week by week
As parents venturing on the journey of pregnancy, here is Mothercare's Pregnancy Week by Week guide from week 1 through to week 40. Discover the changes your body goes through, how your growing baby develops inside you and advice on important dates and appointments.
Please use the timeline slider or the dropdown menu to navigate
- Week 1-4
- Week 2
- Week 3
- Week 4
- Week 5
- Week 6
- Week 7
- Week 8
- Week 9
- Week 10
- Week 11
- Week 12
- Week 13
- Week 14
- Week 15
- Week 16
- Week 17
- Week 18
- Week 19
- Week 20
- Week 21
- Week 22
- Week 23
- Week 24
- Week 25
- Week 26
- Week 27
- Week 28
- Week 29
- Week 30
- Week 31
- Week 32
- Week 33
- Week 34
- Week 35
- Week 36
- Week 37
- Week 38
- Week 39
- Week 40
Totally unaware of how much life is about to change – though maybe secretly hoping it is – you’re carrying on as normal. You’re unlikely to know you’re pregnant just yet, but if you’ve been trying to conceive, you might spot the early signs that a baby’s on the way.
Are you simply having a bad dose of PMT, or is your body trying to tell you something? Some of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy include:
- nausea, and ‘going off’ certain foods and smells
- tender breasts, which feel heavy even in your comfiest bra
- tiredness, even after a good night’s sleep
you at weeks 1-4
Even before a missed period or a positive pregnancy test, you might be feeling that something's afoot. As well as the signs above, you could be experiencing stomach cramps, a bit like a period. Many women describe having a metallic taste in their mouths too. You may be feeling tired and moody, so you can see why so many of us confuse early pregnancy with being pre-menstrual. Except of course, that when your time of the month comes around, nothing happens.
your baby at weeks 1-4
New life has started to grow. The winning sperm reaches the egg, and fuses with its centre. It takes three or four days for this fertilised egg to move down into your uterus, where it nestles cosily into the lining. This little ball of cells will one day be your baby – and its sex has already been established, depending on whether the successful sperm carried an X or Y chromosome. By week 4 the tiny poppy seed-sized embryo is dividing into three layers: the top is the neural tube, the middle is the heart and circulatory system and the bottom layer houses the lungs, intestines and urinary system.
things to do in weeks 1-4
If you've been planning a pregnancy, you may have already changed your lifestyle by quitting smoking and alcohol, cutting down on caffeine and avoiding certain foods that you know aren’t good for a developing little baby. You may also have been taking folic acid supplements. When your period doesn’t happen, it’s time to pop out to buy that pregnancy testing kit. When you get that positive result, your heart will skip a beat as you realise that you really are carrying your little one inside you! Tell your GP so you can start your antenatal care – exciting times indeed.
Pregnancy is starting to feel more real as your baby makes their presence felt. Hormonal changes in your body can result in first trimester nausea, fatigue, and mood swings. These annoyances are just temporary side effects of your amazing body making a new person. Keep up the good work!
These early weeks can be tough. Fortunately most early-stage symptoms will disappear as pregnancy goes on. Here’s what week 5 has in store:
- you may be feeling nauseous, eating little and often helps
- mood swings are normal – don't give yourself a hard time
- you might be feeling a little sluggish so try to stay hydrated
you at week 5
Outwardly, you haven’t changed at all, and you won’t look pregnant for a while. It can be tricky keeping those pregnancy symptoms a secret from friends and colleagues though, if that's what you want to do. You’re likely to feel pretty exhausted, so it’s hard to be your usual self. Some mums-to-be avoid announcing their pregnancy until the 12-week scan but you may want to tell close family and a few friends the good news sooner. This way they can start giving you the support you need (and will understand why you may be crying, eating lots, being sick, or falling asleep at your desk).
your baby at week 5
Your baby has a growth spurt around week 5, and is about 5mm long. They still look like a tadpole rather than a baby, but inside, tiny little organs are starting to develop. The kidneys, liver, intestines, and appendix are all growing, as is the neural tube, which connects the spinal cord and brain. Your baby’s heart is already divided into chambers and getting ready for its first heartbeat. Tiny nubs are developing, which will eventually become limbs, and there are small folds which one day will be your baby’s neck and jaw. That’s a very busy little tadpole!
things to do in week 5
If you can bear to think about food, it’s time to start planning a healthy pregnancy diet. A balanced diet including fruit and veg, starchy foods, protein and dairy, is ideal. You may also be advised to take certain supplements (for example folic acid, Vitamin D and possibly iron). Eating for two is (sadly) a myth but the occasional treat is OK. There are a few foods to avoid, as they contain potentially harmful bacteria, chemicals, or parasites. These include: mould-ripened cheeses, raw or undercooked meat, raw eggs, cured meat, certain types of fish, liver, and alcohol. Caffeine is also best avoided or limited to one cup per day.
A delightful mix of mood swings, disturbed nights, nausea and tiredness mean you’re probably feeling a little worse for wear. Be assured these are common symptoms and will soon pass. It’s a big week for baby, as their heart starts beating – there’s an amazing thought that hopefully makes the discomfort seem worthwhile.
Exciting things are going on in your not-yet-quite-a-bump this week. Here’s what to expect as a result:
- sore or tender boobs – a maternity support bra can help
- mood swings have your emotions all over the place
- nausea may mean you’re still feeling a bit peaky
you at week 6
As the pregnancy hormones really start kicking in, your moods are probably feeling really up and down. One minute you’re really happy and excited, and the next you’re crying for no reason. This is perfectly normal, and this stage of major mood swings usually passes after the first trimester. Talking about how you’re feeling with your partner and friends can really help, as can some gentle, mood-lifting exercise. Simply doing things that you have always enjoyed can make you feel better. If you are concerned about your mood swings, have a chat with your midwife or GP.
your baby at week 6
Your baby is around 5mm long – roughly the size of a pea. Their tiny heart is now beating at about 150 beats per minute, roughly twice the rate of yours. If you need an early scan, you might get to see this amazing little flutter for yourself. Your baby is now looking less like a tadpole, with facial features starting to form. There are dark spots where their eyes will be, miniscule openings that will become nostrils, and pits that will one day be ears. The bud-like limbs are growing, and the pituitary gland and brain are developing.
things to do in week 6
It’s common to think that sleep won’t be disrupted until your baby arrives. As you may have learned already though, this isn’t always the case. Physical discomfort, pregnancy worries, and nocturnal trips to the loo mean that your nights are likely already interrupted. Getting into relaxing night-time routines (light meals, a warm bath or a bedtime book) at this early stage can help you sleep better during the coming months. Turn your bedroom into a lovely, sleepy haven – dim lighting, black-out blinds, and relaxing scents work wonders.
You’re still feeling the effects of those early pregnancy hormones – but at least you’re used to any mood swings by now. You’re also probably finding lots of ways to make yourself feel better, such as exercise. Meanwhile, your baby is busy developing lots of things, from eyes to toes!
You and baby are really in the swing of things now – there’s magic going on in that belly! Here’s what to expect in week seven:
- more mood swings – who knew we had so many emotions?
- stomach cramps – baby’s way of asking for a room upgrade!
- more toilet breaks as your uterus pushes against your bladder
you at week 7
Your body is still being affected by all those hormones. From one minute to the next you probably don’t know if you’re laughing or crying. Gentle exercises can help you to relax and feel better mentally, as well as keeping you fit and healthy. You don’t have a bump yet, but your uterus has grown a lot, from the size of a clenched fist to about the size of a grapefruit. As it expands, you may feel some mild cramping in your tummy. This is normal but it’s worth reporting to your GP, so you’re doubly sure all is well.
your baby at week 7
Your baby’s development is rocketing along now. They’ve grown from the size of a pea to that of a blueberry – a whopping 1.25cm long! Your baby has tiny webbed fingers and toes, and the teeth and palate are starting to form. Their ears and eyes are developing, and they even have little eyelids, though these won’t open for a while. Their liver is producing lots of red blood cells and as your baby’s skin is transparent, you can clearly see their veins. Fascinatingly, your amazing baby is starting to make their first, small movements.
things to do in week 7
As your baby’s future teeth start to develop, it’s time to focus on yours. As well as free prescriptions, you’re entitled to free NHS dental care up until your baby is one year old. Speak to your GP or midwife about getting a maternity exemption certificate. It’s really important to take care of your teeth during pregnancy, as hormonal changes can make your gums vulnerable to plaque. Pregnancy gingivitis or gum disease can be avoided by good dental hygiene – careful brushing and avoiding sugary snacks will help.
