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Stages Of Pregnancy

The stages of pregnancy that women experience briefly broken down.

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***Disclaimer: everybody has different experiences when it comes to pregnancy, labor, and delivery. This is one fairly normal pregnancy description and a common childbirth. However, there are many different ways that this can happen.***

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Today, 70% of U.S. married couples bear children. When Americans are asked about their desire to have children, they mention a large variety of reasons including: giving and receiving warmth and affection, experiencing new growth and learning opportunities, and experiencing the fun that children have to offer, among many other reasons. (Berk, 92)

The First Trimester

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The first Trimester had three periods- the zygote, the embryo, and the fetus. The zygote, which lasts about two weeks, is when the zygote multiplies into a blastocyst and burrows into the uterine lining while protective structures such as the amnion, chorion, placenta, and umbilical cord form. The embryo lasts until the eighth week of pregnancy, and is when the development of the brain, heart, muscles, ribs, backbone and digestive tract. In addition, external body structures (face, arms, legs) and internal organs develop, the embryo can also move at this time. The final period is when the embryo becomes a fetus. This is when rapid growth occurs and lasts until twelfth week and is when the nervous system, organs, and muscles become more connected. Behaviors such as kicking, thumb sucking, and even mouth opening occurs. The sex of the fetus is now evident. (Berk, 97)

During the first trimester, mothers can expect a lot of changes. Mothers typically experience morning sickness, tender breasts, a growing belly, lightheadedness, heartburn, skin changes, a plethora of emotions, and frequent urination. (Mayo Clinic, 2015).

The Second Trimester

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During the Second trimester of pregnancy, which lasts up until the twenty-fourth week, the fetus continues to enlarge rapidly. In the middle of this period, the mother can feel fetal kicks. Most of the brains neurons are present by the twenty-fourth week. Fetus begins to react to sound. (Berk, 97).

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The second trimester marks a turning point for mother and fetus. The mother usually begins to feel better and will start showing the pregnancy more. The fetus has now developed all its organs and systems and will now focus on growing in size and weight. Mother’s appetites begin to increase during the second trimester. (Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2015).

The Third Trimester

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During third and final trimester, lasting up until the thirty-eighth week, the fetus has a good chance of survival if born during this time. Size increases, lungs mature, rapid brain development causes sensory and behavioral capacities to expand. Most fetuses rotate into an upside-down rotation in preparation for birth. At this point, mothers preparing for their children to soon become a reality. (Berk, 97).

Labor

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The process of labor and birth is divided into three stages. The first stage is split into two parts- early labor and active labor. Early labor is when the cervix gradually thins out and dilates. A woman’s water typically breaks during this time. Active labor is when a woman’s cervix begins to dilate more rapidly, and contractions are longer, stronger, and closer together. This stage can last typically twelve to fourteen hours for mothers delivering their first children. (Berk, 126).

Delivery

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The second stage begins when you're fully dilated and ends with the birth of your baby. This is sometimes referred to as the "pushing" stage. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015)

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After the mother delivers the baby, she delivers the afterbirth, which is the third stage. The mother is able to then hold her beautiful new baby after the baby is cleaned off.(Berk, 128).

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