Pregnancy is the carrying of a fetus inside the uterus of a woman. A new life begins when the sperm cell meets the egg cell. This is called fertilization. The two cells unite to form the initial living cell called zygote. Imagine this single cell, containing DNA derived from both parents, will become a baby soon to be born! Isn’t it amazing how life begins!
Prenatal period is from the time a zygote is formed until childbirth. The zygote will divide itself through the process of mitosis. In mitosis, two identical cells are produced. The result of this cell division is a multicellular organism called embryo. Through the process of embryogenesis, this multicellular organism will further develop and will later on become a fetus. Fetal development starts at the beginning of the 11th gestational week and constitutes through to the rest of the prenatal period. It is characterized by observable changes in a fetus’ major body systems.
Childbirth is the climax of pregnancy. It occurs about 38 weeks after fertilization. Childbirth is signaled by labor which are regular uterine contractions felt at increasing intensity and shortened intervals. Labor is usually accompanied by vaginal bleeding or a sensation of fluid leakage.
After childbirth, the postnatal period will follow. This can be short. It can last only for a day for a mother who has delivered via vaginal delivery. During this period, the general health of a mother is closely observed. Persistent bleeding is noted and treated. Bladder and bowel control functions are also monitored.
There are risks, however, associated with pregnancy. Certain medical conditions such as heart diseases, high blood pressure, sexually transmitted diseases, and diabetes can complicate pregnancy. It is advisable to see your doctor regularly if you have such conditions. Regular monthly checkup and treatment can lessen the risks.
The most joyous moment for a woman is, probably, when she knows she is pregnant and will soon become a mother. Though pregnancy entails physical change, uncertainties, risks, pain in childbirth and lifetime parenting, do not let these outweigh the overall feeling of happiness experienced with pregnancy and parenthood.