Pregnancy Specialist

Taken as a whole, pregnancy, labor, and delivery constitute one of the most important medical events in any woman’s life. Whether you’re expecting your first child or you’ve been down this road before, you know you want only the best prenatal care with an experienced, board-certified OB/GYN. At Total Woman Care in Elkin, North Carolina, Dr. Peter McIlveen and his team are passionate about providing the best possible prenatal care and helping moms-to-be through each stage of pregnancy, all the way through labor and delivery and postpartum care. To learn more, call or book your appointment online today.

What are the three stages of pregnancy?

Pregnancy normally lasts 40 weeks, counting from the first day of your last normal menstrual cycle. These weeks are separated into three trimesters, or general stages of fetal development.

What happens during the first trimester?

In the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, your body undergoes major hormonal changes that stop your menstrual cycle and affect nearly every system in your body. These changes can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

- Extreme fatigue

- Tender, swollen breasts

- Mood swings

- Morning sickness

- Aversion to certain smells

- Food cravings or repulsions

- Frequent urination

- Constipation

What happens during the second trimester?

From weeks 13-28 of your pregnancy, you may find that your initial symptoms ease up or go away completely. As your baby grows bigger, however, other changes start to take place.

You’ll probably feel your baby move for the first time during the second trimester. You may also start to experience symptoms associated with supporting more weight, such as back pain or sciatica.  

What happens during the third trimester?

Weeks 29-40 mark the final trimester of pregnancy. During this time, your baby grows larger every day, taking up more space in your body and leaving less room for your lungs, bladder, and other internal organs.

This is why many women experience shortness of breath and feel like they have to go to the bathroom all the time during this trimester. Other common late-pregnancy symptoms include:

- Chronic heartburn

- Trouble sleeping

- Swelling of your ankles, fingers, and face

- Renewed breast tenderness

- Hemorrhoids

What does routine prenatal care involve?

Prenatal care begins with a comprehensive health exam including a pelvic exam, and an ultrasound to confirm your pregnancy and help establish a due date.

As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll receive routine ultrasound screenings along with a range of tests that assess both maternal and fetal health. Prenatal tests are used to:

- Determine your blood type and Rh factor

- Check for gestational diabetes

- Screen for sexually transmitted infections

- Screen for hepatitis B and C

In a normal pregnancy, regular prenatal checkups occur once a month through the end of the second trimester, twice a month during weeks 28-36, and then once a week until delivery.

What is a high-risk pregnancy?

A high-risk pregnancy may mean that you or your baby require special monitoring or care throughout your pregnancy, or it may mean that you have a higher chance of experiencing medical complications before, during, or after delivery.

Some of the factors that qualify a pregnancy as high-risk include:

- Being over the age of 35

- Having a chronic condition like diabetes or hypertension

- Having a history of miscarriage or premature delivery

If you have a high-risk pregnancy, the team at Total Woman Care can help you manage your situation for the best possible outcome.