Pregnancy Journey Timeline

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Your pregnancy test is positive, and you are slowly coming to terms with the fact that you are growing a small human. These early days of pregnancy can be exciting and overwhelming. Everyone is different, and everyone will start this journey with their own thoughts and feelings. The important thing is that you feel supported and confident to share any concerns or questions you may have with someone you trust and your midwife.

Your pregnancy is divided into three stages called trimesters.

  • First Trimester: 0-12 Weeks
  • Second Trimester: Weeks 13-27
  • Third Trimester: Weeks 28-40
During this time your body is rapidly changing and adapting to meet the needs of your developing baby. As your pregnancy progresses you will notice changes in your body, emotions, and mindset, all of which are completely normal. However, if you are concerned or confused, you must talk with your midwife as soon as you can. Pregnancy is a unique process; our bodies are different and therefore react differently. Try not to compare yourself with others and perhaps begin to relax and enjoy your pregnancy, appreciating your body’s incredible ability to grow life.

The first trimester

During these early weeks you may be feeling the same as usual and perhaps unaware that you are pregnant, however, inside amazing changes are taking place. If this is your first baby you may not begin to show until at least week 12 but if this isn’t your first you may start to show earlier as your belly may have been stretched from your last pregnancy.

You may notice changes in your body such as:

  • a missed period
  • a strange taste in your mouth
  • achey breasts
  • feeling sick
  • feeling tired
  • heightened sense of smell
  • needing a wee more often
  • a milky white discharge from your vagina
  • light spotting of blood as the egg implants into the womb (see your doctor urgently if more bleeding occurs during pregnancy)
  • tummy cramps
  • dark patches appearing on your skin called ‘chloasma’ or the ’mask of pregnancy’
  • bloating
  • changes in the appearance and feel of your hair
Your baby is now officially an embryo. Itis around 2mm long, which is about the size of a poppy seed. It already has an amniotic sac, which protects the growing embryo, and a yolk sac which is enough to provide nourishment. At around week five your baby’s nervous system will start to develop which includes the brain and the spinal cord. A very tiny heart is beginning to develop and will beat for the very first time. Baby’s face will start to take shape and form tiny eyes and a nose.
During the weeks that follow you may start to notice changes a little more; things may feel different somehow. Feeling thirsty more often is common around this time as more blood is pumping around your body which can cause you to feel the need to drink more.
By week eight your baby has grown to an impressive 16mm, roughly the size of a raspberry. Arms and legs are getting longer, and your baby is creating around 100 new brain cells every minute. It’s around now that your embryo officially becomes a fetus.

New changes in your body will be more apparent between weeks 8-12. Some people notice that their breasts have increased in size and pregnancy hormones are now racing around your body which may cause you to feel unwell and not yourself.

Try to rest when you can and ask for support from your family and friends. Your baby is growing at a fast rate and your body is working hard to support this speedy development.

It is around week 9 that the placenta is already getting prepared to give your baby its nutrients and oxygen   Your baby has grown to 22mm in length, roughly the size of a strawberry, and facial features are now a little more recognisable. Hands and feet are developing along with internal organs such as the heart, brain, lungs kidneys and gut. Your baby’s genitals are also starting to form, but it will be a bit of a wait before you find out whether you are having a boy or a girl.

12 Week Scan

Around this time you will be offered your first scan, called the 12-week scan. The person who scans you is called a sonographer and they will estimate when your baby is due based on its measurements. This is called the ‘estimated date of delivery’ or EDD. Don’t forget to take some money with you as there is usually an option to purchase a scan picture of your baby.

The second trimester

For some, time may feel as if it’s flying by; for others it may feel as if time is standing still and little progress is being made. However, the latter could not be further from the truth. Huge developments are happening to your baby and your body is adapting to big changes. You might start to experience an increased sex drive around this time, which could be the result of pregnancy hormones or increased blood flow to the pelvic area. However, it is also perfectly normal if you don’t.

You will begin to notice a small baby bump developing as your womb grows and moves upwards. For some, this is a nice feeling as you know you are actually starting to look pregnant. Any feelings of needing to wee more often should start to ease off now. You must talk to your GP if you notice any problems with your wee or bladder. If you experience any pain or burning when having a wee it could be a urinary tract infection. it is important to treat this infection quickly to reduce the risk of kidney infection.

