm can get inside. This is the moment of fertilization. The body of the sperm then dissolves and the DNA from the sperm fuse with that of the egg.

Because pregnancy is dated from the first day of your last period, for the first two weeks of pregnancy you are not actually pregnant. Your baby will be conceived by the end of the second week. Most women do not even know that they are pregnant at this time because they have not missed a period. Even though you are considered three weeks pregnant, your baby is in the first week of development. At this point of the pregnancy, the fertilized egg is very small and does not look like a fetus or a baby. The fertilized egg is actually a group of cells that continues to multiply and grow very quickly. The fertilized egg divides within a few hours to give a two cell zygote, then a four-cell zygote and after about four days a blastocyst. The blastocyst has approximately one hundred cells! It is size of the head of a pin and is about 0.006 inches long. Even though just a few days old, all DNA information is already there, telling your baby what color of hair to make, what sex to be, and even hair texture, eye color, height, and weight (to a certain degree of course). Amazing stuff, right?

Even though you might not know you are pregnant, there is a lot going on inside of you right now! The sperm has fertilized the egg and the sex is determined at the time of fertilization! A Y-chromosome-bearing sperm will produce a baby boy and an X-chromosome-bearing sperm will produce a baby girl. You may have been aware that you were ovulating, but it is too early for you to notice too many changes. Your breasts have not yet started to enlarge and you are not getting any larger yet. However, sometimes women do notice some slight implantation bleeding or spotting when the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterine cavity.

See also:

Trying to Conceive After Loss

Genetic Testing

Week 4

By the end of this week, you will most likely be expecting your period to come. However, if you are pregnant your period will most likely not come. Some women do experience some spotting or even a light period. It is also possible to have your period and still be pregnant! If you do miss your period, you might begin to think about a possible pregnancy! Home pregnancy tests are not as reliable as blood tests at this point. A blood test will detect a positive pregnancy test at this point because the hormone, human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), has been secreted.

At this point in your pregnancy, your growing baby is very small and is about 1 mm in length. One mm is about half of the size of a typed letter `o`. You are still not showing at all and you have not yet gained any weight. Even though you are in the very early stages of your pregnancy, many great changes are occurring. The implanted embryo is embedded deeper in the lining of your uterus and the amniotic cavity is beginning to form. The placenta is also forming and will be delivering oxygen and nutrients to your developing baby. This week the blastocyst begins to transform into an embryo. The embryo will have three different layers with different types of tissue. The inner layer will form the lungs, liver, digestive system and pancreas. The middle layer will become the skeleton, muscles, kidneys, blood vessels and heart. The outer layer will become the skin, hair, lenses of eyes, tooth enamel and the nervous system.

A clear result. If you tried it a few days ago and the result wasn’t as convincing as in this picture,
try it again now to be sure!

Even though you have not yet gained any weight, you need to be prepared to gain weight during pregnancy. Gaining a healthy amount of weight is crucial for the health of both mother and baby during pregnancy. You can control your weight gain by eating healthy and nutritious meals and snacks. During pregnancy you are eating for two, but that does not mean you have to eat twice as much!

Your body now starts producing a hormone which stops you having your period, and it shows in your urine.

It is now possible for your pregnancy to show up on blood tests, and even home pregnancy tests.

About 1 in 3 women have a light bleeding at this point. This happens before you would expect your period to arrive. Unless accompanied by cramping, backache or increased bleeding, a small amount of blood being discharged should be considered as implantation bleeding which is nothing to be concerned about.

At this point, your baby is still not visible to the naked eye.

See also:

Ovulation Calendar (When can you do a home pregnancy test?)

Home pregnancy tests


Week 5

Your `fetus`, about 5 weeks old

You are now in your second month of pregnancy and your developing baby is 3 weeks! You might just be finding out that you are pregnant and may have many concerns and questions. Some women still do not realize that they are pregnant yet. You might have already had a positive pregnancy test. Many tests can show a positive test result 10 days after conception, but it is recommended that you wait until you have actually missed your period. The baby has not grown very much from last week and is now approximately 1.25 mm long. You will not `show` yet for some time.

