Useful Tips

Fetal development: Stages of pregnancy


In developed countries, there are many opportunities to learn about the stages of pregnancy, for example, in preparation for childbirth for future parents. The quality of information is very different, but, fortunately, today parents have a good opportunity to evaluate the quality of the information received through print, visual and electronic media. Understanding the stages of fetal development, as well as changes in the mother’s body, gives parents the opportunity to assess the health of both mother and baby during pregnancy. After comprehending the stages of pregnancy, you can do everything in your power to protect the health of mother and baby.

Concept and implantation

About two weeks after the woman spent her period, she ovulates and her ovaries release one mature egg. The egg can be fertilized within 12-24 hours after its release, when it moves along the fallopian tube towards the uterus.

If an egg meets a sperm cell that breaks into the fallopian tube, it combines into one cell, a process known as fertilization or conception.

During fertilization, the sex of the fetus has already been determined, depending on whether the egg receives chromosome X or Y from the sperm. If the egg receives the X chromosome, the child will be a girl, the Y chromosome means that the child will be a boy.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, a fertilized egg (or embryo) needs about three to four days to go to the lining of the uterus, where it attaches or is implanted to the wall of the uterus. After embryo implantation, the cells begin to grow. It eventually becomes the fetus and placenta, which is tissue. This tissue can transport oxygen, nutrients, and hormones from maternal blood to the developing fetus throughout pregnancy.

If fertilization has occurred, how to determine?

By 1 week, the baby is introduced into the uterine epithelial tissue. Begins to be developed chorionic gonadotropin.

It is unambiguous sign of advance pregnancy. There are two ways to detect this:

  • Take a clinical blood test for hCG.
  • Make a pregnancy test yourself, using morning urine, in which the highest concentration of hCG after conception.

Then you can listen to change in the body, internal sensations. With developed sensitivity, it is easy to understand what signals the body sends if a new life is born in it.

What happens at 1 week of pregnancy?

After conception, the fertilized egg moves through the fallopian tubes to the uterus, which is preparing to receive it. Pregnancy in the first week is a conditional time during which the body of a woman undergoes important changes, preparing for fetal development.

The egg is in the stage of crushing, while moving through the fallopian tubes, gradually increasing in size. Help them move special cilia and wall reduction of the fallopian tubes.

Unfertilized eggs die after 12-24 hours, and a fertilized egg when it enters the uterus is implanted in it. In the body, changes begin, the hormonal background is rebuilt.

Uterus condition

Changes in early pregnancy mostly start in the uterus. At an early stage in the origin of life, structural changes begin in the female bosom. Chemical processes occur that affect the entire body of the expectant mother.

The uterus has the following features:

  • Almost does not change its location.
  • It becomes soft, and the neck becomes denser.
  • In the area of ​​the cervix, a mucous plug is formed, which prevents the penetration of pathogens into the genital organ. So the fetus, being in the uterus, protects itself from infection.

May occur slightly drawing abdominal pains as a result of relaxation of the pelvic ligaments. So the woman’s body is prepared for the upcoming birth.

Dairy future mother’s glands become sensitive, breast elasticity increases.

From 1 week, the breast grows, increases in size.

But not all expectant mothers have it denser immediately after conception.

The compacting and growing breast of the expectant mother requires a careful attitude. You need to choose the right underwear, so that it does not restrict breathing, it was comfortable and made from natural materials.

At an early stage the woman’s stomach does not grow. A barely noticeable rounding appears only in mothers with experience, and then not immediately. At the time of implantation of the egg or during the contraction of the fallopian tubes, with the movement of the embryo to the uterus, light pulling pains in the abdomen may disturb.

If pain pass quickly and do not cause noticeable discomfort - Do not worry. A similar phenomenon is the norm in the first week of pregnancy. When the pulling pain intensifies, profuse bloody discharge begins, this is already an occasion to consult a doctor.

What happens to the fetus?

Doesn't exist yet such a thing as a fetus. A future baby is just a fertilized egg that travels through the fallopian tubes to the uterus to be implanted into its walls.

But he is already carries half the mother’s genetic material and half dad's. By the end of the week, the embryo is implanted in the uterine epithelial tissue.

The egg is divided, becoming more and more. The formation of the placenta, umbilical cord begins. At this moment, the embryo is still small, its even cannot be seen on ultrasoundbut he is closely connected with mom.

A woman can contact the baby, talk with him. Such close contact positive effect on its further development.

Changes in the mother

First changes indicate the fact of pregnancy. Some of them are noticeable only during a gynecological examination, but most of the changes can be noticed by the woman herself.

These include the following:

  • The uterus grows slightly, its surface softens.
  • The vaginal mucosa turns a little blue.
  • There is no menstruation and related processes.

