What Do You Want to Know About Pregnancy?

Overview

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.

On average, a full-term pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. There are many factors that can affect a pregnancy. Women who receive an early pregnancy diagnosis and prenatal care are more likely to experience a healthy pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby.

Knowing what to expect during the full pregnancy term is important for monitoring both your health and the health of the baby. If you’d like to prevent pregnancy, there are also effective forms of birth control you should keep in mind.

Symptoms of pregnancy

You may notice some signs and symptoms before you even take a pregnancy test. Others will appear weeks later, as your hormone levels change.

Missed period

A missed period is one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy (and maybe the most classic one). However, a missed period doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pregnant, especially if your cycle tends to be irregular.

There are many health conditions other than pregnancy that can cause a late or missed period.

Headache

Headaches are common in early pregnancy. They’re usually caused by altered hormone levelsand increased blood volume. Contact your doctor if your headaches don’t go away or are especially painful.

Spotting

Some women may experience light bleeding and spotting in early pregnancy. This bleeding is most often the result of implantation. Implantation usually occurs one to two weeks after fertilization.

Early pregnancy bleeding can also result from relatively minor conditions such as an infection or irritation. The latter often affects the surface of the cervix (which is very sensitive during pregnancy).

Bleeding can also sometimes signal a serious pregnancy complication, such as miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or placenta previa. Always contact your doctor if you’re concerned.

Weight gain

You can expect to gain between 1 and 4 pounds in your first few months of pregnancy. Weight gain becomes more noticeable toward the beginning of your second trimester.

Heartburn

Hormones released during pregnancy can sometimes relax the valve between your stomachand esophagus. When stomach acid leaks out, this can result in heartburn.

Constipation

Hormone changes during early pregnancy can slow down your digestive system. As a result, you may become constipated.

Back pain

Hormones and stress on the muscles are the biggest causes of back pain in early pregnancy. Later on, your increased weight and shifted center of gravity may add to your back pain. Around half of all pregnant women report back pain during their pregnancy.

Anemia

Pregnant women have an increased risk of anemia, which causes symptoms such as lightheadedness and dizziness.

The condition can lead to premature birth and low birth weight. Prenatal care usually involves screening for anemia.

Depression

Between 14 and 23 percent of all pregnant women develop depression during their pregnancy. The many biological and emotional changes you experience can be contributing causes.

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