Most of my learning has been centered around the We’re Pregnant! The First-Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook written by Adrian Kulp. He, like me, found that there was not a lot of readily available information for the new dads out there and created a resource to help us out!
When we entered into the second month of our pregnancy, I was shocked to see how many changes were already happening and had a difficult time keeping track of them all. These changes were coming fast and furious for Mom and baby whether we were ready or not!
In the First trimester the baby does a lot of growing and developing and gets outfitted with a lot of new gear. Their face is starting to take shape, eyes are developing, some of their extremities are also starting to develop (hands, fingers, feet & toes), their tiny little hearts and their neural tube! As the first trimester progresses the baby will be outfitted with mouth, nose, ears, arms in addition to some pretty important organs like their intestines, liver, kidney, and bladder also developed and functioning.
Week 5 Highlight – The Neural Tube
Early on in the pregnancy, I felt that there was so much going on, but nothing was really visible. Just because my wife wasn’t showing yet, did not mean that there was a lot happening on the inside.
In the 5th week, our baby was starting their growth and development, specifically their neural tube has begun to take shape. I wasn’t sure what the neural system was, but I had an idea. I had to do some research on exactly what was happening. I was delighted to find out that this meant the building blocks of what would form their spine and entire nervous system – what a relief!
The neural tube is developing on the outer layer called the ectoderm and there are 2 other layers; the mesoderm and endoderm. Within the mesoderm, our baby’s circulatory system, skeleton and the beginning stages of heart and the third layer, the endoderm will eventually house our baby’s organs, but at the exact moment, it connects the placenta which is transporting all the necessary nutrients to help with growth!
- Now the size of small lemon seed
- The heart, which is about the size of a poppy seed, is starting to take shape and working towards the first beat!
- Neural tube is open, but will close next week, eventually going to house the brain and spinal cord!
- The dreaded morning sickness may be in full swing or just beginning. Every mom is different. My wife was lucky and wasn’t hit too badly.
- Starting to show more fatigue; she is growing a new human!
- Going number 1 is starting to become more frequent.
Dad To Do
- Start taking the initiative around the house with the daily chores. Our partners are becoming more fatigued, especially after a long day of work!
Week 6 Highlight – Baby’s Got a Face
The big milestone this week for babe is the development of a cute little face! It sounds so weird to me to hear that our baby is developing a face, not sure why, but it just seems strange – hopefully they get their looks from their mom! In addition to the cute little face developing, their tiny little heart has started pumping blood throughout the little blood vessels and the little extremities are beginning to take shape and be more noticeable.
- Baby’s face is really starting to look more human!
- Some organs are taking shape – kidneys, liver, and lungs.
- The heart beat is up to 110bpm
- Mood swings may have started, or are just beginning – darn hormones!
- Still not showing much, but there is a lot of action happening inside.
Dad To Do
- Be sure to encourage exercise. We really enjoyed(and still do) our quick walks after work or supper to get out of the house. I found that it really helped with both of our mental health and served to be very stress relieving being out in the crisp fall air.
Week 7 Highlight – Hands & Feet
This week was another big week for the little baby’s development – the skeleton has completely formed! Although this is not the rigid structure we are used to, it remains soft and pliable. It is also another big week for the little hands and feet are starting to divide into their little hands, feet, and starting separate into distinct arms and legs. This week could also be a milestone week for mom and the development and enhancement of her smell! My wife went through spurts with this sense of super smell, but it didn’t bother her too much!
- Baby continues to grow like a weed. Now the size of a blueberry or 10000 times larger than at conception.
- Skeleton has completely formed. It is still soft and pliable to help with continued growth and development.
- Brain is developing quickly!
- More organs and systems are developing – kidneys, liver, appendix, and pancreas in addition to the digestive system all beginning to do their jobs.
- Uterus is now doubled in size to accommodate the growing baby.
- Villi are not present in the placenta, which is helping in the transfer of nutrients from mom to baby.
- Super smell and food cravings have possibly arrived.
Dad To Do
- Continue with the majority of the household chores.
- Be on the lookout for any strong odors to help alleviate any discomfort for mom!
Week 8 Highlight – Fingers and Toes
This week, the baby is still working towards looking more and more human-like and less like an alien! Their tiny little heart continues to beat, at a rate of 2-3 times as fast as mom and dads, and more development of their eyes and lungs. But the biggest accomplishment for this week is the development of their tiny fingers and toes. They are beginning to look more and more like the little digits we are used to and less like a set of flippers on the ends of their arms and legs.
- Now the size of a raspberry.
- Heart continues to beat at an amazing rate 150-170 bpm.
- Neural pathways to the brain and bronchial tubes in the lungs are starting to develop.
- Still not showing, but could have stomach tenderness.
- Moodiness, super smell, morning sickness, cravings are all still possible.
- The need to pee is still frequent.
- Fatigue and lower energy levels.
Week 9-12 Highlights
Week 9 marks the beginning of the final month of the first trimester and the baby is about an inch long or the size of an olive and is starting to look more and more like a person each day. Week 10 is a major milestone in baby’s development – this is the week that the embryo graduates to become a fetus – YAHOOO! Week 11 arrived and we were getting very antsy to tell our friends and family that we were expecting. We followed the 12 week rule, when it comes to telling our exciting news. The chances of miscarriage decrease significantly after the 12th week but I was chomping at the bit to tell the world! The big highlight for baby this week is the development of buds that will eventually become their teeth. Week 12 has arrived and with it comes with baby’s ability to respond to some external stimuli. This week also marks the timeframe where it becomes safe to share your exciting news!
As with most couples who have a pet, we decided that the best way to tell our friends and family was with our dog Charlie giving the big news. We purchased a bandana for him to wear whenever we wanted to tell our news to those who didn’t know. It took a while for most of them to notice he was wearing a bandana, and when they read it, it was a very happy occasion!
- Joints are starting to develop and become moveable.
- Fingers and toes are much more defined.
- Most if not all vital organs are in place.
- Joints continue to develop.
- Baby has a bulging forehead with growing brain, fingernails, and toenails.
- Buds of the teeth are forming under their gums.
- Intestines, eyes and ears are in place
- Baby begins to respond to external stimuli.
- Reflexes have begun, but the baby is still too small for mom to feel.
- Baby bump may be starting to emerge.
- Uterus continues to grow.
- Maternity clothes may have arrived on the scene.
- Mom has likely gained some weight as baby has developed thus far.
- Now having trouble laying on her tummy.
- Mood swings and fatigue start to become less frequent.
There have been a lot of things that I had learned early in the pregnancy. The biggest takeaway is how fast things progress and how fast the baby grows and develops. Again, new dads need to be adaptable and flexible with how mom is feeling. Each week is different and brings upon a new challenge.
Until next time,