Pregnancy normally lasts for about 40 weeks, counting from the first day of your last normal menstrual cycle. These weeks are separated into three trimesters, or general stages of fetal development.
First trimester: This trimester cover the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. During this time, your body undergoes major hormonal changes that affect nearly every system in your body. In addition to stopping your menstrual cycle, these changes can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
Second trimester: From week 13 through week 28 of your pregnancy, you may find that your initial symptoms ease up or disappear completely. As your baby begins to grow bigger, however, other changes start to take place. You’ll probably feel your baby move for the first time during the second trimester. You may also start to experience symptoms associated with supporting more weight, such as backaches or sciatic nerve pain. You may also start to develop stretch marks, or experience swelling in your ankles, fingers, or face.
Third trimester: Weeks 29 through 40 mark the third and final trimester of pregnancy. During this phase, your baby continues to grow larger almost every day, taking up more space in your body, leaving less room for your lungs, bladder, and other internal organs. This is why many women experience shortness of breath and the urge to urinate throughout the third trimester. Other common third trimester symptoms include:
Prenatal care begins with preconception counseling, when necessary, and continues throughout a woman’s pregnancy. Prenatal care begins with an extensive health exam including a pelvic exam, and an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy and help establish a due date. As your pregnancy progresses, your doctor at North Texas OB/GYN performs routine ultrasound screenings as well as a variety of tests to assess you and your baby’s health. Common tests include:
Routine prenatal checkups typically occur once a month through the end of the second trimester, twice a month between weeks 28 and 36, and once a week until delivery.
The physicians at North Texas OB/GYN have extensive experience providing prenatal care and delivery for women with high-risk pregnancies. A high-risk pregnancy may mean that you or your baby require special monitoring or care throughout your pregnancy, and it may also mean present medical challenges before, during, or after delivery.
Women who are past the age of 35 have a greater risk of having a high-risk pregnancy, as do women who have chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or epilepsy. Women who have had more than one premature baby may be in the high-risk pool; women who have a family history of genetic conditions or pregnancy loss are also more likely to have high-risk pregnancies. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, your OB/GYN can help you manage your situation for the best possible outcome.
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