· By Tiny Hearts Education
Pregnancy Week By Week Guide: Bump to Baby!
The journey of pregnancy is mind-blowing. Think about the huge changes a mama goes through physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, and as an individual. Add in growing a whole other human AND an organ, and it is literally amazing that so much change can occur in just 9 short months. Whilst every pregnancy journey is different, some similarities occur during most pregnancies. To help prepare our expecting mamas and papa-bears, our Tiny Hearts Midwives have created a pregnancy timeline guide.
Note: some pregnancy experiences may vary. You should always seek individualised advice from your pregnancy care provider. Also, some things may vary depending on who you choose to have your pregnancy care with, such as timing of appointments.
This week is your period. While you aren't yet pregnant, this is where the journey begins- with the start of your cycle. If you're tracking your cycle, the first day of your period is classed as day '1'. On average, most women will bleed for between 3-7 days.
During this week, your hormones will start to increase. Your ovaries will start getting ready to release an egg, and the lining in your uterus will start to thicken, ready for a fertilised egg to snuggle into. On average, mamas will conceive around day 14 based on a regular 28-day cycle. Shortly before this point, your hair might shine, your eyes might sparkle, and you might be feeling like keeping your partner close by. If trying to conceive, the general advice is to have sex every 2-3 days before and up to your ovulation day. Sometime around the end of this week, your body may release an egg. If it releases two, there's a chance of growing non-identical twins.
During this week, you may conceive when the sperm travels up into the fallopian tubes and fertilises an egg. Once fertilised, the egg will be a mix of DNA from you and your partner, which will determine your bub's sex, physical appearance and traits. Once the sperm and egg have combined, they will continue to divide and grow and are now considered a "blastocyst". The inside layers of the blastocyst will grow into bub, and the outside layers will make up the placenta. If this fertilised egg splits, it's a possibility to become pregnant with identical twins. The fertilised egg will then begin travelling down the fallopian tubes towards the uterus.
Once the egg arrives in the uterus, during this week, it will imbed itself deep into the lining of the uterus, which is why it's not uncommon at this point to get some implantation bleeding [which some mamas confuse as a light period]. If you've got a regular 28-day cycle and have conceived, you might notice your period is late and test using a home pregnancy test. If you get a positive test, CONGRATULATIONS, MAMA! But if not, don't be disheartened yet; you may have ovulated a little later than you thought, or your pregnancy hormone may not be high enough to be picked up on a home pregnancy test yet. If you haven't already, it's recommended to start taking a folic acid supplement each day to help prevent neural tube defects.
At this stage of pregnancy, HCG [the pregnancy hormone] will begin to rise quickly. This is the hormone that home pregnancy tests and blood tests look for. It's also the hormone responsible for nausea and early pregnancy symptoms some mamas feel. By this week, a positive pregnancy test will show up for most mamas.
This week is huge for bub's growth. The neural tube is beginning to close, and organs are forming. But most exciting of all, bub's heart usually starts beating. Consider making a GP appointment this week. Your GP will work with you to work out an estimated due date, run some blood tests [HCG level, blood group, your immunity levels to certain diseases, such as rubella and a full blood count to check your levels in early pregnancy], and may offer you a referral for a dating ultrasound.
Bub is about 1cm long by this week- the size of a coffee bean. You might also increasingly experience pregnancy symptoms like nausea, sore boobs, fatigue and constipation [which can be made worse by iron supplements]. Bub's organs continue to grow, and their hands and facial features are developing.
Your hormones will be raging by week 8, so don't be surprised if you've got mood swings and also need to wee more than usual. You might also have a dating scan this week. At a dating scan, the sonographer will measure the length of bub [called a crown-rump length] to give you an estimated gestation and due date based on those measurements. They'll also check for a heartbeat and let you know if you're expecting one or more little ones.
Week 9 and feeling [not so] fine 🙈 By 9 weeks, your growing bub looks much more like a baby and less like a tadpole. The umbilical cord is developing, and the placenta is continuing to grow, which will support bub's growth through the rest of pregnancy. Some things to start considering is doing your pelvic floor exercises and booking a dentist check-up. If you haven't already, start thinking about where you want to birth your bub and who you want to provide your pregnancy care so your GP can refer you to them.
You can get the Harmony [NIPT] test from this week onwards. This blood test uses placental DNA in a mama's bloodstream to screen for chromosomal abnormalities in bub. The test will tell you if you have an increased chance of bub carrying an extra chromosome [such as with Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome and Patau syndrome]. It may also be able to tell you bub's gender. This test isn't covered by Medicare and may cost $400+ depending on where you get tested. Excitingly, bub has also lost their tail, has four chambers in the heart and has finished forming all of their organs.
