The 30 Key Stages of Pregnancy

By Nick Hadji 7 months ago

The first month

Source: Baby CenterEeek! You're pregnant and you probably don't even know it yet! Crazy huh? For the first few weeks, your precious baby is still a microscopic bundle of cells. It takes 6 weeks for organs to develop, but there are signs of an early placenta. You yourself may well be feeling super tired and possibly sick (at any time of the day/night, sorry.) You may also feel your normal period symptoms such as cramping or bloating, so don't despair at those if you're trying!Original content sourced from

Week 5: Tadpole babe

Source: Mum JunctionEven at this early stage, the heart and circulatory system have already started to form! Your placenta is already doing its job of getting nutrients and oxygen to your baby. Impressive right? Your breasts might be feeling a bit tender now, and it's time to do a pregnancy test! Once you've seen those two lines, it's time to start choosing your healthcare provider!

Week 6: Heartbeat!

Source: What to ExpectYour baby might not have a fully formed heart yet, but the cells which will eventually become it are already beating away at 160 bpm! Try to cut down on caffeine if you've not done so already. We know you're oh so tired (sorry), but it can lead to complications of you have too much, a little is fine. Also, get taking those vitamins!

Week 7: Taking shape

Source: Emma's DiaryYour baby now has leg and arm buds and their tiny facial features are starting to become recognisable. They are also developing an eating tube and stomach. Even more incredibly, your baby's brain is gaining 250,000 cells per minute! You might find yourself needing to pee more often and constipation and heart burn are also pretty common (and super fun)...

Week 8: Tiny little fingers

Source: Baby centreOn the ends of your baby's weeny arms and legs, you can just about see webbed fingers and toes bringing to form. They are also developing nerves, bones, muscle and all the other things required for movement. Weird dreams are pretty common round about now, so don't worry if they, as well as the constant bathroom breaks, are keeping you up. Just get as much rest as you can.

Week 9: Body - done!

Source: Medical News TodayIt's week 9, and your baby is only about the size of a strawberry, but they now have all their main body parts (joints included!) Toes, eyelids, nose... they're all there. Even tooth buds are beginning to form (when those babies erupt later, it's not fun. Mind you, if you're breast feeding then it's probably for the best...) The placenta is now fully in charge of producing your baby's growth hormones but you probably aren't feeling great still. Good news though, you're well into your second month now!

Week 10: Eyes are fully developed

Source: efelya.comAlthough they keep their eyelids closed until around 27 weeks, your baby now has corneas, irises, pupils, lenses and retinas. Their brain is also developing at speed and causing their head to bulge slightly - they look a bit out of proportion as their head accounts for about half their body length still. You might start to feel a bit dizzy around now; you're pumping 30-50% more blood around than usual. Sit down and put your head between your knees if this ever gets particularly bad.

Week 11: Boys and girls

Source: ParentsThis week, your baby will start developing their genitals, although they're too small to really differentiate on a scan just yet. The rest of their organs are also working away, making insulin, urine, red blood cells and all the rest. They have a fully formed heart too! As well as all the other symptoms, you may start experiencing heart burn, which is nasty but there are plenty of over the counter remedies you can still take during pregnancy.

Week 12: Now onto the details

Source: SMA baby clubWith a fully formed body, your baby is now working on things such as finger and toenails! The likelihood of miscarriage also drops dramatically around now, so if you've been holding off sharing your amazing news, you might feel more comfortable doing so now. Having people around you in the know means they can support you better as you may continue to feel up and down mood wise, tired and sick for a few weeks yet. You're doing great, things should start to improve for you soon!

Week 13: Welcome to the Second Trimester, baby!

Source: Baby centreWe really hope you'll start to feel those pesky first trimester symptoms ease up about now (sorry again if they don't yet.) You might not need to pee quite as much, but your baby can now! It might sounds gross (they don't mind) but your baby will recycle all of their amniotic fluid every few hours! They've also started woking on their very first poop. Lovely.

Week 14: Pulling faces

Source: Baby centreYour baby is now getting quite expressive! They can frown, squint and may have started to suck and chew. They're also developing hair follicles. It's not just their face which is getting a work out: even if you can't feel it, babies can be right fidgets by this stage! You may be feeling quite congested which is pretty annoying (and again, due to blood flow and hormones), but hopefully your appetite will be returning and you may even have a bump!

Week 15: Tiny person!