This is a busy week for your baby – they’re losing the tadpoley tail and starting to look like a proper little person. It’s a milestone for you too, as week 8 is often marked by your first antenatal appointment. It’s a great chance to clear up all those nagging questions.
Your body is doing some amazing things to support your growing baby. Your fabulous pregnant body has:
- more blood than usual – it will be 1.5 extra litres by the third trimester
- a super-stretchy uterus that will eventually expand to 1000 times its original size!
- breasts that are already preparing to feed your baby
you at week 8
Your baby is developing at a speedy pace at the moment, so a common pregnancy symptom at week 8 is extreme tiredness. It’s great if you can give in to this, and get as much rest and sleep as you can. You may also be experiencing constipation, thanks to the pregnancy hormone progesterone and a more iron-rich diet. Eating high-fibre foods such as vegetables and wholemeal bread, and drinking plenty of water should help. Try to relax when you go to the loo – there’s no need to rush things!
your baby at week 8
Your baby is now officially a ‘foetus’, meaning ‘offspring’. This is because they’re losing their tail and becoming more baby-like. They measure 1.6cm long, and are growing about a millimetre every day. They now have recognisable, lengthening limbs and obvious hands and feet. The spinal cord is developing, all their major organs are in place, and neural pathways are forming in the brain. Incredibly, they now have taste buds, and the beginnings of a tiny tummy. They’ve develop their first sense: touch, and can respond to pressure on their lips and cheeks.
things to do in week 8
You’ll have your first antenatal appointment between weeks 8 and 12. Your midwife will plan your antenatal care with you and discuss screening tests and scans. You’ll have the first of many routine tests, including height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure, and urine (to check protein). Your general health will be discussed, helping to establish whether you need any additional care. You’ll also be given general pregnancy information, including tips on diet and exercise, breastfeeding, antenatal classes and delivery options. It’s a lot to take in – but you’ve still got months to get the hang of it all!
Your clothes are getting tighter, and you’re definitely in need of new bras... Pregnancy is starting to become business-as-usual, as your amazing body expertly adapts to the job of growing a new baby. The baby is now being nourished by your placenta, and is growing away happily.
Oh it’s exciting now you can really notice your body changing! Here’s what’s happening in week 9:
- nausea is still a thing but it should fade soon
- you’re feeling mighty busty and might need a bra fitting
- thanks to your hormones, thrush may make an appearance
you at week 9
You’re still having those first trimester symptoms. Whoever named it ‘morning sickness’ clearly never had to deal with it - feelings of nausea can creep up at any time of day. Even if you’re never actually sick, you often feel like you might be, and you’re probably still having extreme reactions to certain smells. The good news is that now you’re into your third month, the sickness should start to ease off soon. The tiredness will also pass until towards the end of your pregnancy. Knowing that these symptoms are on the way out can help to keep you going!
your baby at week 9
Your baby measures about 2.3cm long and is getting increasingly baby-like. Their fingers and toes are proper little digits now rather than being webbed, and they have joints at the ankles, wrists, and elbows. Your baby’s chromosomes established their sex right from the beginning, and now their genitals have begun to form. Your baby’s basic body shape and organs are all in place, and they’ll now concentrate on fine-tuning these, as well as piling on the weight. Your placenta is doing all sorts – producing hormones, providing your baby with nutrients, and getting rid of their waste.
things to do in week 9
Antenatal classes don’t usually start until you’re about 30 weeks pregnant. However, the classes can get booked up, so it’s worth signing up as soon as you can. Your midwife can give you details of local NHS antenatal options, and the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) runs popular, private sessions. Birth partners are encouraged to attend, so it’s a lovely opportunity to get them involved, and you’ll both get to meet other parents-to-be.
This week, your baby is working hard and growing fast! Although you won't be able to feel anything yet, baby will be moving about and getting good at kicking and somersaulting. Your morning sickness should be feeling better – hurrah! Although that may be replaced with weird and wonderful food cravings.
Your trousers might feel tighter as your womb grows bigger, making space for your baby to enter an exciting new stage.
- your baby heart is beating twice the speed of yours
- pregnancy symptoms at week 10 may have you craving foods you once hated
- as morning sickness wears off you can start exercising (gently)
you at week 10
Your uterus has grown from the size of a small pear to the size of a grapefruit. You're probably not ready for a maternity-wear shopping spree just yet, but your growing uterus (and a bit of bloating from hormones) can make tight trousers uncomfortable. You might also start to crave weird and wonderful food – gherkins and ice cream, anyone? Don't worry – most mums-to-be usually just fancy food that they wouldn't usually go for. Spice-lovers might find themselves ordering blander food than usual, while vegetarians might be appalled to find themselves eyeing up the local steakhouse.
your baby at week 10
Your baby's bones and cartilage are forming, and forming fast. At a tiny 3.1cm long and 4g in weight you won't be able to feel them moving about, but as their muscles develop they'll start practicing their kicks and somersaults. They're starting to look more like a mini person now, with nostrils, the beginning of lips and little tiny fingernails. They're developing the face muscles that will let them suck, and they're already practicing how to swallow. Their little heart is still forming, but beating really fast – around twice the speed of yours!
things to do in week 10
The morning sickness and exhaustion you've been feeling should be easing off a bit, so it's a good time to introduce some gentle exercise into your routine. Yoga is great, as the stretching and breathing can also help during labour. It's best to join a special class for pregnant ladies, as some poses in regular yoga classes can be unsafe and best avoided for expectant mums. A pregnancy yoga class is an ideal place to meet, chat and make friends with other mums-to-be, too.
As your pregnancy progresses week by week, your morning sickness and exhaustion will ease off. They might, however, be replaced by baby brain. It's all worth it though, because your little one is growing into a fully formed tiny human. Week 11 is a good time to get your dating scan booked.
This week you'll be getting ready for your first scan, and to tell friends and family about your upcoming arrival!
- your placenta is fully formed and baby has grown lots of features
- new pregnancy symptoms at week 11 include baby brain and breathlessness
- keep your blood sugar up by snacking on complex carbs
you at week 11
Say goodbye to morning sickness and exhaustion: say hello to baby brain! It's a good idea to pop a pad and pen in your handbag so you can jot things down, as many mums-to-be find their brains get a little fuzzy at this stage especially if you’re not sleeping too well. Now that your placenta is fully formed, your body needs to send more oxygen to your womb. You might find yourself getting a bit breathless walking up stairs. This week might be a good time to go shopping for maternity bras, as your boobs may grow up to three cup sizes.
your baby at week 11
Your baby is now looking more and more like a fully formed little human. They now have all the bones in their face, their ears are nearer where they're going to be, and they've developed a tongue and nasal passages. They're still tiny (about the size of a fig) so you won't feel them turning somersaults in your tummy just yet. Your baby's tiny heart is well on its way to being finished, and their little lungs are starting to form now, too.
things to do in week 11
Now is a good time to organise your dating scan, which tells you when to expect mini-me's grand entrance. This scan can also tell you whether you're expecting one baby or more. Some women are offered a nuchal translucency scan at 11 weeks; this special scan can identify whether or not your little one has Down's syndrome. It's normal to feel a bit tired (you're a one-woman baby-making machine, after all) so don't be shy about taking a break when you want one.
At week 12, your baby is fully formed! Going forward, your baby will mainly just be growing and practicing movements. You might be feeling bit dizzy; drinking plenty of water and keeping snacks on hand can help. You'll probably have your first ultrasound, and your baby is starting to react to sounds outside the womb.
