How the Pregnancy Symptoms Change Throughout the Pregnancy

By Dr. Suruchi Desai in Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Jul 01 , 2023 | 13 min read



Pregnancy symptoms can vary throughout the different stages of pregnancy. During the first trimester, women may experience nausea, fatigue and breast tenderness. As the pregnancy progresses, symptoms may include back pain, swelling and shortness of breath. The final trimester may bring increased discomfort, Braxton Hicks contractions and more frequent urination

Pregnancy symptoms week 1 to week 42

While every pregnancy is unique, there are some common pregnancy symptoms that women experience during different weeks of pregnancy.

Pregnancy Week 1

Week one of pregnancy begins with the start of the last menstrual period the woman has before conceiving. During this time, typical menstrual symptoms, such as bleeding, cramping, sore breasts and mood swings, may manifest. However, the woman is not technically considered pregnant at this point, as doctors use the first day of the last period to calculate the due date.

Pregnancy Week 2

During the second week of the menstrual cycle, a mature egg is released from the ovary and makes its journey through the fallopian tube, where it can be potentially fertilised with sperm. Ovulation may cause mild abdominal pain, known as mittelschmerz, as well as tender breasts, increased basal body temperature and slippery vaginal discharge similar to egg whites.

Pregnancy Week 3

During week three, the fertilised egg implanting into the uterine lining could cause some people to experience mild abdominal cramping or light spotting, commonly referred to as "implantation bleeding". If one experiences heavy bleeding or intense pain, they are advised to call their doctor. This could indicate an ectopic pregnancy, in which the embryo has implanted outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube.

Pregnancy Week 4

A positive result from an at-home pregnancy test could be detected as early as this week. It is normal for some women to experience breast tenderness, one of the earliest signs of pregnancy, as well as a heightened sense of smell or taste, fatigue, constipation, bloating and mood swings. However, don't be concerned if there are no symptoms at this time; they might just take a few extra weeks to appear.

Pregnancy Week 5

At week five, mood swings caused by hormones can cause a variety of emotions. Women may suddenly switch between feelings of joy, sadness and anger for no clear reason. Additionally, common early pregnancy symptoms such as exhaustion, breast pain and sickness may become present during this stage.

Pregnancy Week 6

Week six of pregnancy is when many expectant mothers may begin to feel the dreaded morning sickness. Because of their enhanced sense of smell, it can be more obvious. Cravings and aversions may become more challenging to control as a result. It is advisable to identify techniques to deal with morning sickness now, such as eating smaller meals, eating ginger, using acupressure wristbands and avoiding trigger foods, as it may linger through the second trimester.

Pregnancy Week 7

Another early sign of pregnancy is frequent urination. The hCG pregnancy hormone, excess fluid in the body, kidneys working harder to clear the waste and finally, the pressure of the expanding uterus on the woman’s bladder are the main causes. Take a lot of breaks to go to the restroom!

Pregnancy Week 8

Several women now experience pregnancy symptoms in full force, including nausea, sore breasts, exhaustion, frequent urination, mood swings, bloating, etc. More saliva in the mouth, which can occasionally persist until the end of the first trimester, is another odd symptom. Furthermore, headaches are typical, in part because of hormonal changes.

Pregnancy Week 9

It is common for pregnant women to experience changes in their digestive system due to pregnancy hormones. These hormones can slow down the motility of the intestines, resulting in constipation and excess gas. This, in addition to nausea that often accompanies morning sickness, can cause discomfort.

Pregnancy Week 10

During the first trimester, some pregnant women may experience a radiant "pregnancy glow," while others may experience hormone-induced acne. The body goes through various changes during pregnancy, such as increased breast size and a growing belly. These changes occur gradually and become more noticeable as the pregnancy progresses week by week.

Pregnancy Week 11

Pregnant women may experience aches and cramps around their abdomen due to their growing baby bump. This discomfort is commonly known as round ligament pain and can range from mild to severe. Additionally, it's normal for women to notice a clear or creamy discharge (known as leukorrhea) in their underwear as the body attempts to clear bacteria during pregnancy. This discharge is a normal part of pregnancy and is not typically a cause for concern.

Pregnancy Week 12

It is a lesser-known fact that blood volume increases by about 50 per cent during pregnancy. This increase can cause visible veins on the skin, which are particularly noticeable in people with lighter skin. Pregnant women may notice the appearance of veins on their legs, feet and other parts of the body due to increased blood flow. This is a normal part of pregnancy and typically resolves itself after childbirth.

Also, Read About The Double Marker Test

Pregnancy Week 13

As the first trimester of pregnancy nears its end, many early pregnancy symptoms begin to diminish. However, some women may begin to experience dizziness throughout the day, which can be attributed to hormonal shifts, reduced blood flow and lower blood pressure. To combat these dizzy spells, pregnant women are advised to hydrate well and change positions slowly. Taking frequent breaks and avoiding sudden movements can also help alleviate the symptoms.

