Q. What is Pregnancy?
A. Pregnancy begins with implantation. It happens several days after fertilization when the developing pre-embryo is implanted in the wall of the uterus. Implantation begins the release of hormones that are necessary to support a pregnancy.
In short, a woman is not pregnant until the developing pre-embryo is attached to her and gets nutrients from her. For example, a fertilized egg in a petri dish does not represent a pregnancy.
To learn more, Go to: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/pp2/portal/files/portal/medicalinfo/resource-050527-implantation-animation.xml and check out the "How pregnancy happens Flash Video. Hit your back button to come back here when you are finished.
Q. How long is a typical pregnancy?
A. Somewhere between 37 and 42 weeks. It is a little different for every woman.
Q. I'm thinking about having a baby. What SHOULD I do?
A. The physical aspects of a pregnancy can be very stressful on a woman's body. It's very important to take time for a physical exam with your doctor. Your doctor can help you establish proper goals as you prepare your body to conceive. Many potential problems can be addressed well befor you ever get pregnant. You may also find this a great opportunity to seek advice concerning other issues and questions that you may have.
Q. What can I do to prepare my body for pregnancy?
Excercise- Being physically fit is very important before, during and after pregnancy. Womens Selfestee.com recommends being on some type of aerobic exercise program before getting pregnant. With pregnany in mind, you should look for a low-impact program such as swimming, eliptical machines, walking or biking. All these activities are easy on the joints and the baby. The American College of Obstetricians/Gynecologist's recommends a maximum heart rate of 140 beats/minute.
Diet- If you who are underweight, expect your doctor to tell you to eat a little more when you are pregnant. If you are considerably overweight, your doctor will probably encourage you to lose weight in advance of pregnancy. Otherwise, eat normally. See the Nutrition FAQ section.
Vitamins and Minerals- In addition to eating as recemmended, pre-pregnancy ingestion of folic acid has been shown to reduce the risk of certain nervous systems diseases such as spina bifida. 0.4 mg of folic acid a day for at least a month prior to attempting conception is recommended. Taking 1200 mg of calcium and a multivitamin each day are neede to ensure an adequate supply of nutrients for a developing fetus. Your doctor may request that you take a pre-natal vitamin also. If so, then stop taking your regular multivitamin.
Vaccinations- If you get vaccinated for the measles, you must wait 3 months before getting pregnant. The shot contains a weakened strain of measles which could cause problems for a baby. The tetanus shot can be taken at any time, ever during pregnancy. Drugs and Alcohol- should never be used during pregnancy. Before conceiving, mild (1-2 drinks per day) alcohol consumption is permissible. If you abuse drugs and/or alcohol you may find it much harder to get pregnant due to your general health being poor. Drugs and alcohol can play a major impact upon an unborn child, even death.
Summary- Having a baby is a MAJOR change to your life as well as others. Please ensure that you are mentally and physically ready to have a child before you get pregnant. Everthing that you do just before and during your pregnancy, including eating, drinking and smoking, will affect the baby and you.
Q. What is the best time to try to conceive?
A. In the simplest terms: You should start having intercourse at least five days before you expect to ovulate. That's usually about nine days after you begin your period. You should continue to have sex at least every other day until day nineteen.
Q. How do I know if I'm pregnant?
A. Early Pregnancy Symptoms
- Missed period or a period with less bleeding than normal
This symptom is caused by hormone changes, and the growing uterus pressing against the bowel.
- Darkening of areola (breast nipple)
This can be one of the first symptoms which can appear as early as one week after conception and then throughout pregnancy.
- Excessive salivation
- Exhaustion or feeling sleepy
Can occur one to six weeks after conception and last your entire pregnancy.
- Food cravings
- Frequent urination
You may see this symptom six to eight weeks after conception and it will be with you for your entire pregnancy. This is caused by hormone changes and growing pressure on the bladder.
- Increased sense of smell
- Lower abdominal cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
This usually shows up two to ten weeks after conception. The degree in which you feel sick varies from none to vomiting. The terminology for this nausea is "morning sickness" by can happen at any time of the day. Hormone changes in your body cause this symptom.
- Tender or swollen breasts
This symptom is one that can appear rather quickly after fertilization - one to two weeks after conception and will most likely be with you your entire pregnancy.
Pregnancy tests are very reliable and most can show results as early as 10 to 14 days after fertilization.
To be totally certain of your pregnancy, you will need to visit your doctor and get a blood test done.
If you are experiencing some of these pregnancy symptoms, and believe that you could be pregnant, be sure to take care of your health. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs including prescriptions and over the counter medications.
Q. What does the baby look like inside the womb?
A. Below are real pictures of a baby growing inside the womb of a mother.
Day 1- This is a real picture of an egg, just after it has been fertilized by a sperm.
Week 4 inside the womb. (below)
Week 8 inside the womb. (below)
Week 12 inside the womb. (below)
Week 16 inside the womb. (below)
Week 20 inside the womb. (below)
Week 25 inside the womb. (below)
Week 30 inside the womb. (below)
Week 35 inside the womb. (below)
Q. What is "Fertilization"?
A. Again, I think the best way to explain this is in a picture:
Q. What can I do to ease "Morning Sickness"?
Avoid warm places as heat can increase the nausea feelings.
Take naps during the day (but not right after eating). Being tired plays a big part in morning sickness.
Get enough sleep at night.
Get out of bed slowly in the morning.
If women would try eating plain crackers or dry cereal before they get out of their beds in the morning, it would immediately help to settle their stomachs.
Q. What is "Endometriosis"?
A. As defined by Encarta Encyclopedia: Endometriosis, medical disorder in which tissue from the lining of the uterus implants and grows in the pelvic cavity and other parts of the body. The severity of the condition varies widely: In some women, endometriosis causes no symptoms; in others it is painful and debilitating. Experts estimate that endometriosis occurs in approximately 10 to 15 percent of menstruating women between the ages of 25 and 44, most often in women who have never given birth.
Q. What are the symptoms of "Endometriosis"?
A. Endometriosis can cause pain in the lower abdomen and pelvic area before, during, and after menstruation, and irregular or heavy bleeding during menstruation. Other common symptoms include pain during sexual intercourse and pain when passing stools or urinating.
Q. What is ectopic pregnancy or tubal pegnancy?
A. Ectopic or tubal pregnancy occurs when the site of implantation is outside of the womb. It can occur in several places, eg. the ovary, the abdomen, the cervix, at the join between the tube and the womb (cornua), but the most common place is in the fallopian tube. This is a VERY dangerous situation and MUST be taken care of ASAP.
Q. What is an egg?
A. Simple definition: The reproductive cell in women; (quick fact- this is the largest cell in the human body.)
Q. What is "Semen"?
A. Also call "cum". It is fluid containing sperm that is ejaculated during sexual excitement. Semen is composed of seminal fluid from the seminal vesicles, fluid from the prostate, and fluid from the Cowper's glands.
Q. What are "Ovaries"?
A. Simple definition: The two organs that store eggs in a woman's body. Ovaries also produce hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Q. What is a Fallopian Tube?
A. One of two narrow tubes that carry the egg from the ovary to the uterus. (see picture above)
Q. How does my egg become fertile?
Check out this drawing of a sperm entering an egg. Note: The latest scientific information shows that the egg may actually choose which sperm is allowed to enter.
Q. What does a sperm look like?