Some mamas find their nausea begins to settle towards the end of the first trimester. This is also the earliest you can have the Nuchal translucency ultrasound. This is an optional ultrasound to screen for an increased risk of trisomy 21 [Down syndrome], trisomy 18 [Edward's Syndrome] or trisomy 13 [Patau Syndrome]. The risk is calculated by using information from a blood test performed a few days before the scan, measurement of bub's fluid-filled space at the base of the neck and presence of a nasal bone. It's not diagnostic, meaning it won't tell you if your bub has one of these genetic syndromes, but it will calculate the risk of it — for example, 1: 1,000 chance. Some hospitals also base the estimated due date on the results of this scan.
This is the last week of the first trimester. Many parents announce their belly bub at this point because the risk of miscarriage decreases, but do so when it feels right for you. For some mamas, that's earlier, while for others, it's later. There's no right and wrong. Again, this is another week you can have a Nuchal translucency ultrasound. At 12 weeks, bub is around 6cm long and weighs 18g. Bub might start to make little movements, which aren't often felt yet [but I never say never]. If you have risk factors, your care provider may also recommend screening for gestational diabetes.
Hello, second trimester 😎 By this week, your uterus will begin to shift up and out of your pelvis, so you might start to see a little bump, particularly for mamas who have had bubs before. As bub continues to grow, you might notice growth in your boobs, including veins becoming more visible. You might also start to see dark patches on your skin called Cholasma or a dark line down your tummy called a linea nigra.
Bub is about 8.5cm in length and weighs 45g. On ultrasound, they look exactly like a little baby but are continuing to get bigger every day. You might have started to gain a small amount of weight too. The recommended amount of weight gained during pregnancy is dependent on your pre-pregnancy BMI and can be discussed further with your pregnancy care provider. Exercise in pregnancy may also help manage weight gain but get clearance first, start with gentle exercise, and gradually increase.
Your body is working hard to continue to support this growing bub in your tummy, who is now about the size of an orange. Fine hair, called lanugo, is starting to cover bub all over [but don't worry, this usually falls out around 36 weeks]. It's also not uncommon to have nose bleeds around this time due to increased circulating blood volume and a sensitive nasal passage.
If you need an amniocentesis, this can be done from 15 weeks.
You might start feeling movements around this week. Your body also starts to produce colostrum, but remember, it's not advised to actively express colostrum until around 36-37 weeks due to the potential for starting uterine contractions. At this stage, if you haven't already, you may have a booking-in appointment with the care provider you've chosen or at the hospital you're planning to birth at. At that appointment, they'll go through your blood tests, ultrasound results, medical and obstetric history, listen to bub on a doppler, take your blood pressure and create a hospital record for you. They may also give you forms for a referral for a morphology ultrasound [20-week ultrasound] or ask you to see your GP for one.
Bubs external sex organs are fully formed at this gestation, making it possible to determine bub's gender by ultrasound. Bub will also start swallowing amniotic fluid, practice breathing, and passing urine. Many mama's find that first-trimester nausea has settled by this stage, and they have much more energy. Some experience an increase in libido as well. Having sex in pregnancy is safe unless you have risk factors such as a placenta previa or have been told otherwise by your pregnancy health care provider.
200g and 14cm long; bub's size this week! From 18 weeks onwards, you may be offered a morphology ultrasound [which is routinely performed between 18-21 weeks]. Bub can yawn and hiccup [which you can feel], and their bowel will begin to start filling with what will make up their first poo: meconium.
This is a good time to think about investing in some maternity clothes and bigger bras. As bub grows, you will too! You might have a noticeable bump now and actually start to look pregnant, rather than like you've eaten too many cupcakes. What often comes with a growing uterus is ligament pain [which is normal], but always chat to your pregnancy provider if you're ever unsure. If your bump isn't there yet, don't stress. Bumps come in many shapes and sizes, and people's unsolicited comments on your bump don't mean a thing in terms of the health of you or bub. By this stage, bub will start to have sleep cycles and will be awake for around 6 hours per day. Growing bubbas gotta sleep! 😴
Yippee! Halfway to meeting your newest little love. If you haven't already, you might see bub at the ultrasound. At this scan, you might find out if you're expecting a beautiful boy or gorgeous girl [if bub is co-operating too]. But that's not the only thing this scan is for; it looks at bub's growth and development. The sonographer will examine the structure of bub's developing organs like the brain, lungs, tummy, heart and kidneys, all parts of their body, including checking for ten little fingers and ten little toes, and watch for movement. The sonographer will check the blood flow to bub from the placenta, the placenta location, where the cord is inserted, and the level of amniotic fluid bub is swimming in. They'll also look at your uterus, check the cervix length, measure bub's size and much more. You can also get the Whooping Cough vaccine from this point [while the flu vax is possible from any point in pregnancy].