Pregnancy Week 14

Pregnant women enter the second trimester of pregnancy, which is often deemed as the "easiest" trimester. During this time, many women report increased appetite, renewed energy and higher sex drive. Women are encouraged to take advantage of this "feel good" trimester by starting a doctor-approved fitness routine and preparing their homes for the arrival of the baby. Women should discuss any exercise plans with their doctor before starting to ensure they are safe and appropriate for their pregnancy.

Pregnancy Week 15

The second trimester of pregnancy can also come with a few odd symptoms. Women may experience a stuffy nose due to an increase of blood in the mucus membranes, leg cramps and sensitive gums. As the hormone relaxin loosens ligaments, women may also feel extra clumsy during this stage of pregnancy. These symptoms are typically normal and are caused by the physical changes that occur during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Week 16

Approximately 90 per cent of pregnant women experience a darkening of the skin around the inner thighs, armpits, nipples and navel. In some cases, the darkening may extend to the cheeks and nose, a phenomenon commonly known as "the mask of pregnancy." This condition is more pronounced in women with darker complexions, but it can affect women of all skin types. This is a normal occurrence during pregnancy, caused by hormonal changes in the body and the discolouration typically fades after childbirth.

Pregnancy Week 17

Backaches are a common symptom experienced by women due to pregnancy hormones. Pregnant women may also experience a "pregnancy brain" characterised by forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating and confusion. These symptoms are caused by changes in hormone levels and the demands of pregnancy on the body. However, during this time, many expectant parents begin feeling their baby's movements between weeks 18 and 22. This can be an exciting and reassuring time and it marks a significant milestone in the pregnancy journey.

Pregnancy Week 18

At this stage, women usually begin to show a visible baby bump, although it may not be apparent to others. The breasts also start to increase in size to prepare for breastfeeding. Women should expect to gain weight regularly until delivery, with a typical weight gain of about half a pound to one pound per week. During pregnancy, even the size of the feet can increase due to hormonal changes and the added pressure on the body.

Pregnancy Week 19

During the second trimester, some may experience heartburn, which occurs when pregnancy hormones relax the muscles of the lower oesophagal sphincter. To alleviate this uncomfortable symptom, doctors recommend eating smaller meals, remaining upright after eating and avoiding acidic, greasy, or spicy foods. As the growing baby presses against the intestines, constipation can also occur during this stage. Drinking plenty of fluids, eating high-fibre foods and exercising regularly can help alleviate this symptom.

Pregnancy Week 20

By this week, the growing baby inside the womb can start kicking and moving around more frequently, causing the mother to feel fluttering sensations in her stomach. Additionally, it is common to experience leg cramps, dry eyes and trouble sleeping during this time. A pregnancy pillow can help provide support and comfort for a better night's rest.

Pregnancy Week 21

As the stages develop, many women experience more intense symptoms. Round ligament pain, which causes sharpness in the hip, groin and abdomen, may increase as the baby grows and the uterus expands. Other symptoms include shortness of breath due to pressure on the diaphragm, swelling in the feet and ankles and Braxton Hicks contractions (also known as "practice" contractions).

Pregnancy Week 22

Pregnancy can lead to thicker, glossier hair and faster-growing nails due to the heightened levels of progesterone and increased nutrient intake by the body. Expectant mothers may observe that their hair appears stronger and more plentiful than before. However, they may also experience dry, irritated skin on their abdomen as it continually expands. It's important to continue taking prenatal vitamins to support these changes.

Pregnancy Week 23

During week 23 of pregnancy, the growing belly can cause an "innie" belly button to become an "outie," which will return to its normal state after delivery. Common second-trimester pregnancy symptoms such as leg cramps, brain fog, backaches, increased vaginal discharge, constipation, headaches and stretch marks may persist.

Pregnancy Week 24

The 24th week of pregnancy has some pregnant women experiencing a decrease in their libido due to soreness and fatigue. Additionally, they may experience symptoms such as tingling hands and bleeding gums, as well as snoring caused by nasal hypertrophy and pregnancy-related weight gain.

Pregnancy Week 25

Some women may experience carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy, which is often due to normal swelling and fluid retention. This can cause a numb sensation in the hands and fingers but typically goes away after giving birth. To alleviate symptoms, it is recommended to avoid sleeping on the hands and to shake out the wrists throughout the day.

Pregnancy Week 26

As the third-trimester approaches, sleep may become more difficult due to anxiety, leg cramps, frequent urination, or general discomfort. Itchiness in the hands and feet may also occur, which can be treated with antihistamines, ointments, or calming lotions. However, intense itching could be a sign of a liver disorder called cholestasis of pregnancy and requires medical attention.

Pregnancy Week 27

Haemorrhoids may also develop during the second trimester due to increased blood flow and pressure in the rectum. Straining during constipation can exacerbate symptoms. A high-fibre diet, increased fluid intake, hemorrhoidal ointment, sitz baths, or witch hazel pads can help alleviate pain and bleeding.

