Health

What To Really Expect In Pregnancy

Many women aren’t sure if they’re pregnant until a month in, which is a long time to wait! It would be nice to know beforehand what’s… Trista - July 23, 2019

Many women aren’t sure if they’re pregnant until a month in, which is a long time to wait! It would be nice to know beforehand what’s going on with our bodies when we’re trying to have a baby so we’re going to break down the process for you, week by week.

This isn’t a hard and fast guide, however. Each woman’s body is different, so this is only a rough estimate on what you’ll be experiencing each week of your pregnancy.

 

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Week 1

If you’re expecting to see any signs during week one, expect to be sorely disappointed. The start of pregnancy doesn’t count until the first day of your last period, so within that week, it’s likely that you’re not pregnant. The majority of women don’t discover that they’re pregnant until week four.

So what does that mean for symptoms? Absolutely nothing. Well, not really. You’re going to have the same symptoms that you would during your period because that’s exactly what’s happening.

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Week 2

Week two of your pregnancy is pretty much going to be the same thing as week one. What’s excellent about week two, however, is that it’s the best time to try and get pregnant. Here’s why: this is when you’re likely to see the signs of ovulation. There should be white cervical mucus, your breasts will feel sore, you’ll have some light spotting, and some pelvic pain. It’s recommended that you engage in intercourse every other day during the second week of your menstrual cycle to increase your chances.

If you are pregnant during week two, however, you’re still not going to see any signs. Some women do report seeing symptoms, such as morning sickness, spotting, frequent urination, and bloating.

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Week 3

At this point, it’s likely that if you’ve had unprotected sex, you’re likely to be pregnant. It’s still too early to tell if you’re going to miss your period, so there isn’t a surefire way to tell. It’s at this point in time that you should buy a pregnancy test to make sure.

Some symptoms you may start to notice are spotting (from the egg being implanted into your uterus), increased bouts of nausea, changes in your breasts (such as a darkening of the areola), and signs of a missed period.

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Week 4

Your baby is now the size of a poppy seed! It can be an exciting time, and you may want to spread the news, but you shouldn’t tell everyone just yet. You should definitely start planning to see a prenatal doctor first to ensure that your pregnancy will stick.

By the fourth week, your hormones are going to start ramping up. You’re going to feel bloated with some mild cramping; if the cramping becomes very serious, you should definitely tell your doctor. Other symptoms include light spotting, mood swings, fatigue, sore breasts, and morning sickness.

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Week 5

Your baby is now the size of an apple seed. A little bigger, but not much change has taken place. This is the most common time for women to discover that they’re pregnant, due to a missed period. Hormones are even higher at this point too, so you’re definitely going to notice that your body is being different than normal.

Symptoms of a fifth-week pregnancy include morning sickness, sore breasts, fatigue, frequent urination, spotting, and cramps. As for the fatigue, expect to feel very, very tired throughout the day.

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Week 6

Your baby is now the size of a sweet pea, which is definitely more visible. Hormones are going to start fluctuating wildly to the point that it’s going to feel like PMS on steroids. Your baby is just beginning to look a little different than only a cell, with a few structures starting to form, such as a central circulatory system.

As for symptoms, you’re going to be fatigued, feel even more nauseous, have tender breasts, and have increased bouts of bloating and gas. Your mood swings are going to feel worse, too, and you may still experience some mild spotting.

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Week 7

Congratulations, your baby has achieved the size of a blueberry. That may not seem like a lot, but remember that your egg started off as being microscopic. At just the size of a blueberry, no one else is going to notice that you’re pregnant even though your baby has doubled in size.

Aside from nausea and cramping, expect a new set of symptoms to start rearing their ugly heads. The first thing you’ll notice is sudden food cravings or aversions. This can be difficult to accept since you don’t know where your cravings are going to take you. You’ll also notice a breakout of acne due to the changes in your hormones. Lastly, you’ll have increased saliva production, so you may want to keep a bib handy.

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Week 8

Congrats, you made it to two months! Your baby has already doubled in size to that of a raspberry. If you thought all of the symptoms were bad before, you’re not prepared for everything that’s going to happen next. You’re still not going to be showing yet, but you should have had a prenatal appointment at this point. You may even be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat in the ultrasound.

