Pregnancy is a period of about forty weeks during which the fetus develops in the woman’s womb. The egg made in the ovary is fertilize by the man’s sperm, only after that a woman conceives. The process of union of egg and sperm is called fertilization. Once implantation (when the egg attaches itself to the wall of the uterus for nourishment after being fertilize) occurs, pregnancy begins.
Since it is very difficult to know on which day the egg is fertilize, the last day of the last menstrual period is consider the beginning of pregnancy. Gynecologists add forty weeks or 280 days to this day to give a possible date of birth.
Once the pregnancy is confirmed , proper pre-natal care should be taken to avoid any complications or risks like miscarriage , placental abruption , etc. Every pregnant woman has to have regular check ups during pregnancy. These check ups are done to know how the fetus is growing in the womb and whether it needs special care or not. Pregnant women have to take a lot of vaccinations, as well as they are also ask to take vitamin and mineral supplements during this time.
A woman should follow a balanced pregnancy diet and exercise routine during pregnancy for the good health of the mother and baby and for the good development of the baby. If there are no complications in the pregnancy, then the woman can have a normal vaginal delivery. If the pregnancy is not conceived properly or is premature or if there is any other kind of complication, then caesarean or c-section delivery will be done.
First Trimester of Pregnancy
The period from one to twelve weeks of pregnancy is called the first trimester. However, most women do not know that they are pregnant until the fifth to seventh week. The exact calculation of getting pregnant starts from the last day of the period. During this time the risk of miscarriage is highest, so more care is need at this time.
A woman’s body is getting ready for the entire pregnancy in the first trimester. The uterus begins to enlarge to hold the fetus inside, the placenta begins to develop to carry nutrition to the uterus. Apart from this, the amount of hormones and blood doubles and there is a lot of weight gain.
The baby develops very rapidly in the first trimester. During this, the baby’s spinal cord, brain and other organs are formed and by the end of this you can also hear the baby’s heartbeat in the ultrasound .
Second Trimester of Pregnancy
The period from 13 to 27 weeks of pregnancy is called the first trimester. During this trimester, pregnant women feel as if the baby is moving in their womb. Which means that the baby is growing properly in the womb. Prenatal care should be continue in this trimester as well, especially if you are going to give birth to a multiple pregnancy or twins.
Ultrasound is done to monitor the development of the baby from 18th to 20th week. It is important that if there are any complications in pregnancy or if the baby has any congenital disorder, then it is known about it in the beginning of the second trimester. This is because it will allow the mother to proceed with the pregnancy with the right thinking and also help the doctors to treat the complications.
It is also important to remember that even though the baby is still considered utero (can survive outside the womb) after 23 weeks, the longer the baby is in the womb, the more likely it is to live and the more likely it is to have health problems. The danger is reduced.
Third Trimester of Pregnancy
The period from 28 to 40 weeks of pregnancy is called the first trimester. By this week you have gained a lot of weight and now you will be feeling more tired than before. It is important that you take adequate rest during this time so that the baby is safe in the womb.
Your baby’s bones are delicate but are fully formed by this time. By this time the baby can feel the light and can even open and close his eyes. If all goes well, you and your baby will be ready for vaginal delivery by the end of this trimester.
It is important to note that a baby born at 37 weeks is called a premature baby. Such babies are at risk of having a weakened immune system and delayed development. Babies born at 39 and 40 weeks are called “full term” babies and are healthier.
Complications of Pregnancy
There are many women who go through this phase of pregnancy without any problem. However, there are many other women whose pregnancy becomes difficult due to problems with their health or that of the baby. However, the chances of such problems can be reduced if proper precautions (such as not smoking or drinking alcohol and eating a balanced diet) are taken before becoming pregnant. Women who were healthy before becoming pregnant may also have problems during their pregnancy.
Such pregnancies are called high-risk pregnancies. In such a situation, more prenatal care, medical treatment and even surgery can be done to keep both mother and baby well. Pregnant women may face the following problems during pregnancy.
High Blood Pressure
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition that can seriously affect the health of the baby. High blood pressure can result in reduced blood flow to the placenta. The umbilical cord carries nutrition and oxygen to the baby in the womb. Reduced blood flow to the placenta can slow the growth of the baby. In addition, it can lead to pre-mature delivery or pre-eclampsia in the mother .
Women who had high blood pressure before becoming pregnant should have frequent checkups during pregnancy. If a woman has high blood pressure after becoming pregnant, this condition is called gestational high blood pressure. Gestational high blood pressure occurs during the second or third trimester and resolves on its own after delivery.
If a woman has a sugar problem or diabetes after becoming pregnant, then this condition is called gestational diabetes . The pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin which breaks down glucose and transports it to the cells as energy. Due to the hormonal changes taking place in pregnancy, it may happen that enough insulin is not made in the body or it is not used properly in the body. This can increase the accumulation of glucose in the blood. An increased blood sugar level in the blood can lead to the condition of gestational diabetes.
If you have gestational diabetes, it is important that you get the treatment prescribed by your doctor. It is necessary to get these treatments done because if not done, conditions like premature birth can arise.
If the mother has any kind of infection during pregnancy such as bacterial infection , viral infection , fungal infection or STD , then it can affect the health of both mother and baby. All of these can pass into the fetus and cause harm to health. Many of these infections can be treated during or before pregnancy.
