It is a condition in which a female carries an embyo or a foetus in her womb which is said to be uterus. Pregnancy occurs either by sexual intercourse or by in-vitro fertilisation during which a male sperm and a female ovum are fused under in-vitro conditions to develop an embyo in a surrogant mother’s womb.The pregnancy period also called gestational period, generally lasts about 28 weeks, nearly 9 months. Pregnancy can be identified by by positive results through urine test, and confirmed by blood test, ultrasound etc.,The positive result of pregnancy through urine is due to the presence of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG). It is a hormone produced by placenta after implantation (Attachment of embryo onto the wall of uterus). Sometimes in rare cases, the HCG levels also rises even when the patient is not pregnant and this might be due to the cancer as some of the cancerous tumor cells are also able to produce this hormone.
How does the pregnancy occurs
The Hypothalamus of brain stimulates pituitary hormones which secretes Follicle Stimulating and Leutinizing hormones. These in-turn stimulates the female reproductive organ ovary to synthesize and release ovum by a process called ovulation.Ovary secretes estrogen and progesterone which helps in thickening and maintaining of uterus endometrium. Thickening of uterus occurs by cell division and proliferation of endometrial(inner) lining of uterus, hence the tissues and blood vessels grows enormously to form thickened bed which favors the implantation of embryo.
The FSH stimulates the production of primary follicles in the ovary which slowly develops into secondary follicles and matures into Graffian follicles with ovum inside. On maturation the graffian follicles ruptures and releases ovum outside by Ovulation. After the release of ovum, the follicles degenerates into corpus-luteum which secretes progesterone. This hormones thickens endometrium of uterus and maintains pregnancy. If fertilization does not occur, this corpus luteum degenerates by luteolysis to form a scar of connective tissue called Corpus albicans.
After ovulation, the released ovum enters the fallopian tube with the help of fimbriae for reaching the uterus. Meanwhile the sperm of male that has entered through vagina of female travels into the fallopian tube, where the sperm(n) fuses with the ovum(n) forming a diploid zygote(2n). This zygote reaches the uterus and gets attached to the endometrial layer of uterus and this process is called Implantation. The zygote develops into Embryo, Morula and Blastocyst which later develops into fetus.
This stage lasts from 0-12 weeks and includes the First three months.
- In the first month after the women conceives, no significant signs appear and only after 4 weeks some pregnancy home tests will detect the pregnancy. The embryo at that time is only with 2 cells. It lasts for 1-4 weeks.
- In the second month, the signs start to appear slowly. Nausea, Morning sickness, vomiting, Hormonal imbalances, Fatigue are observed. Embryo starts growing with organs like heart, brain etc.,It lasts for 5-8 weeks.
- In the third month, the embryo grows to a size of a plum and can be called as a fetus. The signs of morning sickness slowly decreases. It lasts for 9-13 weeks.
This stage lasts from 13 -28 weeks and includes the Fourth to sixth month.
- In the Fourth month, the baby grows up-to 5 inches and the bones starts hardening. X-ray test can detect and shows up the baby. It lasts for 14-17 weeks.
- In the Fifth month, a little discomforts are observed like swelling(little) of legs due to water retention, headache, dizziness, difficulty in digestion, gastritis, back pain etc., Mother can feel the baby has started kicking. Sense of hearing also starts developing in this month. It lasts for 18 – 21 weeks.
- In the Sixth month, the mother cross more than halfway of pregnancy and by this time the baby will be fully formed. It lasts for 22 – 26 weeks.
This stage lasts from 29 – 40 weeks and includes the seventh to Nineth month.
- In the Seventh month, the baby grows to a length of 13 inches. The baby’s brain starts perceiving sounds and sight. Slight uterine contractions may occur during this month.
- In the Eighth month, Baby’s lungs have been developed fully. The baby is fully formed and putting on weight.
- In the Nineth month, Braxton Hicks contractions, pelvic pressure and difficulty in sleeping have been observed.
- Food cravings or Aversions
- Absence of menstruation
- Weight gain
- Morning sickness
- Mood swings
- Cramps or slight bleeding
- Abdominal bloating
- Frequent urination
- Sore or tender breasts
- Low backache
- Swelling of legs
- High blood pressure
- Heart burn and Acne
- Human Chorionic Gonadotropin in Urine
- HCG test by RadioImmuno Assay (RIA)
- Enzyme Linked Immunisorbent Assay (ELISA)
- Urine and Blood serum levels of FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone)
Precautions to be taken during pregnancy
Here are a few precautions to be followed during pregnancy.
- Exercise regularly but avoid heavy exercise
- Prefer Sea food
- Take Nutrition rich supplements
- Avoid Smoking
- Eat fiber rich food
- Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
- Stay hydrated with plenty of water
- Increase the sleeping hours
- Stop junk food
- Avoid long distance travelling
- Avoid hot tubs, as higher temperature will affect fetal development
- Do not bend or avoid lifting heavy weights
- Avoid contact with Animal fur
It is very important to take care during pregnancy. One should not neglect the health complications of mother. Proper nutrition rich diet with protein and fiber rich food has to be taken. Regular health check up has to be followed by consulting physician. Maintain healthy and stress free environment to help for the growth of healthy baby.