Pregnancy is the term used to describe the period in which a fetus develops inside a woman’s womb or uterus.
Pregnancy usually lasts about 40 weeks, or just over 9 months, as measured from the last menstrual period to delivery.
Health care providers refer to three segments of pregnancy, called trimesters.
Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring develops inside a woman’s womb.
Multiple pregnancies involve more than one offspring, such as twins.
It usually occurs through sexual intercourse, but can also occur through assisted reproductive technology procedures.
A pregnancy may end in a live birth, a spontaneous miscarriage, an induced abortion, or a stillbirth.
Childbirth typically occurs around 40 weeks from the start of the last menstrual period (LMP).
This is just over nine months (gestational age) —where each month averages 31 days.
When using fertilization age, it is about 38 weeks.
An embryo is a developing offspring during the first eight weeks following fertilization, (ten weeks’ gestational age) after which, the term fetus is used until birth.
Early signs and symptoms may include missed periods, tender breasts, morning sickness (nausea and vomiting), hunger, and frequent urination.
It can be confirmed with a pregnancy test.
Sign and symptoms of pregnancy
The usual signs and symptoms of pregnancy do not significantly interfere with activities of daily living or pose a health threat to the mother or baby. However, pregnancy complications can cause other more severe symptoms, such as those associated with anemia.
Common signs and symptoms of pregnancy include:
- Morning sickness
- Pelvic girdle pain
- Back pain
- Braxton Hicks contractions. Occasional, irregular, and often painless contractions that occur several times per day.
- Peripheral edema, swelling of the lower limbs. Common complaint in advancing pregnancy.
- Low blood pressure often caused by compression of both the inferior vena Cava and the abdominal aorta (aortocaval compression syndrome).
- Increased urinary frequency. A common complaint, caused by increased intravascular volume, elevated glomerular filtration rate, and compression of the bladder by the expanding uterus.
- Urinary tract infection
- Varicose veins. Common complaint caused by relaxation of the venous smooth muscle and increased intravascular pressure.
- Hemorrhoids (piles).
- Swollen veins at or inside the anal area. Caused by impaired venous return, straining associated with constipation, or increased intra-abdominal pressure in later pregnancy.
- Regurgitation, heartburn, and nausea.
- Stretch marks
- Breast tenderness is common during the first trimester, and is more common in women who are pregnant at a young age.
- Melasma, also known as the mask of pregnancy, is a discoloration, most often on the face.
- It usually begins to fade several months after giving birth