Pregnancy is the development of one or more offspring, known as an embryo or fetus, in a woman’s uterus. It is the common name for gestation in humans. Multiple pregnancies involve more than one embryo or fetus in a single pregnancy, such as with twins. Childbirth usually occurs about 38 weeks after conception, from the start of the last normal menstrual period (LNMP). Conception can be achieved when a man’s sperm penetrates into a woman’s egg and fertilizes it. This usually happens in the woman’s fallopian tube after ovulation (the matured egg was released from one of her ovaries). In the cases of infertile couples pregnancy is achieved with the help of assisted reproductive technology.
Most pregnancies last from 37 to about 42 weeks. Health care professionals calculate the delivery date 40 weeks from the date of conception (the date the sperm and egg fused). According to the National Health Service, UK, only about 1 in every 20 births actually takes place on the due date. A baby who is born before 37 weeks after conception is considered pre-term (premature) and babies born after the 43 week mark are considered post-mature.
Symptoms of pregnancy
Every woman is different. So are her experiences of pregnancy. Pregnancy symptoms differ from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy; however, one of the most significant pregnancy symptoms is a delayed or missed period. Understanding the signs and symptoms of pregnancy is important because each symptom may be related to something other than pregnancy. You may experience signs or symptoms of pregnancy within a week of conception. However, it is possible you may not experience any symptoms for a few weeks. The most common signs of pregnancy are:
- Missed period
- Nausea with or without vomiting
- Breast changes
- Breast tenderness
- Frequent urination
- Headaches and back pain
- Mood Swings
Nausea generally affects pregnant women during the first three to four months of pregnancy. Tiredness tends to be more acute during the first and last three months. You can be pregnant without experiencing any of these signs and symptoms.
All pregnancy tests work by detecting a certain hormone in the urine or blood that is only there when a woman is pregnant. This hormone is called hCG. It is also called the pregnancy hormone. There are two common types of pregnancy tests – the urine test and the blood test. Urine tests can be performed at home through an over-the-counter test. They are also sometimes done at a doctor’s office. Blood tests, on the other hand, are always performed at doctor’s offices.
The Three Trimesters of Pregnancy
The development of pregnancy is counted from the first day of the woman’s last normal period, even though the development of the fetus does not begin until conception. The development of the fetus may vary due to the mother’s health or a miscalculation of ovulation. Pregnancy is divided into trimesters which last about 12 – 14 weeks each. These three trimesters have different emotional and physical happenings that make them unique. Similar to development, these can be calculated from different dates so not all trimester calculations will equal the same. The pregnancy is divided into three trimesters. Each of the three trimesters is divided into a little over 3 completed months each. The first trimester is week 1 through the end of week 13. The second trimester usually ends around the 26th week and consists of the 4th, 5th and 6th completed months. The third trimester can end anywhere between the 38th – and 42nd weeks and is the 7th, 8th and 9th completed months of pregnancy.
The pregnancy due date calculator can help you work out when you might expect your baby to arrive. This will give you a rough idea to prepare for the arrival of the baby, programming your maternity leave, and keep a few of the clothes and babies’ things ready required during your stay in hospital. As part of your antenatal care, your midwife will also offer you a dating scan that will give you a more accurate date for the birth of your baby.
Complications during pregnancy
There are several things that may cause a complication in your pregnancy. However, some are more common than others. A mother’s body has a great deal to do during pregnancy. Sometimes the changes taking place will cause irritation or discomfort, and on occasions, they may seem quite alarming. There is rarely any need for alarm but you should mention anything that is worrying you to your maternity team. Most pregnancies are uncomplicated. That said, it’s helpful to know which serious medical issues are most likely to affect expecting moms. Here’s a quick guide to the most common pregnancy complications. The complications that require immediate attention and care include:
- Premature labor and birth
- Low amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios)
- Gestational diabetes
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Placenta previa
Other complications like Anemia, Constipation, Genital infections, Cramps, Hemorrhoids, Hypertension (high blood pressure), Hypotension (low blood pressure), Gum disease, Swollen ankles, feet, fingers, Nausea and vomiting, Urinary tract infections, Heartburn and Moodiness are also the complications that should be discussed with us when you come for your appointment. We will watch for these pregnancy complications (and others) throughout your pregnancy, using physical exams, lab tests, and ultrasounds. Meanwhile, you can help us by attending all your prenatal appointments and reporting any troubling symptoms.
Pregnancy is a memorable part of a women’s life and it has to be free of stress and unnecessary doubts. It is important for pregnant women to remain happy and active through the pregnancy month by month so that the healthy development of the fetus takes place. It is also important to interact, move out and meet new people so that it keeps you happy and occupied, keeping in mind the rest and care.
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