Stages of pregnancy

The first day of your last menstrual period marks the start of your pregnancy, which lasts about 40 weeks. Three trimesters are used to organize the weeks. Learn what occurs to you and your baby during each of these stages.

First trimester (week 1 to 12)

The body undergoes numerous changes during the first trimester. Hormonal changes have an impact on almost every organ system. Even in the first few weeks of pregnancy, these changes might cause symptoms. A late menstrual period is a sure sign that you're pregnant. Other modifications could include:

  • Exhaustion
  • Breasts that are tender and swollen. It's also possible that your nipples will get lumpy.
  • Vomiting (morning sickness) is a possibility if your stomach is upset.
  • Food preferences (desires) or dislikes (aversions)
  • Swings in mood
  • Constipation is a common complaint among people (difficulty passing stools)
  • Urinate more frequently
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Gaining or losing weight.
Second trimester (week 13 to 28)

The majority of women believe the second trimester of pregnancy is less difficult than the first. However, it's just as important to stay informed about your pregnancy during these months.

You'll notice that some symptoms, including nausea and exhaustion, will go away. However, new alterations in the body will be more visible now. As your baby grows, your abdomen will enlarge. You'll start to feel the baby move before the conclusion of this trimester.

Third trimester (week 29 to 40)

Some second trimester discomforts will persist. Furthermore, many women report shortness of breath and require more frequent restroom visits. This is due to the baby's increasing size, which puts extra pressure on the organs. Don't worry, the baby is fine, and these issues will go away once you deliver.

Your cervix becomes thinner and softer as you move closer to your due date (this process is called effacement). This is a natural procedure that aids in the opening of the birth canal (vagina) during labor. As your due date approaches, your health care practitioner will do a vaginal exam to check on your development.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

PMS is a series of physical and mental symptoms experienced by many women after ovulation and before their monthly period begins. PMS begins in the days following ovulation, according to some studies, since estrogen and progesterone levels begin to drop substantially if you are not pregnant. PMS symptoms fade a few days following the start of a woman's menstrual period, and hormone levels begin to climb. 

Some people go through their menstrual cycles with no or very minimal  symptoms. Others may experience symptoms so severe that they are unable to conduct daily tasks such as going to work or school. Symptoms that are severe could indicate premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). When you no longer have a menstrual period, such as when menopause begins, PMS fades gone. PMS may recur after pregnancy, although with different symptoms. Certain vitamins, minerals and Holief products for women have been shown in studies to help reduce PMS symptoms. 

Who suffers?

PMS symptoms affect three out of every four women at some point in their lives. PMS symptoms are typically minor.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a more severe form of PMS, affects less than 5% of women of reproductive age (PMDD).

PMS is more prevalent among women who:

  • Have high stress levels
  • Have a history of depression in your family
  • Have a personal history of depression or postpartum depression
Effects over the years

Symptoms can become more severe at the age of 30 or 40, as you approach menopause and enter the perimenopause era. 

This is especially true for women whose moods fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle as hormone levels fluctuate. As your body steadily transitions to menopause, your hormone levels rise and decrease in unpredictable ways throughout the years leading up to menopause. You may experience the same mood fluctuations, or they may become more severe.

What medications can treat PMS symptoms?

  • Hormonal contraceptives can help with physical PMS symptoms, but they might also exacerbate other symptoms. It's possible that you'll have to try a few different types of birth control before you find one that works for you.
  • When other medications fail to treat the emotional symptoms of PMS, antidepressants can assist. The most frequent type of antidepressant used to treat PMS is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.
  • Diuretics (often known as "water pills") can help with breast swelling and soreness.
  • Anxiolytics can help you feel less anxious.