  • Reconstructs the hormonal background.
  • Frequent urination, constipation.

Changes are due to the preparation of the body for bearing and the successful birth of a child. All systems and organs are adapted to the process of development of the fetus.

The main signs of conception

In the first week after conception, a woman may have a condition similar to the period of menstruation.

A woman at this time has observed:

  • Delayed menstruation - with a regular cycle.
  • Pain sensations of unknown origin.
  • Heaviness in the uterus.
  • Bloating, as if bursting. Clothes seem tight, although the tummy is still not growing.
  • Tingling in the chest, its swelling.
  • Blood pressure drops.
  • Emotional instability.
  • Darkening of the nipples.
  • Disturbed by flatulence.
  • Change in the nature of vaginal discharge.

So woman's body honks about pregnancy.

By this time, a fertilized egg should be implanted in the uterus. This is a dangerous period. - There is a high probability of a miscarriage.

So that the body of the future mother does not get rid from an egg attached to the uterus, immunity is slightly weakened. In this regard, a woman feels a slight malaise, lethargy. Body temperature may rise, often tends to sleep.

Nausea in the morning, sensitivity to smells and food is aggravated. Bizarre and new taste addictions arise. Some women want to chew on chalk if there is a significant lack of calcium in the body. Appetite disappears or grows.

Among the main signs of pregnancy, there are implantation bleeding. It occurs after the introduction of the egg into the uterine cavity.

After successful attachment of the fetus to the uterus appear barely noticeable pinkish or brown discharge. They have a smearing character. Sometimes the discharge may simply not be noticed.

By duration implantation bleeding cannot last more than two days. If longer - this is already a deviation from the norm and an occasion to seek the advice of a specialist.

If a woman's discharge becomes bloody and their volume is increasing, and along the way there is an acute pulling pain in the lower abdomen, urgently need to see a doctor. Any increased bleeding during this period is a risk of miscarriage.

What will the ultrasound show?

In the first week after conception, there is no need to do an ultrasound if the woman feels great. This can harm the baby, therefore it is recommended to conduct an ultrasound examination no earlier than three months or as prescribed by a doctor in exceptional cases.

An ultrasound scan may show abnormalities. These include:

  • Ectopic pregnancy.
  • Cyst or swelling.
  • Inflammatory process.

In normal pregnancy research may show the absence of a dominant follicle, because ovulation is no longer assumed, and conception has already occurred.

But this cannot be seen as a clear sign pregnancy for those who are looking forward to it, because women have menstrual cycles without ovulation - 1 or 2 times a year, and this is considered the norm.

Exercise stress

Exercising is a great way for a future mother to prepare for pregnancy and bearing a baby. It is especially worth taking the time to your body.

Morning or evening slow run trains endurance, improves the respiratory system. After regular jogging in women, the back and legs strengthen.

If conception has already occurred, running is contraindicated. Then the expectant mother can swim in the pool, do yoga for pregnant women, walking sports.

Kegel exercises

Using a specific complex women develop vaginal muscles. When mastering the exercises, it is easier to transfer childbirth. The expectant mother reduces the risk of injuries and ruptures by increasing the elasticity of the muscles of the vagina.

Exercises can be done independently and at home or contact a specialist by signing up for individual or group training.

Positive attitude

Woman it is advisable to set yourself up for the bestthinking in a positive way. Pleasant emotions have a beneficial effect on the development of the baby. Expectant mother can listen to beautiful music - classical works, sounds of nature. This woman calms, pacifies.

A good mood for the future mother contribute full sleep lasting 8-10 hours, regular walks on the street. In this case, a woman needs to choose comfortable clothes and shoes so as not to injure herself and the baby.

Medical and lifestyle tips

If you want, to give birth to a healthy baby you need to lead a healthy lifestyle. It is advisable to start at least for six months before the alleged conception.

During this time, you need to identify possible hidden pathologies, overcome bad habits.

If pregnancy has already occurredThen you can’t experiment with your body. Any drastic changes in health will not add.

First, a woman is desirable consult a gynecologist, undergo a medical examination to make sure that the reproductive and digestive systems are working properly.

Expectant mother you need to pay attention to the hormonal background. It is good if, until the moment of conception, the expectant mother will restore order with her teeth.

A woman should pass the following tests:

  • Blood for sugar.
  • A test for toxoplasmosis, if the apartment has pets.
  • Blood Rh factor.

