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Pregnancy: A complete guide to becoming a mother

Are you pregnant? Are you a mom? Congratulations! You are about to embark on one of the most amazing, challenging, joyful and rewarding experiences of your life. This blog post is a complete guide to becoming a mother – from getting pregnant to taking care of your new baby. I hope it helps you as you prepare for this incredible journey. Blessings to you all!

Let’s get started!

What is Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is the process of a baby growing inside a woman’s womb. It usually lasts for nine months, but it can be different for every pregnancy.

pregnancy is divided into three stages: the first trimester, the second trimester, and the third trimester. each stage has its own different symptoms.

In the first trimester, a woman may have morning sickness, fatigue, and mood swings.

In the second trimester, a woman may have more energy and feel her baby move.

In the third trimester, a woman may have back pain, Braxton-hicks contractions, and trouble sleeping.

Pregnancy is a wonderful time in a woman’s life, but it is also a time when she needs to take care of herself and her baby.

I hope you have got some idea about pregnancy by now.

Let’s understand some early signs and symptoms of pregnancy.

Pregnancy symptoms or early signs of pregnancy

Pregnancy is an amazing time in a woman’s life. Your body is changing to accommodate a new life and you are preparing for the role of motherhood.

Pregnancy symptoms can vary from woman to woman, but there are some early signs that may be an indication that you are pregnant.

These can include:

Missed period-You might be pregnant if you’re in your childbearing years and a week or more has passed without the start of your normal menstrual cycle. However, if you have an irregular menstrual cycle, this symptom may be misleading.

Nausea or vomiting-The first month of pregnancy is when most women experience morning sickness. It often starts one month after conception and can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Some women experience nausea prior to this, while others never do. While the reason for morning sickness during pregnancy is unknown, hormones in pregnancy are likely involved.

Fatigue-Fatigue is also one of the most common early symptoms of pregnancy. Progesterone levels increase during early pregnancy, which may make you feel drowsy.

Breast tenderness- Your breasts may become sensitive and painful at times during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. The discomfort will most likely lessen after a few weeks as your body adjusts to hormonal variations.

Frequent urination- You may find yourself urinating more frequently than usual. Pregnancy causes your kidneys to work harder, resulting in an increased quantity of blood in your body.

Infographic

Pregnancy symptoms infographic
Pregnancy symptoms

When do pregnancy symptoms start?

The first week of pregnancy is the most common period for women to experience pregnancy symptoms. Some women claim that they did not manifest any symptoms for a few weeks.

Other pregnancy signs and symptoms may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Backaches
  • Headaches
  • Food cravings
  • Darkening of the areolas( area near the nipple )
  • Bloating
  • Light spotting

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with your doctor to confirm pregnancy and discuss your options.

Pregnancy is an exciting time and knowing the early signs of pregnancy can help you enjoy every moment.

How do I check if I am pregnant?

There is no one definitive answer to this question – each woman (and her health care provider) will have their own thoughts and preferences on how to best answer it.

However, some general tips on how to check if you might be pregnant can include taking a home pregnancy test, monitoring your body for pregnancy signs and symptoms, or making an appointment with a healthcare provider. 

If you’re interested in taking a home pregnancy test, there are several options available over-the-counter at your local pharmacy or grocery store.

It’s important to read the instructions carefully before taking the test, as results can vary depending on when in your cycle you take the test.

Generally speaking, home pregnancy tests are most accurate when taken first thing in the morning, with your first urine of the day.

If you’re unsure about the results of your home pregnancy test, it’s always best to follow up with a visit to your healthcare provider.

They can confirm the results of the test and help you make any necessary next steps in your pregnancy journey. 

Pre-pregnancy and Post-pregnancy

Pre-pregnancy

Pre-pregnancy is the time period before a woman becomes pregnant. During this time, she may be considering becoming pregnant, making lifestyle changes to prepare for pregnancy, or taking steps to increase her chances of getting pregnant.

For example, she may start taking prenatal vitamins, quit smoking, or start tracking her ovulation cycles. Once a woman becomes pregnant, she enters the pregnancy stage, which lasts until her baby is born.

