Below you will find guidelines on your pregnancy on a weekly basis. While everyone’s pregnancy is different, and babies grow at different rates you will find that this guideline will help you understand how your baby is developing and the changes to your body.

Week One

Baby Development

Since the age of a pregnancy is based on the beginning of your last period, you are technically not pregnant yet. Within the ten to fourteen days you will begin ovulating and the fun can really begin.

You & Your Body

You have started your period and are getting ready to conceive. If you have a 28 day cycle then ovulation will occur around 14 days after the first day of your period. If you haven’t already, start taking a good prenatal supplement that contains folic acid. Ensure your diet includes many fresh fruits and vegetables and eliminate anything that could be harmful to a developing baby. This includes smoking, alcohol, and any medication that is not cleared by your physician.

Get additional rest so that your body is prepared for the new life you are about to create, and try to exercise regularly. Reduce any stress in your life as excess stress can hinder your chances of getting pregnant.

Thoughts for Dad

Mom is not the only one who needs to rest up, as dad will have some work ahead of him. Stress, smoking and drinking can have an adverse affect on your reproductive system as well and can hinder your chances of getting pregnant.

Week Two

Baby Development

There is no baby yet, but soon. Take the next week to mentally prepare and relax, as once the pregnant train gets rolling you will find yourself caught up in a whirlwind of emotion.

You & Your Body

Now that your last period has ended, your body is preparing a brand new home for your soon-to-be baby. Blood-rich tissue is lining the uterus to provide nourishment for the egg, and in your ovaries an egg is ripening and getting ready to be released. In the case of fraternal multiples more than one egg will be released at the same time.

Thoughts for Dad

Keep resting up, because come day 14 you will be needed. After that the real fun begins.

Week Three

Baby Development

The miracle of life begins with a single sperm meeting an egg along the fallopian tube. As genetic material from mom and dad combine the first building blocks of your baby is created. Your baby already has a sex, although it will be many more weeks before this can be determined if you want to know.

Interesting fact: the sex of the baby is determined solely by the chromosomes of the sperm, so blame dad if you don’t get the kind you wanted the first time around!

In the case of multiples a few things can happen. For fraternal twins two eggs are released by the ovaries and fertilized by sperm. If one egg is released and fertilized it can split into two or more embryos to create identical twins or triplets. Multiples of three or more can be a combination of identical and fraternal, or all of one kind.

You & Your Body

Beginning around the 14th day after the beginning of your period an egg is released from the ovary into the fallopian tube, where it meets a sperm and an embryo is created.

It is common for some women to experience some light spotting or bleeding somewhere around this time, which is caused by the embryo (or blastocyst at this point) embedding itself into the lining of the uterus.

Thoughts for Dad

Although you may not know it yet, you have made an important contribution into the creation of another life, so pat yourself on the back!

Week Four

Baby Development

The blastocyst has reached its destination – the uterus, which will become its home for the next 36 weeks or so. Once it has reached the uterus the blastocyst will implant itself into the lining of the uterus and split into two parts. The first part becomes the embryo and the second part will develop into the placenta which will provide your baby will all the important building blocks of life. If there is more than one fertilized egg, as in the case of multiples then there will be multiple implantations.

You & Your Body

This week will likely be an anxious one as you wait to see if you are pregnant or not. If you begin to get moody, have aching breasts and feel tired don’t worry, this may not be PMS symptoms but those of pregnancy! In just a few days you may be able to call yourself ‘mom’ and start buying baby clothes so hang in there!

Some moms may be experiencing the first signs of pregnancy now, including a missed period, nausea, headaches and bloating. Frequent urination and breast tenderness is also common at this point. However, even if you feel perfectly normal at this point don’t worry as you can still be pregnant.

Thoughts for Dad

Mom may be a bit distant this week, while she awaits her period. She may be emotional, so try to be patient and supportive.

Week Five

Baby Development

Your little embryo now has three distinct layers: the ectoderm, the mesoderm and the endoderm. The external layer, the ectoderm, is the neural tube which will later develop into the nervous system as well as the skin and hair. The middle layer or mesoderm will eventually become the heart, circulatory system, bones, muscles, kidneys and reproductive organs. Lastly, the endoderm becomes the intestines, liver, pancreas and bladder. By the end of this week your baby will be about 2 millimeters long – still a sparkle in your eye.