At this point in your pregnancy, you may begin to experience some symptoms. One early symptom of pregnancy is nausea. Some women will actually vomit and others will not. The nausea and/or vomiting that occur during pregnancy are called morning sickness. Most of the time morning sickness is worse in the morning, but not always. Morning sickness does usually improve or disappear by the end of the first trimester. Another early sign of pregnancy is the increased need to urinate. Frequent urination can continue throughout the remainder of the pregnancy because of the growing uterus and increased amount of fluids you are drinking. Many women also notice breast changes early in pregnancy. It is common to feel a tingling or sore sensation in the breasts or nipples. You might notice that the area around the nipple, the areola, becomes darker during pregnancy. It is also not uncommon to feel tired or fatigued at this point. You might feel like you need to nap at lunchtime and you may need to go to bed earlier to accommodate your body’s needs.

As early as this week, the plate that will become the heart has developed. Your baby’s brain, spinal cord, muscles, and bone formation are also beginning to form. The baby’s skeleton is forming at this time as well. The embryo has a distinct organization that has a top, bottom, left, right, front and back. It is important that you continue or begin to take your prenatal vitamins to prevent birth defects.

On your initial doctors visit you may be checked on Hematocrit, hemoglobin, white blood cell count, blood group type, Rh factor, antibodies to blood group antigens, VDRL, rubella anti-Body titer, hepatitis B, toxoplasmosis, urine culture, and HIV.

Sometimes as early as the second month of pregnancy, the insides of your hands and the bottoms of your feet may itch and take on a reddish hue. This annoying condition is called palmar erythema. The increased color is nothing more than a curiosity of pregnancy.

See also:

Skin changes

Home pregnancy tests


Week 6

When talking about the size of a developing baby, most healthcare providers will discuss the size in terms of `crown-to-rump` length. Crown-to-rump length simply means the distance from the top of the babys head to its buttocks. Because the babys legs are usually bent or tucked inwards, crown-to-heel length is hard to determine. By the sixth week of pregnancy, your developing baby is 2 to 4 mm long. You may have even gained a few pounds at this point. However, if you have been nauseated or not eating well you might have lost weight.

You have actually been pregnant for an entire month now! More than likely, you have noticed some changes within your body and you might also notice that your clothes are fitting slightly tighter around the waist. Some women also gain pregnancy weight in their legs, face and breasts. It is not uncommon to experience heartburn or constipation at this time either. Symptoms are usually not severe at this time. If you were to have a pelvic exam at this point of your pregnancy, your doctor would be able to feel your uterus and would notice some changes in its size. Although you will not be able to hear your babys heartbeat with a Doppler yet, you might be able to see it beating if you have an ultrasound at this time.

From week 6 to week 10 of your pregnancy, you will be in the embryonic period. This is a very important time of development for your baby and the embryo is most susceptible to experience developmental interferences and birth defects at this time. Although the embryo is still very small, it is growing and developing rapidly. Your babys early brain chambers are forming and the eyes are also beginning to form. Buds will appear and will develop into arms and legs in later weeks.

Many pregnant women will have their first prenatal appointment around this time. Generally, the first appointment is the longest and your doctor will gather a health history of you, the father and your families. You should ask questions and get to know your healthcare provider well. Your doctor will probably ask about any prior medical problems, your pregnancy and birth history and other gynecological concerns. You should tell your caregiver about any prior miscarriages, stillbirths or abortions that you have had. You should also tell your doctor about any medications that you take or allergies that you have. Your doctor will give you a pelvic exam and a Pap smear. During a pelvic exam, your doctor will be able to determine if your uterus is the appropriate size. A breast exam will also be performed. Lab tests may also be done at this prenatal visit. Some doctors will also perform early ultrasounds during the first prenatal appointment to date the pregnancy, confirm the pregnancy or check for abnormalities.

The heart is starting to develop at this time. The fetus` blood group may be different from your own!

Facial features are visible, including a mouth and tongue. The eyes have a retina and lens.

The digestive system starts forming, beginning with the first cells of the stomach and the intestine.

There are small indentations in the head, ready for the development of facial features, eyes, and ears. The outline of the jaw starts to form.

See also:

Tests before pregnancy

Tests during pregnancy

Week 7

This week your baby has an amazing growth spurt. At the beginning of this week, your baby is approximately 4 to 5 mm and by the end of the week it has more than doubled to 11 to 13 mm! Your baby weighs approximately 0.03 ounces. Most women are ready for the world to know they are pregnant. Whenever you are ready to spread the news with your friends and family, consider the many unique and creative ways of doing so to make this a special time in your life! Even though you have not changed very much yet, it will come soon! You might have gained a small amount of weight by now, but it should only be a couple of pounds at this time. It is not unusual to lose a few pounds or remain the same though. Internally, cervical mucus is thickening and will form a plug in the cervical canal. The plug seals your cervix throughout the pregnancy and it will be expelled prior to delivery when your cervix begins to dilate.