Source: What to expectBaby now looks much more in proportion and baby-like than before! They can move all of their joints and may have started to suck their thumb (cute.) They also have tastebuds, but don't worry, they can't taste what you had for lunch. Hormones and increased blood flow may continue to cause you problems sorry: heartburn, nose bleeds and swollen gums may have joined the party. Make sure you take a trip to the dentist!

Week 16: Thin skin

Source: Medicine NetBaby's skin is so thin at this point it's basically translucent. As your pregnancy goes on however, it will get thicker. They've now got all their hair follicles too, even if they're born with very little hair. You may by now be feeling the full impact of "baby brain." The mix of anxiety, tiredness and hormones may well result in you not feel as on top of things as usual. But you're growing a whole human so be kind to yourself!

Week 17: Can you hear me?

Source: ParentsIn the next few weeks, your baby will begin to hear sounds like your heart, breathing and digestive system. Many baby mobiles now include heartbeat sounds for this reason: it sounds like home. Your baby's bones are also hardening now, so try and eat some high calcium foods to help out. Moisturiser is now your new best friend - itchy skin and stretch marks are very common in pregnancy. Oatmeal baths apparently can help, as can cold compresses and fragrance free lotions. Treat yourself to a nice one.

Week 18: Lungs

Source: Family EducationAs well as a fully formed face (eyelashes and eyebrows are there now too!), your baby's lungs will start developing bronchioles (their tiniest tubes.) Girls will also have a uterus and fallopian tubes, and boys will be very clearly boys on scans! For you, you may begin to experience the joys of leg crams and odd swelling. While some swelling in your extremities is normal, do contact your medial team if you are concerned about it suddenly worsening - it can be a sign of preeclampsia.

Week 19: Individuality

Source: Tommy'sYour baby now has their own finger prints! These amazing, unique marks are individual, even in identical twins. You may only be half way to your due date, but your baby now has all their senses and are probably quite enjoying trying them out! They are also now covered in Vernix Caseosa, a white, waxy coating which moisturises the skin and protects the still developing organs from harmful bacteria.

Odd skin symptoms

Source: What to ExpectYou might find your palms are redder than usual, or you have patches of darker skin on you forehead, upper lip or cheeks. Yep, you guessed it, it's those pesky hormones again. Any cells containing melanin could darken - you may find a dark line from your belly button downwards. Don't worry, none of these changed should be permanent!

Week 20: Half Way to your due date!

Source: Made for MumsGot a bouncing bump? If it's regularly rhythmic, your baby may well have hiccups! You'll more likely start to feel more additional movements now too, it's really quite fun! Baby's tastebuds are more advanced now, and could possibly taste tiny molecules of food which pass into the amniotic fluid around them. Finally, we have some good new for you: your hair and skin should be growing faster and thicker than usual by now! Say hello to lush, oestrogen-fuelled locks! (Sorry, this, like the less pleasant stuff, isn't permanent either. Sad.)

Week 21: Veiny babes

Source: ParentsYour baby's blood vessels remain visible through their still translucent skin, which is still super wrinkly. This makes them look a bit pink, but the skin will begin to thicken soon. You, sadly, might be more prone to varicose veins by now. Your uterus is pretty heavy by this point, which puts more pressure on your lower veins. Try elevating your feet or get some super sexy compression socks if you're having problems.

Week 22: Beginnings of baby rolls

Source: Baby centreEveryone loves chubby baby rolls - super cute and cuddly! Your baby is still pretty skinny in there, but a layer of fat is beginning to form under the skin. To go with your varicose veins, you may find yourself experiencing come pelvic pain, which is totally normal but no fun whatsoever. Your pelvis is being pushed forward by your belly, and the curvature of your lower back is becoming more pronounced. There are special belts you can get to help with this or speak to your hearth care provider and see what they can suggest.

Week 23: Your voice

Source: BBCYour baby can hear so well now that they can hear sounds from outside the womb too! They may even be able to recognise yours and your partner's voices. To help you feel extra connected, they may start to give you the odd, friendly(ish) kick now. You may even start to recognise a pattern. Babies love movement and may well snooze during the day as you rock them. At night however, it's party time!

Week 24-26: Getting expressive

Source: Family EducationYour baby continues to put on weight and look even more like a newborn! They might be able to raise their newly grown eyebrows now, good practise for later life! Their lungs are also continuing to increase in surface area, getting ready for life on the outside. Hopefully, any mood swings you were experiencing should start to mellow out now, but if you feel you need support with them, your health care team will be more than happy to help you. It's a very emotional time!

Week 26: Hello there!

