Pregnancy - Body Changes
Pregnancy is a time of many changes. Your body will go through a lot on the way to creating a new person.
Normal physical changes and symptoms throughout pregnancy
can range from mild to severe, the following conditions are common during
The first trimester of pregnancy lasts from week 1
through week 12. Your first sign of
pregnancy may be a missed menstrual period. Other early signs of pregnancy,
caused by hormonal changes, include:
trimester of pregnancy (from week 13 to week 27) is the time when most women start to look pregnant and may begin to wear maternity clothes. By 16 weeks, the top of your uterus,
called the fundus, will be about halfway between your pubic bone and your
navel. By 27 weeks, the fundus will be about
2 in. (5 cm) or more above your
You may find that the second trimester is the easiest part of
pregnancy. For some women, the breast tenderness,
morning sickness, and fatigue of the first trimester
ease up or disappear during the second trimester, while the physical
discomforts of late pregnancy have yet to start. Pressure on your bladder may
be less as the uterus grows up out of the pelvis.
Common symptoms you may experience during the second trimester of pregnancy
The third trimester lasts from week 28 to the birth. Many women have some discomfort during this time as their belly gets bigger. You might have trouble getting comfortable so you can sleep. And you might have a few other aches and pains.
Common symptoms you may experience during the third trimester
- Braxton Hicks contractions, which are "warm-up"
contractions that do not thin and open the cervix (do not lead to labor).
- Back pain.
- Pelvic ache and hip pain.
- Hemorrhoids and constipation.
- Heartburn (a symptom of
gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD).
- Hand pain, numbness, or weakness (carpal tunnel syndrome).
- Breathing difficulty, since your uterus is now just below your
rib cage, and your lungs have less room to expand.
- Mild swelling of your feet and ankles (edema). Pregnancy causes
more fluid to build up in your body. This, plus the extra pressure that your
uterus places on your legs, can lead to swelling in your feet and
- Difficulty sleeping and finding a comfortable
position. Lying on your back interferes with blood circulation, and lying on
your stomach isn't possible. Sleep on your side, using pillows to support your
belly and between your knees. Later in your pregnancy, it is best to lie on
your left side. When you lie on your right side or on your back, the increasing
weight of your uterus can partly block the large blood vessel in front of your
- Frequent urination, caused by your enlarged uterus and the
pressure of the fetus's head on your bladder.