Your entire body is changing during the days between conception and delivery, and it certainly won’t go unnoticed. You’ll undoubtedly see your midsection expanding, but you’ll also experience a wide variety of other symptoms that let you know you’re successfully creating a life in there.
First trimester highlights
Week 2: It’s time to get busy! Since due dates are calculated based on the date of your last menstrual period, ovulation doesn’t actually occur until week 2—so although pregnancy is calculated at 40 weeks, you only carry your baby for 38.
Week 4: You might be experiencing the early symptoms of pregnancy (which can be confused with a killer case of PMS): feeling bloated, moodiness and exhaustion. Also expect breast tenderness.
Week 5: It’s typically around this time that you’ll see the positive pregnancy test and know a baby is on the way.
Week 7: Occasional cramping in the lower abdomen and sides is not an uncommon complaint (and usually isn’t any cause for concern). Your need to pee has likely increased.
Week 9: For some moms-to-be, morning sickness is already in full swing. To fight it, try eating small, frequent meals, sucking on ginger or peppermint candies, or wearing acupressure bands.
Week 10: You should be able to hear baby’s heartbeat at your next doctor’s visit. Get ready for some heavy emotions! (Those might be in full swing around now anyway.)
Week 11: Cravings are commonly reported toward the end of the first trimester.
Second trimester highlights
Welcome to the honeymoon trimester! It’s often referred to as such due to the lessening of unpleasant symptoms that plagued you in the first trimester, which will likely rear their ugly heads again in a few months.
Week 14: It’s getting hot in here … wait, that’s just you. Don’t be surprised to find yourself getting easily overheated.
Week 15: Baby might be leaving you breathless—literally. If you feel a shortness of breath at times, it’s because your diaphragm is operating in more cramped quarters these days.
Week 17: Crazy, vivid dreams interrupt your sleep—along with an increased need for visits to the john.
Week 18: Felt baby moving yet? If you haven’t, you should soon. It’s often described as a butterflies-in-the-tummy feeling for first-time moms, and it’s a pretty amazing moment when you realize what’s happening.
Week 20: You could begin feeling mild Braxton Hicks contractions as early as your 20th week. (But let’s celebrate for a moment: You’re halfway there!)
Week 23: Get ready to talk about your bowels: Constipation begins around this time for some women, and hemorrhoids are often an unpleasant side effect. (Gas is common too. Sorry, girls.)
Week 25: Leg cramps can happen any time but most often strike at night.
Week 27: Exhaustion might begin to kick back in as you cruise (or perhaps waddle) into the third trimester.
Third trimester highlights
Week 29: Swollen feet and back pain might be kicking in, and some unlucky moms may be feeling the burn of a wicked case of acid reflux.
Week 31: Varicose veins might be popping up in unexpected places—usually the legs, but possibly also in your nether regions (you probably know these blue bulges as hemorrhoids).
Week 32: Tasks like tying your shoes and bending over to pick something up become challenging as your girth grows.
Week 33: The nesting instinct typically kicks in during the third trimester. It could be mild (a case of spring cleaning) or extreme (rearranging every room in your house).
Week 35: You might not believe it’s possible, but trips to the restroom become even more frequent. As baby grows, your bladder becomes increasingly displaced.
Week 37: Baby may have “dropped,” making it easier to breathe; your breasts could also begin leaking colostrum in preparation for baby’s birth.
Week 40: You’re achy, tired and ready for baby. But we’ve got good news: Your wait is almost over. You could be going into labor any day now! All these symptoms might sound like an awful lot of discomfort and misery, but it’s all worth it. What your body is doing right now is simply amazing—and we haven’t met a mom yet who didn’t assure us she would do the whole thing over again for the awesome prize at the end.