Congratulations! You've made it to the last week of your first trimester. Your baby's come a very long way since its embryo days. When you're 12 weeks pregnant, here's what to expect:
- your baby is fully formed, they just need some fine-tuning
- pregnancy symptoms at week 12 include low blood pressure and low blood sugar that can leave you feeling dizzy
- taking it easy and eating lots of healthy snacks can help
you at week 12
Your womb is starting to push its way out of your pelvis and into your tummy, although your bump probably still won't quite be showing yet. As you reach the last stretch of the first trimester a lot of early pregnancy symptoms like nausea, exhaustion, and the constant urge to wee ease off. However, a new pregnancy symptom of week 12 is dizziness, as your body diverts more blood towards baby. Snack to keep your blood sugar up and drink plenty of water.
your baby at week 12
Believe it or not, your baby is fully formed! The rest of your pregnancy will just involve them growing, practicing movement and a bit of fine-tuning. Their facial features start developing this week, so they might start to grow dad's nose, your chin, and grandma's cheekbones. They're also starting to grow itsy bitsy fingernails and toenails. At this point they're covered in a fine hair called lanugo, which falls off before you give birth. Their tiny heart has almost finished developing and will start to beat more slowly (although still much faster than yours).
things to do in week 12
Most mums-to-be have their first ultrasound this week, so you'll see your baby for the very first time! You'll usually be able to bring home a printout to show your friends and family, although you might have to pay for it. This week your baby will start reacting to sounds outside the womb by opening their arms and legs. You might want to make a playlist of your favourite music, or start talking to your bump.
Lots of mums-to-be think of week 13 as the sweet spot of their pregnancy; symptoms are virtually non-existent and your bump is still fairly small. Your baby is developing and growing, with a pair of fully formed kidneys and lungs.
Welcome to the first week of your second trimester! You're entering what some people call 'the honeymoon period of pregnancy', so sit back and enjoy.
- your risk of miscarriage has dropped dramatically
- the placenta has taken over a lot of the hard work
- pregnancy symptoms in week 13 are almost unnoticeable
you at week 13
Your hormones are evening out as your placenta picks up some of the work. This puts an end to most first trimester side effects like sickness, exhaustion and mood swings – hooray! Once you reach the end of the first trimester your risk of miscarriage also drops dramatically. At week 13 your tummy is still pretty small and your symptoms are almost non-existent, so it's no wonder most mums-to-be consider this the sweet spot of pregnancy.
your baby at week 13
Your baby is a proper little person now, with their own unique fingerprints! They can open their mouth, suck their thumb and stick their tongue out. Their lungs are ready to take their first breaths, and your little one will practice even though they're under water in your womb. They're the proud owners of a pair of fully functioning kidneys. There's still lots of fine-tuning to be done, of course. Their genitals are forming now, although it's still too early to find out their sex. Bowels and vocal cords are starting to develop too, getting ready for action in a few months time.
things to do in week 13
Now's a good time to start toning your pelvic floor muscles! Later pregnancy can put a lot of strain on these muscles, so getting them in condition now will lower the chances of you literally wetting yourself the next time your best friend tells a funny story. The next few weeks are likely to be the most comfortable of your pregnancy, so if you and your partner are thinking about taking a babymoon holiday now is a good time to start planning.
As you enter week 14 of your pregnancy, you're much less likely to still be experiencing sickness. You may feel slightly more tired, and you're likely to need to take more toilet breaks than you're used to. Keep your baby and yourself healthy and happy with some gentle exercise, such as walking, swimming or yoga.
You should have much gentler pregnancy symptoms in week 14, but peek inside and you'll see plenty going on. When you're 14 weeks pregnant, what to expect?
- pregnancy symptoms in week 14 include running to the loo, and a brand new bump
- everyone wanting to talk about your exciting news
- a bit more energy to take on light exercise
you at week 14
You're definitely in your second trimester now, so symptoms like sickness should be a thing of the past (although some mums do feel nauseous for the next few months – sorry!). You'll need to run to the loo more often this week, as the blood flow to your kidneys increases and your bladder takes on more work than it's used to. You might feel a few mild aches in your lower tummy as the ligaments supporting your womb stretch and shift. These are sore, but nothing to worry about unless you're also experiencing a fever or any bleeding (if you are, phone your midwife or doctor).
your baby at week 14
Brand new facial muscles are getting a real workout as your little one pulls lots of funny faces. Their body is growing faster than their head now, which is sitting on a much stronger neck. Their arms are almost in proportion, but their legs still need to grow longer. Your little bean is getting bigger every day, and now they'll be about the size of a lemon.
things to do in week 14
Keeping fit during pregnancy is good for your health and for baby's, and light exercise like swimming and walking are best. If you've not already signed up for a pre-natal yoga class, now's a good time to do it. You've probably told everyone your happy news by now, and so this week you'll probably be getting lots of questions, advice and suggestions from excited friends and family members. Take everything with a pinch of salt, as their tips and stories are based on their own experiences and it might be different for you.
At week 15, your baby will be around the size of an apple, with improving hearing and growing legs. You might find you're more likely to come down with coughs or colds as your immune system suppresses itself, and you may prefer to sleep on your side as your bump continues to grow.
You're 15 weeks pregnant! What to expect? Among other things, a comfortably sized bump and none of the more annoying first trimester symptoms.
- pregnancy symptoms at week 15 include a suppressed immune system, so watch out for coughs and colds
- your baby's hearing is getting better
- as your bump gets bigger, sleeping on your side is more comfortable
you at week 15
From stuffy noses to darker skin, pregnancy symptoms at week 15 can be a little bit weird. This week your hormones are producing more melanin, which makes your skin darker and your immune system becomes slightly suppressed, so you may have more coughs and colds than usual. You may also find it more comfortable to sleep on your side as your tummy grows.
Lots of mums-to-be get dark patches on their faces: this is called chloasma, or the mask of pregnancy, and thankfully it fades away once your baby's born.
your baby at week 15
It's no wonder your bump is getting bigger; your baby is around the size of an apple! Their legs are about the same size as their arms now, so they're really starting to look like a baby rather than a foetus. Although their eyes are still closed they can sense light, and their hearing is getting better as the tiny bones inside their ears harden (so be careful what you sing in the shower!) Most of the time, your baby will be practising for their grand entrance: sucking, swallowing, breathing and flexing those muscles.
things to do in week 15
You don't have to tell your boss you're pregnant for another ten weeks, but it's good to do it early because there are lots of laws to protect pregnant mums. For example, your work has to give you time off to go to antenatal classes. If you're planning to get an amniocentesis, it'll take place anywhere from now until week 18. These tests can find hundreds of genetic and chromosomal disorders, so it's normal to feel a bit nervous while you wait for your results. Hopefully it'll set your mind at rest to know that good news is more common than bad.
At week 16, your baby will be moving around and pulling funny faces as their muscles develop. As your bump gets bigger, it's best not to lie on your back. Your nasal glands may swell up and give you a stuffy nose, so keep plenty of tissues on hand!
You're four months pregnant, and with the rate your bump is growing it's getting more and more difficult to hide.
- it's best not to lie on your back from this week onwards
- pregnancy symptoms at week 16 are mostly fairly mild
- your baby's getting ready for a massive growth spurt
you at week 16
Strangers should be offering you seats on the bus this week, as your tummy looks more like a proper baby bump and less like a big lunch. The mucous glands in your nose will be a bit swollen, so you'll feel like you have a stuffy nose and may even have a few nosebleeds. Keep plenty of tissues in your handbag, just in case. It's not pretty to talk about, but you might also feel a bit constipated this week. Hormones can make your digestive system sluggish, and your growing uterus pressing on your bowels doesn't exactly help matters. Drinking more liquid can help move things along.
your baby at week 16
Your baby's nearly big enough for you to start feeling their acrobatics, and over the next few weeks they're going to blast through a growth spurt. Right now your little one is around the size of an avocado. They're pulling lots of funny faces in there, as their facial muscles develop. Their bones and muscles are getting stronger so they're grasping, stretching, and flexing with purpose. They've discovered fun new hobbies like sucking their tiny thumb and fiddling with their umbilical cord.
things to do in week 16
From this week onwards it's best to avoid lying on your back. The weight of your bump pushes down on the main artery that brings blood to your heart, which could lower your blood pressure and leave you feeling a bit dizzy. Try to get comfortable sleeping on your side. Left side is best, as this is where your placenta is and it can help blood flow to the baby – a pregnancy pillow can help support you. If you're taking a pilates or yoga class, speak to your teacher and they'll give you alternative exercises to do while everyone else is lying down.
When it comes to week 17 in your pregnancy, it's those little things that count. Tiny changes both with your body and your growing baby are starting to take place, but you are still able to go about your day-to-day life (and you can still tie your own shoelaces).
Your bump is growing a bit every day, and so is your little one. Pregnancy symptoms at week 17 are still fairly subtle on the most part, so enjoy the honeymoon period.