After her baby is born, she enters the postpartum stage. Pre-pregnancy planning can help a woman have a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

It can also help her feel more prepared for the physical and emotional challenges of motherhood.

Post-Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of great change, both physically and emotionally. For nine months, a woman’s body undergoes dramatic changes in order to accommodate a growing baby.

Once the baby is born, the mother’s body must readjust to its new normal. This process is known as post-pregnancy.

During this time, the mother’s hormones will fluctuate, and her body will gradually return to its pre-pregnancy state.

Although it can be challenging, post-pregnancy is a natural and essential part of the journey of motherhood. With time, patience, and self-care, every mother will eventually find her way back to herself.

Now, since we have understood the basic concepts of pregnancy, let’s understand how pregnancy weeks are calculated?

How are pregnancy weeks calculated?

Pregnancy weeks are calculated from the 1st day of the woman’s last menstrual period (LMP). The week is then divided into seven-day intervals. 

Week one begins on the 1st day of the last period 

Week two begins on the 8th day after the LMP 

Week three begins on the 15th day after the LMP 

Week four Begins on the 22nd day after LMP 

The due date is an estimate of when you will give birth, not an exact date.

About 4% of women will give birth on their due dates. care providers often refer to pregnancy as being either 37 or 40 weeks long. Forty weeks is really 10 lunar months since humans originally did not have calendars.

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Complications and health issues in pregnancy

Complications and health issues in pregnancy can vary from woman to woman. Some common complications and health issues in pregnancy include:

  1. Gestational diabetes
  2. High blood pressure
  3. Pre-eclampsia
  4. Miscarriage
  5. Stillbirth
  6. Premature birth
  7. Postpartum depression

Every pregnant woman should visit her doctor regularly for prenatal care, which can help identify and manage any potential complications or health issues in pregnancy.

Treatment for most complications and health issues in pregnancy is available, but it’s best to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you experience any problems.

fun fact about pregnancy

(Source: THE WORLD COUNTS)

Diet during pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, you need to be more careful about what you eat than ever before. What you eat can have a profound effect on your health and the health of your baby.

While there is no one-size-fits-all pregnancy diet, there are some general guidelines that all pregnant women should follow.

First and foremost, you need to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients. Pregnant women need more iron, folic acid, and calcium than they did before pregnancy.

You should also aim to eat a variety of healthy foods from all the food groups ( Fruits, Green leafy vegetables, whole grains, etc ).

pregnancy is not the time to diet! You need to focus on eating healthy, nutritious foods that will give you the energy you need to care for yourself and your growing baby.

By following a healthy pregnancy diet, you can help ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Healthy Food for pregnancy
Healthy Food for pregnancy

How to increase the chances of getting pregnant?

One of the most common questions asked by women who are trying to conceive is- what is the best way to get pregnant?

While there is no one answer that is right for everyone, there are some general tips that can help increase your chances of getting pregnant.

First, it is important to have regular unprotected sex(without a condom or any IUD). This will give you the best chance of conceiving, as sperm can live inside the female body for up to five days.

Second, try to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or underweight can impact your fertility.

Third, take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid. This nutrient is essential for the development of the neural tube, and it can help prevent certain birth defects.

Finally, avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Both of these habits can negatively impact fertility.

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of getting pregnant and experiencing the joys of motherhood.

Is pregnancy possible during periods?

Yes, pregnancy is indeed possible during periods. Although it isn’t the most ideal situation, and there is a slightly higher chance of miscarrying, it is still possible to conceive and carry a baby to term while menstruating.

If you are trying to get pregnant, it is best to track your ovulation cycle and abstain from sex or use protection during your period.

However, if you do have unprotected sex during your period and are worried about pregnancy, you can take a pregnancy test as early as two weeks after conception.

When you are pregnant you must have heard some myths about pregnancy. Let’s look at what are some common myths about pregnancy

Myths around pregnancy

India is a land of pregnancy myths and superstitions. From the moment a woman finds out she’s pregnant, she’s bombarded with well-meaning advice from family and friends.

