WEEKS 0-8: Pregnancy is confirmed by ultrasound and pregnancy tests. In the first pregnancy examination, risks related to pregnancy is determined, estimated birth date is calculated, and other than pregnancy if the mother has any disease, its effects on pregnancy are evaluated. Since pregnancy is recent, it is not possible to evaluate any other characteristic other than the viability of the baby. In this period, taste changes in the mouth and morning sickness are seen. There may be little bleeding from the vagina. Symptoms such as weakness, excessive breast tenderness, frequent need to urinate may be felt. In case of high fever, burning sensation during urination, severe headache, inguinal pain, abdominal contraction, cramping, and dropping mass, consult your doctor immediately.
· WEEKS 8-12: During this period, your baby’s cells differentiate and they begin to form organs and limbs. Your baby’s face now comprises more details. Heartbeats of your baby can be heard with the help of ultrasound. During this period, your baby is quite sensitive to external factors. Alcohol, certain medications (consult your doctor if you use medication), anesthetic medications, certain diseases that the mother undergo, and malnutrition will harm the fetus. The mother may experience weakness, headache, and tension in the breasts, tenderness, and frequent urination. In case of high fever, burning sensation during urination, severe headache, inguinal pain, abdominal contraction, cramping, and dropping mass, consult your doctor immediately.
· WEEKS 12-16: Development of fetus’ fingernails and toenails, external genital organs, ears, chin, and nose occurs. Due to hormones, the mother may experience nausea, vomiting, dizziness, palpitations, breast tenderness, insomnia, and nightmares. Nausea and vomiting begin to diminish at the end of the third month; however, in severe cases, it may require treatment, and then consult your doctor. The mother may also experience emotional changes such as feeling lonely, and the partner must support the expectant mother during this period. In case of high fever, burning sensation during urination, severe headache, inguinal pain, abdominal contraction, cramping, dropping mass, severe nausea and vomiting consult your doctor immediately.
· WEEKS 16-20: All organs of the fetus are formed. Its hair and nails begin to grow. Complaints such as nausea, frequent need to urinate reduce during this period. The sex of the fetus can be determined; however, the sex of most fetuses is usually determined after the fourth month. In case of high fever, burning sensation during urination, severe headache, inguinal pain, abdominal contraction, cramping, and dropping mass, consult your doctor immediately.
· WEEKS 20-24: A triple or quadruple test to determine if your baby has Down’s syndrome that causes mental retardation and nervous system-related diseases are ideally performed between 16 and 20 weeks of gestation. Your baby starts to hear sounds in this period. You will start to feel the first movements of your baby. There may be a thin, white discharge from the vagina. If this discharge is green or yellow, smelly and also accompanied by itching, consult your doctor. In case of bleeding or severe bleeding from the vagina for more than a day, dropping mass, severe and persistent headache, vomiting, dizziness, severe inguinal pain, fever, and painful urination, consult your doctor immediately.
· WEEKS 24-28: During this period, you may see your baby sucking his or her finger on ultrasound. The mother’s blood pressure is lower than the usual. Milk may come from the nipples of her in the form of small drops. Painless contractions may occur in the uterus; however, if contractions are painful or occur more than six times in an hour, consult your doctor.
· WEEKS 28-32: Your baby starts to open and close his/her eyes. The mother gains 1 kg each week during this period. Between Weeks 24-28, the mother is given a test called a glucose tolerance test to detect diabetes during pregnancy. A blood mismatch test is performed to determine whether there is a blood mismatch between the mother and the baby. In this period, if there are more than six regular contractions in an hour accompanied by pain, consult your doctor.
· WEEKS 32-36: A decrease in movements of the fetus may be felt. If this situation worries you, lie on your left and follow the movements of the fetus. If you feel less than 10 movements within 2 hours, consult your doctor. Swelling may be seen on the eyelids and face of the mother. If you have a burning sensation during urination, pain in lower abdominal area or back, consult your doctor. If you experience pain that does not go after having rest, frequency and severity of which gradually increases are accompanied by vaginal discharge, bleeding or flow of water, contact your doctor immediately. Painful and regular contractions before Week 37 may be a sign of preterm birth.
· WEEKS 36-40: The normal duration of pregnancy is 9 months and 10 days. Weekly checks should be started from Week 36 and onwards of the pregnancy. During this period, birth pains may start at any time, the most important characteristic of contractions is that they occur at regular intervals. Contractions should not end after having rest. If your contractions occur at regular intervals and do not end after having rest, you should go to the hospital. If you have bleeding, feel your waters break, feel a decrease in the movements of the fetus, or an abnormal condition, you should apply to the hospital.
Source: Your pregnancy week by week. National Health Service. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/
Pregnancy: Stages of pregnancy. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.womenshealth.gov/
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Your Pregnancy and Childbirth Month to Month. 6th ed. Washington, D.C.: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2015.
Moore KL, et al. The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016.