Pregnancy: General description
Pregnancy is the physiological process in which uterus develops a new organism that is a result of fertilization. It can occur by sexual intercourse or reproductive technology. This process lasts about 280 days (40 weeks or 10 lunar months) from the last menstrual period. Under the influence of new conditions that appear during the development of offspring inside a woman, numerous complex changes are showing up. The menstruations stop, the breasts become swollen and sometimes nipples get darker. Some women have brown spots on their body, weakness, drowsiness, nausea, sometimes vomiting, drooling, taste changes, frequent urination.
It depends on a person, because every woman is individual in her reaction on pregnancy, but we used to specify the most common early signs and symptoms of pregnancy:
- Shortness of breath (the growing fetus needs oxygen, so it leaves you not much)
- Sore breasts and tingling nipples (the pregnancy hormones increase the blood delivering to your breasts)
- Fatigue, feeling sick (that it also the effect of increased hormone in woman’s body)
- Constipation and frequent urination (during a pregnancy body reproduces extra fluids what makes your bladder work more and extra progesterone that affect your digestive system)
- Headaches and backaches which come because you’re gaining weight and the center of gravity leave your posture in changed condition
- Cramps (when the uterus is stretching to be ready for a child)
- Food cravings, changed sense of smell
- Mood changes, emotionality because the body is adapting to new hormones
- High basal body temperature
- Dizziness (it may be caused by low blood sugar or blood pressure)
- A missed period (the surest sign of pregnancy especially when you have the periods always in time).
- Positive pregnancy test
Particularly big changes occur in the genital organs of women. Each week of pregnancy uterus increases and the blood supply to the internal and external genital organs rise as well. Tissues are swelling and getting flexibility what cause better stretch during childbirth. The number of glandular lobules in a breast is increasing and the blood supply rises inside, so a breast becomes tense and colostrum is coming out from nipples. The amount of gonadotropin, estrogen, and progesterone which are produced by placenta and yellow body are rising very fast.
During the second half of pregnancy period due to the growth of uterus, the front wall of abdomen, skin of the breast, thighs can be covered by «scars of pregnancy» which look like pink bands.
For the certain diagnosis of pregnancy, it’s necessary to show up for pregnancy consultation in 3-4 weeks after missed period. You can be sure about the pregnancy if the fetus can be felt through abdominal wall and a doctor can catch the movements of it, hear its noises and heart sound. After this, it is important to ensure yourself by doing the ultrasound or X-ray examination.
The stages (trimesters) of pregnancy:
1 trimester – from conception to 12th week of pregnancy (the nervous system and heart of baby start to form, arms, legs, fingers, face begin to develop, the sex organs are forming on 12-13 week of pregnancy so you can check if it’s boy or girl using ultrasound)
2 trimester – from 13 to 27 week of pregnancy (baby becomes active, eyebrows, fingernails, footprints have formed, child can hear and swallow, taste buds form, hair begins to grow etc.)
3 trimester – starts on 28th week and lasts until childbirth (baby’s bones are formed, lungs practice breathing, the eyes can open and close, baby is getting bigger and has no space inside and so on).
The developing fetus will receive all needed nutrients from mother. So the well-being of it will totally depends on mother’s health, conditions of her work, rest, diet she chooses, the condition of nervous and endocrine systems. To stay healthy, future mother will need to focus on her ration and ensure that it provides enough of nutrients and energy for baby’s growth.
Diet during the pregnancy
The mother’s diet should include the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats; have an assortment of vegetables and fruits. Also, the calories intake will grow up because the fetus will consume food as well. Except fruits and vegetables, the pregnant woman needs carbohydrates-rich food like potatoes, rice, pasta. The foods which include protein are fish, chicken, lean meat. Examples of food with fats are olive oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, nuts, seeds. Also, it’s pretty good to include fiber as whole meal bread, wholegrain pasta, wild rice. It’s important to receive calcium from your food that can be found in milk, cheese, yogurt.
Not less essential to gain iron from your food as it will contribute to the offspring development and help to avoid anemia. If the mother is iron-deficient, she risks that preterm delivery, delivery of low-weight baby, stillbirth (baby dies before birth) etc. The iron can be consumed from dried beans, egg yolk, salmon, tuna, lamb and so on.
In the same time you should avoid some food like uncooked or undercooked meals, pate, raw eggs, empty calories foods etc.
Pregnancy complications and intercurrent diseases
Sometimes a woman body is unable to cope with increased demands of growing fetus due to burden on cardiovascular, urinary and other systems, then the pregnancy may proceed with some complications.
These complications may include gestational toxicosis – a disease caused by developing fetal egg what make the process of pregnancy harder, but usually finish after childbirth. If the pregnant noticed any signs of this disease (vomiting, drooling, jaundice, dermatoses) she should immediately see a doctor. The other problem during pregnancy pregnancy-induced hypertension – is growth of new hypertension without the presence of protein in the urine. It usually defines as high blood pressure.
As was mentioned before pregnant woman can feel uncomfortable because of increased anemia. It is a group of clinical and hematological syndrome, a common point of which is to reduce the concentration of hemoglobin in the blood, at least at the same time reducing the number of red blood cells.
After the childbirth, woman can face with postpartum depression which is a type of depression that affect woman exactly in that time. Symptoms of it could be sadness, changes in sleeping and eating habits, reduced desire for sex, crying, anxiety.
Preparing to the pregnancy
The physio- and psychoprophylactic preparing for pregnant became very popular. In the process of this method, doctors tell women about anatomical and physiological characteristics of organism, changes it will have during pregnancy and teach them how to behave in this time.
Normal pregnancy is largely dependent on keeping of personal hygiene woman, clean body, underwear, clothing and footwear, housing. It is recommended to take hygienic shower with warm water followed by hard rubbing the skin with a towel. If a pregnant woman wants to take a bath, she needs to avoid a high temperature.
During pregnancy, woman should take care of her attractiveness. However, she needs to be aware that some cosmetics contain toxic substances, the absorption of which can lead to abnormal development of the embryo (fetus) and the fetus.
The correct mode of the day, prevention of physical and mental overvoltage, comfortable clothes and shoes, balanced diet, not consuming alcohol and not smoking, hygienic gymnastics sessions, daily walks, as well as other recreational activities contribute to the normal course of pregnancy and the proper development of intrauterine fetus.
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