Pregnancy occurs when a sperm fertilizes an egg after it’s released from the ovary during ovulation. The fertilized egg then travels down into the uterus, where implantation occurs. A successful implantation results in pregnancy. Once a sperm fertilizes an egg, your baby begins life. After several days, it burrows into the lining of the uterus. The place where it implants will develop
into the placenta. Your pregnancy is dated from the first day of your last period. The average length of pregnancy is 40 weeks and it is divided into three parts, or trimesters named 1st Trimester, 2nd Trimester, 3rd trimester, which last approximately three months each. The Pregnancy Timeline will give you a complete understanding of the pregnancy journey.
Symptoms of Pregnancy
You may suspect that you are pregnant when you have unusual symptoms of pregnancy. In the early days, you should notice yourself before taking a pregnancy test. Some initial symptoms are discussed in this section. Other changes will occur with the passage of time due to the body’s hormone level change.
1. Missed Period
You may suspect that you are pregnant when you have unusual symptoms of pregnancy or if you have missed your period. If you have regular periods and have missed your period by a week, it is likely that you are pregnant. However, if you have irregular menstrual cycles, look out for other symptoms of pregnancy. The missing Menstruation period is the basic and earliest symptom of pregnancy but it will not be considered when you have irregular menstruation periods. It is due to other reasons rather than pregnancy. Bleeding may still occur if you are pregnant but it is typically lighter than your usual periods. If you have been sexually active and have missed a period, please take a urine pregnancy test.
2. Vaginal Bleed
At about the fifth week of pregnancy, the embryo implants itself into the lining of the womb. Some women will experience some spotting as well as cramping during this time. This is harmless but the bleeding may also signify other problems such as a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy which is a life-threatening condition. Women should consult the doctor in case of bleeding.
3. Changes in Breast
Pregnant women’s breasts may become engorged and painful owing to the increase in circulating hormones. This can appear as early as a few days after conception. Throughout the pregnancy, the breast will continue to increase in size to prepare you to breastfeed the baby when it arrives. In addition, the areola (pigmented spots around the nipple) will darken.
4. Abdominal Blotidness
Women conceiving pregnancy may even experience some tummy bloatedness as the stomach emptying slows down in pregnancy. Wearing loose clothing and eating small frequent
meals may help relieve these symptoms.
Fatigue is also an early symptom of your pregnancy. Your body works harder to prepare itself for the next few months. It is also a way of adjusting to the emotional and physical demands. Most of the fatigue will improve as the pregnancy progresses.
This is the most well-known pregnancy symptom amongst all expecting mothers. It is related to the pregnancy hormone (Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin) which peaks at 8–10 weeks. Rest assured that in most cases, this does not harm the developing baby — even when weight is lost in the first few months of the pregnancy. In extreme cases, anti-vomiting medications and hospitalization for intravenous hydration may be required.
7. Frequent Urination
The extra trips made to the toilet are most pronounced in the early and late trimesters of the pregnancy. Pregnancy increases your body fluids and the efficiency of your kidneys hence the increase in urine production.
It is common to experience a dull backache throughout the entire pregnancy. This can worsen as the baby grows in size and weight as it adds an additional strain to your back. You may also experience headaches owing to the increase in hormonal production.
9. Food Cravings
This may become a predominant feature. Your taste buds may be numb and you may crave sour foodstuffs. This is fine as long as you consume a healthy and well-balanced diet.
10. Fainting Spells/ Giddiness
Giddiness or dizziness is the feeling of being unbalanced and lightheaded. These symptoms arise in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy as the blood pressure lowers as the blood vessels relax. Thus, if you stand for a long time or get up quickly from sitting or lying down, the flow of blood to your brain may be temporarily reduced leading to dizziness or fainting.
Certain measures may be helpful in reducing this distressing condition.
- Avoid standing for a long time
- Getting up slowly from sitting or lying down may help in preventing a sudden reduction of blood to your brain.
- Do not go hungry.
- Do not lie flat on your back after about mid-pregnancy. It is best to lie on one side with your belly supported on a small pillow.
