Last updated date: 06-Feb-2023

    Medically Reviewed By

    Medically reviewed by

    Dr. Btissam Fatih

    Medically reviewed by

    Dr. Lavrinenko Oleg

    Originally Written in English

    Everything you need to know about Pregnancy


      Pregnancy occurs when the sperm fertilizes an egg after it had been previously released from the ovary during ovulation. Fertilization takes place in the fallopian tubes but the fertilized egg then travels to the uterus where it implants. If the implantation process is successful pregnancy occurs.

      On average, a full-term pregnancy lasts around 40 weeks, but this number can vary from person to person. Women who receive prenatal care and diagnose their pregnancies earlier have a higher chance of experiencing a healthy pregnancy and giving birth to a healthy baby.


      Signs and symptoms of pregnancy

      • A missed period. The most common sign is a missed period, however this doesn’t necessarily confirm a pregnancy, especially if you experience irregular menstrual cycles. There are many health conditions besides pregnancy that can cause a missed or a late period.
      • Headaches or dizziness. Headaches or dizziness are very common in early pregnancy and are caused by the normal fluctuation of hormones and increased blood volume.
      • Bleeding. Some women also experience spotting or light bleeding and can sometimes be mistaken with an actual period. Keep in mind that this is called implantation bleeding and takes place 2 weeks after fertilization so around the day your period should have started. Sometimes the bleeding has other causes, such as infections, irritations, miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies or placenta previa. You should always contact your doctor if you’re concerned something might be wrong.
      • Weight gain. Weight gain should be expected in the first trimester of pregnancy although it is more noticeable toward the beginning of the second trimester.
      • Pregnancy induced hypertension. Pregnancy induced hypertension sometimes develops during pregnancy. Some of the risk factors include:
      1. Smoking;
      2. Being overweight or obese;
      3. A prior history of pregnancy-induced hypertension in your family history.


      • Heartburns. Heartburns caused by the relaxation of cardia (a valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach) due to certain hormones.
      • Cramps. As the uterus expands to accommodate a baby, you may feel a pulsing sensation that is very similar to menstrual cramps. However, if this sensation is accompanied by spotting or bleeding it could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage.
      • Constipation. Constipation may happen as normal pregnancy hormones slow down the digestive system.
      • Back pain. Back pain is most likely caused by hormones and stress on the muscles. Around half of all pregnant women report back pain during the pregnancy.
      • Anaemia. Anaemia is a symptom as well as a risk of pregnancy, which causes you to feel lightheaded or dizzy. If untreated it can lead to premature birth and low birth weight. Usually, prenatal care involves testing for anaemia.
      • Depression. Around a fourth of all pregnant women developed depression during their pregnancy especially in the first trimester. Always check with your doctor if you feel unwell.
      • Insomnia. Another mental health related but common symptom of early pregnancy is insomnia. Hormonal changes, stress and physical discomfort can contribute to insomnia. Sometimes a good, healthy and balanced diet, yoga and good sleeping habits can help you get a good night’s sleep.
      • Breast changes. Breast changes are sometimes the most noticeable and first sign of pregnancy. Your breasts might start to feel tender, swollen and heavy, the nipples may also become larger and more sensitive to touch and the areolae may darken.
      • Vomiting and nausea. This is more commonly known as “morning sickness”, a common symptom that usually appears in the first four months of pregnancy and is thought to be caused by increased hormones.
      • Hip pain. Hip pain is very common in pregnancy and tends to increase as the pregnancy progresses. Some of the most common causes includes:
      1. Sciatica;
      2. Changes in posture;
      3. A heavier uterus;
      4. Pressure on ligaments.


      • Diarrhea and other digestive problems are common during pregnancy and are most likely caused by hormone changes and an added stress. However, if diarrhea lasts more than a few days contact your doctor;
      • Strange tastes, smells or cravings. Some people complain of a metallic taste, losing interest in smoking and a more sensitive sense of smell than usual.




      1st trimester


      Day 1 is the first day of your period.

      Day 14 is when ovulation occurs (this can vary and it depends on how long your menstrual cycle is).

      Within 24 hours of ovulation the egg is fertilised if you had one or two days before to the ovulation day without using any contraceptive methods.

      About 5 to 6 days after ovulation the fertilised egg implants into the lining of the uterus and you’re now pregnant.

      The most reliable way to find out if you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test. Once you find out, call your doctor so you can start antenatal care. You may be advised to:

      • Take folic acid supplements even before getting pregnant (in case you’re trying) until the 12th week of pregnancy;
      • Take vitamin D supplements;
      • Avoid certain foods;
      • Stop smoking and avoid drinking.

      In the first four weeks you might not notice any symptoms other than a missed period or a few early pregnancy signs.

      At around 5 weeks the baby’s nervous system is already developing and the heart forms as a simple tube-like structure. At the same time, the embryo’s outer layer of cells starts forming a tube called the neural tube which will later become the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Defects in the “tail end” of the neural tube lead to spina bifida, which can be prevented with folic acid supplements. Defects in the “head end” of the neural tube lead to anencephaly, in which case the bones of the skull do not form properly.

