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 Fourteen

Baby Development

The little person inside you is now about 3 ½ inches long and weighs 1 to 2 ounces. He or she is practicing how to inhale and exhale, although the first breath won’t occur until after birth. The neck is getting longer, and baby’s chin has its own space now, instead of resting on the chest. Since the hands are now well developed and functional they are providing amusement for baby as he or she opens and closes them. Baby even has fingerprints now.

By now you should be able to heart baby’s little heartbeat with a Doppler. Occasionally the positioning of the baby may make it difficult to find the heartbeat, in which case an ultrasound can be ordered to confirm.

You & Your Body

Hopefully you are feeling much better than a few weeks ago. At this stage many pregnant women experience constipation, which is attributed to the fact that the pregnancy hormones are relaxing the bowels so they don’t work as well. Combat constipation by adding more fiber to your diet and by drinking adequate amounts of water.

Thoughts for Dad

Remember that it is just as important that you take care of yourself as mom, since she is going to need you physically and emotionally over the coming months. Now is the time to start eating well and exercising regularly so you can be a fit and healthy dad.

Week Fifteen

Baby Development

By now your baby can suck his or her thumb – fun! The bones are hardening and you can see the baby’s blood vessels since the skin is still very thin. Baby’s body is covered with a very fine hair called Lanugo, which will stick around until the 26th week of pregnancy. During this week there is rapid growth so you may find yourself more tired than usual.

You & Your Body

If you feel below your navel you will like encounter a harder area, this is your uterus. During prenatal appointments your health care provider will begin to measure the length of your uterus to ensure that your baby’s development is progressing. The height is measured from the top of your pubic bone to the top of the uterus.

Around this time you will be having a regular ultrasound to check on baby’s development and to ensure that everything is in order. Before your ultrasound you will want to discuss with your partner whether you want to find out the sex of the baby. While knowing the sex may make for easier planning before baby arrives, not knowing makes for a great surprise on your delivery day.

Thoughts for Dad

Let mom and baby know how much you love them with lots of hugs.

Week Sixteen

Baby Development

Baby weigh about 3 ounces and is learning to coordinate his arms and legs. If you happen to feel a flutter in your abdomen this just may be your baby moving around. Over the next few weeks the movements will become much more noticeable and you will find that baby has definite sleep and awake periods. If this is your first pregnancy it may take a few more weeks before you can feel baby moving.

You & Your Body

By now you may be encountering another fun pregnancy side effect – nosebleeds. Don’t panic, this is a result of your increased blood volume as well as swelling in your nasal membranes caused by an increase in estrogen. Sometimes increasing your daily intake of Vitamin C can help reduce the frequency of nosebleeds.

Thing to do: if you are planning an amniocentesis it should be discusses and scheduled with your healthcare practitioner soon.

Thoughts for Dad

Now is the time to plan for the future, so you should both consider getting your affairs in order. A live insurance policy is a good way to ensure that mom and baby are cared for in case the unthinkable happens. Likewise, you should both have wills so that neither has to worry about baby’s care.

Week Seventeen

Baby Development

The fat is forming under baby’s skin – soon you will have a little chubby person on your hands. Fat helps keep baby warm after birth. His little heart is working hard, pumping as much as 25 quarts of blood per day. Baby can suck, swallow and blink. He now weighs about 5 ounces and is about the same size as the placenta.

You & Your Body

Weight gain is likely noticeable by now at about 5 to 10 pounds, and your uterus is approximately 2 inches below your belly button. Baby’s movements are becoming more noticeable.

Thoughts for Dad

Don’t worry if you can’t feel the baby move yet, it usually takes a few more weeks before you can feel it. For now just enjoy the look on mom’s face when she feels a little life moving within her.

Week Eighteen

Baby Development

Baby now weighs about half a pound (seven ounces) and is developing pads on his fingers and toes. Baby’s bowels are accumulating meconium, and boy baby’s are starting to develop a prostate. His bones are starting to harden.

You & Your Body

Many moms at this stage may experience dizziness or faint. This has to do with the fact that so much of your blood is being diverted to baby associated items such as the development of baby, placenta and uterus. Take care when getting out of bed and avoid standing up suddenly or you may find yourself on the floor.

Your uterus is growing, and it is probably time to go shopping for some fun maternity clothes if you haven’t already!

Thoughts for Dad

Being there for mom doesn’t mean you have to do anything other than provide a shoulder to lean on. Let mom talk about the difficulties she is experiencing with her pregnancy and just listen. Oftentimes that will be all she needs.

