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Pregnancy is a wonderful thing where the body has the ability to create an offspring.

One or more offspring will be carried within the Uterus of a female.

It can go very smoothly or can be a very complicated with a poor outcome.

Often, being closely monitored during the process by a Licensed Medical Provider, greatly improves the chances for success.

Despite all the medical advancements, miscarriages and many other problems can be seen.

 

The Beginning

  • Conception begins with the fertilization of an egg by a sperm.
  • The fetus or embryo will start from conception and continue to develop over time.
  • It often will attach in the Uterus and soon a Placenta is formed.
  • When childbirth occurs, it is typically between 37 and 42 weeks from conception.
  • Any variation is abnormal but not always detrimental to the success of the child
  • As medical advancement in childbirth continues – success is more likely and becomes more common.
  • However, the goal is for a term pregnancy in most cases.

 

Fertilization

  • Also referred to as conception
  • Occurs when the ovum (or egg) from a female and a sperm from a male become combined.
  • Also occurs in plants, bacteria, and other organism in separate manners
  • When conception occurs than an embryo is formed
  • Depending on organism fertilization can be internal or external

 

Duration

  • Pregnancy occurs typically for 37 – 42 weeks
  • Often calculation of pregnancy usually begins by looking back on a women’s last menstrual period
  • At term”  –  means when 37 weeks has passed in the pregnancy but is less then 42 weeks
  • Preterm”  –  means less then 37 weeks of pregnancy
  • Postterm”  –  means more then 42 weeks of pregnancy
  • 5% of births are on the due date
  • 50% of births are within the week of the due date
  • 90% of births are within two weeks of the due date
  • Induced labor”  –  a decision made depending on circumstance and the length of pregnancy

 

Symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Craving for certain foods
  • Weight gain
  • Enlarging stomach
  • Swelling in legs
  • Decreased appetite
  • Depression (in some cases)
  • Increased Emotions

 

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Diagnosis

  • hCG or human chorionic gonadotropin
  • Missed menstrual period
  • Increased basal temperature
  • Home pregnancy test with urine
    .  Usually is not accurate until 12 days from conception
  • Sonography

 

3 significant time periods

1.) 1st Trimester

  • Weeks 1 – 13
  • Minimal bleeding at implantation into the uterus is not uncommon
  • Cramping is often present
  • Placenta growth is initiated
  • Growth of umbilical cord connecting the embryo with the placenta
  • Morning Sickness seen in 75%
  • Nipples will darken
  • Most miscarriages occur in the 1st trimester

2.) 2nd Trimester

  • Weeks 11 – 26
  • Months 4-6
  • Increased energy can occur
  • Fetus begins moving
  • Fetus extremities and organs begin to become recognizable
  • Male and female distinction can be seen

3.) 3rd Trimester

  • Weeks 27 – Childbirth
  • The largest amount of weight gain occurs during this period
  • Women’s belly drops due to positioning of fetus
  • Continued fetus movement
  • Women’s naval may be pushed outward
  • Very uncomfortable for women
  • Increased urine frequency
  • If premature childbirth during this period – survival is possible

 

Hormonal changes during pregnancy

  • Progesterone and Estrogen levels will rise during pregnancy
  • Prolactin levels will increase from Pituitary gland
  • Placental production of hormones increase as pregnancy advances
  • Gestational diabetes Gestational Diabetes is a risk for those who develops insulin resistance

 

Weight gain during pregnancy

  • This is the most noticeable change in pregnancy
  • Uterus, placenta, and fetus are all progressively enlarging
  • Water retention and additional fat also play a part
  • In the United States – recommended weight gain is 25 lbs – 40 lbs depending on weight
  • An overweight women should gain less while an underweight should gain more
  • Variation of weight gain has been 5 lbs to 100+ lbs

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Exercise During Pregnancy

  • Maintenance of exercise or beginning an exercise program are very beneficial while pregnant.
  • Exercise can improve health and decrease risk for stress, back pain, fatigue, and overall feeling of discomfort
  • This is not a “weight-loss program” but a “health program
  • The level of which you exercised prior to pregnancy may need to change
  • Vigorous exercise may be harmful
  • If you never have been apart of a program please consult your medical provider but this often will not prevent you from exercising.

 

Other changes:

Cardiovascular

  • Increased blood volume
  • Increased heart rate
  • Change in blood pressure

Metabolic

  • Increased nutrition is required
  • Possible hormone changes and insulin resistance which can lead to gestational diabetes

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Nutrition in Pregnancy

  • A well-balanced nutritional plan is essential for those planning to become pregnant and for those who are currently pregnant
  • Proper eating habits are beneficial for the health of the women preparing or pregnant and as importantly the health for your child
  • Several nutrients and food groups should be properly consumed
  • Several other foods should be avoided such as caffeine, raw meats and fish, raw eggs, and other such foods

 

Drugs During Pregnancy

  • Several drugs are completely contraindicated while pregnant
  • Other drugs are concerning even while attempting or of child bearing age.
  • Drug use during pregnancy may be possible with certain drugs
  • Classification of drugs can be divided into A,B,C,D and X
  • The drugs not to be used during pregnancy are X, D, and often C
  • Any drug used during the embryo stages that has a permanent harmful effect is termed teratogen

 

Sexual intercourse during pregnancy

  • Most women while pregnant can enjoy sexual intercourse.
  • Often frequency and desire decrease in most situations.
    This is not encompassing of all women – a good amount of women indicate a greater amount of satisfaction while pregnant.
  • Medical concern is usually not seen during pregnancy however, rarely complications many be seen in a small population – typically in those with additional medical concerns in addition to the pregnancy.
  • The fetus is protected during intercourse by the women’s cervix
  • Following childbirth the average wait is 6 weeks but intercourse may resume once both couples are comfortable.

 

Definitions

Gravid – Pregnancy

Nulligravida – A women who has never been pregnant

Multigravida – A women who has been pregnant one or more times

Multiparous – Subsequent pregnancies

Embyro – development of offspring from concerption through the first 8 weeks

Fetus – starts from 2 month until birth

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