Pregnancy Week 28

As the third trimester begins, women may feel increasingly exhausted and uncomfortable. Common aches and pains may become more frequent and some individuals may experience symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), which occurs when the ligaments around the pubic bone become soft and unstable, causing them to stretch further apart than normal.

Pregnancy Week 29

In preparation for breastfeeding, yellowish colostrum may begin to leak from the breasts in the coming weeks. This fluid serves as a precursor to mature breast milk and helps the baby's body adjust to life outside the womb. Blood pressure may also start to rise after 28-32 weeks of pregnancy.

Pregnancy Week 30

Pregnancy symptoms such as itchiness, swelling, aching and heartburn may persist into the third trimester, as well as stretch marks. Although these red, pink, purple, or dark brown streaks cannot be prevented and are often determined by genetics, they will fade significantly over time.

Pregnancy Week 31

In the third trimester of pregnancy, some first-trimester pregnancy symptoms may return or persist. Breast tenderness may come back as the body starts producing colostrum and the need to urinate frequently due to the pressure of the growing uterus against the bladder may continue. Fatigue after minimal effort may also be experienced.

Pregnancy Week 32

Around 20 weeks of pregnancy, Braxton Hicks contractions may occur, which are sporadic hardening or tightening of the uterus. As pregnancy progresses, these contractions may become more frequent but are usually irregular and last between 30 seconds to two minutes. However, if contractions become stronger and more frequent, it may be a sign of premature labour and a doctor should be called.

Pregnancy Week 33

As the baby continues to grow, it will press against internal organs, which may cause a leaky bladder, shortness of breath, heartburn and discomfort. Additionally, upper abdominal pain near the top of the uterus is a common symptom of the abdominal wall being stretched by the growing uterus. If there are concerns about the pain, it is recommended to consult with an OB. This pain is typically tender to the touch and worse when the baby kicks.

Pregnancy Week 34

As the due date approaches, it's important to remember that every day counts for the baby's development during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Pregnant people may notice a change in the intensity of the baby's movement as it grows and gets into position for birth, but it's important to always contact the doctor if there are any concerns or a significant decrease in movement.

Pregnancy Week 35

As labour approaches, regular Braxton Hicks contractions become more common. It's important to learn how to differentiate these practice pains from actual contractions. Insomnia may become more prevalent at this time.

Pregnancy Week 36

The baby starts moving down into the lower pelvis about two to four weeks before delivery, which is known as "dropping," "lightening," or "engagement." This movement may relieve pressure on the internal organs, making it easier to breathe.

Pregnancy Week 37

The little one's new position might lead to pelvic discomfort and increased abdominal pressure. Spotting after sex may occur, which is usually a result of the sensitive and enlarged cervix. However, if there is bleeding like a period, it could indicate a problem with the placenta and the doctor should be contacted immediately.

Pregnancy Week 38

Around week 37 or 38, pregnant people typically lose their mucus plug. This plug protects the opening of the cervix from germs. It usually gets released anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks before labour and it looks like a thick pink or blood-tinged discharge.

Pregnancy Week 39

If the water breaks, there may be a gush of fluid or a slow trickle. Regular contractions, pelvic pressure, dull back pain and a feeling of restlessness are other early signs of labour. Early labour can last for hours. Many doctors recommend waiting out this phase and heading to the hospital when contractions come every four or five minutes, last for one minute and continue in this pattern for an hour (the 4-1-1 or 5-1-1 rule).

Pregnancy Week 40

Pregnant individuals may continue to experience pregnancy symptoms such as insomnia, swelling, frequent urination and pelvic discomfort until the baby is born. If an induction or C-section is scheduled, it may occur in the coming days or weeks. It is recommended to have an ultrasound after 40 weeks to monitor the baby's position, size and fluid levels for a healthy delivery.

Pregnancy Week 41

If a baby is born after their due date, which is after 40 weeks, they are considered "overdue". However, this is a common occurrence and typically does not pose any risks. It can cause some anxiety and restlessness, but watching for signs of labour is important. Using movements such as walking, dancing, or squatting may help engage the baby in the pelvis and increase the chances of labour.

Pregnancy Week 42

It is common for most babies to be born within two weeks before or after their due date and reaching week 42 is uncommon. Healthcare providers often suggest inducing labour prior to 42 weeks. It is important to continue self-care during this time, as the baby will be in the mother’s arms before she knows it.


In conclusion, pregnancy is a beautiful journey that comes with its own set of challenges and changes. From the first trimester to the third trimester, a pregnant woman’s body goes through various transformations and she experiences a range of symptoms. Understanding these changes and knowing how to cope with them can make the pregnancy journey more comfortable and enjoyable. With proper care and attention, pregnancy symptoms can be managed and a healthy baby can be born.