You just received a positive result on your pregnancy test, and you want to find out how many weeks pregnant you are. The age of your growing baby depends on a few different factors. By reading through this article, you ca figure out how many weeks, months and trimesters you are along in your pregnancy.
How Are Due Dates Calculated?
Normally, your doctor will need to have the date of your last menstrual cycle to figure out how far along you are. From the first day of your last period, they will add 280 days or 40 weeks to calculate the due date. Keep in mind that the due date is just an estimate. Very, very few babies are actually born on the exact due date.
Everyone Says That Pregnancy Lasts for 9 Months. Why Does My Doctor Base It Off of 10?
Pregnancy due dates are calculated based on 10 months, or 40 weeks, from the first day of your last menstrual cycle. If there are only 28 days in a normal menstrual cycle, then this amounts to 10 “lunar” months. In comparison, most calendar months last for 30 or 31 days. When you base it off of this, then you are only pregnant for nine actual months. Since it is impossible to tell the exact date of conception, doctors count your due date from the date of your last menstrual cycle starting. This makes it easier for them, but it leads to the misconception that a pregnancy is only nine months long. From conception, your pregnancy lasts for about nine months, but it is technically 10 lunar months from your last menstrual cycle.
How Many Weeks Pregnant Am I?
Like we mentioned before, it is nearly impossible to figure out when your ovaries released an egg, the egg was fertilized and then implanted in the uterus. Because of this, there is no way for a doctor to accurately count the weeks from your conception. Instead, they use the date of your last menstrual period. This means that you are about two weeks along before you actually conceive the child. By the time the egg implants in your uterus (up to two weeks after the egg is fertilized), you are technically four weeks along.
For example, if you are pregnant your last menstrual cycle was five weeks ago, you are five weeks along. Most likely, you actually just had the egg implant in your uterus about one to two weeks ago. The baby has only developed for the last couple of weeks, but you are still considered five weeks along in your pregnancy.
What If I Do Not Know When My Last Menstrual Cycle Was?
Even if you do not know when your last period started, it will still be easy to calculate your due date if you know how long your cycles normally are. If you have irregular periods and do not remember, then it can be more difficult to determine how far along you are.
When you have irregular periods and do not know when your last period was, your doctor will probably do an ultrasound. During this procedure, the technician will measure how long the baby is from the top of his or her head to the bottom. Known as the crown/rump length, this measurement can determine how far along you are. Normally, you have to wait until you are 10 to 13 weeks along to take this measurement. Overall, it is a fairly accurate way to estimate the duration of the pregnancy and the due date.
Why Are Their Three Trimesters in a Pregnancy?
While pregnancy is technically considered to have 40 weeks, this time period is divided into three, three-month segments. These segments are known as trimesters. While every woman experiences different symptoms, these are the most common symptoms that you will experience during each trimester.
How You Will Feel During Each Trimester
The First Trimester (Week 1 to 12)
– You may feel excited, nervous or happy about finding out that you are pregnant. Because of increased hormones, it is very likely that you will find yourself more emotional than normal, and you may cry more easily.
– You may feel nausea or vomiting, which most people refer to as morning sickness. While it may be called morning sickness, it can actually happen at any time of the day.
– You may need to sleep more as you feel more fatigued and it is easier to become exhausted.
The Second Trimester (Week 13 to 27)
– You may develop aches and pains as the baby starts to grow. Your uterus has to make room for the baby, so the stretching can be painful at times.
– Your fatigue may start to go away, and you feel a renewed sense of energy.
– Your baby bump starts to grow as you put on more weight.
– While nausea and vomiting often disappear in the second trimester, some women may experience nausea for their entire pregnancy.
The Third Trimester (Week 28 to 40)
– You may still have aches because of the baby’s size.
– As your baby rapidly grows, you may develop fatigue again.
How Many Months Pregnant Am I?
At this point, you may also wonder how many months along you are in the pregnancy. The following list includes the symptoms that you are likely to experience during each month of the pregnancy. Keep in mind that the first month of pregnancy technically includes about two weeks before you are pregnant because it is calculated from the first day of your last menstrual cycle.
A Month-by-Month Guide
Month 1 (Weeks 0 to 3)
At this point, you may not have any pregnancy symptoms at all. There may be spotting during implantation, but it will not be as heavy as your normal period. Likewise, you may experience:
– Crying or sudden anger
– Vomiting or nausea
– Feeling tired or fatigued
– Aversion to certain foods, odors and scents
– Cravings for certain foods
– Soreness in your breasts
– Constipation or digestive changes
– Feeling faint or slightly dizzy
In the first week or two after conception, the egg will implant itself on the wall of the uterus. For the first month, your baby will remain about the size of a bean. During this time, the umbilical cord and amniotic sac will start to form to nourish and protect your baby over the coming months.
During this stage, the baby’s heart, spinal cord and nervous system will start to develop. Buds start that will ultimately become arms and legs. For the safety of your child, do not use alcohol and quit smoking. The first few weeks are exceptionally important for the nervous system, and alcohol use can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome.
If you have a cat, have someone else change the cat litter. Cat feces is known to contain toxoplasmosis, which can lead to birth defects. At this point, you may also take a pregnancy test, but it may not reveal a positive result until the fifth week. A blood test can get results sooner.
Month 2 (Weeks 4 to 7)
At this point, you may experience:
– Aversion to certain scents
– Nausea and/or vomiting
– Angry spells or frequent crying
– An urge to urinate more frequently
– Feeling faint
– Food cravings
– Breast soreness
– Feelings of fatigue
During this time, the baby’s heart will begin to beat. Blood cells start to develop, and the eyes begin to form. Meanwhile, the brain becomes five different sections as the end of the spinal column starts to close. Your baby is about ¼ inch long at this point.
