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First Trimester | Second Trimester | Third Trimester

Having a healthy pregnancy is the first step towards a healthy child. Expectant mothers, along with those who are trying to become pregnant, should pay close attention to their environment, as well as their own diet and exercise plans, to stay healthy during pregnancy.

Maintaining proper diet and exercise during pregnancy are crucial to you and your baby’s health. While increasing your calorie intake to provide enough nutrition for you and your growing baby, try to exercise at least two and a half hours a week, perhaps breaking it down to five 30-minute sessions per week.

It is extremely important to stop drinking alcohol and smoking while pregnant, as it has been linked to complications, birth defects and even miscarriage. You should also limit your caffeine intake to one cup of coffee or tea a day and ask your doctor before taking any medications or supplements.

While pregnant, travel may become more difficult and, in some cases, must be postponed. If you are going to be in a car or on a plane for a long period of time, make sure to take regular bathroom breaks and to get up and walk around every few hours to increase blood circulation.

NorthShore offers a variety of classes to help prepare parents for labor and learn how to care for and nurture their baby. Breastfeeding, car seat safety and boot camp for new dads are just some of the courses available.

Our team of physicians, specializing in Obstetrics and Maternal Health, is here to help guide you every step of the way. For more information, call 847.570.5020.

First Trimester

The first trimester of your pregnancy includes week one through week 12 (three months).

During the first week, the fertilized egg grows into a microscopic ball of cells (blastocyst), implanting on the uterine wall causing hormonal and physical changes associated with pregnancy to begin. A fetal ultrasound can be done as early as the fifth week.

At weeks three through eight in the pregnancy (embryonic stage), the embryo already develops most of the major body organs he or she will need to live outside the womb. Expectant mothers should avoid alcohol, since during this phase, the embryo is especially vulnerable to damage from alcohol, radiation and infectious diseases.

By the end of the ninth week, the embryo has grown to about 1 inch in length and is now called a fetus.

Second Trimester

The second trimester of your pregnancy encompasses week 13 to week 27.

During this phase the fetus grows to 10 inches long and a weight of 1.5 pounds. Due to the growing size of the baby, many women will begin to look pregnant and may move into maternity clothes. Fortunately, morning sickness, breast tenderness and fatigue may lessen during this period.

Towards the middle of the second trimester (weeks 18 to 22), you will begin to be able to feel the fetus move. Women who have had a child before may notice this movement even sooner.

Third Trimester

The third trimester of your pregnancy covers week 28 to birth. Due dates mark the end of the 40th week of pregnancy, although women may deliver anywhere between the 37th and 42nd weeks of pregnancy and still be considered full term.

As the fetus grows and his or her body organs mature, you may notice more movement between the 27th and 32nd weeks. However, this growth will eventually result in the fetus having less room to move around easily, which may be a decrease in movement during the last eight weeks of your pregnancy.

Before birth, the fetus will usually move into a head-down position in the uterus for delivery.