Source: GoodtoYour baby will begin to open their eyes for the first time this week! They might also move in response to changes of light; you may feel them wiggle about if you shine a flashlight on your tummy. If you are feeling a bit put out by increased body hair this week (it's caused by the same thing as your love new hairdo), this again should be temporary. Try and stick to non-chemical based methods of hair removal as there's not been much research done on the effects creams etc can have.

Week 28-29: Third Trimester!

Source: NetmumsYou're on the home stretch now! Your baby's brain will...wait for it... triple in wight between now and birth! Grooves will form, increasing surface area in a place with limited space. Your baby is now becoming able to control things like body temperature and breathing via their nervous system. How clever!

Week 30-32: Seeing shapes

Source: Medicine NetYour baby's pupils can now dilate and contract, enabling them to control how much light they let in. They can also see dim shapes. Sure, there's not much to see in there, but it's pretty cool nonetheless. You, mama, are probably feeling super pregnant by now. Sleep may be increasingly difficult and your feet may be expanding. We're sorry to say, this change may not be temporary - so treat yourself to some new shoes.

Week 33: Smoothing out

Source: Family EducationWith their skin smoothing out, your baby will be looking less alien and more gorgeous baby. Their skin is also more opaque now, making it appear less red. They'll also be super on the move, getting in as much wriggling as they can in the decreasing space. Your organs might not love this...

Week 34: Pretty much there

Source: First Cry ParentingIf your baby is born after 34 weeks, you'll be happy to know they are very unlikely to have any long term consequences. Unless they have any underlying health issues, a brief stay in the NICU is probably all they'll need to give them a little bit of help. You'll probably want to be packing that hospital bag of essentials now, just in case!

Week 35-38: Waste management, sorted

Source: NPRYour baby can now process some waste material through their kidneys and has a fully functioning bladder. They may also soon descend into your pelvis about now in preparation for birth, which might not be the most comfortable place for that ever expanding head! Be one the look out for itchy rashes on your belly or lower body - this could be a sign of pruritic urticarial papules. As with everything, call your medical team if you are worried. Trust us, you're not causing trouble, they're there to look after you!

Week 39: Full term!

Source: Kopa birthYes we know pregnancy is said to last 40 weeks, but babies born after 39 weeks are still considered full term. Hooray! At the size of a watermelon (yikes), your baby is ready for life in the outside world. Congratulations! You grew a wonderful, gorgeous human who you'll soon get to meet!


Source: Accutech SecurityThey're here! Most babies aren't born on their due date, but there's no need for medical  intervention until at least week 42, unless your medical team feel differently. All births look different, and whether yours is planned or you go with the flow, one thing is for sure: you'll soon meet that little bundle you've been imagining and who's been kicking you often (little scamp) for weeks now! Well done mama. You did it!

The key stages of postpartum recovery

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It's just as important to know what to expect during the postpartum recovery stage as it is to know about pregnancy stages. The recovery after childbirth is known as postpartum and last around six weeks after you've given birth. Different people can go through different things during this time, and it can change based on how you gave birth, too!

Natural birth: pain is normal!

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You've just done an amazing thing, and yes it's still going to hurt! During the first week after a natural birth, you can expect to still feel some pain and discomfort in your v*gina, and how much pain can depend on how much you tore during birth. It's likely that you'll stay in hospital for part of the first week after birth if you had a natural delivery so you can recover.

Bleeding during this time is normal, too

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As well as ongoing pain in the v*gina, you can also expect some bleeding, too, which is completely normal. You're likely to have perineal soreness, which is the area between the v*ginal opening and your an*s. During this first week, it's normal for blood to be very bright in color, which should eventually fade down to less bleeding and a duller color. Nothing to worry about!

C-section: it'll be difficult to move

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If you had a C-section, then during this first postpartum week, it's going to be very painful to move, and your movement will be limited. It's likely you'll struggle with simple movements like getting in and out of your hospital bed, which can be frustrating, but good rest is key. It's important to try and still move around a little to keep everything circulating!

You will likely have pain around the incision, too

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As well as physical pain and inability to move too much, it's likely you're going to have a lot of soreness at the incision point, too, understandably. Although it's painful all round to keep moving, small and regular movements are key. During this first week/first few days, you'll also have a bladder catheter removed if you had one put in for your C-section procedure.

Expect a decline in mental health

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After giving birth, your emotions are all over the place. It's completely normal to see a drop in positive mental health during the first few days, because by around day three, your estogen and progesterone levels are decreasing, while your prolactin and oxytocin levels are going up and down. All of this basically means you're going to feel emotional, tired and more negative.

