Pregnancy is a dramatic transformation. In just nine months, a tiny group of cells grows into a newborn baby. It’s one of the most life-changing experiences you’ll go through, and having lots of questions is normal.
The good news is that you don’t have to figure it out alone. A. Michael Coppa, MD, and our obstetrics team bring quality prenatal care to women in Cranston, Providence, and Smithfield, Rhode Island. We specialize in care from conception to birth and beyond, and we’re here to answer your questions.
Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters, each lasting a little longer than 13 weeks, and each has its own exciting milestones. Whether you’re pregnant now or you’re planning for the future, here’s what you can expect during pregnancy.
Your first trimester
The first trimester starts on the first day of your last menstrual period and continues through the end of week 12. You technically aren’t pregnant in the first couple of weeks, and pregnancy tests won’t be accurate.
Sperm fertilizes an egg at conception, but the egg may take up to two weeks to implant in your uterus. Once it’s implanted, your pregnancy begins. Very early signs of pregnancy can include light bleeding or cramping, fatigue, nausea, and a missed menstrual period.
Many women first find out that they’re pregnant around week 8. At that point, your baby’s organs and features have already started developing, including their facial features, arms, and legs. If you’re not sure if you’re pregnant, we can do a urine test, blood draw, or an ultrasound to confirm.
As soon as you know you’re pregnant, it’s time to schedule your first prenatal appointment. We do a health assessment, determine your estimated due date, and develop your prenatal care plan. We also provide specialized prenatal and obstetrics care for women identified as high risk.
You may be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat as early as week 12 during a prenatal ultrasound test.
Your second trimester
The second trimester includes weeks 13-26. Your risk of experiencing a miscarriage decreases during your second trimester. Your baby’s organs continue developing, and they may start making facial expressions or even sucking their thumbs.
You should begin feeling your baby move and kick at about week 18. Between weeks 16-20, you may have the opportunity to find out if you are having a boy or a girl. We can often determine the gender during a mid-pregnancy ultrasound test.
At week 24, your baby should weigh about one pound and measure up to one foot long. You continue to have regular prenatal appointments during your second trimester, and Dr. Coppa checks your baby’s development, as well as your vital signs and belly circumference, at each visit.
Your third trimester
The third trimester begins with week 27 and continues until your baby is born. During the last trimester, your baby grows quickly and starts developing fingernails, toenails, eyelashes, and hair.
You have more prenatal appointments as your due date gets closer. We continue monitoring your health and your baby’s development to determine when you might go into labor, and we help you manage the discomforts that late-stage pregnancy can often bring.
At 39 weeks, your baby is full term. Very few women actually deliver their babies on their original due date (40 weeks), so you can expect to give birth sometime between weeks 39-42. If your pregnancy extends longer than 42 weeks, Dr. Coppa may recommend inducing labor to lower your risk of complications.
Pregnancy is exciting, but it’s normal to have questions. Learn more about our prenatal care services by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Coppa. Call the office nearest you or request your first appointment online now.