Stages of Pregnancy - Your pregnancy week by week.

Stages of Pregnancy

3 weeks pregnant

There are many important changes going on at this stage of your pregnancy in your body when you are 3 weeks pregnant , which is calculated from the first date of your last period.

Between 12 -16 days after the first date of your last period, ovulation occurs-if you have intercourse at this time you are more likely to conceive.

You are 3 weeks pregnant 21 days following the first day of your last period which is around the time of implantation.

The fertiltised egg moves along the fallopian tubes, all the time it is dividing up and increasing the amount of cells it has.

From the time of conception to the implantation takes approx 6 days

When the egg has reached the uterus it has massed over 100 cells which is called an embyo - it continues to grow in size.

Once inside the uterus the embryo implants itself into the lining of the womb. Some women may get a small spotting of blood when this happens called an implantation bleed an you may even mistake this for a very light period.

Early Stages of Pregnancy

The implantation of the Fertilised egg takes around 6 days
The implantation of the Fertilised egg takes around 6 days
A 4 week Embryo
A 4 week Embryo

Stages of Pregnancy

4-5 weeks pregnant

At 4-5 weeks pregnant, the Embryo has buried itself into the uterus lining and the outer cells of the embryo reach out to attach itself to the mothers blood supply At this point - Three parts of the baby are formed from layers created by the inner cells.

  • The first layer creates the brain, skin, nervous system, eyes and ears.
  • The next layer are the lungs, stomach and gut
  • The third layer forms the heart, blood, muscles and bones.

The fifth week of pregnancy is when you notice that you now missed your period and are suspecting that you maybe pregnant - You could take a pregnancy test at this point to confirm whether you are pregnant. As soon as you know that you are pregnant you will need to inform your Midwife or GP so that they can provide you with antenatal care.

The nervous system starts to develop and a groove is made in the top of the embryo. The cells fold up and around to form a tube which is called the Neural tube, this will become your baby's spinal cord and brain.

It is important to take extra supplements of folic acid whilst you are pregnant to prevent neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida. The heart is already forming and your baby will have some blood vessels. A string of these blood vessels will be forming the Umbilical Cord which is attached to the baby and you.

A 6 Week embryo
A 6 Week embryo

Stages of Pregnancy

6-7 Weeks pregnant

The actual size of the fetus at 6-7 weeks pregnant is 8mm long from head to bottom and its now beginning to take shape with a bump for the head, the heart beating, dimples on the side of the head will form the ears, and bulges where the eyes are.

Swellings at the foot and near the head of the body are forming the limb buds and at 7 weeks pregnant the fetus has grown to 10mm long.

8-9 weeks pregnannt

The facial features of your baby are slowly taking shape including the mouth and tongue, the eyes are more prominent and have some colour in them. The beginning of hands are starting to form and the organs of the body are fully developing.

At 9 weeks the fetus is measuring about 22mm long.


Early Stages of Pregnancy

10-14 weeks Pregnant

  • At 10-14 weeks pregnant, your baby is fully formed and has all its organs, muscles and limbs.
  • Your hormone levels start to drop and so the placenta is also formed and takes over the passing of nutrients to the baby instead of the hormones maintaining the pregnancy.
  • You may also find that you are starting to feel much better if you have been suffering from morning sickness due to these hormone levels dropping.
  • The actual size of your baby at 10-14 weeks pregnant is approximately 85mm long, the heart beats a lot faster than a grown human as it is small in size and has a lot of growing to do!
  • You may feel that you are starting to show, the uterus will only have started to grow out of the pelvis but this varies from woman to woman and if you have a multiple pregnancy such as twins.

Stages of Pregnancy 15 to 22 weeks


Early Stages of Pregnancy

15-22 weeks pregnant

Your baby is growing at a very fast rate now and the body grows much bigger so that it is in proportion to its head and is not so 'top heavy'.

Facial Features

These are more defined now and the hair, eyelashes and eyebrows are beginning to grow, the eyelids stay shut


The lines and the features of the skin are forming, and baby will now have its own fingerprints, the fingernails and toenails are fully formed and their hands can now grip. From 22 weeks the skin becomes covered in a fine hair called 'Lanugo' which disappears just before birth or soon after. It is thought to keep baby at the correct temperature.

23-30 Weeks Pregnant

  • At 23 weeks, your baby is now moving around and will respond to touch and sound. They are also swallowing small amounts of amniotic fluid where they are floating and passing very small amounts of urine back into the fluid.
  • You may notice that your baby sometimes has hiccups and that you can feel it every time with a jerking sensation inside.
  • Your baby will develop a pattern of movements and this will be different than yourselves. When you are sleeping your baby may wake up and start moving around and then have quiet periods of time. You will know as your pregnancy progresses the pattern of movements your baby usually has. If you are not sure about movements then you need to discuss this with your midwife.
  • At this stage your baby's heartbeat can be heard with a stethoscope, and later on towards 30 week your partner may be able to hear it through your abdomen if the baby is in the correct position. Your baby will be covered in a waxy substance called Vernix , it is there to protect your baby's skin whilst floating in the amniotic fluid, this usually disappears before birth.
  • From 24 weeks onwards your baby also has a higher chance of survival should you deliver at this time. Most hospitals have specialist equipment these days to deal with prematurity but the earlier your baby is born the higher risks of having a disability.
  • At 26 weeks your baby's eyelids start to open, most babies are born with blue eyes and over a period of 6 weeks following delivery the eye colour may change. Some babies are born with brown eyes and remain like that throughout. With your baby growing now by 30 weeks it reaches approximately 33cm in length from head to foot.

Your Baby at 28 - 37 weeks

Diagram showing size of baby at full term
Diagram showing size of baby at full term

Third Trimester Stages of Pregnancy From 30-40 Weeks

From 30 weeks gestation the baby's skin starts to smooth out as it would have been quite wrinkled before and the lanugo and vernix starts to disappear. Baby continues to grow in size and weight until it runs out of room!

You may find that baby's movements are not as defined as before when movements become like 'shifting' rather that definite kicks, however every woman's pattern of movements for their baby are different and if you notice a reduction in the amount of movements you have or a complete change in your baby's pattern from the normal you must tell your midwife who can monitor you more closely.

Near the end of your pregnancy the baby should be head down and engaged which means the head drops down into the pelvis and is fixed in ready for when labour occurs. You may also find that your abdomen feels like its dropped down and you feel a 'lightening' where you can breathe out better as the pressure of the growing baby has moved away from your lungs and stomach.

© 2012 Onlinemidwife

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