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Everything You Need To Know About Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a wonderful and life-changing experience. It is a golden period in a woman's life. Getting pregnant and giving birth to a child is just like achieving milestones.
From the day people know about your pregnancy, the joy gets doubled as both sides of the family and friends join to celebrate together. Pregnancy is a unique phase with lots of unique challenges.

Zoi Hospitals, Hyderabad is known for some of the best gynaecologists in Hyderabad. Gynaecologists in Somajiguda and Attapur have come together to write a detailed blog to make your pregnancy a wonderful and memorable phase while informing you the symptoms and stages of pregnancy.

A. Pregnancy Symptoms:

Not all moms-to-be experience the same symptoms when pregnant, and symptoms vary in severity. A woman will not necessarily experience the same symptoms in the same way in subsequent pregnancies as with her first pregnancy
Certain early signs, like the absence of menstruation and weight gain, are common to all pregnancies. Other possible early symptoms and signs of pregnancy include mood swings, increased urination, headaches, lower back pain, sore breasts, darkened areolas, fatigue, nausea often referred to as "morning sickness" and implantation bleeding.

How soon can early pregnancy symptoms be seen?

Some women may experience early signs and symptoms within the first few weeks of pregnancy i.e., the first trimester, while others may develop symptoms later on in the pregnancy. First signs of early pregnancy can be very similar to symptoms experienced prior to a menstrual period and hence a woman may not recognize the symptoms as related to pregnancy.
Read on to know more about various symptoms during pregnancy and how to identify them.

- Missed/Late period

A missed menstrual period is the hallmark symptom of pregnancy. Sometimes, the mild cramping and spotting experienced at the time of implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus can be mistaken for a menstrual period. Women whose menstrual cycles are irregular may also not immediately notice the absence of a menstrual period. It is uncommon for signs and symptoms of pregnancy to appear before the missed period, but if a woman's cycles are irregular, this may happen.

- Implantation bleeding or cramping

Mild bleeding or spotting may occur when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining, anywhere from 6 to 12 days after fertilization. Mild cramping can also occur at this time. Implantation bleeding may sometimes be mistaken for a menstrual period, although it is usually much lighter than a regular period.

- Vaginal discharge

Some women may notice a thick, milky discharge from the vagina in early pregnancy. This occurs in the first weeks of pregnancy as the vaginal walls thicken. This discharge may occur throughout the pregnancy. If there is an unpleasant odour associated with the discharge, or if it is associated with burning and itching, this is a sign of a yeast or bacterial infection. You should contact your health-care professional if this occurs.

- Breast changes

Many women experience changes in the breasts as early as the first weeks of pregnancy. These changes can be felt as soreness, tenderness, heaviness, fullness, or a tingling sensation. The discomfort typically decreases after some weeks.

- Darkening of the areola

The areola, or the area around the nipple, may darken in colour.

- Fatigue

While this symptom is very nonspecific and may be related to numerous factors, pregnant women often describe feelings of fatigue, from the earliest weeks of pregnancy.

- Morning sickness, nausea, and vomiting

This is actually a misnomer because the nausea of pregnancy can occur at any time of day. Some women never experience morning sickness, while others have severe nausea. Its most typical onset is between the 2nd and 8th weeks of pregnancy. Most women experience relief from the symptoms around the 13th or 14th week, but others may have nausea persistent throughout the pregnancy (hyperemesis gravidarum).

- Sensitivity to certain smells

Certain smells may bring on nausea or even vomit early in pregnancy.

- Increased urination

Starting around the 6-8th week, some women will have more frequent urination due to hormonal changes. If other symptoms occur, such as burning on urination, you should see your health care professional make sure you are not suffering from a urinary tract infection.

- Dizziness or fainting

This is related to hormonal changes which affect the glucose levels or blood pressure. Dizziness, lightheadedness and feeling faint can occur in early pregnancy.

- Constipation

Hormone levels can also cause some women to have constipation in early pregnancy.

- Headaches

Headaches, as well, maybe related to changing hormone levels and may occur throughout pregnancy.

- Food aversions or cravings

Cravings may begin in early pregnancy and may last throughout the pregnancy. Likewise, food aversions (feeling nauseous or dislike for particular foods) can also occur.

- Back pain

Often considered more a symptom of late pregnancy, lower back pain can actually begin in the early stages of pregnancy. Women can experience some degree of back pain throughout pregnancy.

- Mood changes

Mood swings are relatively common during the first trimester of pregnancy due to changing hormone levels. They may also be related to stress or other factors.

- Shortness of breath

Increased oxygen demand by the body (to support a growing fetus) may leave some women feeling short of breath, although this symptom is more common in later stages of pregnancy.

