Pregnancy – information, confirming, signs and changes during pregnancy
What is Pregnancy
The series of events, extending from CONCEPTION to delivery (CHILDBIRTH), through which a blastocyst (the clump of cells that implants in the endometrium, the lining of the UTERUS) becomes a baby. A full-term pregnancy spans 266 days. However, doctors calculate the estimated date of delivery, commonly called the due date, to be 280 days from the start of the last menstrual period.
Though a missed menstrual period is the classic first sign of pregnancy, URINE pregnancy tests are now sensitive enough to detect minuscule amounts of pregnancy-related hormones in the urine only a few days after conception and well before the woman misses a period. Home pregnancy tests are generally as accurate as the tests health-care providers use, though following the directions precisely is important. False results are common because of mistakes such as using a urine sample other than the first of the day (which is the most concentrated) or not properly timing the duration of the test. Most health-care providers will do a pregnancy BLOOD test at the first prenatal visit to confirm the pregnancy. Pregnancy tests, urine or blood, measure the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) or beta hCG.
Early signs of pregnancy a woman may detect include
- Tender, swollen breasts
- Unexplained nausea and vomiting
- Aversions to or cravings for certain foods, including smells and sights of them
- Profound tiredness
- Sensation of lower abdominal bloating
- Increased URINATION
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
The health-care provider’s examination also detects signs of pregnancy, including changes in the texture (by internal palpation) and appearance of the CERVIX and an enlarged, softened uterus. As pregnancy advances the uterus rises out of the pelvis and into the abdomen (beginning around 12 weeks). As part of the diagnostic process the provider uses terminology to identify how many pregnancies and how many deliveries the woman has had previous to the current pregnancy, designating them with the Latin words gravida and para. A woman who has been pregnant twice and delivered twice is a gravida 2 para 2, for example, and a woman who is pregnant for the first time is a primigravida nullipara or gravida 1 para 0.
Key Changes During Pregnancy
The woman’s body undergoes profound changes during the course of pregnancy. Hundreds of hormones unique to pregnancy initiate and facilitate these changes, the most obvious of which are enlarged breasts and a steadily expanding belly. This biochemical flood is also responsible for the emotional swings that characterize early pregnancy. Nearly every body system modifies its functions in some fashion to support the pregnancy and the developing FETUS.
Uterus and abdomen
The woman’s uterus, pelvis, and abdominal structures flex and expand to accommodate the fetus as it develops and grows. The uterus, for example, can stretch up to 10 times its normal size during pregnancy. The numerous hormones unique to pregnancy act on connective tissue throughout the woman’s body to soften ligaments and muscles, providing the pliability necessary to allow this expansion. This softening also accounts for the MUSCLE and JOINT aches, especially in the hips and knees, common in the last months of pregnancy.
The endometrium (lining of the uterus) remains spongy and vascular to support the PLACENTA. A plug of mucus collects in the cervix, helping block BACTERIA from entering the uterus. The tissues of the VAGINA and VULVA engorge with blood, softening in preparation for childbirth. As the pregnancy approaches term, the cervix softens and thins (effaces). With the contractions of labor the cervix dilates and the vagina expands to allow passage of the fetus.
Changes in the breasts, notably tenderness and swelling, are often the earliest indications of pregnancy as the breasts respond to the hormones. As pregnancy progresses a woman’s breasts greatly enlarge and change in preparation for BREASTFEEDING (lactation) after birth. The mammary glands and ducts (milk glands and ducts) swell and around the seventh month begin producing colostrum, a fatty premilk that conveys important NUTRIENTS and antibodies for basic immunity to the infant.
A woman’s blood volume and cardiac output progressively increase as pregnancy advances. The heart enlarges somewhat, HEART RATE goes up, and blood pressure rises. In very early pregnancy the blood vessels dilate in anticipation of the increased blood volume, sometimes resulting in episodes of lightheadedness or dizziness. Some women also get vascular headaches in response to the changes taking place within the muscular walls of the arteries.
One of pregnancy’s early hallmarks is MORNING SICKNESS, nausea and vomiting doctors believe results from the hormones that surge into the woman’s blood circulation when the blastocyst implants. These same hormones are responsible for softening connective tissue and have similar actions on the muscular tissues of the gastrointestinal system, sometimes slowing peristalsis (movement of the intestines) enough to cause CONSTIPATION. Drinking plenty of fluids, eating foods high in fiber, and walking for at least 30 minutes every day help keep the gastrointestinal system functioning at its best.
In the later months of pregnancy the enlarged uterus displaces the organs of the upper abdomen further upward against the DIAPHRAGM, pressuring the stomach to cause DYSPEPSIA (upset stomach and heartburn) and gastric reflux. These discomforts go away after the baby is born and the abdominal organs return to their normal positions.
Weight gain is both normal and essential to support the pregnancy. Appropriate weight gain for a woman who is of healthy weight at the onset of pregnancy is 25 to 35 pounds; in OBESITY less weight gain, 15 to 25 pounds, is healthier for both mother and baby. About 15 to 18 pounds of the weight comes from the baby and organs that support it (uterus, placenta, AMNIOTIC FLUID). The changes in the breasts add 2 to 3 pounds; additional fluids (such as blood) and increased body fat account for the remainder. The most rapid weight gain typically occurs in the second trimester, 2 to 4 pounds per month.
Most women require only an additional 200 to 300 calories a day to meet their increased energy needs. Nutritious EATING HABITS are especially important to meet nutritional needs for vitamins and minerals. Pregnant women should take prenatal vitamins to make sure they receive adequate amounts of vital nutrients. Folic acid (folate) is particularly crucial for proper development of the BRAIN and SPINAL CORD. Supplemental iron boosts the ability of the woman’s blood to carry oxygen, helping prevent ANEMIA.