In order for the baby to be comfortable developing in the mother’s womb, a woman must follow the recommendations of doctors:

  • Eat small meals, but often. You can not starve yourself or overeat.
  • Get enough sleep. Healthy sleep is good for both mom and baby.
  • Take vitamins.
  • To walk outside.
  • Perform breathing exercises for overall relaxation of the body.
  • Avoid stress.
  • Do not contact people infected with viral infections.
  • Time to relax.
  • Stick to a diet.

it will help the female body cope with the burden placed on him during pregnancy.


At an early stage of pregnancy, in the products that make up the menu of the expectant mother, there should be a sufficient amount of nutrients.

In the first week of the term, women should be present in the diet:

  • Low-fat varieties of meat in boiled or stewed form.
  • Fatty fish saturated with omega acids.

  • Fresh fruits, fruits, vegetables, greens.
  • Dairy products. It is advisable to drink whole milk daily or consume yogurt.

Sugar for the future mother is possible, but not more than 50 g per day. Instead of sugar, you can honey. Animal fats are best replaced vegetable oil. The cooking method is also important. It is extremely undesirable to get involved in fried, spicy, smoked dishes. It is better to replace them with steamed food, stewed or boiled food.

What is banned?

Pregnancy is not a disease, but only a special condition of the body. The woman is in good health, allowing herself to do her usual business. But reduce physical activity expectant mother must.

From the first week of pregnancy, a woman is prohibited:

  • Work more than 6 hours and without a break.
  • Sit at the computer for a long time.
  • Work on night shifts, go on business trips.
  • Lifting weights - items over 3 kg.
  • To sit or stand for a long time.
  • Move furniture and any large items or lift them.
  • Use aggressive detergents with chlorine, pronounced aromatic additives when cleaning.
  • Drink strong tea, coffee.
  • Drink alcohol, smoke.
  • Visit the solarium, bath.
  • Take a hot bath.
  • X-ray
  • Listen to loud music and is located near sound amplifiers.

If listen to these recommendationsnothing will harm the development of the fetus.

Vitamin intake

Vitamins must be in the menu of the future mother. During pregnancy, the need for calcium, iodine and other trace elements doubles.

If a woman lacks vitamins, the growing fetus will begin to take the necessary substances from her body. Bones, teeth, and pregnant hair will be affected.

Doctor may prescribe folic acid to reduce hereditary problems, improve the condition of the embryo and reduce the negative impact of the external environment. Also pregnant is useful vitamin E, which is involved in the formation of the placenta and prevents the threat of miscarriage. For a normal metabolism, expectant mother needs iodine. Especially the body needs it in early pregnancy.

A woman can take vitamins prescribed by a doctor, or find an alternative to them - eat foods containing the necessary active substances. 40 strawberries per day contain the daily norm of folic acid. Iodine is found in seaweed, seafood, and figs. Vitamin C can be obtained from fresh oranges.

But in everything it is worth observing the measure. If a woman has a desire to lean on vegetables and fruits instead of ready-made vitamins, this issue is discussed with the doctor. An excess of active substances is also harmful.

Useful Tips

In order for the baby to develop safely, a woman needs to lead a healthy lifestyle, eat right and set herself up for positivity.

For the harmonious development of the fetus at 1 week after conception, the expectant mother is recommended:

  • Stop smoking, including passive smoking - try not to breathe tobacco smoke.
  • Stop taking medications prescribed before pregnancy. This is especially true for antibiotics.
  • Avoid stress and nervous strain.
  • If there is a cat in the house, clean her toilet only with gloves and wash her hands thoroughly after that.
  • Less likely to appear in public during colds.
  • Avoid crowds and crowds in public transport.

The first week is exciting and difficult for the future mother. A woman is not always aware of an interesting situation, but if all the signs are on the face, you should immediately think about the correctness of your lifestyle and listen to the recommendations of specialists.

Watch a short video about the first week of pregnancy.

First trimester (weeks 1-12)

A woman will have many symptoms during the first trimester, when she adapts to hormonal changes in pregnancy. In the first weeks, pregnancy may not appear outside of her body, but inside, many changes occur.

For example, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone that will be present in a woman’s blood from the moment of conception. HCG levels can be detected in female urine about a week after a missed cycle. That is why a woman will have a positive result on a home pregnancy test.

Other hormonal changes can contribute to pregnancy symptoms: an increase in estrogen and hCG levels can cause nausea and vomiting, known as morning sickness, which a woman usually experiences in the first months of pregnancy. Despite its name, morning sickness can occur at any time of the day.

The woman will also feel more tired than usual. This is due to an increase in the level of the hormone progesterone, which increases drowsiness. She may also need to urinate more often when her uterus grows and presses on her bladder.

At the beginning of pregnancy, the woman’s breast will feel more tender and swollen, which is another side effect of increasing the level of pregnancy hormones. Ее ареолы, кожа вокруг каждого соска, будет затемняться и увеличиваться.