      By the time you’re 8 weeks pregnant, the term embryo is replaced with foetus. Your womb size has grown to the size of a lemon.

      At 10 weeks the heart is now fully formed and beats 180 times a minute (roughly 2-3 times faster than your heart).

      The first trimester is the earliest period of pregnancy. It begins on the first day of your last period - before you're even really pregnant - and goes on until the finish of the thirteenth week. It's a period of incredible expectation and of quick changes for both you and your child. Realizing what's in store will assist you with preparing for the months ahead.

      Pregnancy is different for everyone. Some women gleam with great wellbeing during those initial 3 months; others feel totally miserable. Here are a portion of the progressions you may see, what they mean, and which signs warrant a call to your doctor.

      • Bleeding. About 25% of pregnant women have slight spotting during their first trimester. In the early pregnancy, light spotting might be an indication that the fertilized embryo has embedded in your uterus. In any case, in the event that you have extreme bleeding, cramping, or sharp pain in your abdomen, call your doctor. These could be indications of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy where the embryo embeds outside of the uterus).
      • Breast tenderness. Sore breasts are perhaps the soonest indication of pregnancy. They're set off by hormonal changes, which are preparing your milk ducts to take care of your child. Your breasts will most likely be sore all through the main trimester. Going up a bra size (or more) and wearing a support bra can help make you feel more comfortable.
      • Constipation. During pregnancy, significant levels of progesterone hinder the muscle constrictions that typically move food through your gastrointestinal tract. Add to that the additional iron you're getting from your prenatal vitamins, and the outcome is constipation and gas that can keep you feeling swollen all through your pregnancy. Eat more fiber and drink additional liquids to keep things moving all the more easily. Actual physical activity can likewise help. In the event that constipation is truly troubling you, talk with your doctor about what gentle laxatives or stool softeners are safe to use during pregnancy.
      • Discharge. It's entirely expected to see a slim, smooth white discharge (called leukorrhea) early in your pregnancy. You can wear panty liners in the event that it causes you to feel more comfortable, however don't utilize a tampon since it could put germs into your vagina. On the off chance that the discharge smells unpleasant, if it's green or yellow, or if there's a great deal of clear release, call your doctor.
      • Exhaustion and fatigue. Your body is striving to help a developing child. That implies you'll get drained easier than expected. Rest when you need to during the day. Ensure you're getting sufficient iron. Too little can cause anemia, which can make you considerably more drained.
      • Food preferences. Your preferences can change while you're pregnant. Over 60% of pregnant women have food cravings. Yielding to desires every once in a while is generally not a problem, as long as you practice good eating habits. The exception is pica - a mental disorder that makes you crave nonfoods like earth, soil, and laundry starch, which can be hazardous for you and your child. In the event that you experience this sort of craving, report it to your doctor immediately.
      • Peeing a lot. Your child is still little, however your uterus is developing and it's squeezing your bladder. Thus, you may feel like you need to go to the restroom constantly. Try not to quit drinking liquids - your body needs them - yet cut down on caffeine, particularly before sleep time. Whenever you need to go to the bathroom, go. Try not to hold it in.
      • Heartburn. During pregnancy, your body creates a greater amount of progesterone. It loosens up smooth muscles, similar to the ring of muscle in your lower esophagus, the tube that connects your mouth and stomach. These muscles typically hold food and acids down in your stomach. At the point when they relax, you can get heartburn, also called acid reflux.


      2nd trimester

      The second trimester of your pregnancy goes from week 13 to 28, or months 4, 5, and 6. It's the mid period of pregnancy, when you may begin to notice your baby bump and feel your child move for the first time. As you enter your second trimester of pregnancy, morning sickness and fatigue you may have felt during the most recent 3 months should blur. The second trimester is, for some women, the least demanding 3 months of pregnancy. Take the time now, while you're feeling good and your energy is up, to begin getting ready for your child's arrival.During the second trimester, your child is developing rapidly. Between your 18th and 22nd week of pregnancy you'll have an ultrasound so your primary care physician can perceive how your child is developing. It is also the best period for detection of malformations. You additionally can learn the sex of your child, except if you'd prefer be surprised at birth. What's more, in case you're having twins, you may find out during this trimester.

      In spite of the fact that you ought to feel better now, enormous changes are as yet occurring inside your body. This is what you can anticipate:

      • Achiness in your lower abdomen. In your second trimester, you may notice cramps or pain in your lower abdomen. Spasms happen on the grounds that as your uterus extends during pregnancy, it squeezes muscles and tendons adjacent to your uterus. During your second trimester, your round ligament muscle frequently squeezes as it extends. You feel it as a dull pain in your lower abdomen, yet you may likewise feel sharp stabs of pain. Minor issues are typical, and might be brought about byconstipation, gas, or even sex. To mitigate the throbs, try a hot shower, relaxing workouts, changing your body's position, or squeezing a heated water bottle wrapped in a towel to your lower abdomen.
      • Back pain. The additional weight you've acquired over the most recent couple of months is beginning to squeeze your back, possibly making it painful and sore. To facilitate the pressing factor, sit upright and use a seat that offers great back support. Rest on your side with a cushion tucked between your legs. Abstain from getting or lifting anything heavy. Try to wear low-heeled, agreeable shoes with good curve support. In the event that the pain is truly agonizing, talk to your doctor for possible treatment plans.