You & Your Body

By now you are celebrating the fact that your period is late and considering a home pregnancy test. Go for it! You are also likely noticing that your breasts are quite tender; this is due to the fact that your body is already getting ready for a baby by creating milk glands in your breasts. Morning sickness may have already made an appearance, and you are likely noticing an increase in your appetite. As your body quickly gets ready to house a baby for the next nine months it is not uncommon for mom to be quite fatigued, so take it easy and rest as much as you can.

As your uterus begins to grow you will notice that you have to head to the bathroom much more frequently. This should abate by the second trimester. For now just take it as a sign that your little one is developing normally.

For those who are pregnant with multiples, even though you may not know it yet, your body is likely kicking it into high gear to meet the demands of your growing babies. Your diet will need to include about 50% more calories and you may notice that you are tired a lot of the time. Rest up and get ready for the long haul, keeping in mind that in the end you will have some beautiful babies!

Things to do: start looking for a health care provider to help you through your pregnancy. This could be a family doctor, OB/GYN or midwife. Check with your insurance coverage to see what they cover before you begin, and then start the search for the person who will help you with your pregnancy from this point forward.

Thought for Dad

Keep in mind that mom’s body is going through a whole lot of changes at the moment. She is likely extremely tired and is a slave to her emotions. Take her mind off things with a celebration for your new baby, even though he or she is only as big as the head of a pin.

Week Six

Baby Development

Congratulations, your baby has a heartbeat! Although your little one is only 1/17th of an inch long he or she already has a little thumping heart. Not only that, the eyes and ears and opening for the mouth is beginning to develop. Little buds are forming, these will become the arms and legs and all of the internal organs are beginning to form. Fun!

You & Your Body

If you haven’t already experienced morning sickness then you likely will this week. Certain foods will have you salivating, while others will send you straight to the toilet. Blame it on all the hormones coursing through your body, and remember that this will likely only last a few weeks. If you are pregnant with multiples it is likely that your nausea will be more intense, so make sure you stay hydrated through this period with lots of water and juice.

During these first few weeks of development it is vital that you don’t take anything that could harm the embryo. Drugs and alcohol are strictly off-limits, and you should watch your caffeine intake as well. If you haven’t already, discuss any other medications with your health care practitioner to make sure they are safe for baby.

Things to do: if you haven’t already, make an appointment with your health care practitioner, as there are a few tests that they will want to do to make sure everything is going smoothly. Also discuss with your partner when you would like to spread the joyful news. Some parents prefer to wait until the first trimester has passed just in case of miscarriage, while others want the world to know as soon as possible. It is entirely up to you.

Thoughts for Dad

This week your partner is likely having a tough time, what with morning sickness and fatigue. Help her out as much as you can. If certain smells seem to set her off (like coffee or flowers) then keep these items out of the house until she is feeling better. Stock up on crackers and ginger ale, which are good for a queasy stomach. Try to encourage her to eat and drink healthy, and keep some snacks next to her bedside so she can have a nibble before she gets up in the morning, as this will help with the morning sickness. Pitch in around the house more often, and help her by taking some of the load off by doing the things that she normally takes care of.

 

Week Seven

Baby Development

Your little bud is not 1/3 of an inch long, pretty much the size of a grain of rice. Arms and legs are developing, but no fingers and toes yet. Its brain is growing, and so are the lenses of the eyes, the nostrils, intestines, pancreas and bronchi of the lungs.

You & Your Body

You likely are feeling the same as last week – not too great. If you’ve managed to keep up your eating you may have gained a pound or two of ‘baby weight’ or you may have lost some due to the nausea. Either way is within normal limits. For those carrying multiples you may be experiencing a faster weight gain and already be noticing a bit of a baby bump and be retaining water.

If the morning sickness is significant you may want to investigate some natural remedies. Ginger – in the form of capsules or tea can help. Lemon and lemonade can reduce nausea as well. There are also many natural anti-nausea remedies such as Seabands, which put pressure on points in the wrist to relieve nausea.

Thoughts for Dad

If you happen to have a cat then it is time for you to take over the cleaning of the litter box. Cat feces can contain a parasite which can lead to toxoplasmosis. This infection can potentially harm the baby and cause miscarriage, so get comfortable with the scooper for the next while.