Within your developing baby, leg and arm buds are longer now and they have divided into segments where the hands and feet will be. The hands and feet also have an area where the fingers and toes will begin to form. At this point of your pregnancy, the heart is bulging from the body and it has divided into right and left chambers. The hemispheres of the brain are continuing to grow and the air passages into the lungs are visible. The eyes are beginning to get pigment at this time as well. The nose is developing and the beginning of the face can be seen. Likewise, the abdomen is developing quickly and the appendix and pancreas are already present. As the digestive tract is beginning to form, the hindgut is present. The shape of the tail can still be seen, but it will fade in 3 or 4 weeks.

Even pregnant women get sick occasionally. You should not take any medications during pregnancy unless your doctor has approved them first. If a problem does not resolve or you need medication, your caregiver can give you advice on relief options that are safe during pregnancy. Take good care of yourself by eating nutritious foods, exercising lightly, drinking extra water and getting an adequate amount of rest.

Mood swings can be a pain in pregnancy. It could be hormones, or a touch of anxiety at the idea of all the coming responsibility.

Limb buds are growing quickly, and they actually look more like arms and legs, with small separations which will become toes and fingers.

Embryo hand development in week 7

Hands are developing at an amazing speed this week! Day 48

And this is the hand only 3 days later

Embryo foot development in week 7 & 8

The feet are developing at an amazing speed as well. (Day 51)

And this is the foot in week 8 (Day 60)

See also:

Fitness During Pregnancy

Morning Sickness

Weight Gain

Week 8

By the end of your second month of pregnancy, your baby is about the size of a pinto bean and is approximately 14 to 20 mm long. If this is your first pregnancy, you still probably will not be showing yet. However, if this is not your first pregnancy you might be able to tell that you are pregnant. You will notice a slight change in how your clothes fit and your doctor can tell that your uterus is larger than normal. Before you were pregnant, your uterus was about the size of your fist. However, by 6 weeks of pregnancy, your uterus has grown to the size of a grapefruit!

Your baby is developing at an amazing rate during these early weeks. Eyelid folds and ears are forming. Your baby\’s eyes are still very wide apart on the sides of her head, but will eventually center themselves out. The tip of the nose is actually present at this time as well. On ultrasound you can see that the aortic and pulmonary valves of the heart are present. The tubes that lead from the throat to lungs are branching and your baby\’s torso is getting longer and beginning to straighten out. Just a few weeks ago, your baby\’s arms were tiny buds. Now the elbows are actually present and the arms and legs extend forward and have grown longer. Fingers and toes are becoming visible also.

One of the symptoms that you might feel around this time of your pregnancy is cramping or pain in your lower abdomen or side as your uterus grows. Some pregnant women feel tightening or contractions of the uterus. Do not get alarmed if you do not feel this though. If tightening of the uterus or contractions is accompanied by bleeding, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately. Many pregnant women also experience an occasional pain that begins in their buttocks and radiates down their back or legs. This is known as sciatic nerve pain and can be extremely painful at times. More than likely the pain is caused by the pressure on the nerve and it is best to lie on the opposite side to relieve the pressure.

The tiny person growing inside of your uterus is protected by the amniotic sac, filled with amniotic fluid. Inside, the child swims and moves gracefully. The arms and legs have lengthened, and fingers can be seen. The toes will develop in the next few days.

The umbilical cord contains 3 blood vessels which link your baby\’s system to yours. The big one supplies your baby with blood which is rich in oxygen. The two smaller blood vessels return blood to the placenta. This blood is low in oxygen, and full of waste materials. At birth, umbilical cord can be two to four feet long.

See also Pregnancy Signs & Symptoms

See also Prenatal Vitamins

Week 9

Your baby now is about the size of a medium green olive. The crow-to-rump length is 22 to 30 mm and the baby weighs 0.12 ounces. Although your body shape will not yet reveal that you are pregnant, your doctor would be able to notice an enlarged uterus. The hCG hormone is at its peak and you might notice more changes. Your skin may become smoother and a bit plumper, but you might also get an outbreak of pimples. Your hair may become less oily, or more. You might also notice some vaginal discharge, which is usually not a cause for concern.