Around this time, you'll probably have your second antenatal appointment with your pregnancy care provider. They'll often go through your morphology ultrasound, and any other blood tests results with you and refer you to a specialist if required. They might also start some education with you about breastfeeding, what you can expect over the next 20 weeks, and red flags in the second half of pregnancy. Some of these include bleeding, a change in bub's movements, contractions or breaking your waters before 37 weeks and a headache that doesn't go away. If you're going through a public hospital and don't have one specific pregnancy care provider, you should have birth suite's number saved in your phone in case you need it in a hurry.
At 22 weeks, bub would fit perfectly into your cupped hands. So much growing left to do! By this week, you might be getting some of the unwanted side effects of growing a little human from increasing weight, putting pressure on your ligaments and an increase in blood volume. Some of these might include varicose veins, constipation and haemorrhoids, sore hips and leg cramps. If you see any of these, have a chat with your health care provider for tips on how to manage them. Whilst it might not make it go away, it can help reduce the severity of the symptoms. Bub could be in any position [side ways, head down, bum down], but at this point, it doesn't matter too much. Bub has plenty of time to flip around before birth, and they've still got lots of room.
Your belly bub is around 20cm long and weighs around 540g. If you have an ultrasound from this point onwards, you might see tiny hair all over bub's body called lanugo, which usually falls out before birth. Bub is also continuing to practice breathing and can sense light, sound and pain. Some mamas may be beginning to feel Braxton Hicks, which is when your tummy might go tight and feels hard. These are different from real contractions because they don't affect the cervix, aren't regular, have no pattern, are painless and often settle with a change of position. If you're ever unsure, it's always better to get checked. It's also a good idea to keep an eye on your mental health because pregnancy, birth, and parenting are huge adjustments for many parents.
24 weeks is considered a 'viable gestation' in the medical world, meaning bub can survive on the outside world if born from this point. In saying that, there have been cases of babies being born at 23 weeks and surviving. Being born preterm is associated with risks for serious health conditions, and bub would be considered extremely preterm. If there are signs you are going into labour early, a team of health professionals, including NICU doctors will come and chat with you about what you can expect. Mamas between 24 and 28 weeks may be offered a glucose tolerance test to check for gestational diabetes. If you've had it before or have risk factors, you may be offered this test even earlier. For more info, we've done a post recently on this! With this test, most mamas also have another blood test to check for things like anemia or iron deficiency.
Usually, at this point in pregnancy, the morning sickness has worn off, and most mamas are feeling pretty good. If this is you, take advantage of it! Start clearing out the room that will become the nursery, and if you haven't already, this might be a good time to start looking at or buying some things for bub's arrival. Yes, you've still got a little while to go, but you'd be surprised just how quickly time goes when you're growing a bub. There's plenty out there for bubs, but the main essentials are somewhere for bub to sleep safely [cot or basinett], a rear-facing car seat or capsule, some clothes for bub to wear, bottles [if formula feeding] and nappies.
At 26 weeks, your uterus may be well above your belly button, meaning you're probably rocking a bump. Movements may be felt from the outside, meaning your partner can feel bub move too. You might have gained more weight by now and have to transition into maternity clothes. If you haven't already, it might be a good time to get a bra fitting to make sure you're still in the right size. Most mamas will experience breast changes where their breasts increase by a few cup sizes. You might also start looking into maternity bras in preparation for breastfeeding [if applicable].
By 27 weeks, bub will be measuring around 24cm long and weighs just under 1kg. At this point, bub is continuing to grow rapidly in size and putting down fat stores to use after birth [this is what gives them those chubby chipmunk cheeks]. Bub can open their eyes and no longer has translucent skin. Bub might be covered in vernix too, which is a thick, white substance that covers their skin to protect it from amniotic fluid. If they've still got it when born, instead of wiping it off, rub it in! It's a great moisturiser too.