- from this week onwards you'll gain about one pound a week
- you might be able to feel your baby fluttering around particularly if you’ve had a baby before
- it's normal to feel a bit nervous but it's important to relax
you at week 17
Your heart is beating for two this week, as it has a lot more blood to pump around your system. This means you might feel a bit breathless and sweaty. To make your heart race a little bit more, you might start to feel your little one moving around in your tummy. It's a tiny feeling at first, a bit like a fluttering or bubbling sensation, so if you're a first time mum you might not catch on for a few weeks.
your baby at week 17
The umbilical cord is getting stronger and thicker to match your growing baby. They're about the size of your hand by now and weigh roughly the same as a turnip. As they starting to fatten up, their skin will begin to lose its wrinkly look. Their heart is being controlled by their own brain, so tiny heartbeats are a bit more regular. It's still beating at twice the speed of yours. Your baby is also developing sweat glands this week, so they can keep nice and cool once they enter the world.
things to do in week 17
Even if you're bursting with energy, it's important to start taking it easy. Feeling stressed isn't great at the best of times, but when you're pregnant, your baby needs you to be cool, calm and collected. If your friends ask "is there anything I can do?" don't be afraid to reply with "well, actually..." It's perfectly natural to start feeling a bit nervous at this stage in the pregnancy, as your hormones can start playing little tricks on you. If you feel really like your stress or emotion levels are abnormal, have a chat with your midwife.
With hunger pangs setting in and your baby starting to make itself known, it could only be week 18! These are exciting days for first-time parents, as your little one starts to wriggle and kick a little more inside your bump.
This week your growing womb might feel like a pain in the back, but your body is doing a fantastic job of growing your baby.
- you could start having food cravings and feel hungrier in general
- you might feel back pain, heartburn and exhaustion
- warm baths, chewing slowly and generally taking it easy can help
you at week 18
As your womb gets bigger and heavier (it's around the size of a small melon now) you might notice your posture changing. Your lower back gets pulled forward and your tummy thrusts itself out, which can be a bit sore on your back muscles. To add to that, the hormones in your body are relaxing your ligaments and loosening your joints to get ready for birth. All of this can lead to a bit of back pain. Using a foot rest when you sit down can help, and it’s also the perfect excuse to take a long, warm bath.
your baby at week 18
Your baby is about the same size as a pepper. They're really active, and as well as turning somersaults in your womb they may also be playing with their umbilical cord. You might be able to feel all this activity as a fluttering feeling in your tummy. Their nervous system is developing, and so are the parts of their brain that register sensations like taste, touch, sound and smell. Their genitals are fully formed now, and if you're having a boy you might be able to see evidence of this at your next scan: unless he's camera shy!
things to do in week 18
Between now and week 20 you'll need to jot down a date for an anomaly scan to make sure your baby's development is on the right track. You'll get to see your baby moving around for the first time, and the sonographer might be able to tell you whether you're going to have a boy or a girl! If you want it to be a surprise, make sure you let them know beforehand so that they don't accidentally spill the beans. Now is also a good time to start shopping for your maternity wardrobe, if you haven't started already, as normal clothes will start to feel a little tight and clingy.
Feeling your baby's kicks through the bump is a magical moment for you and your partner, and it may start this week. Naturally at this stage you are bigger and feeling a bit less comfortable.
Not only is your bump growing, but there are other pregnancy symptoms popping up all over your body around this time.
- hormones are loosening your joints and ligaments
- you might start getting leg cramps as your body adjusts
- gentle stretching and sitting down throughout the day can help
you at week 19
Pregnancy symptoms week 19 include lots of little aches and pains. As well as muscle pain in your lower back and round ligament pain in your lower tummy, this week you might also get leg cramps. These feel like spasms up and down your calves, and although no-one's a hundred per cent sure what causes them, it's probably due to you carrying that heavy bump around. To get rid of cramp, stretch your leg out and gently flex your foot. On the plus side, this week you might feel your baby kick for the first time!
your baby at week 19
It's all go inside your womb right now! Your baby's senses are getting better, and they can taste the amniotic fluid. The flavour changes depending on what you eat, so if you munch plenty of broccoli while you're pregnant you might find your baby has a taste for it when weaning time comes along. Your baby's hearing is getting better too, so don't be shy about chatting (or singing!) to your bump. They are also covered in a waxy substance called vernix caseosa, to protect their delicate skin from the amniotic fluid.
things to do in week 19
If you've not already applied for your maternity exemption certificate, now's the time to speak to your doctor about it. This piece of paper entitles you to free NHS dental work as well as free prescriptions, which might come in very handy over the next half of your pregnancy as some over-the-counter medications aren't suitable for mums-to-be. If you didn't have your anomaly scan last week, it'll be scheduled in for this week or next. This is just to check that baby's developing as expected, and you might even get to find out if they're a boy or a girl!
With odd dreams, thicker hair and occasional back pain, week 20 has a few interesting pregnancy symptoms to surprise you with. This is also the magical halfway point: the first half of your pregnancy has whizzed past in a flurry of new experiences and emotions, and you are that little bit closer to welcoming your new bundle into the world.
Your body has done a truly amazing job so far, but there's still lots of wonderful work to be done:
- your bump will grow about 1cm a week from now on
- gentle exercise can strengthen your muscles and help with back ache
- you should exercise gently enough to hold a conversation
you at week 20
Your increased circulation has given your hair and nail cells a boost. Hello, good hair days! The downside is that your nails can become a bit brittle and dry, so invest in some nourishing hand cream to pamper your fingers. Also, it's not just the hair on your head that's growing thicker and faster! Another weird pregnancy symptom at week 20 is vivid dreams. Nervousness, insomnia and hormones can combine to give you some interesting or scary dreams, but rest assured that this is a regular occurrence for so many expectant mums.
your baby at week 20
Your baby is getting bigger and stronger every week, and now they're about the same size as a banana (but thankfully not the same shape). From this week onwards they're going to be measured from head to toe instead of crown to rump. They still have plenty of room for gymnastics inside your womb, and some of their more energetic moves might take you by surprise! Their nerves are developing all the time, and so are their senses. Some of the amniotic fluid they're swallowing is heading to their bowels in preparation for their first ever poo!
things to do in week 20
If you've not had your anomaly scan yet, you'll have it this week. This is just to check that everything's running smoothly inside your bump. You may have been feeling your baby move for a couple of weeks now, and today you'll get to see their acrobatics in live action. You also might get to find out if you're expecting a boy or a girl. Let your sonographer know if you want their sex to be a surprise, just in case they accidentally blurt it out.
You may now be over the halfway point in your pregnancy, but we can promise that the best (and the trickiest) symptoms and events are yet to come in your journey! At 21 weeks, your bump is now out there for the world to see, and you might find that you feel a little off-balance.
We know you may feel tired and a little lacking in confidence at this stage, but this is completely natural. Remind yourself of the important little family member you are carrying and growing inside of you!
- you might be feeling a bit clumsy this week
- relaxing is good for your health and for baby's
- put your feet up and take it easy whenever you can
you at week 21
Aside from a few aches and pains, pregnancy symptoms in week 21 aren't so bad. Your body is producing more oil so you might look in the mirror to see a few more spots than usual. The best way to tackle this is to switch to oil-free makeup (or go au naturel and let your baby glow do all of the work) and cleanse your face twice a day. It's normal to feel a bit clumsy and inelegant at this point in your pregnancy. As your bump gets bigger and your centre of gravity shifts, you'll start to adjust.
your baby at week 21
This week your baby is putting on some fat, for those oh-so-squidgable chubby cheeks newborns have. Those gentle flutterings from a few weeks ago are starting to be replaced by serious punches and kicks as your baby does their best Rocky impression. As well as growing bigger (and stronger) your little one has a few new features, too: this week they can open their eyes and blink! Your baby's hearing is getting really good now, so if dad's feeling a bit left out, get him to chat to the bump for a bit of a bonding session.
things to do in week 21
As well as relaxing, putting your feet up and taking as much time for yourself as possible, this week you should think about getting ready for the third trimester. Antenatal classes book up fast, so it's a good idea to start some research and put your name down for a space early. You might also want to begin thinking about writing your birth plan. This tells the midwives how you would ideally want your birth to go (whether at home, hospital or birthing centre), and covers everything from pain control to who you want in the room with you.
Another week into your pregnancy journey, and you might now be starting to feel the size of a small house. At week 22 your tummy is stretching even more to accommodate your growing bundle, and your baby is making themselves known more and more with those turns, flips and tiny punches.
