You learn a lot when you’re pregnant: like how it can be impossible to see your feet in a standing position, or what it’s like to have an absolutely incredible sense of smell. But one of the first lessons is to forget about months. It’s not that they’re unimportant, it’s just that from now on, it’s the weeks that count.
It may be a little difficult at first, but you’ll soon realise that everything happens in weeks when you visit your doctor. It can be a bit tricky, but you’ll soon get the hang of it. In fact, the way in which your body is changing is so huge, and the weekly medical follow-up that requires is so important, that the only reason you’ll need to think in months (other than to realise how quickly they fly) is to tell the rest of humanity how long they still have to wait. Or haven’t you noticed their faces when you mention the weeks? Most other people have trouble with maths.
So let’s start thinking in weeks:
- Pregnancy lasts 40 weeks from the first day of your last period. Week 40 is your probable birth date, but these numbers don’t always mean that your baby will actually arrive on a specific day or at a given hour.
- Medical experts say that normal pregnancies tend to last between 38 and 42 weeks. You’ll soon see how your weeks define which test you need (listening to the heartbeat at week 10 is incredible), your visits, and that you will need special care if your baby is born prematurely.
- It’s helpful to create a weekly calendar and adopt an optimistic perspective about everything.
- You’ll still hear about months when experts start talking about trimesters:
- The first trimester runs from week 1 to the end of week 12.
- The second trimester extends from week 13 to the end of week 26.
- And the third trimester ranges from week 27 to the end of your pregnancy.
- The first three months may bring dizziness, malaise, morning sickness, fatigue and drowsiness... The second month is a time for high spirits (you’ll feel better, more used to everything, have more appetite and be more beautiful), and in the third you’ll start to feel the weight and pregnancy will be a bit less comfortable as birth approaches.
- Remember that these are all generalisations, every pregnancy is unique. Your friends may never have been sick while they were pregnant, not even during the first trimester, but others will have vomited right up until the baby was born. Other people get a metallic taste in their mouth, yes really. And you’ll see... and feel how your own pregnancy evolves!
- Obviously, it’s very important to get proper medical supervision for your pregnancy, and to note down and ask all your questions at your weekly visits. Don’t be shy. Get out your list and ask the experts.
One more thing to consider:
8. Everyone knows you gain weight during pregnancy. But you don’t have to eat for two. The most important thing is to eat a healthy, balanced diet, to take good, but not excessive care of yourself, and to eat little and often. You’ll put on weight because that’s part of the process. On average, pregnant women gain 1 or 2 kilos in the first 12 weeks. Not much, is it? Because the biggest changes come later. From 12 weeks on you’ll gain around 1.5 kilos a month. But medical experts have seen that women don’t tend to gain much weight in the first three months, and that the big gains tend to come after the 28th week. Which is when you may put on 2 kilos a month. Don’t worry about it - your doctors will keep an eye on you. You’ll be able to adapt your exercise habits and eat healthily without going hungry. Just don’t feel guilty about treating yourself once in a while.
Everyone needs to give in to temptation sometimes.