Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a series of changes that take place in a woman’s organs and tissue as a result of a developing fetus or it is a state of a female after conception to birth of the child.

How it happens

  • An egg or ovum is the female reproductive cell and sperm is the male reproductive cell.
  • Once a month, an ovum mature within one of the ovaries and travels down the nearby fallopian tube to the uterus, this process is called ovulation.
  • During intercourse male ejaculate’s millions of sperm cells. One of the spermatozoa unites with the ovum to form a zygote, this is called fertilization. It mostly takes place in a day or two of ovulation.
  • The zygote then implants itself in the wall of the uterus which is really supplied with blood and begins to grow.

Pregnancy lasts about 280 days or 40 weeks, counting from the first day of the last menstrual period.

Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters or stages.

The first trimester (0-12 weeks)

Symptoms

  • Amenorrhea /missed period-It is the first and the most important symptom of pregnancy. Slight bleeding may occur at the expected time of menstruation in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy but never afterward.
  • Morning sickness -vomiting sensation or nausea with or without vomiting commences in the morning. It may appear about 6 weeks after onset of the last menstrual period and vanishes 6-12 weeks later.
  • Urinary symptoms -include bladder irritability and increases the frequency of urination.
  • Breast changes- there will be enlargement, the sensation of fullness, tingling, and tenderness due to hormone actions.
  • Fatigue/tired feeling
  • Constipation -due to elevated levels of progesterone which is a smooth muscle relaxant.
  • Mood swings
  • Weight gain.
  • Appetite changes and sleepiness.

The second trimester(13-28weeks)

  • Persistent amenorrhea
  • Morning sickness and urinary symptoms decrease.
  • Abdominal enlargement
  • Quickening: The first sensation of the fetal movement by the mother.
  •  The skin around the nipples may get darkened.
  • Stretch marks
  • Patches of darker skin may usually appear over the forehead, cheeks, and upper lip.

The third trimester(29-40 weeks)

  • Shortness of breath
  • Heartburn
  • Swelling of ankles, fingers, and face.
  • Tender breast
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Baby dropping or movement of the baby in the lower abdomen.
  • Contractions – may be a sign of true or false labor. Watch for the signs of labor.

A pregnant woman could have all of these symptoms or else just a few among them.