General Perspective about Pregnancy
Pregnancies occur when a sperm penetrates an egg and the single sperm that first burrows into the egg is the successful one of millions of others contained in the mans semen. This process is called fertilization, and usually takes place in the womans fallopian tube after the matured egg has been released from one of her ovaries.
Sperms may contain an X chromosome or a Y chromosome and if an X fertilizes, the result will be a girl; if a Y penetrates, the result will be a boy. Sperms and eggs each contain 23 chromosomes, and the total number required of 46 chromosomes is achieved when a sperm and egg mingle at fertilization. The fertilized egg at once begins to divide into a growing cluster of cells. Between five and seven days after ovulation, the fertilized egg implants into the wall of the uterus and produces root-like outgrowths.
These help to anchor it to the lining of the uterus and will eventually grow into the placenta, the organ that provide for and protects the baby until birth. The placenta preserve and support the baby by enabling the transfer of oxygen, carbon dioxide, amino acids, fats, vitamins and minerals from the mothers blood and it also allows the transfer of waste substances from the growing baby.
The time of implantation into the wall of the uterus until more or less the eighth week of life, the baby is known as an embryo. Development is fast during this stage, as specialized cells begin to form the vital organs, nervous system, bones, muscles and blood. After the eighth week of pregnancy, the developing baby is called a fetus and it is about 2.4cm long, with most of the internal organs formed. External features such as the eyes, nose, mouth and ears can be seen, and fingers and toes start to become visible.
The changes in hormone levels in pregnant women are truthfully profound. The symptoms of pregnancy generally start with cramping period-like pains and slight vaginal bleeding occurring around two weeks after your first missed period. Usually occur between weeks 4 and 10 of pregnancy and you may not even be aware that you are pregnant, so at first you may think that cramps and bleeding are simply your period. You also have severe pain, on one side of the lower abdomen, a pregnancy must be considered.
A fluid-filled double membrane surrounds the baby, and during pregnancy it floats freely in the amniotic liquid baby constantly swallows this fluid and excretes it in the urine. Much information about the health of the baby can be obtained during a test called Amniocentesis. The membrane normally breaks and releases the amniotic fluid before the birth of the baby. The normal time-span of a normal pregnancy varies between about 37 and 42 weeks, while the delivery date is calculated at 40 weeks from the first day of the last period. Only around five per cent of babies are born on their due date some babies born before 37 weeks are considered premature.
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