Week Nineteen

Baby Development

Now at eight ounces, baby has clearly defined sexual organs – so make sure the technician knows you want a surprise if you have an ultrasound after this point. The skin of your little one is very thin and needs to be protected from its watery surroundings, which is why it has vernix – a white substance that covers the skin.

You & Your Body

Skin issues are common throughout pregnancy. You may have blotchy patches on your face, or itchy skin where your tummy is stretching. Treat yourself to a facial and ease the itching by applying lotion to your tummy daily. It also helps to have a healthy diet and to drink lots of water.

Another fun side effect may pop up soon – heartburn! This is due to the fact that your uterus is beginning to push up against your stomach and that your digestive system has slowed down so you can absorb more nutrients for baby. Calcium antacids can help, and so can sleeping slightly propped up. Don’t take any over the counter medication without first checking with your health care provider.

Thoughts for Dad

Likely by now you have realized that in a short period of time you are going to be a dad. A normal reaction to this realization is to question your qualifications as a father. Don’t worry! Every new parent has doubts about their abilities to be a good mom or dad, if we didn’t we wouldn’t be human. Talk to your partner about your concerns and you can both work out just what kind of parents you would like to be together.

Week Twenty

Baby Development

Halfway there – can you believe it? Right now your baby is awake and asleep about as much as a newborn, meaning that you are probably getting some 2am kicks. Consider it practice. If you are having a baby girl her uterus is beginning to develop.

It is now possible to hear the heartbeat without equipment, if you are in the right place. Have your partner put his ear on your abdomen and he may get a fun surprise of a little heartbeat fluttering away.

You & Your Body

Your uterus has now hit your navel, and slowly will begin to push your belly button out. Most women will now have the linea nigra running up the center of the abdomen. Baby’s kicks are getting stronger.

Things to do: Sign up for a prenatal class. This is a great idea for first time parents as it covers everything from labor and delivery to breastfeeding and caring for a newborn. Classes can help new parents feel more prepared and less inadequate. They are also a fabulous bonding experience and a way to meet other new parents.

Thoughts for Dad

Remember that although mom is the one carrying the baby, you need to be there 100% for her for the rest of the pregnancy and labor and delivery. Prenatal classes can help you understand the mystery of childbirth and help to make you an active participant, instead of a bystander.

Week Twenty-One

Baby Development

Your baby’s growth spurt is slowing down, and his or her heart is becoming stronger. The legs are now relative in proportion to the body. He weighs about 13 to 14 ounces and is having a lot of fun moving around in his watery environment.

You & Your Body

There should be no doubt by looking at you that you are pregnant, yet some people will still be gazing at your belly thinking ‘is she?’ You likely find that more often than not your hand is resting on your abdomen, you’re getting yourself into mommy mode! Enjoy this quite time of bonding with your baby.

Weight gain wise you are about 1/3rd of your total, or about 10-15 pounds for a normal weight person. As long as you eat healthy you don’t really need to watch what you eat. And an occasional treat (like a tub of ice cream) is fine too.

By the end of a long day you may notice that your ankles and feet are swelling. Yup, this is a classic pregnancy side effect. Help relieve the tension by putting your feet up at the end of the day.

Thoughts for Dad

Why not plan a weekend away, just the two of you? After all, soon there will be three and the intimate vacation will be much harder to come by. As long as mom is happy and healthy, and her health care practitioner has no objections you should be fine for a few days away. If travelling is not an option plan a special weekend at home.

Week Twenty-Two

Baby Development

Baby only ways about one pound, but is pretty close to fully developed, complete with eyebrows and eyelids. During this week the brain is developing rapidly and for boy babies the testes are descending into the scrotum.

Remember that baby has ears – he or she can hear you. Let him get used to your voices by talking or singing regularly. You don’t need to talk directly to the baby, conversation between you and your partner will provide an early bonding experience. Play music and see how he or she reacts.

You & Your Body

From this point on your baby is going to be steadily gaining weight and so will you. Try to give your body a break by wearing flat or low-heeled shoes so your back doesn’t have to shoulder the entire load. Try to avoid lengthy periods of sitting and standing, and consider a footstool when at your desk.

Leg cramps can be a major hindrance for pregnant moms, and usually indicates a lack of calcium in the diet. If you are hit by a leg cramp point your toes to the ceiling and gently flex and extend until it passes, or get your partner to massage it out.