So what should you expect in terms of symptoms? Everything and anything. Your hormones are peaking at this point, so everything is going to feel like it’s out of control. Your sense of smell is going to be extremely sensitive, to the point that some foods are just going to make you feel plain ill. Along with the usual suspects of spotting, fatigue, sore breasts, and nausea, expect some weird dreams every night. They’re going to be pretty vivid too, so don’t be alarmed. You should also expect some constipation, so start drinking a lot of water and eating fiber-rich foods to keep you regular.

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Week 9

Your baby has now attained the size of a cherry. From her eon out, you can expect your baby to double in size every week just so you know how big you’re going to be getting. Now is about the time you should really start preparing for your new baby, including letting your boss know that you’ll be taking maternity leave eventually.

You’re just starting the last few weeks of your first trimester, so there’s going to be some significant changes in your future. The hormone hCG is going to start circulating your body, so your pregnancy symptoms are going to be even more severe. You’ll experience everything from rapid mood swings to nausea throughout the day, and then more frequent urination. Your body is also going to start producing more mucus, so you’re going to have nasal congestion even though you’re not sick. Headaches are also going to be a thing, as well as dehydration, so keep that bottle of water handy.

In terms of your belly, your lower abdomen is going to feel a little firmer. That’s your uterus growing to accommodate the size of your baby. Don’t be surprised at some weight gain either; this is normal and healthy.

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Week 10

This is the week that that baby bump is going to start showing! Your baby is roughly the size of a strawberry now, so your uterus is going to feel a little more swollen and bloated. Now is when you should start looking into looser clothing, but don’t splurge too much; your belly is going to get bigger week by week, and you still have 7 months of growing to do.

Some of the most common symptoms during week 10 are swelling breasts, more morning sickness, mood swings, and fatigue. You’re also going to have increased pain in your abdomen as it stretches to accommodate the growth of your baby. You’ll also have more visible veins in your stomach, and some increased vaginal discharge called leukorrhea.

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Week 11

Your baby has achieved the size of a lime, which can be considered something of a sign. Most pregnant women feel pretty energized during their week 11 of pregnancy, so it could be the best time to go on a vacation. It would be one of the best times to go before your life is consumed with baby stuff.

As the end of your first trimester comes to a close, your body is going to go haywire. Many women record this time as having the worst period symptoms. Including fatigue and nausea, you’re also going to experience a lot of gas, so avoid foods that can increase your gas. You’ll even notice a dark line down the middle of your belly; this is normal and goes away on its own after you’ve given birth. You’ll start to experience some leg cramps too, especially at nighttime that can interfere with your sleep patterns.

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Week 12

This is the last week of your first trimester, which means that your hormones are going to start winding down a little. At 12 weeks, your baby is roughly the size of a plum now, so your uterus is going to feel even bigger. You might be able to hide that belly bump anymore from your friends and family.

The great thing about the symptoms during your 12th week is that morning sickness and fatigue are starting to fade. However, headaches and dizziness are going to take their place as the common symptoms for the rest of your pregnancy. You’ll have some increased discharge and some spotting. If these are an unusual color, then you should see your doctor as you may be having preterm labor.

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Week 13

Your first trimester is now complete, and your baby is the size of a lemon! You’re officially a third of the way through your pregnancy, and your baby has already developed teeth and fingerprints, just to list a few of their little achievements.

During week 13, your symptoms are going to start changing a little bit. Your nausea is going to subside, and you’re not going to feel as tired as you used to. The veins under your skin are going to be even more visible, and you’re going to have a surge of energy that won’t know what to do with. Don’t waste it and get some exercise in before your baby becomes too big for you to move around. And don’t be surprised if you have an increased sex drive as well.

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Week 14

This is known as the “honeymoon” phase of the pregnancy as the majority of your adverse symptoms are gone. This is the start of your second trimester, and your baby’s as big as a peach. Everyone’s going to notice that you look a little rounder than usual now, so it might be a good time to spread the news.

