Courtesy of The March of Dimes

MONTH 1

Your Baby

-Tiny limb buds, which will grow into arms and legs, appear.

-The heart and lungs begin to form. By the 22nd day, the heart starts to beat.

-The neural tube, which becomes the brain and spinal cord, begins to form.

-At the end of the first month, your baby is about 1/4 inch long.

Your Body

-Your body is making lots of hormones needed to grow a baby.

-Your breasts are slightly bigger and sore and may tingle.

-You may have morning sickness. Try eating crackers.

-You may crave some foods or hate foods you usually like.

Prenatal Care Guide

-Visit your health care provider for your first prenatal care checkup as soon as you think you are pregnant.

-Take a multivitamin with at least 400 micrograms of the B vitamin folic acid every day to help reduce the risk of birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.

-Ask your health care provider before taking any prescription drugs, over-the-counter products or herbal products.

-Stop smoking, drinking alcohol and taking recreational drugs.

 

 

NEXT: MONTH 2

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MONTH 2

Your Baby

-All major body organs and systems are formed but not completely developed.

-Early stages of the placenta, which exchanges nutrients from your body for waste products produced by the baby, are visible and working.

-Ears, ankles and wrists are formed. Eyelids form and grow but are sealed shut.

-Fingers and toes are developed.

-By the end of the second month, your baby is about 1 inch long and still weighs less than 1/3 ounce.

Your Body

-Your breasts are still sore and are enlarging; your nipples and the area around them begin to darken.

-You will urinate more often because your growing uterus is pressing on your bladder.

-Morning sickness may continue.

-You may feel tired and need to rest more as your body adjusts to being pregnant.

-The total amount of blood in your body increases.

Prenatal Care Guide

-Visit your health care provider for one prenatal care checkup.

-Eat a variety of healthy foods from the five major food groups: grains; fruit; vegetables; dairy products; and meats and proteins.

-Your health care provider probably will prescribe prenatal vitamins. Your prenatal vitamin should contain at least 400 micrograms of folic acid.

-Drink at least six to eight glasses of water, juice or milk every day.

NEXT: MONTH 3

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MONTH 3

Your Baby

-Fingers and toes have soft nails.

-The mouth has 20 buds that will become baby teeth.

-Fine hairs begin to form on the baby’s skin.

-You can hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time (10 to 12 weeks) using a special instrument called a doptone.

-For the rest of pregnancy, all body organs will mature and the baby will gain weight.

-By end of this month, the baby is about 2 1/2 to 3 inches long and weighs about 1 ounce.

Your Body

-You may still feel tired and have morning sickness.

-You may have headaches and get lightheaded or dizzy. If these symptoms persist or are severe, tell your health care provider.

-Your clothes may begin to feel tight around your waist and breasts. Try pullover tops and skirts or pants with elastic waists.

Prenatal Care Guide

-Visit your health care provider for one prenatal checkup.

-You have a slightly increased need for almost all vitamins and minerals to nourish your baby. A healthy diet helps to meet these needs.

-You may have gained 2 to 4 pounds by now. A woman who starts pregnancy at a normal weight should gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Ask your health care provider how much weight you should gain.

-Exercise can be beneficial. Walking is a good choice. Check with your health care provider before starting an exercise program.

-If your health care provider recommends prenatal testing using chorionic villus sampling (CVS), you can have the test now.

NEXT: MONTH 4

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MONTH 4

Your Baby

  • The baby moves, kicks and swallows.
  • The skin is pink and transparent.
  • The umbilical cord continues to carry nourishment from mother to baby—but it also can pass along hazards like alcohol, nicotine and other drugs.
  • By the end of the fourth month, your baby is 6 to 7 inches long and weighs about 4 to 5 ounces.

Your Body

  • Your appetite increases as morning sickness goes away. You should begin to feel more energetic.
  • Toward the end of the fourth month (16 to 20 weeks), you might feel your baby move for the first time; tell your health care provider.
  • Your belly begins to show—you probably will need maternity clothes and bigger bras now.

 

Prenatal Care Guide

  • Visit your health care provider for one prenatal care checkup.
  • Pregnant women need extra iron—more than even a good diet can supply. Your doctor may recommend iron supplements.
  • You’ll probably gain about a pound a week, or 12 to 14 pounds, during the second trimester (months 4 to 6).
  • If your health care provider recommends prenatal testing using amniocentesis or a blood test called a triple screen for Down syndrome and neural tube defects, you can have them at 15 to 18 weeks.

 

NEXT: MONTH 5

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MONTH 5

Your Baby

  • The baby becomes more active, turning from side to side and sometimes head over heels.
  • Finger and toe prints can be seen.
  • The baby sleeps and wakes at regular intervals.
  • This is a month of rapid growth. At the end of the fifth month, your baby is about 10 inches long and weighs 1/2 to 1 pound.

Your Body

  • If you haven’t already, you will begin to feel your baby moving. Tell your health care provider.
  • Your uterus has grown to the height of your belly button.
  • Your heart beats faster.
  • You may need eight or more hours of sleep each night. During the day, take rest breaks if tired. Don’t push yourself.