Week 22 brings its tricky symptoms and exciting updates from under the bump, with little organs (and even some tiny teeth!) taking shape inside your incredible body.
- you might be feeling more thirsty
- you may be noticing your baby moving about more
- your tummy might start to feel a little itchy as it begins to stretch
you at week 22
With a little human growing inside your womb, your body needs to stretch a little to make room. Around the week 22 mark, this might mean your skin starts to feel a tiny bit itchy across your tummy, and you might feel an odd twinge or two. Itching is a natural pregnancy symptom, but if it feels too severe, have a chat with your midwife to rule out any potential liver problems.
your baby at week 22
At this stage your little one is around 27cm long, and loves moving in mum's warm and cosy womb! They are also much more sensitive, and can start to kick when they hear loud voices or noises. So many new features have been added to your little one: they have fully formed eyes (although without any eye colour yet), and they also have tiny little teeth forming in their jaw for future use. Both the pancreas and the lungs have also formed around this time: what an exciting week for baby!
things to do in week 22
As your body is creating enough blood for both you and your baby, you may feel more dehydrated than usual. Keep a little bottle to hand and sip throughout the day – even if this results in multiple loo trips! Some mums-to-be also have a few dental problems at this time, with heightened sensitivity or bleeding gums. If you are having a few teething problems of your own, make an appointment with your dentist and make the most of your free pregnancy dental service.
After 23 weeks of pregnancy, you are definitely relaxing into your daily routine, and recognising the sleep and play patterns of your little one. It's time to put your feet up and have a little 'me' time.
With an increasingly chubby baby growing inside of you, your body is continuing to make little sacrifices to look after them.
- you might need to buy some new shoes
- your baby may start recognising your voice
- a laugh or sneeze may have you running to the loo
you at week 23
Some of the changes that occur during this stage of pregnancy can feel a little uncomfortable and embarrassing for first-time mums, but remember this is all completely natural. Some mums go up a whole shoe size in pregnancy, so if your ankles and feet start to swell, treat yourself to a comfortable pair of new flat shoes.
Pregnancy can also start to take its toll on your bladder too, in various ways. You might find that you need to go much more regularly, as the little one puts pressure on your bladder, and you can even be more prone to urinary infections. If you are experiencing any unusual pain during this time, pop in to see your GP. Your doctor can also help if you develop piles – another unfortunate symptom – which can cause a sore and itchy bottom.
your baby at week 23
Through any troublesome symptoms you may be experiencing, remember that your baby's cheeks are getting chubbier (ready for cuddles and kisses!). You baby now measures around 29cm, and their skin, hair and nails are well on their way. With both lips and a tongue, some babies even start sucking their thumb in the womb. Their sense of smell, sight and hearing are all developing nicely – they might even start reacting to the sound of your voice!
things to do in week 23
It’s often claimed that babies like to listen to soothing classical music in the womb so it might be time to introduce baby to a little Mozart! Make sure you take plenty of breaks for yourself too so that you can stretch your achy back and legs, and try using soothing baths and footstools to reduce any swelling and pain.
This is also the perfect time to start doing some daily pelvic floor exercises. During pregnancy, these muscles can become weakened, meaning that a laugh or a sneeze could make you pee a little! These simple exercises are small and discrete, so you can give them a go both at home in front of the TV or even on the bus to work.
Your growing baby bump is leaving you a bit unsteady on your feet and your little one is finding even more ways to move around inside the cosy womb. If it hasn't quite hit you yet, week 24 might just make this journey feel real!
With all the exciting changes taking place, it’s natural to feel a bit emotional – expect a few hormonal tears when watching films or when feeling your little one rolling around and giving you a friendly kick.
- you might be feeling a bit unsteady on your feet
- you may be noticing a few stretch marks appearing
- your baby may get the hiccups, making your bump twitch
you at week 24
As your skin stretches to make room for baby, you might develop little red lines across your tummy, legs, hips or breasts called stretch marks. These are very common during pregnancy and will most likely fade after the birth, but you can also help by using a special cream that restores some of the moisture and elasticity back into your skin. Around 24 weeks, your uterus will rise above the level of your belly button, and this may pull on the ligaments that attach your uterus to the wall of your abdomen. This is an even better reason to spend time pampering yourself and relaxing in a warm bath.
your baby at week 24
With a little face, eyelashes, eyebrows and even hair, your baby is already developing into a tiny human being! Around this time they have working taste buds, and their tiny footprints and fingerprints are busy forming. They are now around 30cm long and weigh 300g and have both growing brains and lungs, all ready for that first little gasp of air. They also start to practise breathing around this time by gulping in amniotic fluid, which can cause them to hiccup and twitch your baby bump!
things to do in week 24
By slowing down and taking extra care when getting up or lying down, you can stop yourself overbalancing or feeling unsteady. This is the perfect time to get your partner or your friends to fetch tea or snacks from the kitchen, as you should rest as much as possible. Finding a comfortable and supportive bra may also help prevent or minimise stretch marks on your breasts, and you can try using a stretch mark cream to help soothe your skin.
Your growing belly may now be a great source of entertainment for you and an unexpected kick might make you jump. You'll be amazed at what your baby is getting up to, from having a play and a wriggle and then settling down for a little nap.
Your baby will now be filling your bump. You may even see your tummy ripple and undulate with your little one’s movements.
- you’ll be looking blooming lovely this week
- you will probably notice your baby settling to their own routine
- your baby will love hearing your voice talking and singing
you at week 25
The lovely pregnancy hormones will be making your skin plump and rosy. Your hair might be thicker and glossier now too. You might be starting to feel a little overheated or get swollen ankles. Keeping your feet elevated can help: try to drink plenty of water and grab a mini-fan to stay cool.
If this is your first baby, you will have an antenatal appointment at 25 weeks. Your midwife or doctor will measure the size of your bump to check your baby's growth: they usually grow one or two centimetres a week as this stage. They will also take your blood pressure and test your urine for protein. The test helps to spot pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy complication which means your doctors will need to carefully monitor your blood pressure.
your baby at week 25
Your little one is about 35cm long now and beginning to plump up with baby fat and resemble a newborn. Their brain is developing rapidly too. Your baby is beginning to breathe in a regular way and be developing proper swallowing reflexes. They may be able to open their nostrils and form a fist with their hand. They can open and close their eyes and the retinas are developing. Their spine is getting stronger and their spleen is busy making white blood cells ready to fight infection.
things to do in week 25
If you haven't already done so, this is the week to tell your employer about your pregnancy, with 15 weeks before the baby is due. All you have to do is tell them in writing that you plan to take maternity leave and claim statutory maternity pay from your chosen date. Remember to enclose your MATB1 form. Your partner will also need to tell his employer if they are planning to take paternity leave – they'll need a copy of the form too.
Your baby is growing really fast now and they're starting to listen more to what's going on outside. Although you might start to feel a little cramped, many mums particularly enjoy this time, when you've got a proud bump to show off but before things get uncomfortable.
You should be reaping the benefits of pregnancy now: healthy skin, shiny hair and nails and a renewed energy.
- strangers may start to admire your bump
- your baby can hear your voice and will recognise it at birth
- regular, gentle exercise can soothe aches and pains
you at week 26
With your baby putting on weight, your own nutrition is very important, so try to include plenty of grains and vegetables in a varied, healthy diet.
You'll start to feel the impact of all that growth, with some niggles, aches and pains. As your womb expands, it can lift up your ribs, constricting your lungs and making you feel a bit out of breath. As you get heavier, simple ankle and leg exercises can improve your circulation and may help to prevent muscle cramps.
your baby at week 26
This week your baby measures 36cm, the length of a large cucumber. Their hearing is developing swiftly and they will be listening to the beat of your heart and the gurgling of your stomach. Try encouraging your partner or any older siblings to talk to your baby as they can recognise other voices if they hear them often enough.
Your baby is likely to weigh in at around 760g now, and their skin is becoming increasingly opaque. They will be practicing their breathing moments, inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid, getting ready for those first gulps of air. Their eyes are pretty much fully developed, opening and able to sense when it's light.
things to do in week 26
If you haven’t started antenatal classes yet, they are a great source of information and will provide you with tips about the birth and the early days of being a parent.