Wooping cough vaccination
Between 16 and 32 weeks of pregnancy the whooping cough vaccination is advised to protect yourself and your baby. Talk to your midwife about the vaccination if you have any questions or concerns. There are big developments for baby at around 15 weeks as they will start to hear. They may hear muted sounds from the outside world and any noises your digestive system makes, as well as the sound of your voice and heart. Their eyes also start to become sensitive to light. Even though your baby’s eyes are closed, they may notice a bright light outside your stomach.
You might feel your baby move for the first time when you’re around 17-18 weeks pregnant. In the coming weeks you will notice these movements becoming stronger and a pattern will develop. Your baby’s movements are a sign they are well. Notice the way they move and how active they are so you would be aware if they slowed down or stopped. If baby’s movements do slow down or stop, contact your maternity unit urgently so they can check your baby is well.
20 Week scan

Around this time you will be offered your 20 week scan. The 20-week screening scan, sometimes known as the anomaly scan looks in detail at your baby’s bones, heart, brain, spinal cord, face, kidneys and abdomen. The scan allows the sonographer to look for 11 rare conditions. More about ultrasound scans in pregnancy: Read more about ultrasound scans in pregnancy

At 20 weeks pregnant, you are halfway through your pregnancy. You may notice a dark line down the middle of your stomach. This is normal skin pigmentation as your stomach gets bigger to accommodate your growing bump.

The third trimester

Your baby now weighs around 1kilogram (2.2 pounds) and is fully formed. Their heartbeat is strong enough to be heard through a stethoscope. Baby is busy making manoeuvres to settle further into your pelvis. By 28 weeks they are usually lying with their head pointing downwards, ready for birth. You may find that you are tired and need to rest more often to regain your energy, It is important to look after yourself and ask for help if you need it as growing a baby can be exhausting. Resting and listening to your body means you are preserving your energy for labour, birth and early parenthood.
At 37 weeks your pregnancy is considered full-term. The average baby weighs around 3-4kg and your baby is ready to make their entrance into the world in the next few weeks. Only 4 % of babies arrive on their due date, meaning the chance of this happening is less than one in 20.

At 40 weeks most of your baby’s development is complete. Their hair may continue to get thicker and their nails may grow more too. Weighing the same as a small pumpkin, your baby is ready to meet you. You may find your patience is getting low and as if time is dragging. If you have the energy, perhaps try fitting in a few last-minute treats and outings. Enjoy a meal out with friends, cozy up with a box set, or just enjoy some time with your partner.

When the time comes, and the wait is finally over your body will go into labour. It is not known exactly what starts off labour but natural hormones in your body will control your contractions. If you think your labour has started, but you’re not sure, phone your midwife/ maternity unit and ask for advice. If you are concerned or confused by any early labour symptoms do call straight away.

Call your midwife or unit if:

Typical signs of early labour

  • contractions or tightening around your bump
  • a “show”, when the plug of mucus from the entrance to your womb comes away
  • backache, period-like cramps
  • an urge to go to the toilet, which is caused by your baby’s head pressing on your bowel
  • your waters breaking
  • your waters are smelly or coloured

Find out more about early stage of labour

Week 4


Tiny but magnificient

Size of a Poppy seed

I'm officially an embryo, although I am very tiny incredible changes are already happening as I start my development journey

Week 8


Small but mighty

Size of a Kidney Bean

I'm roughly the size of a kidney bean and I weigh aroung 1g. You may have an idea that I am here now.

Week 12


Growing strong

Size of a Lime

Second trimester here we are!
I’ve had a growth spurt, I'm now roughly the size of a small lime and weigh around 14g.

Hopefully you have had your first appointment (booking appointment) with a midwife by now, if you haven't make sure you contact your local maternity team so a plan for your care can be put in place

Week 16


Awesome work

Size of a Avocado

Impressive progress being made. I'm now the size of an avocado and weigh approximately 100g.

Week 20


Making progress

Size of a Banana

I've grown in length! now roughly the length of a small banana, and about 300g in weight.

It is around this time you will be offered your 20 week scan. Your baby can hear sounds, now is a great time to talk and sing to your baby.

Week 24


Impressive Growth

Size of a corn on the cob

I've focussed all my growing energy! I'm now approximately the size of a corn on the cob and 600g in weight.

Week 28


On a development mission

Size of a Aubergine

Welcome to the third trimester! I've been busy lately! roughly 37cm in length and the weight of an aubergine.

Week 32


Little by little

Size of a Coconut

My weight is increasing, I weigh around the same as a coconut, approximately 1.5kg.

Week 36


Patience is key

Size of a Round Lettuce

I’m approximately 47cm in length and weigh 2.6kg. I may have moved a little lower with my head facing down in your pelvis.

Week 40


Ready when you are

Size of a Watermelon

I’ve reached the size of a small watermelon, I’m an impressive 50cm in length and roughly 3.3kg in weight.

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