Week Eight

Baby Development

You little one is now about 2/3 of an inch long, and if you happen to have an ultrasound around this time you will see a tiny little heartbeat. The arms are developing as well as the elbow joints, as are the fingers. Feet are appearing on the legs and little notches with toes are visible. Meanwhile the face is becoming distinct with eyes, ears and a nose. Within the abdomen the intestines are forming, and under the gums little teeth buds are getting ready.

You & Your Body

It is possible that you may have noticed that your clothes are fitting a bit more snugly than before, as your uterus is now the side of an orange and may even be visible in the mirror. Those who have been pregnant before are more likely to notice as their muscles and ligaments won’t be quite as tight. Additionally those carrying multiples will notice a belly bump as their babies make room to grow.

Many pregnant moms experience breakouts and other skin problems at this point due to the increase of hormones in the body. Eventually the hormones will level off and this will go away, although it may not happen until after your baby is born.

Thoughts for Dad

The first prenatal appointment will be coming up soon, and it is a good idea for dad to go too. Not only are you there for emotional support, you also get a chance to bond with your baby when you hear his or her heartbeat for the first time. If you have any questions about the pregnancy this is a great time to ask. Afterwards you can both celebrate by going out for lunch, and maybe browsing the baby department at a local store.

Week Nine

Baby Development

Baby weights about 1 gram now. The bones and cartilage of your baby’s body is forming, and the eyes and tongue are developing. Baby’s body is now big enough to accommodate the intestines, and his or her fingers and thumbs have appeared, although they are pretty short and have webbing in between them.

You & Your Body

Ordinarily you would be having a period right now, so take a moment to celebrate the fact that you get to miss a few. Your breasts are likely larger and heavier than before, which may mean that you will be shopping for a larger and more supportive bra. Once again your hormones are causing all sorts of changes in your body, which may men that you are suffering from heartburn and indigestion. Fortunately, there are many natural remedies out there to help.

Thoughts for Dad

At this point your spouse is being ruled by hormones. This may mean that you are getting ‘lucky’ more often, or it may mean that she doesn’t want to be touched sexually at all. Don’t take it personally. Either way you need to stay supportive and help her out any way possible. Meanwhile, your partner’s growth in the breast department may have you panting for more than a pat on the head.

Some dads and moms may be concerned about the risk of having sex hurting the baby, this is a completely normal thought. After all, he or she is developing down there. Not to worry as baby is totally safe, and most of the time sexual relations can continue right up to delivery time.

Week Ten

Baby Development

While you can’t feel it yet, your little one is moving around. Nearly all the joints have developed and fingers and toes are wiggling. Baby is now about 1 ¼ inches long and weighs about four grams.

You & Your Body

For those affected with morning sickness the light at the end of the tunnel is approaching. Most women will find that their nausea eases somewhere between now and week twelve. Additionally you may see a clearing of your complexion and find that your mood is more under control now that the influx of pregnancy hormones is beginning to ease.

You may be noticing that your veins are more noticeable. This is due to the fact that your blood volume is increasing to accommodate your baby. By the end of your pregnancy your blood volume will be 40-50% more than it was before you conceived.

While you are likely tempted to start eating everything in sight around this time, keep in mind that not all foods are good for your baby. In fact, if you head down the cookies and ice cream route as many mothers do you will find that your thighs and bum get bigger than your tummy! Yes you do need to increase the number of calories you eat while you are pregnant, but these should be healthy calories from fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein.

If you are wondering just how much weight is good for you to gain, here is a guideline:

  • Underweight moms – 30 to 40 pounds
  • Normal weight moms – 25 to 35 pounds
  • Overweight moms – 15 to 25 pounds

Moms who are carrying twins can add 5-10 pounds to these amounts, while moms with triplets or more add more. Keep in mind that this weight gain is over your entire pregnancy, and during the last few weeks you will likely gain about a pound a week – so don’t try to put weight on now or you will just end up carrying more in the end. Rather, carry extra snacks with you and nibble throughout the day to keep hunger at bay. Your body is pretty good at telling you when it needs more sustenance.

