What is pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a physiological process that takes place in a woman when she has unprotected vaginal sex with a man with the sperm deposited inside the vagina.
The sperm is deposited into her upper vagina region close to her cervix, from here, the sperm enters into the cervix and the cervical mucus filter through the sperm. And remove sperm with poor morphology and motility which lead to very few sperm passing through the uterotubal junction to reach the fallopian tubes, during ovulation, the sperm is pushed by cilia to the oocyte (egg) for fertilization to take place.
After fertilization, the egg takes 6 to about 12 days for the fertilized egg to travel to the uterus and implant into the uterus. While traveling, the fertilized egg, which is called a zygote then divides into a ball of cells called the blastocyst, then the blastocyst attaches itself to the endometrium (this process is called implantation), and after this, she is pregnant which can trigger certain symptoms.
Early Symptoms of Pregnancy
If you notice one or more of these following symptoms, then make sure to take a pregnancy test to see if you’re pregnant. If it is positive, congratulations, you are expecting a baby. Here are the early signs and symptoms of Pregnancy to look for.
- Swollen breast.
- Tenderness of breast.
- Spotting /slight vaginal bleeding.
- Slight Cramps
- Feeling weak/tired
- Craving a particular food that you probably never used to like.
- Disliking the smell or taste of your favorite foods.
- Mood swings
- Frequent urination
- Missed period
- feeling bloated or feeling pregnant.
- Weight gain
- Darkened areolas
- Feeling lightheaded
Late Symptoms of Pregnancy
This occurs as the fetus grow bigger inside the uterus, the uterus expands, and this push on nearby organs which lead to the late symptoms of Pregnancy such as:
- Back pain
- Urinary incontinence (dripping, leakage of urine)
- Swollen feet
- Dyspnea (difficulty in breathing)
- Joint pain
- Lower abdominal pain
- Stretch mark
- Weight gain
- Braxton hicks contractions are false labor pains. It is the contraction and relaxation of the uterus that is normal but not actual labor pains.
- Varicose veins
Pregnancy Symptom Timeline
|Week Timeline||Pregnancy symptoms|
|Week 1 – 4||Mild cramping and spotting|
|Week 4||Missed period|
|Week 4 – 6||Fatigue, bloating, tingling or aching breasts|
|Week 6 – 8||Nausea, frequent urination (mostly at night),|
|Week 8 – 10||Mood swings, Nausea (Morning sickness), change of basal temperature, breast tenderness|
|Week 10 – 12||Change in taste preference, vomiting, hormone-induced acne|
|Week 12 – 14||Darkening of the nipples, growing baby bump, lower blood pressure, arrhythmia (Your heart can beat too fast or too slowly, or with an abnormal rhythm)|
|Week 14 – 16||Rhinitis, extreme fatigue, headaches, noticeable weight gain|
|Week 16 – 18||Darkening of skin, inner thighs, navel and armpits|
|Week 18 – 20||Quickening (first movement of the baby), feeling weak and tired|
|Week 20 – 22||Discomfort and pain in ligaments and joints due to hormones relaxin and progesterone increase|
|Week 22 – 24||Heartburn, feeling sleepy, bigger baby bump, stretch marks|
|Week 24 – 26||Rhinitis, daytime fatigue, leg cramps, constipation, increased discharge, high blood pressure|
|Week 26 – 28||Dyspnea (difficulty in breathing), tingling hands, carpal tunnel syndrome (numb sensation, swelling, and fluid retention)|
|Week 28 – 30||Frequent heartburn, constipation, constant urination, physically exhausted|
|Week 30 – 35||Insomnia, Braxton Hicks (practice contractions), irregular hardening or tightening of the uterus, shortness of breath, hemorrhoids, swelling, backaches, constantly feel baby kicking|
|Week 35 – 40||You will still be experiencing symptoms such as swelling, frequent urination, insomnia, restlessness, pelvic discomfort, regular contractions until the baby arrives.|
How to do a pregnancy test at home?
Purchase a pregnancy test from your neighboring local pharmacy or drugstore, and simply open the test, follow the instructions on it. Remember, do the test in the morning, and not in the afternoon, and primarily not in the evening, also purchase two tests at once to be able to double-check the result.
How to take care of yourself when pregnant?
Here are some tips for handling the pregnancy symptoms:
- Stay away from foods that make you nauseous
- Eat small meals high in fiber to avoid nausea and help improve constipation
- Drink lots of fluids, if you’ve been vomiting
- Engage in minimal exercise to keep weight to a healthy level
- Wear shoes with good padding to support feet
- Sleep with a pillow in between the legs while lying on the side
- include more extra fresh fruits and veggies to your meals
- Take prenatal vitamins as recommended
- Do the recommended vaccination plans such as tetanus toxoid, preventive antimalarial if you live in a tropical /subtropical country, and influenza (flu) shot
- Avoid caffeine and drink a good warm glass of milk with honey before bed to help you relax and sleep. If you are lactose intolerant, go for lactose-free milk.
What is the most common complication of pregnancy?
- Hyperemesis gravidarum.
- HELLP syndrome (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelet count)
- Gestational diabetes
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension
- Stillbirth (Loss of Pregnancy after 20 weeks gestation)
- Preterm labor contractions before 37weeks of Pregnancy).
- Ectopic pregnancy (implantation outside the uterus such as the fallopian tubes)
- Congenital disabilities (deafness, blindness, heart defects)
- Antepartum hemorrhage (bleeding after 20weeks of Pregnancy)
- Postpartum hemorrhage (blood loss of 500ml from the genital tract after a vaginal delivery or >1000ml after cesarean section or blood loss that reduced PCV by 10% after delivery of the baby)
- Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome
- Disseminated intravascular coagulopathy.
- A full-term pregnancy is 39 – 40 weeks
- There are 3 trimesters of Pregnancy:
- The first trimester: is the first day of your last menstrual period to the last day of week 12.
- The second trimester: is the first day of week 13 to the last day of week 28.
- The third trimester: is the first day of week 28 to week 40.
Lastly, this article is informative. The only way to know for sure if you are pregnant is by taking a pregnancy test. And be sure to consult a doctor.