Although the baby is still very small, it is beginning to look more like a human being. Your babys back is straightening out and the tail is shrinking. In proportion to the rest of his body, the head is large and remains curved forwards onto the chest. The head is erect and the neck is developing well. Even though the eyes are well developed, they are covered by a membrane lid. The eyes will not begin to open and close for quite some time still. Your baby will begin to make tiny fetal movements as the muscles start to develop. You will not be able to feel any of these early movements, but you might be able to see them during an ultrasound. The arms and hands are progressing faster than the legs and feet at this point. By this time of fetal development, the hands have defined finger ridges and the tissue between them will die off to leave separate fingers. It is impossible to distinguish a male from a female at this time because external genitalia look very similar at this point.

Your blood system will change during pregnancy and blood volume will increase by 50%. The increase in blood is important to meet the demands of your growing uterus. Blood volumes will begin to increase during the first trimester and will continue to rise throughout the entire pregnancy. The increase in plasma can cause anemia, which will cause you to feel tired or weak.

In week 9 (7 weeks after conception) the fingers are clearly visible.

See also:

Blood pressure during pregnancy

Caffeine intake during pregnancy

Week 10

At this point of your pregnancy, the crown-to-rump length of your developing baby is 1.25 to 1.68 inches. It is now easier to tell how much the baby weighs since he is beginning to put on some weight. Your baby weighs approximately 5 grams and is the size of a small plum! The baby has grown an incredible amount during these past few weeks, but you still are not showing too much yet.

Fetus in pregnancy week 10 Click for a bigger movie of this busy boy

This week is somewhat of a landmark for your developing baby. By now, your babys complete body plan is laid down. Your baby will continue to develop and grow for the remainder of the pregnancy. The fingers and toes have separated and the tail has disappeared now. Your baby has taste and tooth buds at this point, which will continue to develop. The brain will continue to grow at an amazing rate and nearly a quarter of a million new neurons are produced every minute! The embryonic heart is completely developed. External genitalia are not apparent until next week, but the testes in baby boys will already be producing testosterone.

Because you have high hormone levels at this time, you may notice an abundance of emotional and physical effects. Most pregnant women find themselves getting distressed easily and have frequent mood swings. Common physical changes include the beginning of real weight gain, potential softening of the gums and slightly swollen thyroid glands. Common emotional changes include feelings of unattractiveness, feelings of inadequacy and concerns about what the future holds. Some women are not excited about their pregnancy at first and question the condition. Moodswings are not uncommon and many pregnancy women tend to get upset easily, cry at the slightest things, feel moody or drift on daydreams.

You may have gained a little weight already. Average weight gain during pregnancy is about 28lbs(13kgs), but most of that is gained in the second and third trimester.

See also:

Fetal Development

Children and Pregnancy

Week 11

Your baby continues to grow and is now approximately the size of a large lime! The crown-to-rump length of your developing child is 1.75 to 2.4 inches. The weight of the fetus is approximately 8 grams at this point. The growth of your baby is phenomenal now and your babys length will double in the next three weeks. The head is grossly out of proportion and is almost half of the babys length.

You are almost at the end of your first trimester and while changes continue to occur quickly in your baby, they are happening at a slower rate in you. Your uterus has been growing with the fetus inside of it and is now almost big enough to fill your pelvis. Your uterus may be able to be felt in your lower abdomen, above the middle of your pubic bone. You are not able to feel the baby moving inside of you at this time. Some women think that they have felt fetal movements now, but it is either gas or a wrongly dated pregnancy. You might also be noticing changes in your hair, fingernails, or skin around this time. Some women notice an increase in hair growth and nail growth during pregnancy and others lose small amounts of hair. You are burning up calories at a faster rate than you did before you became pregnant! The amount of blood being pumped around your body will increase and you might feel warmer than usual.

This is the last week of the embryonic period. From now on, your baby will be called a fetus. As development continues, the fingernails appear this week. External genitalia are beginning to show distinguishing features and the development of male or female will be complete in three weeks. The placentas blood vessels increase to provide your baby with the nutrients and oxygen he needs for continued growth. The ears are gradually moving from the neck towards the sides of his head. Inside of the developing abdomen, the intestines are developing. Because the intestines are so large, some of them project into the umbilical cord and they will return to the abdomen within the next week or two.

At the size of a plum, your baby is now able to swallow. The urinary system functions. The baby swallows and urinates the amniotic fluid and the fluid is continually replaced. The baby is kicking but the mother cannot feel it yet. All vital organs are formed and, for the most part, function normally. From now on, they will grow in size and efficiency.

