Pregnancy is one of the top things on a newly married couple’s minds. At some point, they would like to start a family of their own.

In simple terms, pregnancy is the phase where a mother carries the baby in her womb. In medical terms, pregnancy is the state of carrying the growing embryo in a woman’s uterus. It starts when the egg gets implanted in the uterus, and continues to grow in there until the delivery of the baby. This usually spans 38 weeks from conception, though another way of counting starts from the first day of the last menstrual cycle, making it 40 weeks. After about 8 weeks of development, the embryo is called a foetus.

The pregnancy period is divided into 3 trimesters, each 3 months long.

During the first trimester, the embryo / foetus is at its most vulnerable, and may occasionally suffer a miscarriage. Mothers need to be careful during this phase. Some mothers in India do not even announce their pregnancy during this phase.

In the second trimester, a mother can start feeling the baby. The feeling could initially be that of a fluttering bird inside your womb but towards the end of the trimester, it is not unusual for a mother to feel small baby kicks. No other experience in this world perhaps compares to feeling your baby kick from inside as if announcing his or her arrival.

Once the third trimester begins, your baby has developed enough to be able to survive on its own outside the mother’s womb, but will usually stay inside and grow till it is ready to enter this world.

The baby develops rapidly from week to week. It is educative and fun to read these pre-natal milestones and compare them with the changes going on inside and outside your body. Though you can’t see your little one yet (except during an ultrasound at the doctor’s appointment, don’t we love it!), you can follow his or her progress, and adapt your lifestyle, including eating, sleeping and exercising habits accordingly.

There are several ways to conceive a baby. The natural one is sexual intercourse between a man and woman, where the male sperm meets the female egg in what is known as conception. This fertilized egg then implants itself into the uterine wall to form an embryo, taking protection and nourishment from the placenta.

Artificial insemination is an alternative procedure to get pregnant, where the male sperm is placed in the female reproductive tract through a syringe.

Another method is in-vitro fertilization, better knows as IVF, where the egg and sperm are externally fertilized in a medical laboratory, and the embryo which forms is then placed in the woman’s uterus.

Pregnancy not only gives birth to a child; but also to a mother!

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