Pregnancy Week by Week

Get a window on what’s happening in your pregnancy, week by week. From week four to week 42, your baby is experiencing a miraculous transformation from a clump of cells to a fully formed (and totally cute) newborn. Just imagine, as early as five weeks, your baby is already starting to form major organs (heart, stomach, liver, and kidneys) and systems (digestive, circulatory, nervous). By eight weeks, your raspberry-sized womb-mate is moving her arms and legs. At the beginning of your second trimester (week 14), your wee one is sucking his thumb. By week 28, the first week of the third trimester, baby (now as big as an eggplant) is prepping for breathing, developing his eyesight and packing on pounds in anticipation of life outside the womb. Each week is a new miracle. Less miraculous is how a mom-to-be may feel. Pregnancy Week-by-Week charts your baby’s development but also lets mom know what she might be feeling during each week of her pregnancy. Pregnancy week by Week includes everything mom needs to know to feel a sense of control over her pregnancy. Each week offers a complete guide to what you might feel, your must-do’s, your nice-to do’s, and answers and advice on everything pregnancy-related. Plus each week’s guide offers tips on maintaining a healthy and comfortable pregnancy from strategies on coping with pregnancy symptoms (morning sickness anyone?) to ideas for healthy eating, and pointers on talking to your OB. Let us guide you along your pregnancy, week by week.

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you asked...

What will happen at the First Trimester Screen?

I’m having my First Trimester Screen. What should I expect?

Re:

I’m having my First Trimester Screen. What should I expect?

The Bump Expert

The First Trimester Screen is a new optional test used to look for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome. The screening involves two parts: a blood test and an ultrasound. If you decide to have a First Trimester Screen, a lab will draw a sample of blood from your arm. The blood sample will be used to measure your levels of two pregnancy hormones, HCG and PAPP-A. Ultrasound is used to measure what’s called nuchal translucency, or the fluid beneath the skin of your baby’s neck. The results of the blood test and ultrasound -- along with your age -- can help your healthcare provider calculate the odds that your baby has a chromosomal abnormality.

It’s important to understand that the First Trimester Screen is a screening test; it is not diagnostic. So it will just give you the odds that there is a problem, not diagnose one. If your First Trimester Screen suggests that you’re likely carrying a baby with a chromosomal abnormality, your healthcare provider may recommend additional testing, such as an amniocentesis, to confirm or rule out the diagnosis.

Some women opt out of the screening altogether, reasoning that they wouldn’t change anything even if the test suggests that their baby may have an abnormality. Other women choose to go ahead with the screen. The choice is entirely yours, so discuss the risks and benefits of First Trimester Screening with your healthcare provider before making a decision.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Your Guide to Prenatal Tests and Checkups

Are Early Ultrasounds Okay?

First Trimester To Dos

Sharon Phelan, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of New Mexico - Albuquerque

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