As a preparation for breastfeeding, your baby now has learned to swallow. Babies swallow amniotic fluid in the uterus.

See also:

Exercise during pregnancy

Prenatal visits

Week 12

The crown-to-rump length of your growing baby is almost 2.5 inches and she now weighs between 8 and 14 grams! In just three weeks, fetal size has more than doubled and begins to look a lot more human. Even though you will not be able to feel your baby moving at this time, you can stimulate him and he will squint, open his mouth and move his fingers or toes.

By the end of this week, your uterus is too large to remain completely in your pelvis. You might be able to feel your uterus above your pubic bone. The uterus will continue to grow throughout your pregnancy and will return to its usual size within a few weeks after delivery. Before pregnancy, the uterus is almost solid and holds less than 0.3 ounces. During pregnancy, your uterus will become a thin-walled, muscular container that will hold the fetus, amniotic fluid and placenta. Before pregnancy, the uterus weighs approximately 2.5 ounces and when your baby is born, it will weigh almost 40 ounces!

Because most of the structures are already formed at this point, few will be formed after this time. The structures will continue to grow and develop throughout the remainder of your pregnancy. The skeletal system now has centers of bone formation in most of the bones. The digestive system is capable of making contractions that push food through the bowels and is also able to absorb sugar. The pituitary gland is beginning to make hormones. You will probably be able to hear the fetal heartbeat with a doppler at this time!

This week may be the first week that you begin to feel better! Morning sickness often tends to improve or diminish at this time. You may begin to show slightly, especially if this is not your first pregnancy. You will feel more comfortable in loose clothing, such as maternity clothes. In addition to your tummy getting larger , you may notice an increase of size in your breasts, hips, legs and sides.

Your baby develops reflexes and the skin is very sensitive.

The brain is fully formed and the child can feel pain. The baby may even suck his thumb. The eyelids now cover the eyes and will remain shut until the seventh month to protect the delicate optical nerve fibers.

See also:

Depression during pregnancy

Abdominal pain during pregnancy

Week 13

This is the last week of your first trimester and your baby weighs 14 to 20 grams. The crown-to-rump length of your growing baby is 2.6 to 3.1 inches. Your baby is now about the size of a peach. Fetal growth is amazing from now through about the 24th week of pregnancy.

A 13 week old fetus by SONOReal 3D ultrasound imaging

At this point of your pregnancy, there is a steady flow of pregnancy hormones in your bloodstream. Your body will adjust to the changes and morning sickness might stop and other early symptoms will begin to ease. Because the second trimester is approaching, feelings of anxiety or nervousness may also diminish. You have probably gained some weight by now. You are losing your waist and your clothing is probably fitting snugly.

There is a milky membrane that surrounds your baby. It is pierced by the umbilical cord and is made up of two layers, which are fused together. Your placenta provides most of the nutrients and oxygen that your baby needs. By this week, the placenta is well formed and ready to take over hormone manufacture from your ovaries. The placenta will produce progesterone and estriol. These hormones will be crucial in the maintenance of your pregnancy. Tissue that will form your baby’s bones is being laid down, especially around the head and limbs. The nose and chin are becoming more prominent. Your baby’s eyelids meet and fuse together and they will not open again for nearly four months. The eyes started out on the side of your baby’s head and they are now moving closer together on the face. The ears come to lie in their normal position on the sides of the head. If examined outside of the womb, you will be able to distinguish male from female at this time.

The sockets for all twenty teeth are formed in the gums, and vocal cords are beginning to form.

Week 14

You are now in your second trimester! Your baby’s crown to rump length is 3.2 to 4.5 inches long and he weighs approximately 1 ounce now. Your baby is about the size of the average fist.

Now that you are into your second trimester, you may be starting the best part of your pregnancy. You will probably start to feel more energetic and you may get the `pregnancy glow`. Your uterus is beginning to swell week by week and you can follow its progress by locating the top of the uterus. The position of the top of the uterus will continue to gradually move up your abdomen, from beneath the pubic line to above your navel. Maternity clothes are probably necessary now. You might also experience hemorrhoids, which are painful dilated blood vessels around or inside the anus.

