The three stages of pregnancy
Becoming pregnant, being pregnant, giving birth and the upcoming parenthood might be challenging if you don’t speak Dutch. Birth Verloskundigen is a midwife practice in Stadshagen Zwolle that will provide you with
guidance during the pregnancy, giving the birth and the maternity period. We can also provide information on planning to conceive, how to plan your birth control and birth control prescription (insertion of birth control devices, such as spiral ect.)
Birth Verloskundigen is a small, personal, committed and dedicated midwife practice that delivers a full care model for parents and children. We offer you professional midwifery care from a responsible and efficient perspective by working closely together with other disciplines. We have the possibility to provide you with longer and more frequent checkups than usual in a Dutch practice, so there will be enough time for all your wishes and questions.
The average pregnancy period takes about nine months and a lot will happen during this period. In three blogs we will describe this period. This first blog is a summary of the three phases of your pregnancy. In the second blog we will describe the growth and how the baby is developing during this period and the last blog will be about what you can expect from Birth Verloskundigen during this period.
The pregnancy period can be divided into three phases, the three trimesters. The average duration of a pregnancy will take around nine months. It hardly ever takes exactly nine months. With one it concerns a shorter period, with the other it takes a little longer. This differs from person to person. The period may also differ per pregnancy. Yet a pregnancy always consists of the same phases. In general, the period that you carry the baby in your belly is divided into three different phases, also trimesters.
This article provides you with an overview of the 3 trimesters.
The first trimester
The first trimester takes the first 13 weeks of your pregnancy staring to count from the first day of your last normal period.
During this period the baby develops in the belly. During this phase the embryo develops more and more. For example, the foundation is laid for the nervous system, intestines, eyes, skin and lungs. We can therefore state that the first phase of pregnancy is a crucial phase.
Also, during the first trimester your body will be subject to many changes. These changes can trigger symptoms even in the very first weeks of pregnancy.
Changes may include:
- Your period is stopping
- Extreme tiredness
- Tender, swollen breasts. Your nipples might also stick out.
- Upset stomach with or without throwing up (morning sickness)
- Cravings or distaste for certain foods
- Mood swings
- Constipation (trouble having bowel movements)
- Need to pass urine more often
- Weight gain or loss
As your body changes, you might need to make changes to your daily routine, such as going to bed earlier or eating frequent, small meals. Fortunately, most of these discomforts will go away as your pregnancy progresses. And some women might not feel any discomfort at all! If you have been pregnant before, you might feel differently this time around. Just as each woman is different, so is each pregnancy.
As soon as you know that you are pregnant, adjust your lifestyle immediately. For example, make sure you eat the right food. This concerns food that is good for you, but of course also for the baby that grows in your belly. Are you a drinker and do you smoke regularly? Then you absolutely must stop this at this stage. These resources can have adverse consequences for the development of your child.
The second trimester
In the second phase the baby will grow a lot. It will go from around 6.9 cm to around 36.8 cm. His weight also rises, from 32.5 grams to 940 grams. The development of the baby will also accelerate during this period. The baby trains the muscles, practices breathing, sucking and swallowing. During the second phase, the senses also work, from the womb it is possible to hear your voice and later even recognize it and the baby can also notice the light through your belly. The further the baby develops, the more the senses will work. During the second phase, the face becomes more human and so does the behavior. The baby can get the hiccups, can yawn and also thumbs. The baby is almost finished from the outside, only the inside will have to grow a lot.
In general, most women consider the second trimester easier than the first. But it is just as important to stay informed about your pregnancy during these months.
You might notice that symptoms like nausea and fatigue are going away. But other new, more noticeable changes to your body are now happening. Your abdomen will expand as the baby continues to grow. And before this trimester is over, you will feel your baby beginning to move!
As your body changes to make room for your growing baby, you may have:
- Body aches, such as back, abdomen, groin, or thigh pain
- Stretch marks on your abdomen, breasts, thighs, or buttocks
- Darkening of the skin around your nipples
- A line on the skin running from belly button to pubic hairline
- Patches of darker skin, usually over the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip. Patches often match on both sides of the face. This is sometimes called the mask of pregnancy.
- Numb or tingling hands, called carpal tunnel syndrome
- Itching on the abdomen, palms, and soles of the feet. (Call your doctor if you have nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice or fatigue combined with itching. These can be signs of a serious liver problem.)
- Swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face.
The third trimester
During the third phase of the 3 phases of pregnancy, the baby grows approximately 14 cm, the weight will be doubled more than 4 times. It will be around 3400 grams. At the start of this phase the baby can open its eyes and it can also blink.
The third trimester is the final stretch of pregnancy. Physical effects will reach an all-time high, as both the woman and child’s bodies prepare for birth. Some of the same discomforts you had in your second trimester will continue. Plus, many women find breathing difficult and notice they have to go to the bathroom even more often. This is because the baby is getting bigger and it is putting more pressure on your organs.
Eyelashes have formed and the fetus will be able to open its eyes; the nervous system is strong enough to control the body’s temperature and also rhythmic breathing. The baby starts swallowing, moving, sucking on the fingers and getting the hiccups. All organs such as the kidneys and liver are fully developed at the end of the third phase. The cartilage changes to bone, and the skull consists of loose plates. These loose plates can slide over each other during delivery. At the end of the third phase, and therefore also the pregnancy, the uterus will become tight for the baby. The baby will therefore adopt a comfortable lying position that the baby likes. When the 37 weeks are over, the baby is “ready to go.” The birth can start any time, it is of course also possible that the baby wants to stay with you until week 42.
Some new body changes you might notice in the third trimester include:
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face.
- Tender breasts, which may leak a watery pre-milk called colostrum (kuh-LOSS-struhm)
- Your belly button may stick out
- Trouble sleeping
- The baby “dropping”, or moving lower in your abdomen
- Contractions, which can be a sign of real or false labor
As you near your due date, your cervix becomes thinner and softer (called effacing). This is a normal, natural process that helps the birth canal (vagina) to open during the birthing process. Your midwife will check your progress with a vaginal exam as you near your due date. Your breasts may also feel fuller and heavier, to prepare for breastfeeding, and you will start to feel contractions soon. Finally, you can feel Braxton Hicks contractions at any time during the third trimester. Unlike real contractions, these irregular, mild tightenings of the uterus may go away if you simply walk around. Still, if you aren’t sure what you’re experiencing, call Birth Verloskundigen in Zwolle Stadshagen
Birth Verloskundigen is a small, personal, committed and dedicated midwife practice that delivers a full care model for parents and child. We offer you professional midwifery care from a responsible and efficient perspective by working closely together with other disciplines. We have the possibility to provide you with longer and more frequent checkups than usual in a Dutch practice. By doing this, there will be enough time for all your wishes and questions.
Therefore, we provide you with an English, German, French or Arabic speaking midwife, flexible consultation hours, ultrasounds, home visits, continuous monitoring during the pregnancy. We provide delivery at home and in the hospital, cooperation with the gynecologists in the region. All midwives are registered in the quality register for midwives. We have contracts with all major healthcare insurance companies, post-natal care, preconception consultation and birth control consultation.
Because it is not about us, but about you. It’s about your pregnancy, you are giving birth and it’s your child. We inform, facilitate and check.
You are welcome for a free consultation at our practice in Stadshagen Zwolle, or we can visit you on-site.
Are you interested or do you have any questions? Please contact us by sending an email to email@example.com or call us at +31 6 15 15 80 52.
Hopefully see you seen!