Pregnancy usually lasts for nine months and one week; that is 40 weeks or 280 days. The first day of pregnancy coincides with the first day of your last menstrual period before becoming pregnant. Pregnancy is generally divided in three sections called trimesters. Each trimester represents a three month period.

In the next pages you will see how your baby grows and how your body changes during pregnancy.

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a. The Baby's Growth

The first trimester coincides with the three first months of pregnancy. During the first weeks, the organs are set in place in the embryo by a series of complex proceedings narrowly linked to one another. Even though you do not feel your baby's presence, your baby is alive.

The second trimester coincides with the fourth, fifth, and sixth month of pregnancy. It is a very important period during which the baby, who is not yet ready to survive outside the mother's uterus, reinforces its structure.

The third trimester coincides with the last three months of pregnancy, which are the seventh, eighth, and ninth month. During this period, the baby's organs are being perfected and he or she is growing rapidly. The baby is preparing to come into the world.

The following animation will help you visualize your baby's growth from conception to birth.

b. Physical Changes in the Mother

During the first trimester, the baby grows and develops, but your appearance hardly changes. Several pregnant women will feel general discomfort which is a sign that the baby is already growing.

During the second trimester, most women will feel much better. Fatigue, mood swings, and nausea disappear in most cases. The baby becomes real because you can feel him or her move.

During the third trimester, you are fully aware of the baby's presence. You may experience conflicting feelings. You are excited about seeing your baby but at the same time, you are worried about the delivery.

The following animation will help you visualize the physical changes that occur in the mother during the nine months of pregnancy.

You're almost there! It is normal to have contradictory feelings.You are impatient to see your baby but are apprehensive about what is ahead.

There are a few signs indicating that labour will soon begin:

  • Back pain
  • Discharge of the mucous plug (the mucous plug with a little blood flows from the vagina).
  • Contractions become stronger, more regular and frequent even if you move.
  • Rupture of the membranes (the amniotic fluid is expelled in large amounts or as a slow trickle).
  • Soft stools.