Pregnancy, also known as gestation, occurs when a sperm fertilizes an egg after it’s released from the ovary during ovulation. The fertilized egg then travels down into the uterus, where implantation occurs.
On average a woman will be pregnant for 40 weeks. The weeks are grouped into 3 trimesters.
The first trimester starts at conception to about the 12th week of pregnancy. The second trimester follows at weeks 13 to 27, and the third trimester starts about 28 weeks and lasts until the baby is born.
Symptoms of pregnancy
Pregnancy signs can vary in intensity, frequency and duration from woman to woman.
1. Missed period
This is the most common and widely known sign of a woman being pregnant. However, there are other factors that can cause a woman to miss her periods including hormonal imbalance, menopause, stress, rapid weight gain or loss etc.
In the early stages, increased blood circulation caused by hormonal changes may trigger frequent, mild headaches.
Hormones released during pregnancy can sometimes relax the valve between your stomach and esophagus. When stomach acid leaks out, this can result in heartburn.
Hormone changes during early pregnancy can slow down your digestive system this is due to an increase in progesterone. As a result, you may become constipated.
5. Hip and back pain
Other than the hormones and stress on your muscles, as the pregnancy advances, the increased weight and shifted center of gravity may also lead to your back pain.
Later on in your pregnancy, you may experience hip pain due to pressure on your ligaments, sciatica, changes in your posture or a heavier uterus.
6. Spotting and cramps
As the muscles in your uterus begin to stretch and expand, you may feel a pulling sensation that resembles menstrual cramps. As the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus (implantation) – about 10 to 14 days after fertilization, you may experience light bleeding and spotting.
During early pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone soar. In high doses, progesterone can put you to sleep. At the same time, lower blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and increased blood production may cause a reduction in your energy levels.
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