A healthy pregnancy typically lasts for 40 weeks. Premature births can result in many health problems, from low birth weight and jaundice, to a lack of development of the organs.
Every pregnancy is different, but there are some medical milestones that doctors use to predict how a pregnancy is going. During the first trimester of pregnancy, the chance for a miscarriage is still quite high. More than 1 in 4 pregnancies result in miscarriage before the 12-week mark. After 12 weeks, the odds of miscarriage drop dramatically. Also during the first trimester, your doctor will check to make sure the developing fetus has a heartbeat by using a Doppler machine.
During the second trimester of pregnancy, an anatomy scan ultrasound will likely be performed. This milestone checks the tiny body of your developing baby for any developmental abnormalities. This test also can reveal the sex of your baby, if you wish to find out before the baby is born. Somewhere in the middle of the second trimester, you will most likely be able to feel your baby’s movement inside your uterus in the form of little kicks and punches.
At 27 weeks, a baby in utero is considered “viable,” meaning that it would have a good chance of surviving outside of your womb. During the third trimester, your weight gain will accelerate and you may feel more tired. As labor approaches, you may feel pelvic discomfort. Excess blood and water retention may cause your feet to swell. Contractions that do not lead to labor, known as Braxton-Hicks contractions, may start to occur in the weeks before you deliver. While you may be anxious to meet your baby, induced labor should generally only be used if a doctor deems it medically necessary.
Preparing for Labor
There are many ways to mentally and physically prepare for labor. Many hospitals offer birthing classes prior to delivery so that women may better understand the signs and progression of labor. You may also want to prepare a “ready to go bag” of toiletries, sleepwear, and other everyday essentials in the third trimester. This bag would be ready to run out the door with you when labor begins.
During the third trimester, you and your doctor should discuss your labor and delivery plan in detail. Knowing when to go to the hospital, who will be assisting in the birth, and what role your doctor will play in the birth process can all contribute to greater peace of mind going into the home stretch of pregnancy.
Original article: https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy#preparation