Bones are formingAt this time, your baby’s face is becoming more developed. The cheeks and bridge of his nose appear and the ears move from the sides of his neck to much higher on his head. The eyes continue to come closer together. A big development from this week onward is the development of lanugo. Lanugo is the fine hair that grows over almost your entire baby. The hairs grow in whirled patterns that follow the grain of his skin. These patterns later give way to your baby’s fingerprints. The lanugo will be shed before birth and replaced by thicker, coarser hairs. Your baby’s thyroid gland has matured and starts to produce hormones. If your baby is a boy, the prostate will appear and the ovaries descend from the abdomen into the pelvis in baby girls.

If you are having the Chorionic Villus sampling test (to check for Down’s syndrome) it’s done round about now.

The embryo`s soft cartilage is now being replaced with ` real` chalk bones.

Your baby has eyebrows, but no eyelashes. Fine, light hair also begins to grow.

Week 15

Your baby’s crown-to-rump length is approximately 4 inches and she now weighs approximately 1.75 ounces. Your baby is close to the size of a softball and you can easily tell that you are pregnant now! If you wear maternity clothes or a swimming suit, other people will be able to tell that you are pregnant also. You can probably feel your uterus about three to four inches below your bellybutton.

Your baby, 25 weeks to go…..

If you do not yet have a due date, your doctor can easily determine an accurate due date based on the measurement of your baby’s head. This is done by an ultrasound examination. Your doctor will be discussing upcoming tests and procedures with you around this time that are able to diagnose or confirm birth defects and other abnormalities.

Your baby is growing at an amazing rate and looking more like a human every day. Because your baby’s skin is so thin, you are able to see blood vessels through the skin. Lanugo hair covers your baby’s body, but it will be gone when your baby is born. The hair on the eyebrows and head continues to grow. Some babies are born with little or no hair and others have a head full of hair! If you have an ultrasound at this point, you might be able to see your baby sucking its thumb. Even though the eyes continue to move to the front of the face, they are still widely separated. Your baby’s ears look like normal ears and continue to develop externally. The bones that have already formed continue to get harder and retain calcium. The baby is very mobile and flexible at this point. She can bend her arms at the elbows and wrists and she can also make a fist with her hands.

Week 16

Saying hello at 16 weeksAt this point of your pregnancy, your baby is approximately 4.3 to 4.6 inches long and weighs 2.8 ounces. Not only is your baby growing, your uterus and placenta continue to grow to accommodate the growing baby inside of you! Just six weeks ago, your uterus weighed about 5 ounces. This week it now weighs 8.75 ounces! The amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby is increasing and there is about 7.5 ounces of fluid. You will easily be able to feel your uterus approximately three inches below your navel.

This is an important week for testing and you will most likely have an AFP test done. This is a harmless blood test that is done to detect abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome or spina bifida. This is a non-invasive test and it carries no risk to your developing baby. Most doctors will offer the test, but in most cases it is completely optional.

Your milk glands start production at this time and this causes some tenderness and swelling in early pregnancy. Your veins will become more visible because there is an increased amount of blood flowing to the breasts.

Five and a half inches tall and only six ounces in weight. The child can grasp with his hands, kick, or even somersault.

At this time, your baby is holding her head erect. Because her muscles are developing, she can make some faces now. Your baby is able to squint, frown and open its mouth. There is enough calcium in the bones that they will show up on an x-ray. Your baby’s fingernails are well formed now and the legs are longer than the arms. Because your baby is moving well now, you may begin to feel his movements! Some women say that the early movements feel like gas bubbles or a slight flutter. If you have not yet felt the baby move, don’t worry. Fetal movements are usually felt between the 16th and 20th week of pregnancy.

You may feel your heart beating ‘louder’. This is because there is a lot more blood in your body than normal. (about 20-25% more)

Week 17

Your baby’s weight has doubled in two weeks and now weighs about 3.5 ounces! The crown-to-rump length of your growing baby is 4.4 to 4.8 inches. If you spread your hand out opened wide, you can see about how big your baby is.

Your uterus is moving up and is now approximately 1.5 to 2 inches below your navel. You are showing more now and there is a noticeable swelling in your abdomen. At this point in your pregnancy, a 5 to 10 pound weight gain is normal. Other people can probably feel the difference in your lower abdomen if they were to rub your tummy. To be the most comfortable, you should be wearing maternity clothes or clothing that is too large for you. You may have felt your baby move already. However, you might not feel it move every day at this point. As your pregnancy progresses, movements become stronger and more frequent. Feeling your baby move can help reassure you that your baby is doing well. You might also notice that your gums or nose bleed occasionally. This is from the increased blood volume that puts pressure on small blood vessels and capillaries.

