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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Pregnancy PregnancyArrow to Pregnancy StagesPregnancy Trimester Stages

First Trimester Fast Facts
Pregnancy signs & symptoms

• Altered menstruation, spotting
• Swollen, tender breasts
• Fatigue
• Nausea or morning sickness
• Backaches
• Headaches
• Frequent urination
• Darkening of skin around nipples
• Food cravings

The first stage of the 9-month adventure to a successful delivery begins, of course, with the earliest signs of pregnancy.

These may may include a missed period, or light spotting - as the fertilized egg embeds into the uterine lining to become an embryo.

The first trimester

The initial stage (weeks 1 -12) sees the embryo beginning to develop a rudimentary heart, lungs and central nervous system.

While your body's hormones kick in to sustain the pregnancy, there are pregnancy nutrition needs that can be easily met with a change in diet and prenatal vitamins. So now is the time to begin taking folic acid, iron, and calcium supplements to ensure a healthy pregnancy and avoid typical pregnancy complications.

For mom, fatigue or morning sickness (which may occur at any time of day) are all early symptoms of hormonal changes.

Dad feels the baby kick for the first time

The second trimester

By the second stage of pregnancy (weeks 13 - 26) the fetus is growing by leaps and bounds and usually measures about 7 inches long. By this time, you may actually feel the first kick! It's a milestone for many women who report the experience as having made the pregnancy truly "real" for the first time. Movement may also be seen during an sonogram exam and the sex determined around week 20.

The third trimester

At the final stages of pregnancy, (weeks 27 to birth) kicking becomes stronger. At this time, the classic ligament aches, back pain or sleeplessness of pregnancy are readily apparent to all expectant moms.

Finally, expect your almost-newborn to experience another growth spurt just before birth, putting on an extra two pounds of weight in the last few weeks, and growing to approximately 20 inches in length before labor occurs.

More about pregnancy stages around the Web:

Elsewhere on the Web, discover more detailed information on the weeks and months leading up to the big day with expert advice on what to expect at each trimester, facts on fetal development and growth, plus helpful tips on coping with physical and emotional changes during each stage of your pregnancy ...

Your Pregnancy Week by Week - Check out expert advice at the WebMD guide with detailed information on the first four weeks of pregnancy include related advice for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters, what to expect during labor and birth, and further tips on nursery setup.

A Week by Week Pregnancy Calendar - Take an in-depth look at what happens - from week 1 through 40 - including Flash media slideshow, and related articles and resources for further information.


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