Hello, 3rd trimester 😎 At 28 weeks, you'll be offered another set of blood tests. If you've got a negative blood group [which will be tested for multiple times before this point in pregnancy], you'll be offered an Anti-D injection at your next antenatal appointment around this point. Anti-D is a blood product that is given to mamas with a negative blood group to prevent their body from reacting to bub's red blood cells if they have a positive blood group. While it may not affect the current pregnancy, antibodies have been made against positive red blood cells. This means future bubs with a positive blood group are at risk of a mama's body attacking bub's red blood cells because they consider them 'foreign'. Anti-D generally isn't required if you're certain bub's blood group will be negative as bub's father also has a negative blood group. For more info, chat with your health care provider. From this point onwards, you'll probably have antenatal appointments every 2 weeks or so.
Around week 29, bub will weigh roughly 1.1kg. If they're born full-term, their size will roughly triple between now and then. Keep in mind this week that starting at 28 weeks, you should get to know bub's movement pattern. If there's a change in their movements, please get checked out. Don't wait. Their movements are the only way they can communicate with you, so call your doctor or midwife if you're ever concerned or unsure. It's also a good idea to be lying on your side instead of flat on your back. This is because you have blood vessels that run down your back, which can be compressed by the weight of your bub and pregnant belly when lying flat on your back [we've written a post about this previously for more info]!
30 weeks! Not long to go now, mama 🙌 Personally, I find this is a great time to do your Tiny Hearts Baby First Aid course. That's because you're not at that ridiculously uncomfortable point in your pregnancy yet, and will still be able to get down and practice performing effective CPR [hello, lifesaver]! You can book in at one of our venues, online or we can come to you. Bub has grown toenails this week and may have started sucking their thumb. You might be feeling a bit more clumsy by now. It's not you; it's your bub. What I mean by that is that your centre of gravity has now changed thanks to this little person growing inside of you, so your balance may not be as good as it once was. You might have another antenatal appointment this week. Antenatal appointments generally consist of taking your blood pressure, measuring your tummy, testing your urine, looking at test results, listening to bub on the doppler, talking about pregnancy or newborn related educational topics, screening for any concerning symptoms like unexplained swelling that's present in the mornings and answering any of your questions.
So you did your baby first aid last week. This week you're up to doing your Tiny Hearts bump, birth and beyond course. This time, it's run online, meaning you can snuggle up on the couch with your birthing partner, snacks and a warm blanket, and meet our beautiful Midwife, Cate, who will take you through everything you need to know about preparing to meet the love of your life, in just a few short weeks. Once you're armed with knowledge, you might start thinking about making a birth plan and communicate it to your birthing partner so that they can advocate for you and that little person inside of you [who now weighs around 1.5kg!]
Stretch marks are one of those things in pregnancy that many people dread. But I think stretch marks are a sign that your body has grown new life, and they should be celebrated. The truth is that in most cases if you're going to get stretch marks, you will no matter what you do; it can be genetic. Some mamas will start seeing them from this week onwards. You might also be feeling breathless at this point, thanks to bub taking up lots of room and putting pressure on your organs. If your placenta was considered 'low lying' before, you might have another ultrasound this week to check if it has moved. Most bubs will be head down at 32 weeks, but if yours isn't, don't stress. You've still got time! At this antenatal appointment, you'll should get more education on caring for bub, signs of labour, breastfeeding and newborn care after birth.
At 33 weeks, bub weighs around 1.9kg. While it might not feel like much, when you look back and realise that 10 weeks ago, they weighed a little over 500g, it's huge. Grow, baby, grow! If you haven't already, this is often a good time to put those finishing touches on the nursery and start gathering things together for your hospital bag. Keep an eye out for those pregnancy red flags, particularly as you get close to bub being born. If you get unexplainably itchy, particularly on the palms of your hands or soles of your feet, that can be an indicator of cholestasis. Cholestasis is a serious condition that can develop in pregnancy, which impacts your liver and can have serious impacts on bub, which can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. You know your body best, so if you have any concerns at all, it's always best to get checked out.
At 34 weeks, Rh-negative blood group mamas will be offered their second dose of Anti-D. Around this time, many mama's start to feel those pregnancy aches and pains, which can make it hard to sleep. It's also a common time for mamas to start their maternity leave, leaving plenty of time for some TLC. If you're having a babymoon, I'd recommend doing it sooner rather than later, particularly if you need to fly [don't forget to get clearance from your Doctor or Midwife prior]. At this point, bub weighs around 2.1kg, can swallow up to 1L of amniotic fluid and urinate the same amount. Have you started the baby name debate yet? 😂
Almost there, mama! As you head into your final weeks of pregnancy, you might be getting really uncomfortable. This can be a good time to hold your baby shower, so soak in the love and the pampering. It's a good week to put the finishing touches on your hospital bag and install the car seat. If you have no idea what you're doing, you can get it professionally installed by a certified baby car seat fitter. Otherwise, follow the manual exactly as it reads. You might be feeling an increasing amount of Braxton Hicks contractions. Regardless, you still need to keep an eye out for signs of preterm labour or pregnancy red flags, including a headache that doesn't go away, spots or stars in your vision, burning or stinging when you wee, a change in bub's movements, contractions, bleeding etc.
