Pregnant woman holding out a pair of baby's shoes

It can be a very exciting time expecting a new baby. It can also be a time where you have lots of questions. The following information will help you to plan and prepare for the birth of your baby.

You will find useful information along with hints and tips to guide you through the next nine months.

Click here to see a timeline of how you will develop during your pregnancy

First trimester

3 Weeks

By the end of the first three weeks of pregnancy, you may have noticed that your period has not arrived. If you weren’t planning on getting pregnant, this can be scary. The best way to find out is to take a pregnancy test.

4 weeks

Four weeks into your pregnancy you will not be showing many signs of pregnancy, but your breasts may be feeling tender and you may be experiencing morning sickness.

5 weeks

Five weeks into pregnancy is when most mothers find out that they are pregnant. You could be experiencing some morning sickness. You can start receiving antenatal care from midwives and doctors to make sure that you and your baby are being looked after as well as possible. You should contact your GP when you know that you are pregnant so that you can start receiving care.

6 weeks

When you are six weeks into your pregnancy you will likely be experiencing a whole range of emotions. You could be feeling excited, but also anxious and vulnerable. Everyone experiences these emotions differently.

7 weeks

When you are seven weeks pregnant, your womb will have grown to be the size of a lemon. You will be feeling tired and your breasts might be feeling sore and larger than they were before. You could still be experiencing feelings of nausea and vomiting. This will start to improve after around 14 weeks.

8 weeks

At the end of the eighth week of your pregnancy your womb will still be roughly the size of a lemon. You will still be feeling tired and sick and you may find yourself needing to use the toilet more often. At this point you may have missed your second expected period.

9 weeks

By your ninth week of pregnancy you will have noticed that your breasts have enlarged, it is a good idea to wear a supportive bra. Your emotions will be changing quickly, one moment you could be feeling happy and the next you may be sad.

10 weeks

At ten weeks into your pregnancy you will be offered screenings and tests to find out the chances of your baby having Down’s syndrome, Edward’s syndrome and Patau’s syndrome. Find out more about these conditions here:

11 weeks

When you are 11 weeks into pregnancy you may be experiencing headaches brought on by the changes. Read about what you can do about headaches during pregnancy here:

12 weeks

When you are seven weeks pregnant, your womb will have grown to be the size of a lemon. You will be feeling tired and your breasts might be feeling sore and larger than they were before. You could still be experiencing feelings of nausea and vomiting. This will start to improve after around 14 weeks.

Second trimester

13 weeks

When you are 13 weeks pregnant you have started your second trimester and you may start feeling less sick, as morning sickness usually goes away at around week 13 or 14. You may start to feel an increased sex drive because of a different balance of hormones or the increased blood flow to your pelvic area. Its normal to not feel this increased desire too.

You will be developing more of a baby bump. Your womb is growing and moving upwards, if you’ve been using the toilet more often in the last few months this will ease off as your womb is not pressing on your bladder as much anymore.

14 weeks

When you are 14 weeks pregnant you may start experiencing weight gain. The amount you gain depends on your weight before you were pregnant. Its likely that you will gain around 10kg, make sure you stay aware of your weight gain as gaining too much or too little can cause problems for you and your baby.

15 weeks

At 15 weeks you may be noticing that there is more vaginal discharge. Its normal to be experiencing this, it’s usually thin, clear or a milky white colour and doesn’t smell badly. You may be starting to feel more back pain from the increased weight in your womb and breasts and pregnancy hormones affecting the ligaments in your body.

16 weeks

At 16 weeks into pregnancy your baby will have developed their limbs enough to start moving more, you may start to feel them kicking inside you.

17 weeks

When you’re 17 weeks pregnant you will be able to feel your baby moving inside you. You may not be able to tell exactly what they’re doing, but it won’t be long until you can tell.

18 weeks

At week 18 you’ll be feeling movement more and more frequently, it will feel like a fluttering sensation. If its your first pregnancy, your breasts may have grown to be a size bigger than you normally are and your blood pressure may have dropped, avoid standing up too quickly or you could get uncomfortably dizzy. You will have a scan around this time and you will be able to find out if you are having a boy or a girl.

19 weeks

You will have been having ultrasound scans during your pregnancy. Between week 17 and 21 you will have the mid-pregnancy anomaly scan, sometimes this is called the “20-week scan”. At 19 weeks, you will be feeling movement now if you are having your first baby.

20 weeks

20 weeks is halfway through your pregnancy. You may start to see a dark line in the middle of your stomach, this is normal changes to skin pigment as your stomach grows to accommodate your growing baby bump.

21 weeks

At 21 weeks, your womb will start getting bigger more quickly and you will start looking pregnant. You may be feeling hungrier than you were before you were pregnant. Its important to try and keep a healthy and balanced diet.

22 weeks

22 weeks into pregnancy is when you might start seeing stretch marks appear. They may appear on your stomach, breasts or thighs and vary in colour depending on your skin colour, but they will fade. Your breasts may start to leak a little bit of pre-milk, this is completely normal.

23 weeks

At 23 weeks, you may develop piles (haemorrhoids). These are swollen and enlarged blood vessels inside or around your bottom, while this can happen to you whether you’re pregnant or not, its more likely to happen when you are pregnant because hormones are making your veins relax. You may be experiencing tiredness and not being able to sleep as well, you can help this by sleeping with more pillows around your body to help you relax.

