Trimesters, typically referred to in the context of pregnancy, are a way of dividing the nine-month period into three distinct stages. Each trimester is characterized by specific developmental changes and milestones for both the mother and the growing fetus.
The first trimester spans from conception to week 12 of pregnancy. This stage is crucial as organ formation takes place and the embryo begins to transform into a fetus. During this time, hormonal changes may cause morning sickness, fatigue, and frequent urination for the mother. It is also common for women to experience mood swings and heightened emotions due to the surge in hormones. Towards the end of the first trimester, the baby’s heartbeat can be heard, and major organs like the brain, lungs, and liver start to develop.
The second trimester lasts from week 13 to week 28 and is often seen as the most comfortable period for pregnant women. Morning sickness usually subsides, and energy levels increase. The belly becomes more noticeable as the uterus expands, and the mother may begin to feel the baby’s movements, known as quickening. This trimester is marked by rapid growth and development for the fetus. The baby’s sex can be determined, and features like eyebrows, eyelashes, and fingernails start to appear. By the end of the second trimester, the baby’s lungs develop sufficiently to have a chance of survival if born prematurely.
The third trimester commences at week 29 and continues until birth, around week 40. As the baby gains weight rapidly, the mother may experience discomfort due to an enlarged abdomen, backaches, and swollen ankles. Braxton Hicks contractions, also known as false labor, become more frequent during this time. The baby’s movements may feel stronger and more pronounced, but the space inside the womb becomes more limited. Towards the end of the third trimester, the baby settles into the head-down position in preparation for birth, and the mother may experience a surge in energy known as “