Pregnancy Journey From Conception to Delivery
Being pregnant is a very exciting time, especially for the first-time mom. The good news is that almost every woman gets through her pregnancy without complications. Most women start feeling some symptoms during their third trimester. That’s why it’s important to take care of yourself physically and mentally.
However, how much do you know about being pregnant? What does it take to prepare for motherhood? Are you sure you know what you should and shouldn’t be doing during your pregnancy? If you are a first-time mom or looking forward to becoming one, the following tips should help you prepare for pregnancy from conception to delivery.
Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy
1. Feeling tired
During early pregnancy, women may feel tired, especially after meals. This happens because the placenta takes over some of the roles of the mother’s liver, which produces hormones that help her body function well. Pregnancy can make people feel sluggish, so they need to eat plenty of foods high in iron, protein, and vitamin B-12.
2. Having morning sickness
Morning sickness occurs when pregnant women have nausea and vomiting throughout the day. It can last anywhere from three days to two weeks. Most women experience morning sickness once they start trying to get pregnant.
3. Changes in mood
Most women who become pregnant do not feel happy or sad, but their emotions change slightly. They may feel happier than usual or worried about something. Usually, these feelings go away after the baby is born.
4. Weight gain
Pregnant women tend to put on weight faster than normal. Their bodies produce more milk to nourish the developing baby. A woman’s hormone levels are higher, which causes her appetite to increase. In addition, she gets extra blood flow to her breasts and uterus.
5. Breast changes
Breasts swell due to increased blood flow to the area. Also, the skin becomes stretched and tender. Breasts continue to grow until labor starts.
6. Urinary tract infections (UTI)
Some women get UTIs while they’re pregnant. These infections occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract and cause painful urination. People who are prone to UTIs often get them again during pregnancy.
7. Vaginal discharge
The vaginal discharge tends to happen right before childbirth. It is caused by hormones released by the lining of the vagina. Pregnancy makes the vaginal opening wider. When the cervix opens, a lot of mucus comes out. This is called lochia.
How to Know If Your Pregnant
Your body has changed over the last month. Are you sure you’re pregnant? While some of these signs are normal during pregnancy, they can also be caused by other conditions such as thyroid problems and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Here are some ways to tell if you’re truly expectant.
Using a urine test kit, you’ll collect your urine sample in a cup using a plastic container. Then add some water to dilute the urine sample. After collecting several samples, store them in the refrigerator until you get to your doctor’s office. At your appointment, ask your doctor how often you need to provide urine samples. Your doctor may want you to provide daily samples for several days.
If you have no symptoms of pregnancy but suspect you might be pregnant, then your doctor will order a blood test called a beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (BHCG). BHCG is present only in pregnant women and is therefore a useful marker for pregnancy. Blood tests are performed by drawing blood from a vein in your arm. The samples are sent to a laboratory where technicians analyze the results.
You can purchase home pregnancy tests at any pharmacy. However, they aren’t as accurate as those purchased directly from your physician. Also, home pregnancy tests are not FDA-approved. Therefore, you shouldn’t rely on them alone to determine if you’re pregnant. In addition to home testing, you can use our due date calculator to estimate your pregnancy. This allows you to calculate how far along your pregnancy is and when to expect delivery.
7 Tips for Taking Care of Yourself When Pregnant
1. You need to eat right
The best thing to do is to make sure you’re eating enough protein, fat, iron, vitamins, and minerals. These foods help keep your blood flowing and give you energy throughout your whole pregnancy.
2. Exercise regularly
Exercising is good for both mom and baby. Your muscles stay toned and strong while your baby gets to exercise at the same time. Just make sure you don’t overdo it, though; exercising too often can cause premature labor.
3. Get plenty of sleep
Sleep is really important for moms-to-be, especially during the first trimester. Make sure you’re getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you feel tired, take naps during the day.
4. Don’t smoke
Smoking cigarettes is going to hurt your baby. Not only does secondhand smoke harm your baby, but it also contains nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, and chemicals that may lead to birth defects.
5. Drink lots of water
Drinking plenty of water will ensure your baby stays well hydrated and helps prevent constipation. Water is also great for your skin and hair.
6. Avoid alcohol consumption
Alcohol is really bad for your baby. It dehydrates your body and can damage your liver, leading to miscarriage. Alcohol also lowers your inhibitions, making you more likely to engage in risky behavior.
7. Going To Prenatal Care Clinics
It is important to get prenatal care during pregnancy. During these checkups, several tests are performed on pregnant women at regular intervals to ensure that their babies develop normally. These include testing blood pressure, height, weight, and gestational age. Your doctor will also advise you on the necessary steps you should take to take good care of yourself and your baby.
What To Expect During and After Delivery
There are some things you should expect during delivery, from choosing the right baby names, labor pain and postpartum depression.
Labor is the process of delivering a child from the womb after conception. It involves the stages of pregnancy where the cervix becomes soft and effaced, and the head of the fetus crowns. A woman goes into labor approximately two weeks before her estimated delivery date if she is carrying a term infant. It may take place earlier with premature babies.
Below are some of the symptoms of labor:
- You have strong and frequent contractions. A contraction occurs when the muscles of your uterine wall clamp down tightly on your baby, squeezing it out of your body. During a contraction, you may feel cramps in your abdomen. Your contractions usually begin five to ten minutes apart and last thirty to seventy seconds. They’re so intense that you can’t move or speak during them. They grow progressively stronger and closer together. As they near the end of your pregnancy, the strength of each contraction increases dramatically.
- Your water breaks – Your baby has been surrounded by the amniotic fluid throughout the nine months. When the bag of water bursts open, you may experience a sudden wave of liquid. Or you may experience only a trickle.
- Bloody shows – During labor, you may feel a bloody (reddish or brownish) mucus discharge coming out of your vagina. These are called bloody shows.
- You feel pain in your stomach and lower back – This discomfort does not disappear when you move around.
Postpartum depression is a syndrome that affects women after giving birth. If you notice any of the following symptoms, talk to your doctor right away :
- You cry easily
- Your mood is consistently bad
- You lose interest in things you once enjoyed doing
- You eat little or no food
- Your sleep pattern becomes disturbed
- You’re anxious or worried
There are many causes of postpartum depression, including hormonal imbalances, physical problems (such as infections), relationship issues such as marital conflicts and abandonment, and psychological factors such as low self-esteem and feelings of failure.
The first step in treating postpartum depression is recognizing it. Symptoms that occur after childbirth do not necessarily mean that a woman is suffering from postpartum depression. Rather, they may indicate that something else is wrong. Sometimes, though, a woman may feel sad or depressed even though nothing out of the ordinary is happening.
A pregnant woman experiences hormonal changes that affect her appetite and food preferences. Some women also experience nausea, fatigue, mood swings, headaches, cramps, constipation, bloating, and sleep disturbances.
As you near your due date, you should start monitoring your symptoms closely. If you notice changes in your behavior or other symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately.