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The period from conception to birth. After the egg is fertilized by a sperm and then implanted in the lining of the uterus, itdevelops into the placenta and embryo, and later into a fetus. Pregnancy usually lasts 40 weeks, beginning from the firstday of the woman's last menstrual period, and is divided into three trimesters, each lasting three months.DescriptionPregnancy is a state in which a woman carries a fertilized egg inside her body. Due to technological advances, pregnancyis increasingly occurring among older women in the United States.
At the end of the first month, the embryo is about a third of an inch long, and its head and trunk-plus the beginnings ofarms and legs-have started to develop. The embryo receives nutrients and eliminates waste through the umbilical cordand placenta. By the end of the first month, the liver and digestive system begin to develop, and the heart starts to beat.
In this month, the heart starts to pump and the nervous system (including the brain and spinal cord) begins to develop.The 1 in (2.5 cm) long fetus has a complete cartilage skeleton, which is replaced by bone cells by month's end. Arms,legs and all of the major organs begin to appear. Facial features begin to form.
By now, the fetus has grown to 4 in (10 cm) and weighs a little more than an ounce (28 g). Now the major blood vesselsand the roof of the mouth are almost completed, as the face starts to take on a more recognizably human appearance.Fingers and toes appear. All the major organs are now beginning to form; the kidneys are now functional and the fourchambers of the heart are complete.
The fetus begins to kick and swallow, although most women still can't feel the baby move at this point. Now 4 oz (112 g),the fetus can hear and urinate, and has established sleep-wake cycles. All organs are now fully formed, although they willcontinue to grow for the next five months. The fetus has skin, eyebrows, and hair.
Now weighing up to a 1 lb (454 g) and measuring 8-12 in (20-30 cm), the fetus experiences rapid growth as its internalorgans continue to grow. At this point, the mother may feel her baby move, and she can hear the heartbeat with astethoscope.
Even though its lungs are not fully developed, a fetus born during this month can survive with intensive care. Weighing 1-1.5 lbs (454-681 g), the fetus is red, wrinkly, and covered with fine hair all over its body. The fetus will grow very fastduring this month as its organs continue to develop.
There is a better chance that a fetus born during this month will survive. The fetus continues to grow rapidly, and mayweigh as much as 3 lb (1.3 kg) by now. Now the fetus can suck its thumb and look around its watery womb with openeyes.
Growth continues but slows down as the baby begins to take up most of the room inside the uterus. Now weighing 4-5 lbs(1.8-2.3 kg) and measuring 16-18 in (40-45 cm) long, the fetus may at this time prepare for delivery next month by movinginto the head-down position.
Adding 0.5 lb (227 g) a week as the due date approaches, the fetus drops lower into the mother's abdomen and preparesfor the onset of labor, which may begin any time between the 37th and 42nd week of gestation. Most healthy babies willweigh 6-9 lb (2.7-4 kg) at birth, and will be about 20 in. long.
Causes and Symptoms
The first sign of pregnancy is usually a missed menstrual period, although some women bleed in the beginning. Awoman's breasts swell and may become tender as the mammary glands prepare for eventual breastfeeding. Nipplesbegin to enlarge and the veins over the surface of the breasts become more noticeable.
Nausea and Vomiting are very common symptoms and are usually worse in the morning and during the first trimester of pregnancy. They are usually caused by hormonal changes, in particular, increased levels of progesterone. Women mayfeel worse when their stomach is empty, so it is a good idea to eat several small meals throughout the day, and to keepthings like crackers on hand to eat even before getting out of bed in the morning.
Many women also feel extremely tired during the early weeks. Frequent urination is common, and there
Pregnancy usually lasts 40 weeks in humans, beginning from the first day of thewoman's last menstrual period, and is divided into three trimesters. The illustrationabove depicts the position of the developing fetus during each trimester.
may be a creamywhite discharge from the vagina.Some women crave certain foods,and an extreme sensitivity to smell may worsen the nausea. Weight begins to increase.