Pregnancy is a life-changing experience that comes with various symptoms from the beginning of conception. The goal of a pregnant woman is to have a safe delivery and healthy baby, however there are many factors that can influence pregnancy to result into a successful birth or miscarriage. This article will look at the description of pregnancy, the symptoms of pregnancy, pregnancy week by week, pregnancy test and prenatal care.
What is Pregnancy?
Pregnancy occurs during sexual intercourse when the sperm fertilizes egg that are being released from the ovary to form a zygote. The zygote further moves to the uterus and attaches itself to the wall of the uterus through a process known as implantation. On average basis the period of pregnancy is completed for 40 weeks from the last menstrual period.
There are many factors that can make a pregnancy to result into a successful childbirth or ectopic pregnancy, however women with early diagnosis and those that receive quality prenatal care and more likely to give birth successfully and have a healthy baby.
Symptoms of pregnancy
Before conception, there are questions that might come to your mind that, what are the signs and symptoms that are been exhibited by pregnant women? Well there are many symptoms you will experience when you become pregnant. The early pregnancy symptoms may come up around the time you missed your last period while others will be shown a week or more later. Some women experience these symptoms when they are 6 weeks along while about 85% will experience the symptoms when they around 8 weeks.
If you experience any of these underlisted symptoms you are likely to be pregnant and it is advisable to visit the clinic for confirmation test and probably prenatal care after you have been confirmed pregnant so as to improve your pregnancy outcome;
This is probably the first sign of pregnancy in women. A missed period might be an indication of pregnancy especially when your period is always regular but if you have an irregular period It is advisable to see your doctor for further confirmation test. A missed period does not necessarily mean that you are pregnant there are other health conditions that can make you have late menstruation or even miss your period.
Nausea and vomiting
These are constituent of the morning sickness and these symptoms comes up about a month after conception, some women experience early symptoms of morning sickness around 2 weeks and it involves nausea and vomiting . They are one of the early symptoms you experience when you become pregnant due to the increase in the secretion of progesterone hormone. Constipation
This is another kind of symptoms of pregnancy in women and it is called as a result of increase in the secretion of progesterone hormone which slowed down digestive system thereby leading to constipation.
Pregnancy is filled with physical and emotional changes, mood swings during pregnancy is absolutely normal and they are caused by several reasons such as stress, metabolic reactions and increase in the secretion of pregnancy hormone which effect the neurotransmitters. During this period you will experience irregular changes in your mood such as anger, anxiety, happiness and depression.
This is referred to as difficulty in sleeping and there are many factors that can contribute to it which include physical discomfort, stress and flotation in the secretion of hormones. Exercise and healthy diet development can help control insomnia and give you a good sleep during pregnancy period. Headache and fatigue
Increase in the secretion of hormones and blood volume can contribute to headache and fatigue during the period of pregnancy. Therefore if you experience stress, body weakness and fatigue it is very crucial to see your doctor for medical attention. Back pain
The early symptoms of back pain during pregnancy is as a result of stress and hormonal changes. Later on increase in weight and changes in centre of gravity also add to back pain. About 70% of pregnant women experience back pain during pregnancy periods. Breast changes
Increase in the level of hormone secretion during pregnancy can make the breast to become swollen and generally heavy, the nipple also become more sensitive and this is one of the early symptoms of pregnancy.
Some pregnant women experience pain around the abdomen and this is due to hormonal changes which makes the muscles in the uterus to stretch and expand. This pain is similar to the one you have during menstrual cramps and if bleeding occurs during this period it may indicate miscarriage therefore it is important to see your doctor for immediate medical attention.
In early pregnancy some women experience light bleeding or spotting and this is as a result of attachment of the foetus to the wall of the uterus in a process called implantation. Bleeding can also be as a result of irritation and infection, if bleeding becomes persistent and severe it might be an indication of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Therefore make sure you see your doctor if you experience these complications.
Other signs and symptoms of pregnancy include weight gain, heart burn , anemia, hip pain, urinary tract infection (UTI), presence of stretch mark, melasma and low blood pressure.
Pregnancy week by week
pregnancy weeks can be placed into three categories and each last for 3 months.
This period is between 1 to 12 weeks and it is when the fertilized egg moves to the fallopian tube and attaches itself to the wall of the uterus. In this stage of pregnancy the baby grows quickly and start developing spinal cord, brain, intestines and other vital organs, the baby continues to move constantly and the heart begins to beat. The possibility of having miscarriage in the first trimester is very high, therefore contact your doctor if you experience bleeding during 1 to 12 weeks of pregnancy. The symptoms you may likely experience at first trimester include:
- Rapid weight gain
- Stomach upset
- Food aversion
- Increased appetite for certain food
- Frequent urination
The second trimester of pregnancy is between 13 to 27 weeks. The baby continues to grow rapidly and the doctor will perform an ultrasound scan on you to check the anatomy and progress in the growth of your baby. Ultrasound test can also be used to reveal the gender of your baby and discover if there is abnormal growth and development in the baby. You start to feel the movement and kicking of your baby in the belly during this period. The symptoms you may experience during second trimester include:
- Expansion in the uterus
- body pain
- presence of stretch mark on the breast stomach and thigh
- Movement and kicking of the baby
- Skin changes
- Vaginal discharge
This is the last trimester of pregnancy and it is between 28 to 40 weeks. At this stage your baby can open and close eyes as well as sense light that filters through your womb. Your baby will continue to grow rapidly , increase in weight and develop a well formed bone. The following are the symptoms you may experience during the third trimester :
- Shortness of breath
- Occasional contractions
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Increase in the quantity of milk in the breast
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Rapid movement of the baby in the belly
Pregnancy test are techniques that are used to accurately check if you are pregnant. This test is conducted by collecting the urine or blood sample of the patient, it works by looking out for the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin(HCG) hormones inside urine or blood sample. HCG hormones are secreted in your body when the fertilized egg moves to the fallopian tube and attaches itself to the wall of the uterus.
The presence of HCG hormones in the urine or blood sample indicate a positive results and this means you are pregnant while the absence of HCG hormone indicates a negative result and this implies that you are not pregnant. It is important to use a very high quality and unexpired test kit so as to avoid the false positive result.
Prenatal care is the health care and check up you receive from your doctor or midwife when you are pregnant so as to maintain healthy pregnancy and secure safe delivery. It is very important to go for prenatal care as soon as you become pregnant because it improves pregnancy outcome and ensures delivery of a healthy baby, the services that are provided by your doctor or midwife during prenatal care include physical examination of your body to ensure that you and your baby are healthy, dietary advice, blood test, regular exercise advice and healthy lifestyle development advice such as avoiding drugs, smoking and alcohol intake. The main purpose of prenatal care is to enhance healthy pregnancy and the successful delivery of your baby.