Some common symptoms you’ll notice are some more ligament pain in your abdomen. However, you will have increased energy levels and an increased appetite, so don’t feel wrong for chowing down. Just make sure that you’re not snacking on empty calories; your baby needs actual fuel to grow. Your hair will also be thicker and shinier due to hormone changes.

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Week 15

At fifteen weeks, your baby is about the size of a navel orange. By this point, your baby is soon going to start outgrowing your pelvis and sit higher in your belly. Your baby’s arms and legs have developed by now, so they’re likely paddling around inside your stomach.

Which you definitely shouldn’t worry about, since you’re going to feel a little frisky at this point. It’s perfectly healthy to engage in sex while you’re pregnant, but be aware that you might have some spotting afterward. Some other symptoms you can expect are nosebleeds every now and again, heartburn and indigestion, shortness of breath, and swollen gums.

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Week 16

By week sixteen, you should be able to feel your baby starting to kick. It’s about the size of an avocado and should be weighing about 3.5 ounces. You may not be sure it’s a kick at first; it may feel like a muscle twitch or gas pain at first that you don’t realize that it’s your baby moving.

The symptoms you’ll experience during week 16 are actually quite positive. Your hair is going to feel thicker and more luxurious, and you’ll have glowing skin. However, it comes with the price of backaches and constipation. You’ll also become more forgetful, though research hasn’t determined whether this is biological or due to having too much on your mind.

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Week 17

Your pregnancy is going to start feeling real, and you’re going to want to begin searching for a childbirth class. In a few weeks, you’ll be able to tell the gender of your baby at the ultrasound. At this point, your baby is the size of a pomegranate, and you’re almost halfway through your pregnancy. Because development is happening so fast, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Doing it all by yourself is not the best idea.

During this week, you’re going to have a compound of symptoms building up at the same time. You’re going to have increased bodily fluids, such as mucus, sweat, and vaginal discharge, just to name a few. You’re also going to have pretty weird dreams that leave you confused by morning. Physically, your boobs and belly are going to get pretty itchy, you’re going to notice more stretch marks across your stomach and hips, and you’re going to start gaining a lot of weight really quickly.

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Week 18

By this point, your baby is going to be pushing on your uterus and the large veins along the back of your abdomen. That’s going to make it uncomfortable to lie on your back, so you’re going to want to start sleeping on your side. Because of the pressure against these large veins, you could start feeling more lightheaded than usual.

This is because your baby is about the size of an artichoke now, weighing about 6.7 ounces. Now is the time you’ll start experiencing swollen hands and feet, and even more backaches. You’ll begin to notice varicose veins as well, and there will be some cramping in your legs. Instead of weird dreams, you might have trouble falling asleep, and those baby kicks are going to get even stronger.

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Week 19

During your mid-pregnancy ultrasound, you’re going to see a lot of your baby’s features, who’s now the size of a mango. The sex of your baby will be natural to determine too so that you can plan ahead.

The hormones start to ramp up again, and the uncomfortable symptoms are going to return. The honeymoon couldn’t last forever. First, you’re going to start feeling some abdominal aches and pains as your baby continues to grow. You’ll also experience some dizziness as all of your blood vessels are focused on providing nutrients to your baby. As your baby keeps growing, you’re going to feel some hip pain too as your pelvis starts to widen.

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Week 20

You’re halfway there! Just another twenty weeks, and you’re ready to pop! Perhaps knowing the sex of your baby will give you an idea of what names you should start thinking of. Maybe you could begin to compiling those wish lists too as to what gear you’re going to need when the baby’s born. At this stage, your baby is roughly the size of a banana.

Although your energy and sex drive are high, the vaginal discharge is going to come back, and it’s pretty much going to stick around until you’re ready to deliver. The leg cramps are going to get pretty bad too, as well as heartburn and indigestion. Your feet will swell even more with water retention, and you’ll experience shortness of breath due to the baby’s growth pushing up on your diaphragm and lungs.

