A full-term pregnancy is approximately 40 weeks, divided into 3 trimesters. During the first trimester a woman experiences multiple physical and hormonal changes. Bouts of nausea and vomiting – morning sickness –are common and can occur at all hours, day or night. By the end of the first trimester, your baby will be a 3-inch fetus, weighing approximately one ounce.
Weeks 14-28 make up the second trimester. During these weeks, women often feel more energetic and morning sickness subsides. The baby’s movements can be felt and development continues at a rapid rate. Your baby begins to respond to familiar sounds and voices and has grown to almost 2 pounds and 10 inches. Around weeks 18-20, an ultrasound exam may be done. This is often an opportunity to learn the baby’s sex.
The third trimester is the final stretch of pregnancy. The baby is getting bigger, causing some discomfort for mom. Some women experience difficulty sleeping and find it harder to carry out routine tasks.
Throughout the pregnancy, routine OBGYN visits will be scheduled. Accompanying your partner to at least some of the visits is a good idea since you will need to provide personal and family health information. The visits will become more frequent as delivery time approaches.
During the visits the obstetrician will measure your partner’s blood pressure and weight. Blood and urine tests may also be performed and sometimes a pelvic exam and cervical check. Your baby’s health will also be monitored including heart rate and position checks along with screening tests for birth defects and group B streptococcus.
If you’re like most dads, you probably have questions. Below are some common concerns:
Can we have sex during pregnancy?
In most cases, couples can have sexual intercourse throughout the entire pregnancy unless your partner’s obstetrician advises against it. And remember, there are many ways to be intimate without having intercourse.
Is it okay to smoke around my partner?
Smoking can expose your baby to harmful chemical and lead to a higher risk of developing asthma or sudden infant death syndrome – SIDS.
What can I do to prepare for our baby’s arrival?
Attending childbirth classes will help in preparing for delivery. You and your partner may also want to tour the hospital, purchase and install an infant car seat and ready your home for the new baby.
Most of all enjoy this special time together and allow your relationship to grow.