Now's the time when you can start your claim for Maternity Allowance, if you're self-employed or a worker who isn't eligible for statutory maternity pay. You can ask for a MA1 form from Jobcentre Plus or download from www.gov.uk/maternity-allowance to get started.
Inside, your baby is developing fast. Outside, it'll be clear how much your bump has grown and you may start to really feel the extra weight. That can present your body with some new challenges, so take some time to look after yourself as you prepare for your baby's arrival.
Your little one is doing a great job this week of plumping up with baby fat and preparing for life outside of the womb.
- talk to your baby as much as you can
- stay comfortable in loose-fitting clothing
- keep cramps at bay with gentle stretching or yoga
you at week 27
With your bump getting heavier, you may start to feel the strain a bit. It's normal to feel a bit of itchiness across your tummy as your skin stretches. Keeping it moisturised can help to soothe it, while loose-fitting clothing with natural fibres may help you stay more comfortable.
Get ready for a few sleepless nights. Your baby may have settled into a pattern of sleeping during the day and getting restless in the evening. And you may get some back pain from the extra weight or leg cramps, caused by your growing bump putting pressure on your veins.
your baby at week 27
Weighing around 875g, your baby is the size of a head of cauliflower. They will sleep and wake at regular intervals, and can feel you touching them now too – tickle protruding toes and your baby may snatch their foot away!
Although the sounds your baby hears are muffled, they are starting to get to know your voice and any others that they hear often in the womb. Talk to your baby as much as you can and play music to your growing bump. They will recognise the same lullabies once they are born and it will help them to relax.
things to do in week 27
If you're planning to have your baby in hospital, you may be able to take a tour of the maternity facilities before the big day. If you're able to, it'll help you feel sure that you've chosen the right place for you and make it all feel a bit more familiar and comfortable.
It's worth noting that this is the last week that you can fly in an aeroplane without a doctor's note. If you've got any holidays from now until 36 weeks, you can ask your GP.
This is it, the last stretch! Your final trimester has begun and you're getting closer to holding your newborn baby: it's an exciting time. As well as looking forward to the birth, you may also feel a little nervous about it: that's perfectly normal for new mums.
In just 12 weeks' time you'll be with your newborn baby. Maybe you're busy nesting already? A bit of preparation can help you feel more relaxed when you bring your little one home.
- it’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed by it all
- talk to other mums and mums-to-be for advice
- start to research the baby equipment you might need
you at week 28
Having a baby is one of the biggest life changes anyone goes through, so you’re sure to be feeling a few nerves along with the excitement. Your midwife will answer all your questions at your antenatal appointments, but talking to mums who have gone through it all or meeting up with other mums-to-be can really help.
If you were found to be rhesus negative (RhD negative) earlier in pregnancy, you'll be tested again in case traces of your baby's blood have mixed with yours. You're likely to receive a precautionary anti-D injection anyway, as it's common for small amounts of blood to mix later in pregnancy. The injection prevents you becoming sensitised to your baby's different blood type, which could put future pregnancies at risk.
your baby at week 28
Your baby still needs to put on quite a bit of weight before they’re born. At 28 weeks, they are around 38cm long and will weigh around 1kg, the same as a bag of sugar.
Now your baby knows which way up they are, because the sense of balance in their ears has developed. Their eyelids, complete with eyelashes, have fluttered open and they can focus their eyes.
They also blink rapidly sometimes, which means they're in the Rapid Eye Movement phase of sleep: your baby's dreaming! Baby's heartbeat is strong enough to be picked up by a stethoscope now.
things to do in week 28
It's worth looking at all the baby equipment available before deciding what you want and need. Consider which pushchair, cot or infant car seat will really suit your lifestyle. You may be entitled to a Sure Start Maternity Grant to help towards the cost. Our Buying Guides will be able to help you out and feature lots of helpful tips and advice about everything you need.
The time before you were pregnant might now feel like a distant memory! You might be enjoying your maternity leave already, or trying to find other ways in which to get comfortable so you can relax, rest, and get a good night's sleep.
As your baby makes the most of the ever-decreasing space available to them, he or she may move in a more vigorous manner.
- you may have started maternity leave this week
- you might be finding your bump is keeping you awake
- perhaps you’re feeling a bit hungrier than usual now?
you at week 29
Many mums-to-be start to feel a bit ravenous about now. That's because your growing baby is demanding extra energy. It's not quite eating for two: for most women, around 450 extra calories a day is about right.
It isn't just about the calories, though. Your baby's nutritional needs are reaching their peak about now as they develop and grow. So it's more important than ever to eat a wide variety of foods, with plenty of protein, vitamin C, folic acid, iron and calcium.
The bad news is you might be suffering from heartburn or constipation. Pregnancy hormones cause muscles like the ones in your digestive tract to relax, slowing the way it moves food through your body and causing indigestion. Time to stock up with antacids.
your baby at week 29
At 29 weeks your baby is around 39cm and weighs about 1.10kg – a bit more than a butternut squash. Their skin is smoothing out as they plump up, storing fat for all the energy they'll need in the future. The soft, downy hair which covered their body (called 'lanugo') begins to disappear around now.
Your baby's brain is rapidly developing and the head is growing to hold it. As the brain grows quickly in the skull, it also starts to coil and fold into its recognisable form, a bit like a walnut.
Their muscles are getting stronger too – you might feel it when they kick or punch! It's an active time for your baby: your doctor or midwife will suggest you count how often they kick during the day and night!
things to do in week 29
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try a maternity pillow which sits between your legs and supports your bump. Having a bath before you go to bed can relax your muscles or some gentle yoga will help clear your mind.
This week is the earliest that you're able to start maternity leave, although it's common for women to work longer. If you're still at work, you might want to start planning your handover and discussing your "keep in touch" days with your manager.
The big day is fast approaching. With the end (nearly) in sight, you may be feeling the weight of your load as your baby prepares itself for the birth. Now is a good time to give yourself a pampering treat, as well as to start making sure you're packed and ready to go when the time comes.
Try a pregnancy massage or getting your hair done now, as you'll probably find you have a little less time in the coming months when your newborn arrives.
- your baby may be readying itself in the 'engaged' position
- book yourself a well-deserved treat
- try some gentle exercise such as a soothing swim
you at week 30
Many babies will be head down by now, surrounded by about a litre of amniotic fluid. You may find they start to move into the 'engaged' position. Don't worry if they're still in the breech position (feet or bottom down): there's plenty of time for them to move around. Your midwife can advise you on the best approach as your due date nears.
Some regular exercise now will help boost your energy, as well as prepare your body for the birth. Swimming is a great way to stay fit and healthy in a gentle and relaxing way. At this stage, many pregnant women find that the feeling of weightlessness they experience in the water is a real treat at a time when they often feel heavy and tired.
your baby at week 30
Your baby is nearly 40cm long and weighing in at over 1.35kg – about as much as a large cabbage. They'll continue to put on weight to store energy and keep them warm.
Their little lungs are still maturing to support them in the outside world and aren't quite ready yet. Your baby’s digestive tract is now almost fully developed, however, and will soon be ready for feeding once they are born.
things to do in week 30
It may be a good idea to pack your hospital bag now so you don't get caught by surprise later. There are lots of bits and pieces that can help make your stay in hospital a comfortable one: ask your midwife for a checklist. You can also pack an all-important 'going home outfit' for your baby.
You may be feeling even more tired now as you approach your due date, and getting some much needed rest can be trickier with your baby taking up all the space. Not long to go now though – maybe you’re already attending the classes to prepare you for the big day.
Your little one may be rocked to sleep by your movement, but the moment you lay down to rest they wake up for a good wriggle!
- you may be finding it harder to get comfortable
- baby’s wriggling might be keeping you awake
- you might be planning on attending antenatal classes
you at week 31
Your bump may now be around 31cm in size and baby will be taking up most of the available space in your tummy, pushing everything else out of their way! This means you might be getting a bit of indigestion, heartburn or breathlessness. Eating two to three hours before you go to bed can help, as well as heartburn medicines – just check first with your midwife or GP about which ones are safe.
your baby at week 31
Your baby may measure around 41cm long at this stage and weigh around 1.5kg – the same as a coconut.
Their arms, legs and body are in proportion to their head and they will continue to put on weight each week in a bit of a growth spurt.