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Week 21

Don’t worry if you don’t have a name for you endive-sized baby yet. You may just want to wait until they’re born and get to know them a little better before you pick the perfect name. You’ll probably be thinking about how to get your home ready for a new baby as well, and it can seem like a lot to take in. But don’t rush the process, you still have time.

The most common symptoms you’ll experience are going to give you a preview for what to expect in your third trimester, including heartburn and indigestion, leaky boobs, dry, itchy skin, stretch marks, and Braxton Hicks contractions. These contractions are your uterus’ way of preparing for labor, kind of like warming up before a big race.

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Week 21

Just when you thought you couldn’t get any bigger, your baby has developed into the size of a coconut. The stretch marks are only going to get worse from here on out, we’re afraid, so keep some enriching lotion on hand to stop them from itching.

By this time, your belly button is going to pop out, which can be embarrassing for some mothers. It’s no need for concern, as right after labor, it will go back in. Your libido is going to get even higher as your hormones start to rage, but you’re also going to have some increased vaginal discharge. Your hands and feet are going to feel swollen too, and the backaches are going to be a constant. Expect some hair growth also, but not in the places that you want.

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Week 23

At this point, your baby is the size of a grapefruit and has started listening to what’s going on in the outside world. That means they can hear you talking to them. Many mothers choose this moment to get those headphones and press them to their bellies so that their babies can listen to some music.

The swollen ankles and feet are never really going to go away at this point, so you’re going to have to get used to dealing with them. Braxton Hicks contractions are going to be a constant too; pay attention to them to make sure that they go away quickly. If not, you may need to head to the hospital. Along with backaches, you should also expect some bleeding or swollen gums, so switch to a soft toothbrush in the meantime.

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Week 24

At the size of a cantaloupe, you probably don’t think your baby can get much bigger, but remember that you still have sixteen more weeks left. At this size, your baby roughly weighs about 1.3 pounds now, so they still have a lot of growing left to do.

The symptoms at this time are more of the same: swollen ankles and feet, backaches, leg cramps, and stretch marks. The dark line in the middle of your belly is going to get even darker at this point, so don’t be overwhelmed at its sudden appearance.

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Week 25

It can be a little scary to think of the actual delivery process, seeing how big you’re getting, but remember that you’re not doing this alone. Your baby is going to get much bigger than the cauliflower-size that they are now, but your body has been practicing for that moment. Just focus on remaining calm and staying healthy.

Symptoms at this point include trouble sleeping, Braxton Hicks contractions, heartburn, gas, bloating, and frequent urination. Many mothers report having some constipation during this time, as well as the presence of hemorrhoids. The swelling of varicose veins in your legs also translates to the ones in your derriere, so find the best way to ease your discomfort in any way you can.

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Week 26

It’s like kale! At least, that’s the new size of your baby anyway. To think that a few weeks ago, it was just the size of a lemon. That’s a lot of growth in a short amount of time, don’t you think? It can be terrifying to believe that your baby could get even bigger.

The symptoms you’ll have at this point are merely matters of discomfort. You’ll have trouble sleeping and experience some mild swelling in your hands and feet. The headaches are going to be a daily thing too, so try to stay hydrated to keep them away. What’s called “pregnancy brain” translated to a little bit of forgetfulness, but you could also just have a lot on your mind. Braxton Hicks contractions are a constant too, but you should keep an eye out for high blood pressure. This is normal, so don’t worry, as long as it doesn’t get too high.

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Week 27

Here is the end of your second trimester. You’re on the home stretch now towards the end of your pregnancy, so hang in there! Your baby is roughly the size of a head of lettuce now so when those kicks happen, you’re definitely going to feel them.

Some of the symptoms in this week are going to be a little embarrassing, like needing to pee all the time, or accidentally urinating on yourself. This is because your baby is putting a lot of pressure on your bladder, making it a lot smaller than it’s used to being. Other regular symptoms include leg cramps, backaches, constipation and hemorrhoids, and changes in your hair, skin, and nails.

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Week 28

Eggplant status! Or as the British like to call it: aubergine! Your baby has done a lot of development up to this point, so give yourself some credit by winding down. You might feel like you should get a lot of housework done, but now is the time to relax. Sit back with some hot tea and listen to some soothing music. You need to give your body a rest from all the hard work it’s been doing.