Some of it is sensible, but much of it is based on old wives’ tales and outdated beliefs. Pregnancy myths are so widespread that it’s hard to know what’s true and what’s not. Here are some of the most common pregnancy myths in India:

– Myth 1: You should avoid spicy food during pregnancy.

– Myth 2: You should avoid exercise during pregnancy.

– Myth 3: You should eat for two during pregnancy. 

– Myth 4: You should drink plenty of milk during pregnancy. 

– Myth 5: You should avoid riding in a car during pregnancy. 

– Myth 6: You should avoid being around people who are sick during pregnancy. 

-Myth 7: You shouldn’t take baths during pregnancy. 

-Myth 8: Pregnant women shouldn’t sit for long periods of time. 

-Myth 9: You should avoid going out because of fear of bad luck

-Myth 10: You should not brush your hair, as it can cause the baby to be born with hair on its head

Despite these pregnancy myths, there is no scientific evidence to support them. In fact, pregnancy is a natural process that happens to all women and should be celebrated as such.

Some common terms you should know regarding pregnancy

First trimester-

Pregnancy is often divided into three trimesters, each lasting around three months.

The first trimester lasts from week 1 to week 12, covering the time between conception and delivery, which is generally around three weeks.

Symptoms like morning sickness and nausea are common during the first trimester, as well as fatigue and bloating. You may also start to experience mood swings and emotional changes during this time.

As your baby begins to grow and develop, you may begin to feel kicks and flutters. The first trimester ends with the beginning of the second trimester at week 13.

Second trimester-

The second trimester of pregnancy is often described as the “golden period” because many women feel their best during this time. sicknesses from the first trimester are gone, and the energy levels tend to be high.

However, as the baby grows, you may start to experience some new discomforts, such as back pain and Braxton-Hicks contractions (false labour pains).

Despite these challenges, the second trimester is a special time for many mothers-to-be. You may start to feel your baby move (called “quickening”), and you’ll see your belly grow as the months’ progress. By the end of the second trimester, your baby will be about half the size he or she will be at birth.

Third trimester-

The third and final trimester of pregnancy is often the most difficult, as your body continues to change and you become more uncomfortable.

During this time, you may experience heartburn, indigestion, leg cramps, swelling in your ankles and feet, and shortness of breath.

As your due date approaches, you may become more anxious and have difficulty sleeping. You may also start to experience Braxton-Hicks contractions (false labour pains) more frequently.

The third trimester is a time of great anticipation as you wait for the arrival of your baby. Be sure to take care of yourself and get plenty of rest.

Delivery-

The day has finally arrived! It’s time for your baby to be born.

During delivery, you will experience contractions as your body prepares to push the baby out. The intensity and frequency of the contractions will increase as delivery nears.

False labour pain (Braxton-Hicks contraction)-

False labour pain, also known as Braxton Hicks contractions, are irregular uterine contractions that some women experience during their pregnancies. They are named after John Braxton Hicks, the doctor who first described them in 1872.

False labour pains are not as strong or regular as real labour pains and they usually go away once you change your position or drink a glass of water. They may also be accompanied by a feeling of tightness in the abdomen. Braxton Hicks contractions are considered to be normal and harmless during pregnancy.

Quickening-

Quickening is the first fetal movement felt by the mother. It typically happens between 16 and 25 weeks gestation but can occur as early as 13 weeks or as late as 30 weeks.

Quickening is usually described as a flutter or a tickle. Some women describe it as resembling gas bubbles, popcorn popping, a butterfly, or worms crawling around in their abdomens. The sensation usually lasts for only a few seconds and then goes away.

Quickening is one of the earliest signs that you are pregnant.

Intra Uterine Devices(IUD)-

Intra Uterine Devices (IUDs) are a type of contraception that is inserted into the uterus. They come in two types- copper and hormonal. IUDs work by preventing the sperm from reaching the egg, and they also cause the lining of the uterus to become too thin for a fertilized egg to implant.