B. How Soon Can You Know You Are Pregnant?

A missed period is often the first sign that you may be pregnant, but how do you know for sure?
Many women use home pregnancy tests to tell if they are pregnant; however, these tests are more likely to be accurate when used at least one week after a woman's last period. If you take the test less than 7 days before your last menstrual period, it may give you a false result. If the test is positive, it is more likely that you actually are pregnant. However, if the test is negative, there is an increased chance that the test is wrong. Your doctor can do a blood test to detect pregnancy sooner than a home pregnancy test can.

C. The Three Stages Of Pregnancy:

Conception to about the 12th week of pregnancy marks the first trimester. The second trimester is from the 13th to 27th week of pregnancy, and the third trimester starts about 28 weeks and lasts until birth. This slide show will discuss what occurs to both the mother and baby during each trimester.

First Trimester:

At 4 weeks, your baby is developing: The nervous system (brain and spinal cord) has begun to form. The heart begins to form. Arm and leg buds begin to develop. Your baby is now an embryo and 1/25 of an inch long. At 8 weeks, the embryo begins to develop into a fetus. Fetal development is apparent.
The end of the first trimester is at about week 12. At this point in your baby's development, the nerves and muscles begin to work together. Your baby can make a fist. The external sex organs show if your baby is a boy or girl. Eyelids close to protect the developing eyes. They will not open again until week 28. Head growth has slowed, and your baby is about 3 inches long and weighs almost an ounce.

Second Trimester:

Once you enter the second trimester you may find it easier than the first. Your nausea (morning sickness) and fatigue may lessen or go away completely. However, you will also notice more changes to your body. That "baby bump" will start to show as your abdomen expands with the growing baby. By the end of the second trimester, you will even be able to feel your baby move!

Your baby is about 4 to 5 inches long and weighs almost 3 ounces. At about 20 weeks in the second trimester, your baby continues to develop: Your baby is more active. You might feel movement or kicking. Your baby is covered by fine, feathery hair called lanugo and a waxy protective coating called vernix. Eyebrows, eyelashes, fingernails, and toenails have formed. Your baby can even scratch itself. Your baby can hear and swallow.

By 24 weeks, even more, changes occur for your growing baby-Taste buds form on your baby's tongue. Footprints and fingerprints have formed. Hair begins to grow on your baby's head. Your baby has a regular sleep cycle.

Third Trimester:

In the third and final trimester, you will notice more physical changes, including swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face. (If you notice any sudden or extreme swelling or if you gain a lot of weight really quickly, call your doctor right away. This could be a sign of a serious condition called preeclampsia.)
Tender breasts, which may leak a watery pre-milk called colostrum.
Your belly button may protrude.
The baby "dropping," or moving lower in your abdomen.
Contractions, which can be a sign of real or false labour.
Other symptoms you may notice in the third trimester include shortness of breath, heartburn, and difficulty sleeping.
Finally, from 37 to 40 weeks the last stages of your baby's development occur. By the end of 37 weeks, your baby is considered the full term. Your baby's organs are capable of functioning on their own. As you near your due date, your baby may turn into a head-down position for birth.
Average birth weight is between 6 pounds 2 ounces to 9 pounds 2 ounces and the average length is 19 to 21 inches long. Most full-term babies fall within these ranges, but healthy babies come in many different weights and sizes.

D. Weight Gain In Pregnancy

If you are in the healthy weight range before becoming pregnant (BMI 18.5-24.9), ideally you should gain between 11.5 kg and 16 kg i.e., 1 to 1.5 kg in the first three months, 1.5 to 2 kg each month until you give birth. If you are above the healthy weight range, you should gain less.

E. Frequency Of Check-Ups During Pregnancy

For a healthy pregnancy, your doctor will probably want to see you on the following recommended schedule of prenatal visits:
- Weeks 4 to 28: 1 prenatal visit a month
- Weeks 28 to 36: 1 prenatal visit every 2 weeks

- Weeks 36 to 40: 1 prenatal visit every week
Be sure to stick to the schedule that your doctor suggests, even if life gets hectic. Prenatal care is important for both your health and your baby's health. In fact, when a mother doesn't get prenatal care, her baby is three times more likely to have a low birth weight. When your doctor checks you regularly, he or she can spot problems early and treat them so that you can have the healthiest pregnancy possible.

F. Risk Factors That May Require More Visits

A recommended schedule isn't set in stone, although visiting a trusted hospital like Zoi Hospitals, the best gynaecology hospital in Hyderabad will help you avoid risks during pregnancy.

Gynaecologists in Hyderabad will decide how often to see you based on your individual health picture and will want to see you more often if you had any health problems before you became pregnant or if problems develop during your pregnancy. You also may need additional tests to ensure that you and your baby stay healthy.

You can also read: Importance of exercise during pregnancy and Health Advantages of Breastfeeding for Baby & Mother

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