The most common things you’ll experience are having difficulty falling or staying asleep, having shortness of breath, and Braxton Hicks contractions. Your breasts may start to leak as well, which can be embarrassing if you’re out in public. That’s just your body’s way of preparing for breastfeeding.

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Week 29

Now is the time you want to start keeping a packed bag by the door as you could actually deliver at any time. Make an emergency plan ahead of time so that everyone knows what to do if your baby decides to come early. Or if they arrive on time. Or if they come late. It’s challenging to predict anything at this point.

Now that your baby’s grown as long as they’re going to be, about the size of acorn squash, they’re going to start putting on weight and plumping up. This is going to make them swell even more and put more pressure on your internal organs. Headaches, pain in the back, hips, and legs, hemorrhoids, and constipation are going to get a little worse. Your belly will feel a little itchy too since the skin is getting so thin. And if you thought you were peeing a lot before now, you’re going to urinate even more often.

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Week 30

Now the length of a zucchini, your baby is probably making you feel like a walking beach ball at this point. Now everyone is going to be able to see just how pregnant you are, so don’t be surprised if they reach out and touch your belly. Which, in and of itself, is pretty creepy.

When you do manage to fall asleep, you might notice that your dreams are going to get pretty weird again. Practice some relaxation techniques to help you get over these moments, as they can actually be quite vivid. You’ll also experience some general discomfort that you can’t really get rid of, and your lung capacity is going to shrink even more. Take your time getting up those stairs, it’s not a race.

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Week 31

By this point, your baby’s senses are fully developed, which is pretty impressive for a person that’s the length of a stalk of asparagus. Let’s hope that once they’re old enough, you can actually get them to eat the asparagus on their plate rather than play with it.

Your baby should weigh about 3.3 pounds at this point, which is taking up a lot of room inside your body. That’s why you’ll notice that you have shortness of breath after doing the simplest of activities, so don’t treat it as if you’re out of shape. Your nails are going to become a little brittle too and break really easily. Your breasts will also continue to leak, and your Braxton Hicks contractions are going to be a steady reminder that your body is practicing for the big day. Of course, what would the thirty-first week be without continually needing to go to the bathroom and enduring backaches all day?

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Week 32

Who doesn’t love acorn squashes? You should because that’s the size of your baby right now. Your baby may or may not turn into the head-down position at this point as they get ready to enter the real world. If not, don’t worry. They still have a few weeks before them.

Your symptoms are going to become a little more intense, such as heartburn and contractions. The latter is going to occur more frequently and feel even stronger than before. However, if they don’t go away, then you’re likely going into real labor and should get to a hospital immediately. Your nipples are also going to get darker too as they prepare for making more breast milk, and you’ll experience some vaginal discharge. This is normal, but what isn’t normal is seeing a mucus plug. This also means that your baby is making an early appearance.

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Week 33

Sitting back and relaxing is the last thing on your mind at this point. It’s normal for anxiety to take a toll on your everyday life as you struggle to get comfortable with how big your baby is (it’s celery at this point). To be honest, there’s probably a lot of other planning you need to do as well, such as practicing your escape run to the hospital should the inevitable happen early.

One of the primary symptoms at this point is discomfort. You’re going to feel hot all over as your metabolic rate goes through the roof. The headaches are going to come back, so avoid stress and dehydration as much as possible. You’re going to feel a little forgetful at times and also feel a little clumsy as you waddle around your home.

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Week 34

Squash, squash, and more squash. That’s the current size of your baby, but your organs are likely feeling squashed too with how fast they’re growing. You can ease the stress of the situation by singing to your baby, as they’re capable of recognizing your voice at this point.

Your symptoms from this point until the delivery date are going to be constant, so don’t expect any changes or for any of them to go away. Your vision is going to get a little blurry, fatigue is going to kick back into gear, and the abdominal pressure is going to get higher. Your feet and ankles will swell again, and constipation + hemorrhoids are going to rear their ugly heads once more.

