Creating a baby involves sexual reproduction. This can occur when a couple has sexual intercourse and both the egg cell from the woman and the sperm cell from the man unites into one fertilized cell. This cell quickly duplicates and matures within just hours and turns into a zygote. The zygote then attaches itself to the uterus lining where it further matures into a fetus. This fetus has the physical appearance of a human being as early as 6 weeks old. This developing group of cells can come to know as the woman’s baby. The period of holding this baby inside her womb and until the baby is born is called the pregnancy period.
The pregnancy period lasts for approximately 9 months or specifically 36 to 40 weeks of gestation. During this period, there are countless changes involving the baby’s growth and development inside the mother’s womb. The mother is also affected with these changes, having some changes of her own too in order to accommodate the baby’s needs. Together the mother and her baby form a bonding relationship as well as a physical connection with each other.
To know if a woman is really pregnant, there are numerous signs and symptoms which give out clues to alert the people if there is or there is no pregnancy. First, there are possible signs of pregnancy which can be felt and experienced by the woman. Next, there are probable signs of pregnancy which can be felt by the nurse or examiner. Lastly, there are positive signs of pregnancy which can be derived from running tests and examinations through which the final verdict is revealed of whether or not the woman is pregnant.
As the baby matures, there are a lot of possible signs and symptoms a mother will feel. There are nausea and vomiting episodes more commonly known as morning sickness. She will have missed monthly periods or will not menstruate in the succeeding months. The mother will have changes in libido and may feel less inclined to having sexual intercourse. She will feel her breast engorging and swelling. As the baby gets larger, the woman will have increased frequency of urination. She will also have food cravings or in some cases pica, which is the unusual consumption of usually non-edible food. The mother will be easily fatigued and experience skin changes and stretch marks. She will also feel fetal movement inside her which is termed as quickening.
Having experienced the possible signs and symptoms mentioned above, the woman will be inclined to go to a clinic to be examined. There are probable signs and symptoms which are noted by the nurse or examiner. The nurse performs a thorough assessment on the woman’s body. The nurse notes an increased abdominal girth on the mother. The nurse observes that the mother has bluish discoloration on her vagina along with the presence of a softening cervix. The nurse observes that the mother is having Braxton Hicks contraction which is a series of false labor contractions. The nurse can also note that the baby can be palpated on the mother’s abdomen.
To validate all of these signs and symptoms, there are positive signs of pregnancy to look out for. Among the three, positive signs are the most reliable indicators of pregnancy. These involve being positive in four tests, namely, the hearing of fetal heart tones through Doppler sound or stethoscope, ultrasound detection, x-ray visualization, and movement of baby as detected by the examiner.