It is important to get tested for infections in your body and adopt the right precautions against them as it can lead to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, premature delivery, congenital disorders. You should talk to your doctor about these infections and get treatment and vaccinations if you are at risk of getting them.
Miscarriage means the death of the fetus on its own in the twentieth week of pregnancy. This can happen for a variety of reasons such as infection, immune system response, and uterine abnormalities. Your risk of miscarriage increases if you drink or smoke. Lack of exercise , being under stress and excessive caffeine consumption can also lead to miscarriage.
Symptoms of miscarriage include vaginal bleeding , abdominal cramps , vaginal discharge , etc. Miscarriage once started cannot be reversed. Miscarriage or miscarriage can be very painful for any woman. Apart from this, if you have had a miscarriage in the past or if you have habits like smoking and alcohol in your lifestyle, then due to these also the risk of miscarriage increases. But that doesn’t mean you can’t conceive again. At this time it is better that you take the support of family and friends emotionally and keep yourself mentally strong.
Usually the embryo fertilizes in the womb but if this fertilization takes place in the fallopian tubes then this condition is called ectopic pregnancy or tubal pregnancy. In such a situation, it becomes important to recognize the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy. Symptoms may include abdominal pain , pelvic pain, bleeding , nausea, and an urge to have a bowel movement.
It is unusual for an ectopic pregnancy to continue as normal, so you may need to have it treated medically or surgically. In some cases, if not diagnosed in time, an ectopic pregnancy can lead to rupture of the fallopian tubes, which can be life-threatening. So if you see any symptoms of ectopic pregnancy, then tell the doctor about them and go to the hospital immediately.
If pregnancy pain starts at 37 weeks, it is called pre-mature labor . Babies who are born in premature labor usually have health problems as well as slow growth after birth. This condition occurs when the development of the brain and lungs is complete in the last weeks of pregnancy.
Premature labor can usually be caused by lifestyle changes of the mother, poor prenatal nutrition, smoking , alcohol consumption, uterine abnormalities and infections. Low levels of progesterone hormone can also lead to premature labor, so women who are at risk are treated with progesterone hormone so that delivery can be postponed until it is safe.
‘Still birth’ means termination of pregnancy or stillbirth of the baby at 20 weeks of pregnancy. The term is also used for babies who die during childbirth. Many still births occur for several unknown reasons and are called unexplained still births. Smoking, alcohol, older age for pregnancy and medical conditions such as diabetes and obesity increase the risk of still birth. This can cause a lot of mental and emotional shock to the parents, so parents should take counseling during this time.
Check-up during pregnancy
In the first trimester of pregnancy, it is very important to have a complete health check-up of both the mother and the father. During pregnancy, the baby not only takes nourishment from the mother but also carries the genes of both the mother and father. Routine tests and screenings are very important since it is important in the long term development of the baby.
These tests and screenings include total blood count , urine analysis , tests for hepatitis , STIs and HIV/AIDS . Tests such as the pregnancy-associated plasma protein test (PAPPA) and the human gonadotropin test are done to check for any chromosomal abnormalities. Ultrasound and nuchal translucency scans are done to check fetal development and to confirm that the baby has no abnormalities.
The mother’s immune system plays an important role in pregnancy as the health of the baby depends on it. The mother’s immune system protects the baby during pregnancy, and breast- feeding is also protected after birth until the baby is vaccinated from outside .
That’s why it is important that the mother takes all the necessary vaccinations on time. Get all the check ups and screenings prescribed by the doctor and take the necessary vaccines based on their results. It is important to note that the vaccine for flu , tetanus , diphtheria and whooping cough is given to all pregnant women.
Diet and Supplements During Pregnancy
Maintaining the right amount of nutrition during pregnancy requires a well- balanced diet to maintain well-being and to provide proper nutrition to the growing baby. Therefore, it becomes essential to create a balanced pregnancy diet that includes adequate amounts of carbohydrates , proteins , and minerals .
Water is not given much importance when it comes to nutrition in pregnancy but lack of water can lead to serious complications so drinking enough water is very important. Your body needs many vitamins and minerals during pregnancy, including iron and folate, which all pregnant women should take.
Labor and Childbirth
The contraction of the muscles of the uterus signals that your body is ready for labor and delivery of the baby. After the fourth month of pregnancy, you may feel contractions that will not be frequent or frequent and will not cause much pain. These are called Braxton-Hicks contractions or false labor.
If you are having contractions before 37 weeks and these are happening frequently and they are also more painful then it can be a sign of premature labor. If you are seeing these signs, see a doctor immediately or go to your nearest hospital immediately.
There are two types of labor contractions – early labor contractions (which last only five minutes) and active labor contractions (which are frequent and intensely painful). During this time the cervix begins to open and when this happens you may see a blood-like discharge from the vagina.
Once the cervix opens properly, it means that your body is ready for delivery. If this does not happen or if there is any kind of problem then you can be done by C-section or Caesarean delivery.
It is important to control the pain during delivery as there is a lot of intense pain during labor. Many women are given anesthesia and analgesics such as epidurals to control pain, but many women use meditation , yoga and music therapy during this time .