The 3 Stages of Pregnancy

Not sure what to expect now that you're expecting? We've got the inside scoop on your changing body -- and your baby's development -- trimester by trimester.

First Trimester: Weeks 1 through 13

Congratulations! You're going to be a mom. Once you get over the initial shock, be prepared for some pretty crazy changes to your body. To start, your surging hormones can cause everything from morning sickness to acne. You may also notice that your breasts feel tender, and bluish veins may appear across your chest. You'll also feel more tired than usual--so go to bed earlier to give your body the rest it needs. Despite all this, you'll be overjoyed that your baby is growing inside you.

First-Trimester Checklist

  • Start a journal. Use a pregnancy diary to track your feelings and the changes in your body. It's also a handy place to jot down questions for your doctor. Wish there was an easy, interactive way to record your thoughts? Now there is! Visit our free interactive pregnancy journal.
  • Get tested. At your first prenatal visit, your doctor will test your blood for everything from anemia to hepatitis B and check your immunity to diseases like rubella.
  • Take your vitamins. If you aren't already taking a prenatal vitamin containing at least 400 micrograms of folic acid, ask your doctor for a prescription. This will help prevent neural-tube defects like spina bifida.
  • Hold off on the hair dye. Though studies have shown that it's safe to color your hair during pregnancy, many doctors recommend waiting until the second trimester.
  • Stock up on saltines. Experts believe morning sickness occurs when the placenta releases high levels of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Eating several small meals a day and snacking on bread, crackers, and other carbs can help keep nausea to a minimum. Many moms-to-be also swear by ginger tea or vitamin B6.
  • Use more sunscreen. Pregnancy hormones cause pigment cells to go into overdrive, making you extra sensitive to UV rays.

Your Focus This Trimester: Eating Right

You know that alcohol is off-limits. Here's what else you should avoid.

  • Sushi and smoked raw seafood. Uncooked fish may contain parasites that could make you sick. In addition, steer clear of shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel (and limit yourself to an average of six to 12 ounces of canned tuna a week) since they contain high levels of mercury.
  • Caffeine. While studies have shown that a little caffeine (a cup of coffee or a can of soda a day) is perfectly safe, drinking more than 300 milligrams (about three 8-ounce cups of coffee) may increase your risk of miscarriage.
  • Soft cheeses. Raw-milk or unpasteurized cheeses may contain listeria, a bacterium that can cause premature delivery. But Brie, feta, and other soft cheeses are perfectly safe if they've been pasteurized.
  • Caesar salad dressing. Eating anything made with raw or undercooked eggs increases your risk of food poisoning.
  • Artificial sweeteners. Since experts don't know whether sugar substitutes affect a fetus, your best bet is to limit yourself to one or two servings a day.

The Inside Story

Your baby's very busy in the first three months. What started as an embryo has developed into a fetus with organs such as a heart, a brain, and lungs. At less than four inches long and weighing only one ounce, she may be tiny—but she's already got all her fingers and toes!

Find a Baby Name

Browse by

or Enter a name

Parents Are Talking

Add a Comment