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Week 35

At thirty-five weeks, you’re going to have to get some last-minute preparation in before the baby comes. Now that the baby is the size of a pineapple, you have to make sure that the crib is ready, your friends and family are in on your hospital plan, and that you have maternity leave from work. It can sometimes feel like you’re running around like a chicken with no head.

The usual suspects of symptoms include the frequent urge to pee, so make sure that you’re also staying hydrated at this time. Constipation is going to get worse, and your hips and pelvis are going to feel sore as your baby starts to descend towards the birth canal. Your Braxton Hicks contractions are going to increase in number and frequency too, so keep an eye on that.

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Week 36

You’re in the last month! Congratulations on making it all through those months of being pregnant and horrible symptoms. You’re on the home stretch. Many mothers can give birth at any point during this week or the 40th week, so don’t expect your baby, now the size of a papaya, to stick to your schedule.

Because the baby is lower in your abdomen, there is some relief to your lungs, so you’ll find it much easier to breathe. However, that comes with the price of more pelvic discomfort as your body comes to terms with this huge baby wanting to get out. The descent of the baby may also trigger some heartburn, and you may start to notice some changes in your vaginal discharge. Keep a careful eye on them; if it starts to look watery, then your water has, and you’re ready to give birth.

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Week 37

Now that you’re at this point, it feels like your baby is never going to come. Give them time and exercise patience. They’re about the size of a head of romaine lettuce, so they’re really taking up a lot of space inside you. You may find that you have the urge to clean more often and tidy up the house; this is called “nesting” and is pretty standard in pregnant mothers during this time in their pregnancy.

A lot of your symptoms at this time can be confused with labor. You’ll notice a bit of spotting, but call your doctor if it ends up being more than just a few drops of blood. The abdominal pressure is going to increase even more, and contractions are going to be so strong and so often, that you’ll have trouble falling asleep at night.
What signs of labor should you look for? If you see your mucus plug or start experiencing severe nausea and/or diarrhea, then you may be going into early labor. The typical signs of labor are your water breaking, regular contractions, and some back pain.

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Week 38

Just when you thought your baby couldn’t get any bigger, they prove you wrong. They’re the size of winter melon, and they’re probably ready to get out of there. Your baby is going to be sitting very low on your pelvis, which can put pressure on the nerves there. If you feel some jolts of tingling pain in your legs, that’s what’s causing it.

The contractions are going to get more and more intense at this point, and the discomfort is going to get a little worse. It really could happen any day now, so keep a sharp eye on the rest of your symptoms. Your belly’s going to feel a little itchy again as the baby grows those last few inches and moves further down. You may also experience some anxiety since you have no idea when this baby is going to make an appearance, so keep yourself distracted with fun activities.

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Week 39

It’s not Halloween, but your baby has taken on the size of a pumpkin within your uterus. You’ve come to full term… yet it can feel agonizing as your baby continues to sit inside… not doing anything. Some babies remain inside even past the due date too, so it’s not something you can rush.

The pressure on your pelvis is going to become intense since this is usually the time a baby turns around with his head pointed towards your birth canal. And because they’re sitting so low, you’re going to feel some lightning-sharp pains in your crotch as well. Your urge to nest may feel strong too, and this is the time when most mothers notice their mucus plug is discharged.

If you want to induce labor at this point, you can engage in lots of walking to give gravity a chance to pull on your baby to force your cervix to dilate. Alternatively, you could also look into acupuncture to stimulate blood flow throughout the body so that your cervix dilates on its own.

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Week 40

40 weeks! 40 whole weeks and your baby should be the size of a watermelon. That’s no joke because that “watermelon” is going to be coming out of you any day now. The worst thing you can do is panic, so keep your support system around you to keep you calm at all times. Now would be an excellent time to add that waterproof cover over your mattress, as your water could break at any point in time.

Symptoms are going to include some terrible leg cramps as your uterus goes into overdrive on trying to get this baby out. Don’t let the anxiety get to you either; try some meditation. The contractions you’ve been used to for the past few months are going to start feeling really real, so they’re going to interfere with your sleep schedule. Try to get as many hours as you can, though, because you’re going to need all that energy for the delivery.

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