A simple guide to pregnancy milestones and tests

Pregnancy journey is filled with anticipation, excitement, and the promise of new beginnings.  Whether you're a soon-to-be parent, planning a family, or just curious about the available options, this page is your go-to guide for understanding the various pregnancy tests and their significance. From early detection to monitoring your baby's health, we've compiled essential information to empower you on your pregnancy journey. 

First trimester: 

In the initial weeks of pregnancy, hCG levels rise, signaling your body to produce hormones that prevent menstruation for the next nine months. By week 4, your baby transforms from a blastocyst to an embryo, initiating nervous system and organ development over the next six weeks. At 5 weeks, the baby's heartbeat begins, audible during the first scan at around 6 weeks. As your baby's brain and limbs develop at 7 weeks, by 8 weeks, fingers and toes emerge. At 9 weeks, organs take shape, marking the transition from an embryo to a fetus.

By week 10, the baby's heart is fully formed, with limb movements becoming more coordinated. The NT scan at 11 weeks assesses development and screens for chromosomal abnormalities. Approaching the end of the first trimester at 12 weeks, the risk of miscarriage decreases. Facial features become more human-like, ears develop lobes, and the baby's skeleton begins to harden into bone. Organs mature, and recommended tests like the early pregnancy scan, double marker test, and NIPT become relevant during this first trimester.

Second trimester:

Between 13 and 27 weeks, your baby undergoes remarkable developments. At 13 weeks, fingertips form, and veins and organs become visible. Gender-specific developments, lanugo growth and facial muscle twitches emerge by 14 weeks. At 15 weeks, your baby breathes in amniotic fluid, aiding lung maturation, and starts reacting to light. By 16 weeks, limb movements increase, and the baby can play with the umbilical cord.

Week 17 witnesses changes in the nervous system and improved hearing. The mid-pregnancy anomaly scan occurs at 18 weeks, assessing health and development. Crucial sensory development occurs at 19 weeks, visible during the anomaly scan. By 20 weeks, vernix caseosa protects the baby, and swallowing practices digestive system readiness. Capillaries form under the skin by 21 weeks. By 22 weeks, meconium forms in the gut, and bone marrow takes over red blood cell production at 23 weeks.

Week 24 reveals facial expressions, and Weight gain and skin smoothing characterize week 25. At 26 weeks, lung development continues, and tastebuds finalize. Week 27 marks eye movements, sleep-wake cycles, and surfactant coating for optimal breathing post-birth.

Third trimester

From 28 to 40 weeks, your baby's development accelerates. At 28 weeks, eyes open, and hiccups may be felt. Gender-specific changes occur by 29 weeks. At 30 weeks, weight gain begins rapidly, and your baby can react to light. Movement patterns shift at 31 weeks, with head movement, organ maturation, and fat layer formation. From 32 weeks, significant weight gain, skin plumping, and Braxton Hicks contractions are notable.

At 33 weeks, your baby is likely head-down, and soft skull bones aid birth. Color vision emerges at 34 weeks. By 35 weeks, the baby's size leads to ribcage kicks. Fingernails, toenails, and organ development complete by 36 weeks. Full-term status is achieved at 37 weeks, indicating imminent birth. By 38 weeks, your baby develops a fat layer. At 39-40 weeks, fetal development is nearly complete, with continued hair and nail growth. Birth weight varies but falls within the normal range, and soft spots on the head allow for easier passage through the birth canal. Newborn reflexes, such as rooting and grasping, signify their readiness to thrive with your care and love.