You've probably noticed your baby has now settled into a regular pattern of movement with rest and play times. They can turn their head from side to side now, too. Their organs are continuing to develop, including the bladder which will now be working and passing water.
things to do in week 31
Most antenatal classes start around now, about eight to ten weeks before your due date. That gives you plenty of time to discover any questions that you might have, and enough time to get them answered.
They'll give you practical advice about preparing for the birth and on life with a newborn, as well as some suggestions on handling the emotional changes. You'll get to ask questions of experts and meet mums-to-be who are due to give birth at about the same time. Some classes are for pregnant women only and others are open to partners.
You might be getting to the point where you just want to start your maternity leave! You’ll be feeling increasingly tired as baby gets heavier. Your baby will be practising all their amazing skills that are necessary for the world, including swallowing, breathing, kicking and sucking.
Even if you’re finding it harder to rest now, your baby is sure to be enjoying their own sweet dreams.
- the nesting instinct might have kicked in
- enjoy having a cuppa with other mums-to-be
- remember to relax and rest as much as possible
you at week 32
If eight solid hours of sleep is proving a bit tricky, try to grab catnaps during the day to keep you going. Get in the habit now, as once your baby is born, everyone will be recommending you "sleep when baby sleeps"!
As far as pregnancy symptoms at week 32 go, it’s not uncommon to spring a little leak if you cough, laugh or sneeze. This is due to your little darling pressing on your bladder. Regular pelvic floor exercises can help. If you think this water could be leaking amniotic fluid, phone your midwife or the hospital for advice. Amniotic fluid is usually colourless and may have a slightly sweet smell.
your baby at week 32
Your baby isn't so little anymore! They now measure around 42cm and weigh about 1.7kgs. Their skin is soft, smooth and a lot less transparent as they continue to take on fat.
You may notice that your baby is moving differently now too. Their sleep patterns are much the same as adults, and your baby may even be dreaming! If you are ever worried about your baby's regular movements, see your midwife straight away. Your baby will very likely have moved into the head down position by now, but don’t worry if not, there’s still plenty of time.
things to do in week 32
If you’re already on maternity leave, savour this time by meeting up with friends or other expectant mums for lunch. Take a gentle walk or go for a swim. Factor in that all-important rest and relaxation time too.
If you're wondering at 32 weeks pregnant what to expect, get ready for that nesting instinct. Preparing your baby's own special room is an exciting way to indulge these feelings. You'll spend plenty of time in here changing nappies, feeding, napping and cuddling. Take a look at our nursery buying guides for tips and advice.
You may find your mind is working overtime and you have to keep getting up to go to the loo. It’s a good idea to rest during the day whenever you can, so feel free to take a catnap should you need one.
Your baby might not be growing as rapidly now, but they are certainly busy making clever final preparations for the big moment of being born.
- keep hydrated and avoid puffiness by drinking plenty of fluids
- your baby's head may move into your pelvis this week
- small frequent meals will now be easier to cope with
you at week 33
Wondering at 33 weeks pregnant what to expect? Well, you've got your appetite back, but you may find it a bit harder to eat because your baby is pressing against your tummy! Just think of all the lovely things you can feast on once baby is born. You may still find it a little tricky to get comfy as baby may wriggle just as you settle down.
Lovemaking in late pregnancy can become rather interesting! You could experiment with new positions. You might also feel your womb tighten because oxytocin (the ‘love hormone’ present when you go into labour) is also released during an orgasm. It won't trigger labour, though, unless your baby's ready to be born.
your baby at week 33
Your baby is now around 44cm long and weighs 3-4lbs. Although their bones are hardening, the skull is still quite pliable and the plates have not completely fused. This helps them ease out of the birth canal. You have now passed your little one the antibodies they need to deal with infection in the outside world. Your baby will also be able to suckle for feeds and their digestive system is fully prepared for milk once they're born.
things to do in week 33
Try to keep as active as possible, even at this late stage. Swimming is a great way to relax and get a bit of exercise, while being supported by the water and enjoying that novel feeling of weightlessness. Pregnancy symptoms at week 33 can include your feet and ankles becoming quite swollen. Water retention is often worse in warmer weather and late in the day. Drinking water can help reduce swelling. If it comes on very suddenly in your hands or face, call your midwife or GP so they can take a look.
Now you’re 34 weeks pregnant, what can you expect? You and your baby are certainly busy growing together, and you may be feeling a bit squashed. However, your baby is having a wonderful time! Their hearing is now fully developed, so they can enjoy sharing songs and stories with you.
Your baby is probably snuggling against your tummy right now. This sounds very endearing; however it can mean the return of indigestion...
- eat little and often to allow for your smaller tummy space
- try to sit upright when possible, to assist digestion
- you may feel comfier in bed if you’re propped up with an extra pillow
you at week 34
You're probably feeling pretty big now – as your friends and family put it, you’re 'blooming'! You may be a bit less comfortable as your growing baby leans heavily against your stomach and tap dances on your bladder. Pregnancy symptoms at week 34 include feeling a bit breathless if you walk too quickly, and you may experience a little nauseous again at this stage. Speak to your midwife if you’re feeling really uncomfortable, but be assured, most pregnancy symptoms are simply your body changing to accommodate your baby. Rhesus negative mums, you’ll have your second dose of anti-D treatment this week.
your baby at week 34
As you can feel, your baby is now growing fast – they’ve reached 45cm in length and weigh around 2.2kg. They’re filling out, and your little one is starting to look much more like a newborn baby. This fat is essential to keep your baby’s temperature regulated when they arrive in the outside world. Your baby’s hearing is really developing, so chat and sing to them. They'll love the sound of your voice, and this is a lovely way for them to get to know you before they’re even born!
things to do in week 34
You’ll have an antenatal appointment this week, and this is a great chance for you and your birth partner to discuss your birth plan with the midwife. If you haven’t visited your local hospital or maternity unit yet, make an appointment and go along to see the facilities. It’s really reassuring to feel familiar with the surroundings (and the journey!) when your labour starts. Plan what you need in your maternity bag – if you like making lists, you’ll really be enjoying this stage of pregnancy!
With your baby’s little limbs wriggling around busily, you’re definitely aware that there’s a small person in there. At 35 weeks pregnant you can expect to feel very big and possibly slower than usual – unlike your baby, who feels like they're sprinting around inside you!
As your baby seems to be taking up more and more room, there a few simple things you can do to make yourself feel a bit more comfortable.
- get plenty of rest – the sofa, bed and bath are your friends!
- cut down on the many loo visits by avoiding tea and coffee
- spend time on all fours, breathing deeply – this helps with aches and indigestion
you at week 35
You may feel you can’t possibly get any larger – and you’re right. Having already put on an average of around 10–12.5kg during your pregnancy, you’re unlikely to gain much more weight now. Your uterus has expanded right up into your ribcage, and you can feel your baby’s little movements all over the place. You may even see small fists and feet popping up against your tummy! Breathlessness and indigestion are perfectly normal pregnancy symptoms at week 35, however speak with your midwife if you feel a bit too uncomfortable.
your baby at week 35
Your baby is now around 46cm from tip to toe and weighs 2.4kgs. Those sudden kicks under your ribcage are a sign that your little one is no longer so little, and is getting short of space. As the wall of your uterus stretches, it lets in more light, which may lead to your baby developing a night-and-day cycle (something they all immediately forget on the outside!). Your baby is busy getting the finishing touches ready for their arrival – they now have hair and cute little fingernails and toenails.
things to do in week 35
Speaking of toenails... if you’re starting to find simple tasks such as painting your own toenails a bit tricky, take this as an opportunity for a pamper! Treat yourself to a relaxing pedicure – a foot massage is really wonderful at this stage of your pregnancy. Enjoy a relaxing bath with a few drops of lavender oil and a good book. If you’re fit and healthy, going for a swim can make you feel fabulous, as the water supports your weight and helps you move about more freely than you can on dry land.
Things are really happening now! At 36 weeks pregnant you can expect your baby to wriggle into the right position for delivery, which is not only exciting but also a bit comfier on your tummy. You may be on maternity leave and finally have time to prepare for your new arrival – as well as enjoying plenty of rest.