Week 2: more discomfort than pain

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The good news is that by this point you shouldn't be in a lot of pain, but it's going to be more annoying and uncomfortable. You know that feeling when a cut is healing and it's more itchy and annoying than it is painful? You're likely to get that feeling around your v*gina and around any incisions or where your wound is healing. The sutures may also start to bug you!

Bleeding should be minimal by now

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It should be the case that bleeding is really starting to stop now, and you shouldn't have much - but it's also completely normal to still be bleeding a little for up to 6 weeks after birth. It all depends on the individual, and bleeding or minimal bleeding are both completely normal! If you are still bleeding, it really shouldn't be too heavy, and more an annoyance.

You'll find it easier to move around

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If you had a C-section delivery, it's likely that by this point you're finding it a little easier and a little less painful to move around. You're likely to feel more sore and tender than outright in pain, and you should be able to get up and move around at a more regular pace! The incision site will likely be more itchy and annoying at this point as it's healing.

Baby blues

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At this stage, it's entirely normal for new parents to feel blue, weepy and sad. The 'baby blues' are very normal and common. But by this stage, it's important to know the difference between baby blues and Postpartum Depression, which is also a very common and normal thing. It's important to get help if you feel you are more depressed than feeling blue.

How to know whether you have postpartum depression

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Postpartum depression compared to general baby blues will most likely be extremely overwhelming in the case of feeling anxious and sad, and might be stopping you from doing every day tasks. You may even feel distanced from your baby, and having worrying thoughts. You might struggle to bond with your baby, and struggle with eating and sleeping. If this is the case, always talk to your doctor - it's very important!

A month after birth: getting back to normality

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By the 6 week stage, your uterus should have gone back to its normal size! You should also have no bleeding whatsoever by this point. The good news is that you should also be feeling comfortable enough to return to physical activities like exercise, or even in the bedroom with your partner! But being physically ready and emotionally ready are two different things, so this is entirely your own experience!

You might get a bit of bleeding again

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It's also not uncommon to have your bleeding fade out and completely stop, only to have it start up again randomly for a few days. It can be normal for this to happen because you uterus is working hard to get back to its normal size and shape that sometimes this can cause bleeding as a result of scabs that might be on the placenta getting pushed away.

After a C-section, you should be cleared for physical activity, too

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By this point, you should also be okay to return to your normal levels of physical activity, such as exercise, after having a C-section. It might be that you still feel a little numb around your C-section scar, but you shouldn't have any pain at this point in the timeline. You might still get some itchiness there, too. You should also be okay to lift things, but be sure not to push yourself too much!

Start off slow with exercise

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After a C-section, walking is the best exercise you can do for comfort levels and to make sure you're not overdoing it. Although you should be physically recovered from the surgery at this point, start off small with exercise and don't do anything too intense right away. Work back up to your normal levels of exercise and physical activity based on how you're feeling.

Check in with your mental health

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By this point, you should have more of a good idea of how you're feeling mentally and emotionally after birth. You might have found you're less weepy and emotional now if you just had the baby blues, but if you were feeling more depressed, that may still be the case. You should have a 6 week check up with your doctor at this point, so this is the time to be sure to speak about how you're mental health is doing.

Give yourself longer to recover

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Officially, the postpartum period ends around the six week mark after birth, but that doesn't mean that this is the point when you'll be feeling back to normal. Every person is different, and you might still be feeling weepy, tired or sore at the six week point. You should give yourself up to a full year to have yourself feeling completely normal again!

The 6 month mark: your body returning to normal

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Some women may have had hair falling out as a result of pregnancy, so by the six month mark, this should be stopping. You should also feel like your bladder control has returned to normal (thank goodness!) which means toilet habits can get back on track. Some people may also find their periods start up again as normal around this time, but it's not guaranteed.

You may still be tired after a C-section

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Even though it's been six months, a lot of people who delivered through C-section can still feel very tired at this point following the surgery. This all depends on your personal experience with your baby's sleeping patterns, though, as that could be the main cause of your exhaustion! It's sometimes the case that parents who delivered through C-section are more tired at the six month mark than those who had a natural birth.

Positive feelings

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This is when you're most likely to have gotten into a good routine of parenthood and getting to grips with your baby, which means this is the time you should be feeling more positive about the birth (even though you can still be exhausted!) so this is also when it'll be easier to understand whether negative feelings are still ever-present. If this is the case, remember to speak to your doctor about postpartum depression.