- If the giddiness hits you, sit or lie down.
It is very common to become constipated while you are pregnant as food cannot move through your intestines as quickly as before. This is aggravated by
your womb putting pressure on your bowels. To reduce constipation, women’s should follow these instructions:
- Have lots of fiber, fruits, and vegetables in your diet.
- Have adequate hydration.
- Exercise regularly.
- Consult your doctor if it becomes a serious problem.
This symptom of a burning sensation in your chest especially after meals may cause great discomfort in pregnancy. It is caused by the slowing down of your gastrointestinal tract and the relaxation of the muscles at the opening of the stomach, resulting in the reflux of the acidic gastric juices.
13. Leg Cramps
Cramping of your legs begin in the second trimester and may get worse further due to not circulation of blood normally. During an attack of cramps, gentle stretching or massaging of the muscles may help relieve these symptoms. It may also help to avoid sitting, standing, or maintaining a fixed posture for long periods of time.
14. Swelling of the Legs
This is common as your body retains more fluids and your growing womb adds pressure to your legs causing them to swell. It is worst at the end of the day, especially in the third trimester. To minimize the swelling, it helps to put your feet up whenever you can. It is also beneficial to do gentle stretching exercises and to wear comfortable shoes.
15. Hand Numbness
This is commonly associated with a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome, whereby the nerve (median nerve) in the hands is compressed in a narrow space by the swelling encountered during pregnancy. Symptoms may also include tingling, burning, pain, or a dull ache in the fingers, hands, or wrists. They tend to worsen in the later stage of pregnancy.
These are engorged vessels that swell in the rectal area. They may cause itch, pain, and bleeding when you pass the motion. They occur as the enlarging womb puts pressure on the blood vessels causing them to enlarge.
This is common in pregnant mothers especially as the pregnancy advances. There is an increased need for oxygen in pregnancy, and this demand is met by your pregnancy hormones which increase your respiration. In the third trimester, the enlarging womb presses onto your diaphragm and increases this sensation of breathlessness.
Pregnancy contains three milestones for baby as well as women’s named Trimesters. Each Trimester consists of three months duration. In this section, we will discuss a little bit about the 1st, 2nd, 3rd trimesters.
As we discussed above, each trimester consists of three months duration and almost twelve weeks. During the first trimester the single-celled, fertilized egg embeds in the uterus and is transformed into a tiny, yet recognizably human, an embryo with all its major organ systems in place. The growth of the baby is very rapid in this trimester (1-12 weeks). Contrary to this, Miscarriage probability is also very high. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), it’s estimated that about 1 in 10 pregnancies end in miscarriage and that about 85 percent of these occur in the first trimester. Immediately consult the doctor, if you experience signs of miscarriage.
The second trimester (4-6 Months) also contains twelve weeks duration. The second trimester of pregnancy is a time of continuing growth and development. All the body systems are in place, but the fetus is not yet capable of independent life. Healthcare will perform Anatomy Scan Ultrasound. In this trimester, you will also find the gender of your baby through an ultrasound scan. You will feel the movement of your baby like kick and punch inside of your uterus. The maternal discomforts of the first trimester, such as morning sickness and tiredness, start to settle at the beginning of the second trimester.
The third trimester of pregnancy is a time of maturation and rapid growth. By 40 weeks, a fetus’s organs will have developed to the point at which it is capable of independent life. During the Third trimester (6-9 months) the important fetal developments include the laying down of fat, and the maturation of the body systems so they can function fully on their own after birth. The respiratory system has to undergo a particularly dramatic transformation to enable breathing for the first time. Your weight will be increased and you may feel more tired. Your baby can now sense light as well as open and close their eyes. Their bones are also formed.
Every woman should consult the doctor in case of early symptoms as we discussed above and should prefer to do Pregnancy Tests. After confirmation, it is very necessary to take a Healthy Diet and Vitamins with specific exercises that should do every pregnant woman for a healthy pregnancy. It is very important for women to be mentally prepared before conceiving a pregnancy. If not mentally prepared, they should avoid conceiving a pregnancy by using different pregnancy prevention techniques.