Pregnancy is a term which is familiar to every one of us. Men usually back off from this term. Whatever it is, it is an undeniable reality of life and the part of nature in which everyone is included.
In technical terms, pregnancy is the process associated with fertilization and development of mostly one offspring, known as fetus or an embryo. Multiple gestations can result due to the development of twins or triplets.
Normally, the pregnancy period is 38 weeks to 40 weeks. Obviously, rare cases regarding gestation period are often seen.
Stages of Pregnancy
Pregnancy starts when a male gamete fuses with the female gamete and the resulting embryo implants itself onto the uterus wall. Al this occurs during the fertile phase (the duration during which fertilization can occur) of female’s menstrual cycle. Once the pregnancy cycle begins, it passes through three phases known as pregnancy stages.
- 1st Stage (First Trimester): This period lasts for the 12 weeks of pregnancy. It is also known as the first pregnancy. At the advent of this stage, females experience a nausea known as “Morning Sickness”. Though, described as morning sickness, this nausea can be experience by females in evening, afternoon or throughout the day in some cases. Without getting into much complexity, in this stage, simple changes in female body takes place and the fetus continues to grow slowly and steadily.
- 2nd Stage (Second Trimester): The time period from 13 to 28 weeks is known as the second trimester. Owing to rich, nutritious diet and fading away of morning sickness, women in the phase are much more alive and energized. They begin to put on weight. Though, the fetus evolves into a recognizable shape during the first trimester, but it is not until the second trimester that the fetus begins to move in a traditional manner known as “quickening”. These movements can be felt by the pregnant women.
- 3rd Stage (Third Trimester): This last stage goes on from 28 to 38-40 weeks. During the third trimester, women gain the most weight and the fetal growth also maximizes. The woman’s belly will transform itself into a downward, dropping shape, unlike in the second trimester, in which the belly is upright. Fetal movement becomes steady and regular and is felt by the mother. The fetus turns into a downward position, ready for birth. At the end of 38 months (most likely), a child is born.
Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy
As every woman is different, so the experiences of pregnancy are also different. The early signs of pregnancy become visible some time after the advent of conception. Some of the most common pregnancy symptoms are described below:
- Nausea with and without vomiting: Morning sickness occurs at any time of the day. It is usually associated with vomiting. Due to the rising level of secretion of estrogen and progesterone (female sex hormones) , the stomach empties more slowly. Women become more sensitive to various odors, such as perfume, cigarette smoke, or foods. This induces nausea.
- Swollen, tender breasts: The breasts are one of the best signs of pregnancy. During the first few weeks of pregnancy, the breasts become tender, sore and enlarged. This is basically due to excessive hormonal secretion.
- Increased Urination: Pregnant women find themselves urinating more often than not, especially at night time.
- Fatigue: Fatigue is also considered as one of the best indicators of pregnancy. Sense of tiredness is caused due to high secretion of progesterone which induces sleep. Besides this, lower blood pressure, lower blood glucose level, and greater blood generation can suck must of your energy. Hence, women should take care of nutrition.
- Food craving: Pregnancy induces food craving in women. You will find yourself attracted to certain foods such as fried foods and coffee. During the first trimester, when the hormonal changes are most rapid and dramatic, women tend to experience such sensations.
- Cramping and spotting: Few weeks after conception, when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterus, the earliest signs of pregnancy are experiences. These are cramping and spotting. It is actually termed as implantation bleeding. The cramps that result that called menstrual cramps. Though, cramping and spotting are very nominal. Pregnant women who are unaware of this typical discharge normally get anxious. Though, it is nothing to be worried about, as this bleeding is practically harmless.
The 40 weeks of pregnancy period is checked regularly at regular intervals by ultrasound. It is the same ultrasound technique which determines whether a boy or girl is being born inside mother’s womb.
Pregnant women require a suitable and balanced diet. A diet having sufficient quantity of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, iron, minerals and other nutrients should be taken. Food based on green leaves, such as spinach should be preferred.
Pregnancy can be a troublesome and tiresome exercise, but it can be turned into a normal act of life by getting acquainted by the above mentioned knowledge.