Huge changes continue to take place within your developing baby. This week fat begins to form and will continue to do so until he is born. Fat is important to the body’s heat production and metabolism. Right now, at 17 weeks, water makes up about 3 ounces and fat 0.018 ounces of your baby’s body. In a baby at term, fat makes up about 5.25 pounds of the total average weight of 7.7 pounds. The placenta is continuing to grow at an amazing rate. The placenta will continue to develop in tandem with the fetus and it will weigh more than a pound at birth! By this week, the placenta is large and well established with a network of blood vessels that exchange nutrients and waste.

The eyes are facing more forward. The ears are now close to their final position.

Your baby is more flexible with ability to move head, mouth, lips, arms, wrists, hands, legs, feet, and toes.

Fingerprints are forming now.

Week 18

Thumb-sucking at 18 weeks….

By week 18 of your pregnancy, your baby’s crown-to-rump length is 5 to 5.5 inches long. Your baby continues to develop fat layers and weighs about 5.25 ounces. Your baby will continue to grow and develop, but the rapid growth will slow down for a little while. You will be able to feel your uterus just below your bellybutton. If you put your fingers sideways to measure, you can feel your uterus about two finger-widths below your bellybutton. At this point of your pregnancy, your uterus is approximately the size of a cantaloupe. Although weight gain varies from woman to woman, your total weight gain at this point should be 10 to 13 pounds.

At this time if you had an ultrasound, heart abnormalities can be detected. If the ultrasound technician detects abnormalities, further ultrasound exams may be ordered to follow the baby’s development. There is still space available in your uterus and your baby will be active for periods at a time. Your baby may sit cross legged or turn somersaults.

Around this time, your baby becomes more sensitive to the outside world and shows her presence through powerful kicks and prods. The bones through which sound is passed to the inner ear have hardened and the parts of the brain that receives and processes nerve signals from the ears are developing. This means that your baby can hear now. Your baby will get used to familiar sounds, such as your heart beating, familiar voices, blood rushing through the umbilical cord and other daily routine sounds. Your baby will become startled if he hears a loud sound.

If you have a stethoscope at home, you can now hear the baby’s heartbeat yourself.

Week 19

Close up of the face and hands

The right foot, including the developing bones, are clearly visible in the middle of the screen

Your baby’s crown-to-rump length is 5.2 to 6 inches this week. Your baby weighs approximately 7 ounces and will increase its weight more than 15 times between now and birth!

Most women can feel their uterus about a half of an inch below their bellybutton at this point of pregnancy. If you turn to the side, you can really tell that your body is changing! Most women have gained up to 14 pounds now and only 7 ounces of that is your baby! The placenta weighs about 6 ounces and the amniotic fluid that surrounds your baby weighs 11 ounces. Your breasts have increased in weight by 6 ounces each and the uterus has grown to 11 ounces! You may be gaining weight in places other than your abdomen and this may be affecting your posture and sleeping habits.

One of the most amazing aspects of your baby’s growth and development is that of the fetal brain. Your baby’s brain is one of the first organs to appear. Your baby’s oversized head shows the brain’s importance in his development. Because the nerves that connect the muscles to the brain have grown into place, your baby’s movements are consciously directed. Your baby’s ears stand out from the sides of the head and the buds for your baby’s permanent teeth appear. Your baby’s arms and legs have reached their relative proportions and his feet are approximately one inch long.

Week 20

Congratulations! This week marks the half way point of your pregnancy. It has been 18 weeks since the date of conception and your baby’s crown-to-rump length is 5.6 to 6.4 inches. The fetus weighs about 9 ounces and your belly definitely has an obvious bulge. Your waistline has expanded and is no longer visible. Your uterus has now moved up enough that it is pushing your abdomen outwards. The top of your uterus is even with or just below your navel.

Sex organs are showing clearly on this girl

For the remainder of your pregnancy, the growing uterus puts pressure on your lungs, stomach and kidneys. This will make you feel short of breath, the need to urinate more frequently and can cause indigestion. The added pressure on your abdomen can also cause your bellybutton to protrude and cause an `outy` instead of an `inny`. Many pregnant women begin to notice stretch marks around this time as well. Your abdominal muscles are being stretched and pushed apart as your baby grows inside of you.

