What Happens to My Baby During the Various Pregnancy Stages?
Pregnancy stages are usually described in trimesters, three month periods during which baby changes dramatically. During the first of the pregnancy stages, the male sperm penetrates the female egg, conception occurs, and an embryo is formed. Following this, the embryo attaches itself to the lining of the uterus. The placenta forms during this pregnancy stage which allows the embryo to receive nutrients from the mother’s body.
After two months, the embryo is called a fetus. During this pregnancy stage, the fetus can be about one inch long. It moves the different body parts, including its head, mouth, arms and legs.
By the end of the first three months, the first trimester, the baby’s organs are beginning to function also. Its kidneys and liver begin to do the job of clearing its system of waste products. The fetus now has eyes and ears, is close to three inches, and weighs about half an ounce.
The second trimester, the next of the pregnancy stages, is especially exciting for new parents. The mother usually begins to feel the fetus moving, a tiny butterfly flutter which signals life. The doctor also lets the expectant mother listen to the baby’s heartbeat at some point during this pregnancy stage.
By the end of this second pregnancy stage, the baby usually weighs close to two pounds. It is almost a foot long and has developed eyelashes, eyebrows, fingernails and tiny toes. Two of the most important organs of the body, the heart and lungs, are also formed during this pregnancy stage.
The third trimester brings more important changes. The baby becomes quite active. It kicks vigorously and opens and closes its eyes. During this pregnancy stage, the baby clenches its fist and even sucks its thumb. Just before birth, the average baby will weigh between seven and eight pounds. It will be around 20 inches long.
During the final weeks of the last pregnancy stage, a mother may feel a lightening of the pressure in her upper abdomen. She may experience more discomfort in the pelvic area. This signals that the head of the baby is moving into place for the birth.
Finally, strong contractions will push the new life into the world, and the cord which attaches mother and child will be cut. The mother’s contractions push the afterbirth out of her body, and the last of the pregnancy stages is complete.