 

Prenatal Care Guide

  • Visit your health care provider for one prenatal care checkup.
  • Your baby’s growth and weight gain can be affected if you’re smoking, drinking or taking drugs. It’s never too late to quit.
  • Eat a healthy, nutritious diet and drink lots of juice, water and milk every day.

 

 

NEXT: MONTH 6

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MONTH 6

Your Baby

  • The skin is red and wrinkled and covered with fine, soft hair.
  • Eyelids begin to part and the eyes open.
  • The baby continues to grow rapidly. At end of the sixth month, the baby is about 12 inches long and weighs 1 1/2 to 2 pounds.

Your Body

    • You may feel the baby kicking strongly now.
    • The skin on your growing belly may start to itch.
    • Your back may hurt. Wear low-heeled shoes or flats. Don’t stand for long periods of time. Exercise can help.
    • You may feel pain down the sides of your belly as your uterus stretches the ligaments that support it.

Prenatal Care Guide

  • Visit your health care provider for one prenatal care checkup.
  • You may be constipated. Drink more water or fruit juice, eat more foods with fiber (like fruits and vegetables) and get some exercise (with your health care provider’s approval).
  • To help with heartburn, try eating four or five smaller meals during the day.
  • Do not take laxatives or antacids without asking your health care provider.

 

 

NEXT: MONTH 7

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MONTH 7

Your Baby

  • The baby can open and close her eyes and suck her thumb.
  • The baby exercises by kicking and stretching.
  • The baby responds to light and sound.
  • The baby is now about 15 to 16 inches long and weighs about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds.

Your Body

  • If your ankles and feet swell from standing, lie down with your feet raised. If your hands and face swell suddenly, call your health care provider.
  • Stretch marks may appear on the abdomen and breasts as they get bigger.
  • You may have contractions. This is normal, but call your health care provider if you have more than five contractions in one hour.
  • As your belly gets bigger, you may lose your sense of balance. This makes it easier to fall. Be careful!

Prenatal Care Guide

  • After the 28th week, visit your health care provider every two weeks for prenatal care.
  • Eat a variety of foods that are good for you. You should gain 1 pound a week this month.
  • Get plenty of rest—your body is working hard.
  • Start childbirth education classes if you haven’t already done so.
  • Most health care providers do a blood test for gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) at 24 to 28 weeks.

 

 

NEXT: MONTH 8

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MONTH 8

Your Baby

  • Rapid brain growth continues.
  • The baby is too big to move around much, but he can kick strongly and roll around.
  • You may notice the shape of an elbow or heel against your abdomen.
  • Bones of the head are soft and flexible to make it easier for the baby to fit through the birth canal.
  • Fingernails have grown to tips of fingers.
  • Lungs may still be immature.
  • Your baby is now about 18 to 19 inches long and weighs about 4 to 5 pounds.

Your Body

  • You may feel stronger contractions this month.
  • You may have some leakage of colostrum (the fluid that will feed your baby until your milk comes in) from your breasts.
  • You may have trouble sleeping because it is hard to get comfortable. Try putting several pillows under your head.
  • You may have shortness of breath as the baby crowds your lungs.
  • The baby may crowd your stomach. Try eating five or six smaller meals during the day.
  • The top of your uterus lies just under your rib cage.

Prenatal Care Guide

  • Visit your health care provider every two weeks for prenatal care checkups.
  • You should gain 1 pound a week this month.
  • Call your health care provider right away if you have:
    • Bleeding or a gush of fluid from your vagina
    • Cramps, stomach pains or a dull backache
    • Blurry vision, or spots before your eyes
    • A feeling that the baby is pushing down
    • A noticeable decrease in the baby’s movements
    • More than five contractions in one hour

 

 

NEXT: MONTH 9

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MONTH 9

Your Baby

  • At 37 to 40 weeks, your baby is full term.
  • The baby’s lungs are mature and ready to function on their own.
  • The baby gains about 1/2 pound a week.
  • The baby usually drops into a head-down position and rests lower in your abdomen.
  • By the end of the ninth month, the baby is 19 to 21 inches long and weighs 6 to 9 pounds.

Your Body

  • Your belly button may stick out.
  • Your breathing should be easier once the baby drops, but you’ll have to urinate more often because the baby is pressing on your bladder.
  • Swelling of ankles and feet may increase.
  • Your cervix will open up (dilate) and thin out (efface) as it prepares for birth.
  • You may be uncomfortable because of the pressure and weight of the baby. Rest often.

 

Prenatal Care Guide

  • After the 36th week, visit your health care provider once a week for prenatal care checkups.
  • You may not gain any weight at all this month; you may even lose 1 or 2 pounds.
  • Decide if you are going to breastfeed or formula-feed your baby.
  • Time your contractions. You are in labor if your contractions:
    • Are regular or evenly spaced apart (every seven minutes, for example)
    • Happen more than five times an hour
    • Last for 30 to 70 seconds
    • Get worse as you move around
    • Call your health care provider if you think you are in labor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A look at how your baby develops month by month.

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