The Pregnancy Calendar
Charting Your Progress
Pregnancy is an exciting, sometimes scary but very special time in a woman’s life. To make the most of this extraordinary physical, mental and emotional rollercoaster ride, you might try keeping a pregnancy calendar. As well as helping you to explore and understand the experience, it will also allow you to preserve the memories (good and not so good!).
You can either shop for a suitable calendar (make sure you buy one that has plenty of room for you to write notes on each day), or you can purchase a large diary (a page per day type would be best), or, if you are feeling extra-creative, why not get a big sketchbook or notebook?
Each day, write how you feel physically and emotionally and chart your progress as your pregnancy develops. If you have room on the page and the inclination, add photographs, glue in articles from magazines; even draw pictures.
Be as extravagant or restrained as you like. There are no rules!
Your pregnancy will fall into three phases, known as ‘trimesters’. They are about three months long and each has unique characteristics, specific physical issues, nutritional needs and physiological changes.
The First Trimester
This begins at the time of conception and ends after about 12 or 13 weeks (measured from the time of the last menstrual period). It covers the time when the embryo develops into a foetus. It’s quite likely that your Calendar will contain many references to morning sickness during these weeks! You may also experience fatigue and cramps.
The Second Trimester
Spanning the 13th to 27th weeks of pregnancy, this marks the time when you will probably feel your best. Now is when people give you a soppy grin and tell you that you have that special ‘glow’. Morning sickness should have passed and, while it’s true that your belly is swelling, you haven’t yet reached the size where movement is awkward and your ankles are swollen (oh yes, there’s so much more to come!). If you want, this is when you can ask the doctor to tell you whether you’re carrying a boy or a girl. Most exciting of all, you should now start to feel the ‘quickening’ — your baby’s first kicks and twitches. Amazing!
The Third Trimester
From the 28th week until you go into labour, your baby will experience an incredible period of growth. That’s great news for the soon-to-be new arrival but for you it means backache, swollen ankles, poor bladder control and a lot of discomfort. You will feel huge and, if you’ve been charting your weight on your Calendar, this is when the pounds will really pile on. Don’t be surprised if you wake up one morning and discover that your belly button has turned from an ‘innie’ into an ‘outie’, this is quite normal! You should really take it easy now; restrict travel and don’t take on too much. In an average pregnancy, the baby will arrive any time from the 37th week onwards.
From the moment your baby is born, you probably won’t have time to even think about your Pregnancy Calendar. However one day, perhaps many months later, you will pick it up and find yourself holding a fantastic record of one of the most dramatic, exciting and special times of your life.