For many parents-to-be, this is the time to start thinking of a few baby essentials. Here are some items it’s good to have ready:
- an infant car seat, for that important first car journey home
- a moses basket, which can be more reassuring for sleepy little ones than a big cot
- sleepsuits, vests and nappies – your baby will love feeling warm and snug!
you at week 36
Your baby may be changing position now, as they get ready for the big day. They will 'engage', which means that they move a bit lower, with their heads downwards. You can sometimes tell this by looking at yourself sideways in the mirror and seeing that your bump has dropped – one of the possible pregnancy symptoms of week 36. Walking may be a bit trickier now, as there is more pressure on your pelvis. However, this new position makes breathing and eating more comfortable again, which feels wonderful!
your baby at week 36
Your baby is about 47cm long, and weighs around 2.7kg. Their immune system and blood circulatory systems are now ready for the outside world, although ideally, a bit more weight would be nice. Your little one now has less room to move, but if you notice a period with no movement or your baby’s normal movement pattern changes, get in touch with your midwife so they can check all is well.
things to do in week 36
For many mums-to-be, this is the time that maternity leave starts. Treat the next month or so as a break, and use the time to have plenty of rest. Now you’re no longer juggling work with baby preparation, it’s a great opportunity to start getting your baby’s things together. You finally have time to stock up on items you’ll need soon, like nursing bras and tops. Keep in touch with friends and colleagues, because maternity leave can feel a little odd at first, especially if you’re used to a busy environment. Plan plenty of café dates or gentle walks together.
You and your baby have reached a real milestone this week, as from 37 week your little one has now reached full term! You’re now playing the waiting game, and this last stage can seem endless. Keep using this time as a chance to rest and relax – and daydream about finally meeting your new baby...
As your pregnancy is now full term, you may be having Braxton Hicks (practice) contractions. Most babies arrive around 40 week but just so you’re prepared the signs of labour to look out for include:
- your waters breaking, releasing the amniotic fluid around your baby
- contractions that feel stronger and more obvious than the practice ones
- the mucus plug covering your cervix popping out (usually called “the show”)
you at week 37
You’re likely to be a mixture of excited, impatient and nervous! You’re not really experiencing any new pregnancy symptoms at week 37, so the main focus is on resting as much as you can. You’ll have an antenatal appointment this week, which is a great chance to discuss any questions about the birth with your midwife. He or she will check your baby’s position – although if the baby’s head is engaged, you’ll already feel the pressure of their head in your pelvic area.
your baby at week 37
Your baby is about 48.6cm long from head to tiny toes, and weighs 2.8kg. They usually start to shed their soft, downy coating of hair, called lanugo at this stage. Babies in the womb are also covered with a white, cheese-like substance called vernix caseosa, which is also now starting to go. (Your baby simply swallows these and stores them ready for their first poo!) While your baby is shedding body hair, they are growing head hair, and by now their first hairstyle is in place!
things to do in week 37
If you haven’t already got your hospital bag waiting in the hallway, now’s the time to get packing. This is a lovely job, as getting your baby’s tiny first outfits ready is one of those really magical moments. If you’re planning a home birth, you’ll still need to pack a bag as well as getting everything organised at home, just in case you have to be transferred to hospital. Your midwife will help you sort out what you need for a home delivery. It’s also a good idea to take your maternity notes everywhere with you.
You could be meeting your long-awaited little one any time now! Everyone experiences this later stage of pregnancy differently – some mums-to-be are content to relax and enjoy nurturing themselves and their bumps, while others feel they just can’t wait any longer. Either way, it’s an amazing time of your life.
At your 38 week antenatal appointment you may still have plenty of questions to ask your midwife:
- how will I know when labour starts?
- what are the best ways to manage early labour?
- when do I go to hospital or phone the midwife?
you at week 38
If you’ve been having practice (Braxton Hicks) contractions, at 38 weeks pregnant you can expect these to be getting stronger. They don’t really hurt, but are intense enough to make you stop what you’re doing for a moment – and to give you an idea of what to expect later. Don’t worry if you don’t get practice contractions, as not everyone actually feels them. If you’re getting impatient or feeling restless, make the most of this time with your partner (you won’t be just a couple for much longer!), or spend precious time with friends.
your baby at week 38
Your baby now weighs between 3kg and 3.2kg, and is continuing to build up fat stores – essential blubber to help your baby regulate their temperature when they’re out in the world. Everything about your baby is now fully developed and ready to go except the lungs, which aren’t fully developed until your baby starts breathing outside the womb. Just like you, your baby is taking it easy, keeping comfy, moving regularly and getting ready to meet their new family.
things to do in week 38
There’s a good chance that you’re 'nesting', the phase most mums-to-be go through as they get their homes ready for their new arrival. Nesting is one of the typical pregnancy symptoms at week 38. You'll want to get everything safe and comfortable for your little one – a sure sign that the big day is near. Nesting cleaning is often more thorough and intense than usual housework – you may find yourself wanting to clean chair legs, or completely empty and rearrange cupboards! Avoid the urge to dust curtain rails of any other cleaning activity that involves climbing, and channel that sudden energy into gentle jobs like washing and sorting baby clothes.
By now it probably feels like you've been pregnant forever! The last few days of waiting and watching for signs of your baby’s arrival can feel extra long. Take the opportunity to get plenty of rest, and invest in a DVD box set or two... You’re nearly there!
Now that the big day is just around the corner, you’ve done most of the hard work (yay!). Here's what to expect in week 39:
- pregnancy thickens hair so your locks may be looking luscious
- pesky heartburn can be a pain – avoiding rich foods helps and eat little and often
- books and movies can help take your mind off things
you at week 39
It’s a bit of a waiting game from now on. You’re probably feeling rather impatient and can’t wait to meet your new baby. It’s also normal to be feeling a bit apprehensive about the actual birthing bit. You’re always welcome to chat with your midwife if you have any concerns. Friends and family members who have already had children can also be wonderfully reassuring. Remember, only 4% of babies make an appearance on their due date, so it’s best not to obsess over counting down. Instead, try to relax - you’ll be cuddling your new arrival in no time.
your baby at week 39
Your baby is about 51cm long and weighs somewhere around 3.4 kilos. Your midwife will have been keeping a careful eye on your baby’s growth, and will know that your baby is a healthy weight for birth. Like you, your baby is simply biding their time. They are still shedding lanugo (body hair) and vernix caseosa (the protective coating on their skin), turning the once-clear amniotic fluid a rather milky shade. Their hair and nails continue to grow (your baby may even be born with long fingernails!). They’ll also be looking like a beautiful little newborn.
things to do in week 39
Most mums-to-be find that time slows down during these last couple of weeks. By now, because you’re feeling tired as well as larger, it’s harder to find ways to pass the time. If you have the energy, it’s a good time to stock up the freezer, to make sure you have some meals ready before your baby arrives. Batches of casseroles, pasta sauces and curries are handy standbys.
Week 40 has finally arrived, and what a journey you and your baby have been on! It’s very likely you’ll finally meet each other face-to-face this week. Although, after sharing so many chats and wriggles over the last 40 weeks, it probably feels like you’re already best friends!
Newborns are marvellous little things and are born with many essential skills. As soon as they arrive, your baby will be able to:
- locate a nipple or teat and suck at it
- grasp a finger with their fingers – or their toes!
- recognise your voice and smell, and feel reassured by them
you at week 40
If you were feeling restless and impatient last week, this will likely be the case in week 40 too. Due dates are just an estimate so it’s normal for them to pass by without anything happening. If your baby still hasn’t arrived several days later, your midwife will discuss the possibility of inducing labour. Induction (encouraging labour to start artificially) will usually happen about 14 days after the due date, provided you and your baby are healthy. Unfortunately there’s no real evidence that DIY methods of inducing labour (hot baths, spicy food, and sex) are effective.
your baby at week 40
Your baby, on the other hand, is feeling perfectly relaxed! They may be short of space, but they’re nice and snug. Your little one will be enjoying listening to you and feeling your movements. Amazingly, they’ll be born recognising your voice, and those of close family members. Their eyesight is now developed enough to see about 2.5cm away too – not that there’s much see just yet! Your baby weighs around 3.3kg. Soon you’ll know their exact weight and measurements, as the midwife will take these just after they’re born.
things to do in week 40
The advice to relax and rest as much as possible is probably wearing a bit thin by now. You’ve read every book in the house, and exhausted the options on Netflix. Go for some gentle walks and enjoy some fresh air. Make the most of some time with your partner – enjoy a date night perhaps, as meals out for the next few years will involve either babysitters or high chairs. Take your hospital bag and maternity notes on every trip out – you never know when your baby will decide it’s time to say hello…