You can continue to exercise if your doctor says it is alright. Make sure to eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest. You should also be making an appointment for your first OB/GYN visit. To reduce breast soreness, make sure to wear a bra that has excellent support.
Month 3 (Weeks 8 to 11)
Right now, you may start to experience:
– Aversion to certain smells
– Food cravings
– A strong need to urinate frequently
– Vomiting or nausea
– Crying spells
– Mood swings
At this stage in the game, the embryo is now a fetus. The neck and muscles start to develop as the eyes and nose continue to form. Your baby now has toenails and fingernails. Meanwhile,tooth buds, hair follicles and nipples begin forming. In a few more weeks or months, the baby will start to move. Your baby will be about ½ ounce in weight and 3 inches long by the end of this month.
You should be getting plenty of rest and eating a healthy diet. By the end of the third month, you may need to begin wearing larger clothing. By now, you should have already made an appointment with the doctor that will deliver your baby.
Month 4 (Weeks 12 to 15)
Some symptoms may start to disappear right now, but other women have symptoms for the entire pregnancy. You may experience:
– Flutters when the baby moves
– Weight gain
– A baby bump
– Increased appetite and food cravings
The baby now has a fine fuzz covering him or her that protects them from the environment. The baby is moving constantly and can hear your voice. Spanning about 6 inches in length, the baby still weighs less than half a pound.
You may need to switch to a maternity bra now, and you should get an AFP test to look for birth defects.
Month 5 (Weeks 16 to 19)
Many women get stretch marks on their abdomen, buttocks, breasts and thighs at this point. You may experience:
– Bleeding gums due to hormones
– Increased vaginal discharge
– Strong kicks from the baby
– Your breasts may start to leak
Your baby is growing a lot right now. By the end of this month, the baby will be about 7 inches long and 11 ounces in weight. He has teeth, stronger muscles and a layer of fat cells. The baby now sleeps and wakes up in cycles.
You may be leaking colostrum from your nipples right now, so breast pads in your bras can prevent stains and leakage. Meanwhile, brushing and flossing your teeth regularly will help protect your gums. You will also want to use an excellent lotion to prevent and mitigate stretch marks.
Month 6 (Weeks 20 to 23)
At this point, you may have:
– Increased sweating and feelings of warmth
– Pelvic and rib pain as your baby pushes around
– A fairly obvious baby bump
– Shortness of breath
As the baby grows quickly, its brain and nerves rapidly develop. It is now creating a bowel movement called meconium. The baby will be about 1.6 pounds and 14 inches long by the end of this month. If you could see the baby, it would look wrinkled and reddish.
Make sure to rest as much as possible, and keep your feet elevated while resting to reduce water retention. Pelvic rock exercises can help the pelvis stretch and relieve pain. Since the baby takes up a lot of space, try to eat more frequent, smaller meals to limit shortness of breath. You may also want to dress in layers since it is easy to get too warm.
Month 7 (Weeks 24 to 27)
Now, you may start to experience the following symptoms:
– Cramping caused by lower calcium levels
– Braxton-Hicks contractions
– Heartburn from the baby pushing upwards
– Stretch marks as your baby bump grows
Your baby’s eyes can now sense light, and he can hear sounds around him. Fat cells are developing to help him handle temperature changes. At this point, the baby is about 3 pounds in weight and 16 inches long. If he or she is born at 28 weeks, they will have a decent chance of surviving.
Right now, you should be eating healthily, but do not eat for 30 minutes before bed or you may develop heartburn. You should be getting enough calcium from your diet by eating extra leafy greens and dairy. If you have contractions, they should be relatively painless. If they are ongoing or extremely painful, go to your doctor.
Month 8 (Weeks 28 to 31)
By the eighth month, you may experience:
– Sore ribs and pelvis bones as your baby continues to grow
– Pressure in the pelvic area
– Worsening constipation
– Off-balance or heavy
– Shortness of breath
– Increased urination, especially at night
Your baby is now focused on gained weight and body fat. The baby’s head will start to turn downward toward the birth canal. You may feel the baby kicking or pushing strongly as it grows. Right now, the baby is about 5.5 pounds in weight and 18 inches in length. If the baby were born today, it would have a 90 percent chance of survival.
Month 9 (Weeks 32 to 35)
During the ninth month of pregnancy, you may experience:
– More Braxton-Hicks contractions
– Increased nervousness and exhilaration about the coming birth
– Fewer pushes and kicks because the baby has less space
– Pain in your lower back
At this stage, the baby is completely developed. The lungs are the last thing to develop, but the baby is mostly focused on gaining weight. The antibodies that the baby gets from you right now are going to protect him or her after birth. Your baby weighs about 6 to 9 pounds and is about 18 to 20 inches in length.
This is the time to plan your maternity leave if you have not already. Rest as much as you can since you will need your strength. As long as your doctor says it is okay, continue to exercise. Walking can help your body prepare for childbirth. If the baby moves less than five times in an hour, go to your doctor. Likewise, go to the delivery department if you have painful, close together or strong contractions. If your water breaks, go to the delivery department as well.
Month 10 (Weeks 36 to 40)
You may experience:
– Increased feelings of tiredness
– A decreased appetite
– More pressure on your pelvic floor
Your baby is ready to arrive any day now! If the baby moves less than five times in an hour, go to your doctor right away. Likewise, go to the delivery department if your water breaks or your contractions are more painful, stronger or closer together. At this point, your doctor will probably see you weekly until you deliver.