Louisa Van den Bergh, founder of lulubaby, reminisces over her memorable pregnancy milestones…

Typically the nine months of pregnancy are split into three trimesters. The first trimester is the first 13 weeks, the second is from week 14 to week 26 and the final trimester is up until your baby is born. However, pregnancy can also be viewed as a journey with several important and memorable steps along the way. Here are my top 10 pregnancy milestones. Do remember that the order may vary from pregnancy to pregnancy as everybody is different.

The positive pregnancy test
You may have missed your period, your boobs may have doubled in size, you could be feeling nauseous or you just have a nagging feeling that you don’t quite feel the same as normal. Whatever your indicator, it is hard for words to describe that feeling when the line appears (not always a blue one) and your world changes forever, whether it is your first or fifth pregnancy (or 11th in the case of my mother-in-law).

First scan
Whether you have an early dating scan or a nuchal fold scan at 12 weeks, that first view of your baby’s heart beating is, well, unbeatable. It is sometimes hard to believe that you have a little life inside you especially as you may not look that different (yet) on the outside. At the 12 week stage, amazingly your baby’s major organs and body systems are fully formed but your baby will only measure about two inches from crown to rump (from the top of their head to the bottom of their bottom) and is about the size of a lime. I still clearly remember my first 12 week scan with my son – I couldn’t believe how well formed this little thing inside me was and how active he was bouncing all over the place, kicking the wall of the uterus, and yet I couldn’t feel a thing.

fmailyTelling your friends and family Whatever stage you tell your close family and friends, or however you do it, it is fun to be able to share your news with those you love – although some may have guessed already.

Telling work
I don’t know many pregnant women who haven’t been a little nervous about telling their boss or colleagues. I certainly felt that way when, only six months after returning from maternity leave, I had to explain to my boss that I was expecting again. His reply: “That’s most inconvenient, isn’t it?” – hmm! Hopefully, most modern bosses these days are a little bit more PC.

Putting away your favourite old jeans and slipping on the maternity wear 
You realise then that there is no going back and there is only one way your tummy is heading and that is most definitely outwards. For me, it was also quite a relief as you tend to not even look pregnant at this stage, despite bulging out of your normal wardrobe and feeling like your body is changing. Once you are wearing your new maternity wear, you start to feel more comfortable, look more pregnant and feel less, well, fat.

Feeling those first few flutters and kicks
For me, this is one of the most magical moments of pregnancy, making those weeks of nausea and tiredness all feel worthwhile. Most pregnant mums will feel a few kicks from as early as 15 to 16 weeks (for second and subsequent babies) but normally by 22 weeks. If you have placenta previa (a low lying placenta, normally diagnosed at a 12 week scan), then you may not feel kicking quite as strongly. Always see your GP if you are concerned about baby’s movements.

The 20 week foetal anomaly scan
For many mums this is only the second opportunity to see your baby on screen and it is one of the most special moments in your entire pregnancy. It is also an opportunity to find out the sex of your baby. Even if you don’t, you will no doubt be interpreting the sonographer’s words and language to see if they gave away any hints! Your baby has been growing quickly in the last eight weeks and is about 10 inches from head to heel (including legs this time) or about the size of a banana.

Buying that first baby item
 Whether you rush out to the shops as soon as your pregnancy is confirmed, or wait until closer to the time, buying for your baby makes it all seem a little more real and exciting.

Reaching ‘term’ or 37 weeks
 By this stage your baby is fully formed with hair and tiny fingernails. They will be busy practising breathing by inhaling and exhaling the amniotic fluid, sucking their thumb and still moving plenty.

Going into labour or going in for your caesarean section
 Whether you have a show, your waters break or you start contracting, that moment when you realise that your baby will be with you so soon is one of the most exciting – and daunting. Only very few mums’ waters break prior to going into labour so you are much more likely to feel your uterus contract.

For more from Louisa and for info on Lulubaby’s antenatal classes, visit: lulubaby.co.uk