24 weeks

At 24 weeks, your baby is considered ‘viable’ which means that they could survive if they were to be born right now and received the right medical support.

25 weeks

At 25 weeks, you may have some swelling in your hands or feet. This is caused by a retention of water, take more rests and spend more time off your feet. If you are going to take maternity leave, now is a good time to tell your employer that you are pregnant as they need at least 15 weeks’ notice to prepare your maternity/paternity leave care and pay.

26 weeks

In week 26 you may notice that you are feeling more and more tired. Carrying around the extra weight will use up more energy, so you will need to give yourself more time to do things. You may feel like you can’t balance as well, this is because of your bump altering your centre of gravity. Its good to stay active, but listen to your body and only do what you’re comfortable with.

27 weeks

Week 27 is the end of your second trimester. You may be feeling bloated and constipated, this is partly because your stomach is being squeezed by your growing baby and partly due to the pregnancy hormone progesterone.

Third trimester

28 weeks

At week 28 you start your third trimester, you will probably start feeling more and more uncomfortable and tired. You may be getting heartburn and indigestion and your back is going to feel more strained because of the extra weight you’re carrying. At your 28-week antenatal appointment, your midwife or doctor will measure your blood pressure, test your urine and discuss the results of any screening tests from your last appointment. Your baby will weigh around one kilogram and will be normally formed, they just need to grow now.

Its now important to be thinking about labour and your birth plan, whether or not you want a caesarean section and how you can carry on exercising safely.

29 weeks

At 29 weeks your bump will start to push up against your lungs, this combined with the extra weight from your growing baby will make you feel breathless from time to time. You may have swollen ankles too, so take time to rest.

30 weeks

At 30 weeks pregnant you may be experiencing some leg cramps and having difficulty getting to sleep because you may be finding it difficult to get comfortable. You may be having disturbing dreams, but remember these are just dreams and not real. Inside you, your baby has been developing its sucking reflex and is growing more.

31 weeks

31 weeks pregnant means you are not likely to go beyond another 10 weeks of pregnancy, you could give birth in 6 weeks and it wouldn’t be considered early. Your bump will still be growing and if this is your first baby your doctor will probably check on the size of your uterus. You may have felt your bump move downwards as your baby moves into a better place for birth, there’s still time if this hasn’t happened yet.

32 weeks

When you are 32 weeks pregnant you’ll find yourself ‘waddling’ around more as your body is compensating for all the extra weight. You are likely to start gaining more weight faster over the next few weeks as your baby is putting on more fat.

33 weeks

33 weeks means that you’ve got around 6 weeks to go, and if you gave birth now your baby wouldn’t be considered early. You could start preparing for birth at any moment as your child could be ready to be born at any point. Remember to try and stay active and get as much rest as you can.

34 weeks

At week 34 you will have an antenatal appointment. You may feel like some of your pregnancy symptoms have gone away, this can happen because your baby moves head down into your pelvis. This will relieve pressure from your lungs and if you’ve felt breathless this should feel better. It also reduces pressure on your stomach so symptoms like heartburn and indigestion will get better.

35 weeks

Week 35 is where many women choose to start their maternity leave and use the next few weeks to make final preparations for giving birth. You may have noticed yellow stains in your bra, this is colostrum, an early milk that is rich in antibodies, which is good.

36 weeks

When you are 36 weeks pregnant, you’ll have an antenatal with your doctor or midwife, they’ll check on the size of your bump, your blood pressure and urine. Your baby may have now moved its head down to your pelvis, which means that they’re in position for labour, but this does not mean that labour is going to happen right away, it could take weeks.

37 weeks

You’re in week 37 now and your baby could come at any point. Your baby is full term and fully developed. If you’re carrying twins, you will probably give birth this week. Almost all babies are head down at this point but there is still time for them to turn if they are in bottom down position (breech).

When you’re sitting try leaning forwards with your hips above your knees, this could help your baby move into a better position. You may also find that you’re getting more vaginal discharge and you may be feeling discomfort, these are Braxton Hicks contractions, which are practise contractions, they will be uncomfortable but should not be painful. Get as much rest as you can.

38 weeks

At week 38 you’ll have an antenatal appointment where the size of your bump will be measured as well as your blood pressure. They will also check your urine for any proteins that may show a condition call pre-eclampsia. Read about this here: You may have elected for a caesarean section you’ll be booked in when you’re at least 39 weeks pregnant. You’ll talk about what happens if you go beyond 41 weeks.

39 weeks

In your 39th week of pregnancy you will finding quite a lot more discharge in your underwear than before. If you spot a limy blob of mucus which is yellow or bloody this is a “show”. This used to plug your cervix and when it comes out it is a sign that your baby is on the way, but don’t rush to the hospital yet as you could still have days to wait. You may be getting some back pain as your baby moves down your pelvis and presses against your spine.

40 weeks

Week 40 is the end of the expected period of pregnancy. It won’t be long until you meet your baby. It’s also common for birth to be the week before or the week after week 40 but this is the week you should be expecting. If this is your first baby you’ll have an antenatal appointment this week, you’ll be checked for pre-eclampsia.

Find out about the stages of labour here: what happens during labour and birth - NHS. When you start getting labour pains you’ll know it, contractions hurt when your bump goes tight and the pain goes away when your muscles relax.

41 weeks

Its not unusual to go past your due date, so if you get to week 41 try to be patient and relax. However if you go more than 12 days over your due date you will may have to have labour induced through membrane sweeps.