If you're low-risk and have been given clearance from your health care provider, you can begin antenatal expressing from this point. It's also time for more blood tests +/- a Group B Strep swab, depending on your hospital policy. Some mamas will also have a growth ultrasound this week to check bub's size or the placenta's position if there are concerns. If bub isn't already head down, your doctor may offer you an external cephalic version [ECV]. This is the process of manually turning bub, which is done in the birth suite in case uncommon complications occur. If you're planning a c-section, you may book your c-section date this week in consultation with your doctor. At 36 weeks, bub may weigh 2.4kg and measure around 34cm long. From this point, you may also have weekly appointments until bub is earthside. Does it feel real yet?
From this point, you're considered full-term! There's a common myth that bub will run out of room at the end of pregnancy, causing them to stop moving or for their movements to slow down. This is NOT TRUE! If you notice any changes in bub's movements, get them check out. I know I've mentioned this a few times already, but that's because it's so important to listen to your mama intuition and what your baby is telling you through their movements. You know your baby best. If you've got other bubs, make sure you've arranged what they'll do if you go into labour, and have a plan of how you'll get to the hospital. At this point, bub may be engaged in your pelvis, causing that classic pregnancy waddle, putting pressure on your cervix and causing you to wee 1,872 times a day. When you see your little one's face, it's all worth it; I promise.
By 38 weeks, it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with when you need to go to hospital VS when it's okay to labour at home. If you're full-term and are in early labour, you can try a hot shower, heat pack, paracetamol, massage and sitting on the birth ball, but it's also important to rest when you can; labour is a marathon, not a sprint. If you have any bleeding, your waters break [particularly if it's bloody, green, yellow, or you're GBS positive], you're not coping at home, bub isn't moving normally, or your contractions are regular, painful and coming roughly every 3 minutes, it's time to contact your birthing team and head into the hospital. On average, bub's at 38 weeks weigh around 3.2kg and are around 35cm long.
39 weeks; you're so close to meeting your bub. Take it easy, put your feet up if you can and rest as much as you can. If you need an induction for medical reasons, that may take place this week. Have everything ready to go, so if you go into labour overnight, you're not rushing around trying to find everything. Keep expressing [if you've been given clearance to do so], cook some meals to freeze for after bub arrives and stock up on maternity pads, padsicles and pain relief like paracetamol and ibuprofen for after birth. At your antenatal appointment this week, your birthing team may go over your birth plan with you. It's a great time to tell them what you'd like and why, so it's clear exactly what your hopes are when you go into labour.
HELLO DUE DATE! ✨ If you're at 40 weeks and still have a bump, don't stress, mama. In a few short days, you'll be snuggling your newest little love. I know it can be disheartening to be still pregnant on your due date, but unfortunately, it's just an estimate. Only around 1 in 20 bubs are born on their due date, and around half of mamas are still pregnant beyond their due date. Do things that make you happy, keep as active as you can and stay in touch with that new little life dancing inside of you. On average, bubs at 40 weeks weigh 3.5kg, but may range between 2.9kg-4.2kg. Their head circumference may be around 35cm, and they may be roughly 50cm long. I know that they can't wait to meet you too ❤️
Over the next few days, your health care team might offer you an induction if bub isn't born soon. Methods of induction may include the hormone tape or gel, or a balloon. These are all used to soften and open the cervix to be able to break your waters and then start the hormone drip. These are benefits, risks, and alternatives to everything, so make sure you have that discussion with them to make an informed choice about what's best for you and your bub. Some alternatives to induction are increased screening [meaning an ultrasound and frequent CTG monitorings]. Regardless of what you choose, keep a close eye on bub's movements are your well-being.
Most mamas will have had bub by now, but if not, your pregnancy is now considered 'prolonged' by the end of this week. Increased monitoring and induction may be offered to help bring bub into the world.
Regardless of what your journey into parenthood looks like, I hope more than anything that you were listened to, empowered to make choices and felt like an equal. Pregnancy and birth may not always play out the way we plan, but the people you surround yourself with can absolutely make a huge difference. If you learnt something from this blog, share it! Spreading education and empowering parents is our goal at Tiny Hearts, so help us make that happen. Sending love and a big congratulations in advance ❤️