Cervical Length During Pregnancy – Causes, Symptoms And Treatments
Once you become pregnant, your body will be prodded and probed a number of times. And many times, youвЂ™ll hear the term cervical length. But what exactly does this term mean?
Ultrasound scans are a common feature during pregnancies. These scans can be a source of relief and joy. Watching your little ones heart flicker on the screen can be a magical sight. But the real function of an ultrasound scan is to give your doctor information. This information is what helps the experts keep your pregnancy safe and healthy.
One of the things an ultrasound scan measures is your cervical length. If that sounds like Greek to you, let us help make things a bit clearer.
What Is Cervical Length During Pregnancy?
Not every body is biology major. And the human anatomy can stump even the best of us. But during pregnancy, it is important to be aware of all that is going on inside your body.
The lower part or opening of the uterus that connects with the vagina is called the cervix. The cervical length is the opening of the cervix. Now this length does change over the period of a pregnancy. The length gradually decreases, and finally the cervix opens completely to give birth (1).
But in some women, the cervix may soften and open prematurely. This can lead to premature labor and birth.
What Causes Premature Change In Cervical Length During Pregnancy?
There are a number of factors that can lead to a premature decrease in cervical length, including:
- Anatomical differences between women
- A uterus that’s stretched beyond its capacity
- Pregnancy complications like bleeding
- Incompetent cervix
With regular ultrasound scans, your doctor can identify if you are at risk of premature labor and help prevent it without too many interventions (2).
You donвЂ™t even need a vaginal ultrasound scan to measure your cervical length during pregnancy. A trans-abdominal scan will suffice (3).
Signs And Symptoms Of Premature Labor:
If the cervical length decreases, chances of premature labor go up manifold. Here are the signs and symptoms that you should watch out for:
- Frequent contractions
- Backache that doesnвЂ™t go away
- Vaginal spotting,
- Pelvic pressure
If you notice these symptoms, rush to your doctor. He will do a pelvic exam to check your cervix. He will then do an ultrasound to measure your cervical length. If your cervix measures less than 2.5 cm and shows вЂfunnelingвЂ™, your doctor may take steps to prevent premature birth of your baby (4).
What Will The Doctor Do:
If you are in active labor, there is not much your doctor can do to prevent your babyвЂ™s premature birth. But if you are not yet in labor and meet some criteria, your doctor can take steps to keep your baby where she belongs until birth вЂ“ inside your womb!
1. Hormonal Intervention:
Progesterone is used at times to prevent premature birth. This entails placing progesterone, or silicone pessary around the cervix.
If your pregnancy hasnвЂ™t yet reached the magical 24-week mark, your doctor may recommend placing a cerclage. This involves stitching the cervix closed with sutures. If you have a history of premature birth, this may be the plan your doctor offers. There is controversy about the use of cerclage as they can cause uterine infection and cervical irritation. But experts agree that the benefits of this procedure outweigh the risks (5).
3. Bed Rest:
Your doctor may also recommend bed rest along with other treatment options to prevent premature birth of your baby.
Now you know what cervical length means. But donвЂ™t worry about it. Your doctor will ask for regular ultrasounds if he suspects that you are at risk of going into premature labor.
Most importantly, learn to trust your body. It was designed to carry a baby to term and give birth. If it does need a little assistance, your doctor and medical science will be right there to lend a helping hand!
Does all the medical jargon confuse you when you read your medical reports? Did you know about cervical length scan? Tell us in the comments section below!
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15 days past ovulation
The most common early pregnancy signs & symptoms
The most common and significant very early signs and symptoms experienced on 15 days past ovulation.
Positive indicators of pregnancy
The most significant positive signs and symptoms when comparing pregnant versus non-pregnant women.
Understanding the data
Experiencing these symptoms on 15 days past ovulation Increases the probability of pregnancy.
Reading the table: 10% of pregnant women experience the symptom ‘Very Happy’. Pregnant women experience this symptom 2.2 times as often as non-pregnant women.
Negative indicators of pregnancy
The most significant negative signs and symptoms when comparing pregnant versus non-pregnant women.
Understanding the data
Experiencing these symptoms on 15 days past ovulation Decreases the probability of pregnancy.
Reading the table: 15.4% of non-pregnant women experience the symptom ‘I Don’t ‘Feel’ Pregnant’. Non-pregnant women experience this symptom 2.8 times as often as pregnant women.
Most common signs and symptoms (15 dpo)
The most frequently occurring signs and symptoms experienced by women on 15 days past ovulation (regardless of whether they are pregnant or not). The table displays what percentage of All women experience each symptom and it’s impact on the probability of pregnancy (either positively, negatively or no affect).
Understanding the data
Has a statistically significant affect on the probability of pregnancy. Experiencing this symptom Increases the likelihood of pregnancy.
Has a statistically significant affect on the probability of pregnancy. Experiencing this symptom Decreases the likelihood of pregnancy.
Does not have a significant affect on the probability of pregnancy. Experiencing this symptom Does not increase nor decrease the likelihood of pregnancy.
For indepth information on how much a symptom affects the probability of pregnancy, visit the symptom page.
Http://beltina. org/health-dictionary/pregnancy-information-confirming-signs-changes-during-pregnancy. html
Http://www. momjunction. com/articles/cervical-length-during-pregnancy_00119722/
Http://www. wheniampregnant. com/
Http://www. countdowntopregnancy. com/early-pregnancy-symptoms/dpo-chart. php? dpo=15&print=1