Make sure you are getting enough calcium during this stage of development, as it is vital to baby’s health as well as your own. Cheese, nonfat yogurt, milk or soy milk are all great sources of calcium.

Things to Do: Schedule an appointment with your dentist for a cleaning and check up. While your teeth may be the farthest thing from your mind, the American Academy of Periodontology tells us that women with periodontal disease are about seven times more likely to deliver a preterm low birth weight baby. While you may think your teeth and gums are perfectly healthy the fact is that changes during your pregnancy can affect the growth of bacteria along the gum line which can lead to pregnancy gingivitis.

Thoughts for Dad

While you both may be feeling a bit down right now, and wondering when the fun part begins it is important to keep everything in perspective. If mom is not feeling great try to distract her with some fun baby planning events. Bring home some catalogues and have a blast designing the nursery, or just let her ooh and ahh over the super cute clothes. Nothing like so shopping to lift her mood!

Week Eleven

Baby Development

Your little fellow has now graduated from embryo to fetus this week, so find him or her a teeny tiny graduation cap and celebrate! The baby nearly two inches long now and is beginning to grow rapidly. The baby’s head is about half of its length and its eyes are developing under the eyelids. Soon blood will start to circulate in the baby’s body as the placenta takes up its important job of providing nutrients.

You & Your Body

While your baby is still teeny, your uterus is now the size of a grapefruit. You are likely finding that you want to eat more, and hopefully the morning sickness is abating. Those who are pregnant with multiples find that everything is more intense, meaning the morning sickness is worse but so is the appetite!

Thing to do: talk to your health practitioner about prenatal testing. These tests are usually recommended for pregnancies where there is a risk of development problems such as Downs syndrome or spinal bifida. Learn all you can about the types of tests available and remember that they are completely optional.

Thoughts for Dad

It’s time for a break isn’t it? Take a few hours off to do something you enjoy, because in the coming months you aren’t likely to have a lot of free time on your hands. Bring a treat home for mom and make her day.

Week Twelve

Baby Development

Baby is now about 2 ½ inches long and weighs a whopping 14 grams. His organs and structures are formed and developing nicely, while hair and nails are starting to grow. The genitals are starting to show their visible characteristics, and the baby is creating amniotic fluid by excreting urine, meaning that the kidneys are functioning.

You & Your Body

Breathe a sigh of relief as your uterus moves upwards, giving your bladder some more room. It won’t last too long though, because by your third trimester the baby will be tap dancing on it. While morning sickness and fatigue are likely easing off, you may find that you are having headaches and lightheadedness. This is a result of your increase in blood volume. Discuss these symptoms with your health care provider just in case. In most cases you can ease the headaches by ensuring that you stay hydrated, so grab that water bottle and drink up!

Those of especially dark or light complexion will start to notice the linea nigra – a dark line that runs up the middle of the abdomen. This fades after the baby is born, so don’t fret about having your bikini days ruined.

Thoughts for Dad

Since mom is probably feeling better now, encourage some healthy habits by joining her in some regular exercise. It doesn’t have to be vigorous; a brisk walk is just fine. If you really want to be the supportive dad see if you can both join a yoga class so you can both have a healthy and happy pregnancy.

Week Thirteen

Baby Development

Since an average pregnancy is 40 weeks, consider this the last week of your first trimester. You have made it 1/3rd of the way through your pregnancy so take some time to celebrate! Baby now weighs in at about two ounces and is working on getting strong enough to survive outside the comfy home you have provided.

Your baby is now working on developing those important vocal chords which will ensure that you get very little sleep in the first few weeks. The eyes and eyes are moving into place, giving your baby a more normal appearance. Although the baby’s genitals are visible, it is usually difficult to ascertain the sex until the 16th week or later. The liver and pancreas are both starting to function.

You & Your Body

Enjoy this time, as this is the best part of your pregnancy. You likely aren’t experiencing morning sickness and your energy levels have bounced back. This is a great time to prepare for baby, as by the third trimester you will need more rest.

If you have some aching in your abdomen, don’t fret as it is merely your body’s muscles and ligaments stretching to accommodate your uterus.

Thoughts for Dad

Now comes the easy part, so enjoy. Spend lots of time with your partner and mentally rest up for the challenge that lies ahead.