Monday, August 29, 2011

12 x 3 = 40?

Now that I’m at 25 weeks, I’m finally in my 3rd trimester.  Or am I?  When I made it to 12 weeks, I was excited to get out of the first trimester and for some reason I assumed every trimester was 12 weeks.  However, even with pregnancy brain, I realized that three 12-week trimesters only gets me to 36 weeks.  What about weeks 37-40?  I’ve never heard of the fourth trimester. 
I’ve come to the conclusion that Americans just can’t get measurements right!  We don’t use the metric system and we can’t count pregnancy weeks. I’ve even been told that in Europe (where they can measure) they count 38 weeks of pregnancy, which makes much more sense since the baby isn’t even conceived in what we Americans count as weeks one and two. 
So I did some research.  According to the bump, the first trimester is weeks 1 to 13, the second is weeks 14 to 27, and the third is week 28 on.  According to good ole Wikipedia, the first trimester is weeks 1 to 12, the second is 13 to 27, and the third is 28 on.  In the book Great Expectations (my pregnancy bible), I was congratulated at 24 weeks for reaching the third trimester.  Clearly, nobody can agree on this. 
Therefore, I came up with this theory based on my own pregnancy experience.  The first trimester is exciting, but it has its downfalls.  First of all, most (I didn’t do so well) are trying to keep their pregnancy under wraps through this time, all while many unfortunate ladies (not me- thanks, Mom, for the good pregnancy genes) are fighting nausea, fatigue, food aversions, and so on.  For those reasons, we want this time to go quickly.  Plus, once out of the first trimester, you are much less likely to miscarry.  End result- I give the first trimester 12 weeks.
The second trimester is heavenly.  You can tell the world you are pregnant, all the nasty symptoms from the first trimester go away, your energy increases, and you look cute with just a small, but recognizable, pregnancy bump.  Many women say they feel better during this time that they have their entire life.  Plus, you can start shopping for the oh so comfy maternity clothes, planning for your baby, and you get to find out the sex of your baby.  Seriously, does it get any better?  My theory- let’s make this last as long as possible.  I give the second trimester 16 weeks (weeks 13-28). 
By default, the third trimester gets weeks 29 to 40 (assuming the pregnancy goes 40 weeks).  During this trimester, fatigue returns and sleep is difficult (or so I’m told).  Ugly side effects such as hemorrhoids and stretch marks may also pop up.  Plus, while you feel like a giant, you are trying to make sure you have everything prepared for the baby, finish up shopping, and whatever else you need to do before your life changes forever.  I think 12 weeks is plenty long for this phase. 
So, does 12 x 3 = 40? Nope.  But 12 + 16 + 12 sure does.  Oh- and if you haven’t figured this out, pregnancy lasts 10 months (40 ÷ 4 = 10), not 9 like everyone thinks.  Someday, we’ll get this all sorted out!

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