Although it is easy to identify when you are pregnant for many women it is not that easy to identify exactly when they got pregnant. In this guide I will show you how to answer the question “how far along am I?”, so you can tell exactly when you conceived.
before you can identify how far along your pregnancy is you need to understand a little bit about the pregnancy cycle so you can spot where you are in it.
Understanding The Pregnancy Cycle
The birth process is divine. For anyone who has the experience of being part of giving birth, they end up admitting that the process is sacred. This is the beginning of another human being’s life and it is all happening in your belly.
It is a process that is exhausting and needs lots and lots of care, however, at the end of 40 weeks, the bundle of joy will be worth all the exhaustion and pain experienced during the whole conception to birth period.
Most women will have numerous questions during this period. The most common questions are the questions of time and what to expect.
They may ask:
- How far along am I based on due date?
- How far along am I in my pregnancy?
These are common questions, and it is perfectly normal to want to know as much as possible about the process.
In fact, it is advisable that you should know as much as possible whether you are planning to have a baby, or are already pregnant. The doctor will give you as much information as he/she can.
From Conception to Birth
Not only is this information valuable for discovering how far along you are in your pregnancy but understanding the process that occurs from conception to birth can help you keep check of the whole pregnancy process and be able to flag any abnormal occurrences that might present themselves.
This article will cover the whole process from conception to birth and explain the process and changes that you may expect to see.
The “how far along am I” question is one that much more common than you might think and is even asked by women who have been actively trying to get pregnant using methods for choosing the gender of their baby or by having intercourse eon specific dates.
On the flip side not all pregnancies are preplanned, and some women only discover that they are pregnant after they see the early symptoms of pregnancy, or when they miss their period.
So, this article will split the pregnancy period into blocks of weeks, which is the common monitoring timeline for any pregnancy, so you can narrow down the time-frame for conception.
Identifying Where You Are in The 40 Week Pregnancy Cycle
The whole process of conception to birth takes about 40 weeks.
However, it is common for pregnant women to have their child a week or two earlier than their due date.
Although many health professionals will divide the weeks up differently (or even cover them individually) for ease of identification we have covered them as follows:
- week 1-3
- week 4-5
- week 6-7
- week 8-9
- week 10-14
- week 15-22
- week 23-24
- week 25-30
- week 31-40
In the first week after conception, you may not notice any changes at all. During this week the fertilization process is taking place.
The fertilization process takes place when a sperm travels from the vagina to the fallopian tube via the uterus where it finds a fertile, mature egg that the woman provides.
The sperm that manages to break into the egg fertilizes it and begins a process of cell division where the cells grow and divide themselves into more cells.
By week 2, the implantation process is taking place where the fertilized egg travels done the fallopian tube and implants itself on the uterus wall.
In the second week, the lady may experience the early symptoms of pregnancy which may include:
- mood swings
- swollen breasts
If you test the urine during this week, the results may show positive for pregnancy. During the third week, a lady expects her monthly period, however, they will miss it.
The third week will prove the certainty that you are indeed pregnant.
In the 4th week, the fertilized egg (now called the embryo) is firmly implanted in the mother’s womb. It starts to develop limb buds where the limbs will grow.
The embryo is about 5mm in size during this stage.
The cells divide into three layers:
- one layer will form the nervous system and the brain
- another layer will form the stomach and gut
- while the third layer will form the heart, blood, muscles, and bones.
In the 5th week, the woman may expect to experience the urge to urinate frequently.
During this week, the embryo becomes curved with a large head.
By week 6, the uterus of the lady is usually the size of an orange- the embryo is about 10 mm big.
The heart of the embryo starts beating, and you can capture the heartbeat using ultrasonic scan.
By week 7 The limb buds start to grow into visible limbs.
In week 8 when the embryo develops to this stage, it has visible features and begins to take a human form.
From here on, the embryo gets referred to as a fetus.
By week 9, you can feel the uterus at the upper part of the pubic bone.
The fetus develops the eyes and the mouth, and the limbs develop some divisions that will develop into fingers.
Major organs like kidneys, liver and so, develop during this stage.
Your first appointment with the doctor takes place during this period- either in the 10th or 12th week.
The doctor should check your fetus for any abnormalities, and normally it is done using an ultrasonic scan.
Between week 10 and 12, the fetus’ head is usually developing faster than the body.
The genitals of the fetus fully develop by the 14th week, and the ultrasonic scan can ascertain the gender of the fetus.
The fetus starts to move its limbs.
However, you may not feel it just yet.
At this stage, the fetus is about 85mm big, and the pregnancy may begin to show.
Scientist says that between the 15th and 22nd week, is when the human being develops fastest in their entire lifetime.
At this stage, the baby’s face looks well defined with developed eyelashes, eyelids, hair, and ears.
The fingernails and toenails start to grow, and the fingerprints form.
By the end of the 22nd week, the child is usually about 27cm big and is clearly visible in the mother’s belly.
In most cases, fetus movements get felt by the 15th week.
Sometimes you may see bulging of the stomach when the child kicks. The child can also respond to touch or noise in the surrounding.
The skeleton of the fetus becomes visible.
The fetus develops a smooth hair known as lanugo that covers its whole body.
You can hear the heartbeat of the child by placing your ear against the woman’s belly.
Between these weeks, you will have a check-up appointment where the doctor will check the positioning of the child’s head.
The doctor will also take measurements of the pelvic area and vagina, and advise the best conception method.
The pregnant woman, however, will experience enlarging of the breast and nipples.
By this stage, the child has fully developed with all the organs and systems working properly.
However, the digestive systems may be still developing during this period.
The mother’s areola is going to darken during this stage.
At this stage, the child is about 33 cm big. If born prematurely at this stage, the child has a good chance of survival if taken to an appropriate care unit.
The child’s heartbeat is strong enough to hear it using a stethoscope.
Between these weeks, the mother will gain weight at a higher rate than usual. The baby’s hair begins to disappear.
The baby’s head is normally facing downwards during this period preparing for birth. The mother is supposed to have a checkup during this period to check the position of the baby awaiting the birth.
Labor is supposed to occur in the later stages between the 37th week and 40th week.
However, in some cases, the labor may occur a week or two after the 40th week.
We hope this short guide will help you answer the question “how far along am i?” and will help you understand the entire pregnancy cycle and what to expect for both you and you baby. I also hope that you have a healthy and joyful pregnancy.