IUDs are one of the most effective forms of contraception, with less than 1% of women getting pregnant while using an IUD. They are also reversible, so if you decide you want to get pregnant, you can have the IUD removed and you will be able to conceive immediately.

IUDs are safe for use during pregnancy, and they can be used post-partum as well.

Intra Uterine Devices or IUD
Intra Uterine Devices or IUD

Contraception-

There are many different types of contraception available today, but they all have one common goal: to prevent pregnancy. Contraception can be used by anyone who is sexually active, regardless of their age, gender or orientation.

There are many different methods of contraception, including:

-Condoms: latex or polyurethane condoms provide barrier protection against both STIs and pregnancy. They are inexpensive and easy to use. Condoms can be bought without a prescription at most pharmacies. 

-The birth control pill: this is a medication taken orally that contains hormones to prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary). The pill must be taken every day at the same time in order to be effective.

-The patch: this is a small, adhesive patch that is placed on the skin. The patch releases hormones into the bloodstream to prevent ovulation. The patch must be replaced once a week and can be bought without a prescription at most pharmacies.

-The ring: this is a small, flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina. The ring releases hormones into the bloodstream to prevent ovulation. The ring must be replaced once a month and can be bought without a prescription at most pharmacies.

-Intrauterine devices (IUDs): these are small, T-shaped devices that are inserted into the uterus by a healthcare provider. IUDs can be made of copper or plastic and release hormones into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. IUDs are very effective at preventing pregnancy and can last for up to 12 years.

-Sterilization: This is a permanent method of contraception that involves surgically blocking the fallopian tubes so that eggs cannot travel from the ovaries to the uterus. Sterilization is usually only considered for women who do not want to have any more children.

-Emergency contraception: this is a method of contraception that can be used after unprotected sex in order to prevent pregnancy. There are two types of emergency contraception: the morning-after pill and the copper IUD. Emergency contraception must be used within 72 hours of unprotected sex in order to be effective.

Pregnancy is a beautiful and amazing time in a woman’s life, but it can also be challenging. By being prepared and informed, you can help make the experience as positive as possible.

Menstrual cycle-

The menstrual cycle is the process that a woman’s body goes through each month to prepare for pregnancy. The average cycle is 28 days long, but it can range from 21 to 35 days. The first day of bleeding is counted as day one of the cycles.

Ovulation-

Ovulation is the release of an egg from one of the ovaries. It usually happens about 14 days after the start of a woman’s period.

After ovulation, the egg travels down a fallopian tube towards the uterus. If the egg is fertilized by a sperm cell, it will attach to the wall of the uterus and begin to grow into a baby. If the egg is not fertilized, it will break apart and be absorbed by the body.

Menstrual Cup-

A menstrual cup is a type of feminine hygiene product that is inserted into the vagina during menstruation. Instead of absorbing menstrual flow like tampons or pads, the cup collects it.

Most cups are made of silicone and have a soft, flexible rim that folds flat when inserted. The cup then springs open and forms a seal against the walls of the vagina, creating a suction that prevents leaks.

Menstrual cups can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time and can be reused for years with proper care and cleaning. 

There are many benefits to using a menstrual cup over other types of feminine hygiene products.

For one, they are much more environmentally friendly since they can be reused multiple times.

-They are far cheaper than pads or tampons over time  

-They generate zero waste

Conclusion

Becoming a mother is one of the most wonderful experiences in life, but it’s not easy.

For a first-time mother, it can be overwhelming and might cause short-term depression. The good news is that you don’t have to go through this alone.

Make sure you monitor your health and do regular checkups with your gynaecologist.

If you want to consult our doctor, please book an appointment today. We would love to help you and answer any questions you may have about being a new mom.

Note: This article is written under the guidance of doctors and medical experts. This is only for educational purposes and should not be taken as medical advice or treatment option. It’s always good to know about your health problems but please consult your doctor for your treatment plans.

Educating people like you has always been the core purpose of writing health-related articles, but if you find any content incorrect or if you want to give your suggestions, please write to us at [email protected]

We wish you better health!