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.
You know that alcohol is off-limits. Here's what else you should avoid.
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!
Welcome to the feel-good trimester. You'll notice that you have lots more energy and a lot less nausea. In addition, many moms-to-be find that their skin glows and their hair is shinier and thicker, thanks to surging hormones. Around week 20 your ligaments will start to soften in preparation for childbirth, and owing to extra pressure on your bladder from your expanding uterus, you'll need to hit the bathroom often. Still, this is the time to be good to yourself. Manicures and prenatal massages are totally safe, and remember, you won't have time for pampering after the baby comes!
Haven't been hitting the gym since you learned you were pregnant? Now's the time to put fitness first. Try these bump-friendly workouts.
During the second trimester, your baby's senses develop. His retinas and taste buds form, and he can even recognize your voice! He becomes more active during this phase too: You may be able to feel him kicking and turning in your belly at around 18 weeks. By the end of the 27th week, your baby will be nearly nine and a half inches long and weigh about two pounds.
You're in the home stretch now! The skin on your bulging belly is beginning to feel tight and itchy, and you may notice a linea nigra—a dark line that runs from your pubic bone up to your navel—starting to appear. Don't be surprised if overeager friends or even strangers clamor to touch your belly. You may also be shocked when you jump on a scale: A woman of healthy weight gains about 30 pounds during her pregnancy. Even more amazing, your uterus will expand to 1,000 times its original volume. Finally, you can feel Braxton Hicks contractions at any time during the third trimester. Unlike real contractions, these irregular, mild tightenings of the uterus may go away if you simply walk around. Still, if you aren't sure what you're experiencing, call your doctor.
Your rapidly expanding middle may leave you with aches and pains. Here are some common complaints.
Your baby is getting ready for life outside the uterus: Her organs are formed, her central nervous system's working, and her brain continues to grow. During this final trimester she'll continue to get bigger, putting on at least four pounds and growing six more inches.
Sources: Nancy Jasper, M.D., assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center; Bruce Flamm, M.D., Parents adviser and clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California in Irvine; Joanne Stone, M.D., coauthor of Pregnancy for Dummies.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.