This is a landmark month as you finish up your first trimester! By the end of this month, your baby will grow to more than three inches in length and almost one ounce, about the size and heft of a roll of Life Savers. His head accounts for one-third of his total length, and his tongue, salivary glands, and taste buds have formed. You make first contact this month as you hear his heartbeat and perhaps even see him on ultrasound.
Month Three Checklist
- Create ways to compensate for forgetfulness.
- Make sleep a priority; set a new early bedtime and stick to it.
Your Baby This Month
Your baby's heart is pumping about twenty-five quarts of blood each day, and a lattice of blood vessels can be seen through his translucent skin, which is starting to develop a coat of fine downy hair called lanugo. His, or her, gender is apparent since the external sex organs have now fully differentiated, but it will take a combination of luck and technical skill for an ultrasound operator to reveal if you have a son or daughter.
Your Body's Changes
This month, you start to sport a protruding belly, which may mean sharing your news with friends, family, and coworkers if you haven't already. Your uterus is about the size of a softball and stretches to just about your pubic bone. Two to four pounds of total weight gain is about average for the first trimester; if you've been down and out with nausea and vomiting, you may be below the curve. Weight gain will pick up in the second trimester and peak in the third as your baby starts to fill out your womb.
While twenty-five to thirty-five pounds is the average suggested total weight gain for a pregnancy, your height and build will influence that number. Underweight women and women with multiple pregnancies (twins or more) will be expected to gain more; overweight women will be encouraged to gain slightly less.
If your provider hasn't mentioned a weight goal for your pregnancy, ask for your weight goal and record it here.
My Pregnancy Weight Goal ______________________
Focus on the quality of food you're eating and on getting some regular exercise (cleared with your provider first).
|Where the Weight Goes|
|Baby||7.5 to 8.5 pounds|
|Uterus||2 to 2.5 pounds|
|Placenta||1.5 to 2 pounds|
|Amniotic fluid||2 pounds|
|Blood||3 to 4 pounds|
|Breasts||1 to 2 pounds|
|Maternal fat and nutrient stores||4 to 6 pounds|
|Retained maternal fluids||4 to 8 pounds|
|Total||25 to 35 pounds|
Although nausea and vomiting may finally be waning, constipation, gas, and occasional heartburn may take over as the gastrointestinal pests of the second trimester.
Constipation can be caused by an increase in progesterone, which can act to slow down the digestive system. Later in the pregnancy, pressure on the intestines caused by your growing uterus adds to the problem. Iron supplements or prenatal vitamins with added iron can also cause constipation, so talking to your provider about the possibility of a dosage adjustment or an extended release formula may be in order. An increase in dietary fiber, plenty of water intake, and exercise as approved by your healthcare provider may also help to get things going again. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking any stool softeners or laxatives.
Other pregnancy symptoms that may continue or begin this month include the following. Check off symptoms you experience this month and talk to your doctor or midwife about any that make you especially uncomfortable:Fatigue
Occasional dizziness or faintness
Nasal congestion and/or runny nose
On Your Mind
Like any mom-to-be, you've got a lot on your mind. That alone may have you forgetting what used to be second nature and misplacing things. Pregnancy hormones, sleep deprivation, and stress have all been suggested as possible culprits.
Whatever the cause, forgetting appointments and misplacing things can leave you feeling muddled and helpless. To cope with forgetfulness, try the following.
- Writing notes
- Sticking to a routine (e.g., car keys always go into a basket by the door)
- Living by a written or electronic organizer
- Requesting a twenty-four-hour advance phone call reminder when you schedule appointments such as in-home appliance repair or a hair cut
At the Doctor's or Midwife's Office
This month, your provider may:
- Order an ultrasound to see your baby
- Start estimating the size of your baby by counting the centimeters from your pubic bone to the tip of your fundus—the top of the uterus (Some practitioners do not take the fundal height until after week twelve or even week twenty.)
- Tell you about the alpha-fetoprotein test (The AFP is typically given at sixteen to eighteen weeks, and it tests for the possibility of neural tube defects and/or chromosomal abnormalities. Since it is optional, many providers give an informational sheet to patients so they may consider whether they want to take it.)
- Check for the fetal heartbeat using a small ultrasound device called a Doppler or Doptone