Your baby’s skin begins to thicken this week and will develop four layers. Your baby’s sebaceous glands secrete a waxy substance called vernix caseosa. Your baby will be born with this wax and it will look like paste. The vernix caseosa is crucial because it protects the fetus’ fragile skin from the continuous immersion in amniotic fluid. Lanugo hairs secure the vernix caseosa in place and it is thick around the eyebrows. Scalp hair and toenails are beginning to form at this point. Hair can also be seen on the upper lip and eyebrows.

Around twenty weeks, most doctors will order a routine ultrasound to check the baby’s development. Measurements will be taken and the sonogram technician will check to make sure there are no defects or abnormalities. Your ultrasound technician can also see how long your cervix is and can tell you approximately how much your baby weighs at this time. Most expectant women also find out the sex of their baby during this time! If your sonographer does not offer pictures, ask them for a copy of the photos.

Week 21

Your baby’s blood circulation is completely functional. The umbilical cord system continues to grow and thicken as blood travels with considerable force through the body to nurture the baby. The placenta is now almost equal in size to the baby.

Your baby will be getting much larger during the second half of your pregnancy. Your baby’s crown-to-rump length at this time is 7.2 inches and she weighs approximately 10.5 ounces. Your growing baby is about the size of a large banana. You should be able to feel your uterus about a half of an inch above your navel. Your weight gain so far will be around 10 to 15 pounds.

As your baby begins to lay down more fat, your weight will also increase. During the next 10 weeks, you will gain about half of the total gain for your entire pregnancy. Strangers can now tell that you are pregnant! You might notice an increase in appetite because you need 500 more calories a day to support your charged up metabolism. It is best to avoid processed foods or foods high in fat, calories or sugar. Some women also get strong cravings for foods. If you notice a craving for something unhealthy, you should contact your doctor. Craving for unusual things is known as pica. Some women crave cigarette ashes, charcoal, beer and other non-food items during this time.

Your baby’s different organs and systems are maturing. The fetal digestive system is functioning in a simple way and your baby can swallow amniotic fluid. After your baby swallows the amniotic fluid, she is able to absorb water and sugars from the fluid and then the waste is passed as far as the large bowel. Your baby swallows the amniotic fluid in order to prepare itself for life outside of the womb. Some babies consume as much as 17 ounces of amniotic fluid in a 24-hour period. Your baby already has a high number of red blood cells and the white blood cells are beginning to be produced. Taste buds are being formed on your baby’s tongue this week also.

Don’t be surprised if your legs and feet become swollen throughout the day. You should try to get off of your feet some throughout the day and prop your legs up. If you notice a substantial amount of swelling, you should contact your healthcare provider for evaluation.

Week 22

Your baby’s crown-to-rump length is approximately 7.6 inches and your growing baby weighs about 12.25 ounces now! Your uterus is about 2 cm above your bellybutton and you probably feel comfortably pregnant. Your growing tummy is not yet large enough to get in the way and you should still be able to bend over and sit without much trouble. You might be enjoying your pregnancy more than ever at this point if morning sickness was an issue in the early weeks.

Your baby’s body continues to grow and develop every day. The organ systems in your baby’s body are becoming specialized for their particular functions. The fetal liver produces different enzymes than it will produce after delivery. The liver is responsible for breaking down billirubin, which is produced by the breaking down of blood cells. Because the life span of a fetal red blood cell is shorter than that of an adult, a fetus produces more billirubin than adults do. Billirubin passes from fetal blood to the placenta and then into your blood. Your liver helps get rid of fetal billirubin. A newborn baby that has high levels of billirubin may show signs of jaundice. Jaundiced babies have a yellowish tint to their eyes and skin and are often treated with phototherapy.

Your baby’s senses are developing daily. The fetus now has a full complement of neurons in the brain and is learning about her body and surroundings through touch. Touch is one of the first senses to mature and your baby may stroke its face or feel her arms and legs.

Your blood volume has increased more to meet the demands of your pregnancy. Most of the increase is in the form of plasma, the liquid part of your blood. This has the ability to dilute your blood and give you physiological anemia, which occurs during pregnancy. The measure of blood dilution is called Hematocrit and the levels reach their lowest points this week. You should check with your doctor to make sure you are not developing more serious forms of anemia.

Your baby now shows an extremely rapid brain growth (which lasts until five years after birth).

The ovaries of female fetuses contain primitive egg cells, all of the eggs a woman will have for her entire life. The uterus of female fetuses is also fully formed.