The pregnant woman’s digestive system can slow down to increase the absorption of beneficial nutrients. But decreased digestive system mobility can also cause such common complaints as heartburn, constipation, bloating, and gas.

As more blood circulates to the woman’s face, she will give her skin a pinker color, described as the “glow of pregnancy."

In addition to physical changes in the female body, she can also experience emotional highs and lows in the first months of pregnancy and throughout. These emotions can range from smoldering, mood swings, and forgetfulness to fear, anxiety, and excitement.

First Trimester Embryo / Fetal Development

A developing baby is called an embryo from the moment of conception, which occurs until the eighth week of pregnancy.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the heart and lungs, arms, legs, brain, spinal cord, and nerves begin to develop during the first month of pregnancy.

The embryo will be about the size of a pea for about a month. In the second month of pregnancy, the embryo grows to the size of a bean. In addition, ankles, wrists, fingers and eyelids appear, bones appear, genitals and inner ear appear.

After the eighth week of pregnancy and before the birth of the baby, the developing baby is called the fetus.

By the end of the second month, eight to ten major organs of the fetus have formed. At this stage of pregnancy, it is extremely important that pregnant women do not take harmful drugs, such as illegal drugs. The first trimester is also the period when most miscarriages and birth defects occur.

During the third month of pregnancy, bones and muscles begin to grow, kidneys for future teeth appear, and fingers and toes grow. The intestines begin to form, and the skin is almost transparent.

Second trimester (weeks 13-27)

By the second trimester, some of the unpleasant effects of early pregnancy may decrease or disappear, as the female body adapts to its changing levels of hormones. Sleep may become lighter, and energy levels may increase.

Nausea and vomiting usually improve and go away. But other symptoms may occur, as the fetus continues to grow and develop.

A more noticeable baby appears when the uterus grows behind the woman’s pelvis, and the skin on her expanding belly may look like stretch marks.

As the fetus grows larger and the woman gains more weight, she may also experience lower back pain.

Between the 16th and 18th weeks of pregnancy, the mother can feel the first trembling movements of the fetus. If a woman had a child earlier, she will most likely feel that the fetus is kicking, wriggling or turning even earlier, because she knows what to expect.

The 20th week usually means half the pregnancy of a woman.

Embryo / fetal development in the second trimester

In the second trimester, the fetus grows faster and will be 3 to 5 inches long. Between 18 and 22 weeks, an ultrasound scan can identify the sex of the child if parents want to know this information in advance.

By the fourth month of pregnancy, eyebrows, eyelashes, nails and a neck are formed, and the skin has a wrinkled appearance. In addition, the arms and legs may bend during the fourth month. The kidneys begin to work and can produce urine, and the fetus can hear.

In the fifth month of pregnancy, the fetus is more active, and the woman can feel her movements. The fetus also sleeps and wakes up on regular cycles. Fine hair (called lanugo) and a waxy coating (called vernix) cover and protect the thin skin of the fetus.

By the sixth month of pregnancy, hair begins to grow, eyes begin to open, and the brain develops rapidly. Although the lungs are fully formed, they are not yet functioning.

Stages of pregnancy for nine months.

Third trimester (weeks 28-40)

In the third trimester, when a woman’s enlarged uterus pushes her diaphragm. The primary muscle involved in breathing may be short of breath because the lungs have less room for expansion. Her ankles, arms, legs and face can swell as she retains more fluid and her blood circulation slows down.

A mother will need to urinate more often because there will be more pressure on her bladder. She may also have more back pain and pain in the hips and pelvis, as these joints relax when preparing for childbirth.

Dark spots may develop on her face, and stretch marks may appear on her stomach, hips, chest and back. She may also notice varicose veins in her legs.

In the third trimester, the female breast may experience some leakage of colostrum, yellow fluid, as they prepare for breastfeeding. The baby will sink lower into the stomach.

During the last weeks of pregnancy, it becomes more difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position, so women can be very tired.

As they approach the birth, some women like the experience of the pregnant woman, while others may feel that they cannot wait for it to end.

Embryo / fetal development in the third trimester

By the seventh month of pregnancy, the fetus strikes and stretches, and can even respond to light and sound and music. Eyes can open and close.

During the eighth month of pregnancy, the fetus gains weight very quickly. The bones harden, but the skull remains soft and flexible to facilitate childbirth. According to ACOG, various areas of the brain are formed and the fetus is capable of hiccups.

The lungs are now fully mature to prepare for functioning on their own. The fetus continues to gain weight rapidly.

A new definition of prolonged pregnancy is when a baby is born after 39-40 weeks.