      3rd trimester

      The third trimester is the last stage of pregnancy and lasts from weeks 29 to 40 (generally), or months 7, 8 and 9. During this last trimester your baby shifts positions, grows and becomes ready for delivery. For some, this last trimester can be the most challenging.

      In the third trimester, your child continues to develop. Before the end, a full-term child generally is somewhere in the range of 19 and 21 inches in length and somewhere in the range of 6 and 9 pounds.Your child starts to turn itself head-down to prepare for delivery. At week 36, the child's head should start to move into your pelvic region, likewise called lightening. It will remain in this down-confronting position throughout the last fourteen days of your pregnancy.

      These are some of the many changes your baby goes through in the last trimester, before birth:

      • Open its eyes and see
      • Hear
      • Suck on its thumb
      • Cry
      • Smile

      Your child's cerebrum keeps on creating. Its lungs and kidneys develop. It acquires muscle tone and about 16% body fat. The bones at the highest point of its skull are delicate to ease the birthing process. Most children have blue eyes at this stage, and they'll remain that tone until a couple of days or weeks after they're born. It additionally has nails on its toes and fingers. In the event that it's a boy, the testicles have slid into the scrotum.

      During the third trimester, the vernix caseosa, a defensive covering, covers your baby's skin. Delicate body hair called the lanugo drops out and is nearly passed before the finish of week 40.


      Antenatal Care

      The midwife or doctor will:

      • Check you and your baby’s health;
      • Give you information to help you have a healthy pregnancy (advice about healthy eating, exercising);
      • Discuss options and choices for your pregnancy care, labour and birth;
      • Answer the questions you might have.

      You will most likely be offered:

      • Ultrasound scans at 8 to 14 weeks and 18 to 21 weeks;
      • Antenatal classes;
      • Screening tests to find out the chances of your baby having certain conditions like Down’s syndrome
      • Blood tests to check for syphilis, HIV and hepatitis B; Blood type, anemia , Blood sugar
      • Screenings for thalassemia and sickle cell (should be done before you’re 10 weeks pregnant).


      What to expect at an appointment


      At your first appointment your doctor or midwife might ask about:

      • The date of the first day of your last period;
      • Your health: previous illnesses and operations you have had;
      • Previous pregnancies and miscarriages;
      • How you are feeling.

      After 24 weeks the antenatal appointments will usually become more frequent but rather short and your doctor or midwife will:

      • Check your blood pressure;
      • Check your urine;
      • Check your baby’s position by feeling your abdomen;
      • Check the amniotic liquid
      • Measure your uterus to check the baby’s growth;
      • Listen to the baby’s heartbeat.

      You should also be given information or advice about:

      • Your birth plan;
      • Preparing for labour and birth;
      • How to tell if you are in labour;
      • Induction of labour if the baby is overdue;
      • Postpartum depression, more commonly known as “baby blues”;
      • Feeding your baby;
      • Screening tests for newborns;
      • Looking after yourself and your baby.


      Baby’s Movements

      You should expect to feel your baby move between 16 and 24 weeks of pregnancy, however if this is your first pregnancy you might not feel your baby move until after 20 weeks. At first, these movements can feel like fluttering and as the pregnancy progresses they might start to feel more like kicks. Always check with your doctor or midwife right away if:

      • Your baby is moving less than usual or you cannot feel any movements;
      • There is a change in the pattern of movements.


      Pregnancy Complications

      Pregnancy is not always easy and even though complications are fairly common you do not have to suffer alone. If you suspect anything is wrong, always check with your doctor to ensure your pregnancy is safe. Some of the most common complications include:

      • Anemia. At the point when you're pregnant, you may experience weakness.During pregnancy, your body delivers more blood to help the development of your child. In case you're not getting sufficient iron or certain different supplements, your body probably won't have the option to deliver the measure of red platelets it needs to make this extra blood. It's not unexpected to have gentle pallor when you are pregnant. In any case, you may have more severe anemia from low iron or vitamin levels or from different reasons. There are more types of anemia depending on the cause. Iron-deficiency anemia occurs when the body does not have enough iron to produce adequate amounts of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that helps carry oxygen to all the tissues in your body.
      • Abdominal separation or diastasis recti. This occurs when your belly sticks out because the space between your left and right abdominal rectus muscles has widened. This is very common among pregnant women (about 2 thirds of pregnant women have it). Having more than one child makes it more likely for you to develop this. Pregnancy can put such pressure on your abdomen that the muscles sometimes cannot keep their shape. Make sure you do not put more strain on your abdominal muscles.