Thoughts for Dad

Have you thought about names for the baby? Why not get started? Picking the perfect name for your baby can be a long process, so begin early. There are tons of online resources for baby names, and you and your partner can have fun trying out all the different names on your little one. Hopefully one of them will stick before the delivery.

Week Twenty-Three

Baby Development

Baby’s bones are beginning to harden, and if your baby happened to be born now it would have a 40-70% of survival. Each day that passes from now on increases those chances by 3-4%. The lungs are beginning to mature, although they won’t be completely ready until 35-36 weeks.

You & Your Body

Your baby is having a blast rolling around in your tummy, so you may be feeling a whole range of motion from kicks and punches to stretches and somersaults. By now you may be able to tell which end of your baby is up, and which parts are sticking out of your abdomen!

At this point mood swings are quite common, so don’t worry too much. If you do find that you are constantly depressed, weepy or emotional you should mention it to your health care practitioner.

If you are feeling tightening in your abdomen these may be Braxton Hicks contractions and are quite normal. They shouldn’t be painful and will generally go away if you change positions or activities. Embrace these contractions, as they are getting your cervix ready for baby time!

Thoughts for Dad

At time goes on mom is going to feel weighed down, tired and irritable. Help her out by doing things you don’t normally do: clean the house, do laundry or make dinner. Every little bit helps ease her load.

Week Twenty-Four

Baby Development

Baby will gain almost 6 ounces this week alone and will add muscle, bone mass and tissue. By the end of the week he or she will weigh 1 1/3 pounds. From this point on survival rates increase dramatically as baby is nearly fully developed and is mostly adding weight.

You & Your Body

There’s no turning back now! Learn to love your pregnant body, because in three months or less it will be gone. While by the end you may be despising your big belly, when it’s gone you may actually miss its’ comforting presence.

You might be curious to know where all of your ‘baby weight’ is going, as there is little chance that you are going to have a 25 pound baby. Here’s a breakdown of where your extra weight is distributed:

Fetus: 7.5 to 8.5 pounds
Amniotic fluid: 1 to 2 pounds
Placenta: 1 to 2 pounds
Blood and fluids: 4 to 8 pounds
Uterine muscles: 2 to 3 pounds
Breasts: 2 to 3 pounds
Fat deposits around internal organs: 2 to 10 pounds

That’s right – your breast will weigh an extra 2 to 3 pounds and more if you are having multiples. Time to go to the maternity store to invest in some supportive, comfortable bras before the backache kicks in.

Things to do: consider a glucose screening test to check for gestational diabetes, which can pose a risk to your baby. The test is quite simple and involved drinking a sugary mix and then having a blood test to see how your system handles the excess glucose.

Thoughts for Dad

Although mom may not revel in the idea of having her picture taken, later on she will long to see what she looked like when your baby was growing inside her. You may even consider taking her to get a belly cast – a plaster cast of her belly that can be painted and put on display. Or go for some high quality professional photos, they are a classy and lasting reminder of this wonderful time. After baby is born you can go back and get a set of you and her holding your new addition.

Week Twenty-Five

Baby Development

Breathe a sigh of relief that you have made to the end of the second trimester. Right now the baby’s joints and ligaments are forming and blood vessels in the lungs are developing. He or she weighs about 1 ½ pounds and is over 13 inches long.

You & Your Body

By now your uterus has grown from a small grapefruit to a sizable soccer ball. You are probably finding that getting around is becoming difficult, and that the extra weight is starting to affect your back and pelvis. Occasionally you may have shooting pains down your back and legs as a result of your uterus pinching a nerve. Rest often.

Now is the time to learn about preterm labor so you can spot the signs. Catching preterm labor early can mean your baby has a better chance of staying in your uterus for longer, and longer is better at this point.

Contact your health care provider immediately if you experience:

  • Cramping (like menstrual pains)
  • Ache in lower back
  • Pressure on pelvis
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Increase in or change in vaginal discharge
  • Contractions that are consistent and 10 minutes apart or more often

If you are concerned about preterm labor discuss with your health care provider what you should do in case of preterm labor. However, if you are having a healthy, low-risk pregnancy there is likely no need to worry.

Thoughts for Dad

Have you thought about what you are both planning to do when the baby comes in regards to work? Now is the time to start working with your options to see what will be best for you and your family. If your employer offers maternity or paternity benefits you may both be able to take some time off to spend with baby.