What is Pregnancy?
When one is positively growing a fetus or an embryo inside the uterus, it is then called pregnancy. It is also known as the interval between conception and birth. It begins at the fertilization phase and end of the fetal and placental delivery. Some experts would say that pregnancy will start when there is a union of egg and the sperm, specifically, in the ampulla of the fallopian tube.
Normally a pregnancy is a condition only experience by a woman who has the female organ, such as uterus, cervix, fallopian tube, egg cells. A full term pregnancy last to 40 weeks or 9 months.
Physiology of Pregnancy
When a woman undergoes the pregnancy state, her physiological body system is affected. The organ systems are affected to be able to accommodate the fetoplacental demands. Physiological body systems comprise the cardiovascular, hematologic, urinary, respiratory, gastrointestinal, endocrine, dermatologic, and skeletal systemic changes.
When a woman is positively bearing a child inside the uterus, there is a reposition of the heart as it shifts to the left, with increased transverse diameter, to be able to accommodate the growing fetus. It is apparent upon chest x-ray that a pregnant woman’s heart will hypertrophies. There is also an increase of the cardiac output during pregnancy due to an increase in demands of the uteroplacental circulation. The heart of the pregnant woman doubles its work as it pumps blood to her body and also to her growing baby. Its heart rate, which is slightly tachycardic in nature, increases. Hence, palpitation is normal experience in a pregnant woman per se. In addition, premature ventricular and atrial beats are normal during pregnancy and should not be misdiagnosed as a heart disorder. Also the stoke volume, which is the volume of the blood pumped from the heart’s ventricle per beat, also increases.
When a woman is pregnant, it is normal to note that the white blood cell count is higher than normal. It doesn’t mean that she is experiencing infection. The only approvable sign of infection is through the having a higher temperature than normal which is confirmed upon temperature taking. Other common significant changes that are related to hematology are having physiologic anemia, neutrophilia, thrombocytopenia in mild form, diminishing fibrinolysis, and increasing procoagulant factors.
A normal occurrence in pregnancy, under the respiratory changes, is the experience of having stuffy nose. There is also a sign of difficulty of breathing as the pregnancy progress, since the growing fetus compresses the diaphragm. Due to the fact that there is an increase progesterone level during the pregnancy state which signals the brain to lower the carbon dioxide level in the body. The respiratory rate, as clinically observed, also increases to meet the metabolic needs of the maternal organs, growing fetus and placenta.
With regards to the changes in the gastrointestinal system, it is expected that most women during pregnancy will experience constipation, nausea and vomiting, flatulence, gallstone formation, heartburn, morning sickness, gingivitis, hyperpytalism, increase acidity level due to decrease lower esophageal sphincter tone and tooth decay. These experiences are due to the fact that the growing fetus compresses the area that comprises the gastrointestinal system and also the increase hormones, such as progesterone and relaxin. The progesterone makes the intestine less active while relaxin decreases the gastric motility. Aside from that, there is an observed voracious appetite in most pregnant woman.
The thyroid enters in a euthyroid state, or the state of having a normal thyroid gland function. There is slight thyromegaly or an increase in size of the thyroid gland and there is an increase thyroxine-binding globulin. With regards to the adrenal function, under the endocrine system, there is an increase in corticosteroid-binding globulin and an increased cortisol level. While in the pituitary gland, another part of the endocrine system enlarges. The prolactin, a hormone, level are continually increased in preparation for lactation. Regarding the pancreas, to insure transport of nutrients is continuous from mother to her baby, there is physiological glucose intolerance. There is also hyperinsulinemia.
With regards to the urinary changes in a pregnant woman, there is actually an experience of fluid retention, glucose and lactose being excreted out in urine, urinary stasis and pyelonephritis. Aside from that, there is a known increased renal size and urinary dilatation. There is an occurrence of pyelonephritis and an increased renal state because there is mechanical compression of the uterus when the fetus grows; it dislocates the location of the renal system on the right rather than in the left, causing, at times, urinary stasis. Aside from that, it is a result of progesterone effect. Progesterone, a hormone which is high in pregnancy, causes potassium sparring effects and it produces a smooth muscular relaxation.
Due to the increase level of hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and melanin stimulating hormone, the pregnant mother experiences changes with regards to her skin or dermatologic system. The melanin stimulating hormone is a big contributor to the pigmentary changes that a pregnant woman undergoes. Some of the dermatologic changes that a pregnant woman experiences are: vascular spiders, melasma or chloasma, striae gravidarum, diastasis wherein there rectus muscle separates causing a bluish groove and palmar erythema which causes redness and itching.
When a woman is pregnant, the maternal total calcium level declines and the ligaments of the sacroiliac joints and symphysis are loosening due to the hormone relaxin. There is also a common observation of lordosis.
What are the Signs of Pregnancy?
The Signs of Pregnancy are subdivided into three categories: Presumptive, Probable, Positive signs. Under the presumptive signs are the symptoms that are experienced by a pregnant woman. This signs may or may not lead to positive pregnancy hence it is only presumable. The signs under the presumptive are: the breast changes, nausea and vomiting occurs, amenorrhea or absence of menses, frequent urination, fatigue, uterine enlargement, linea nigra, chloasma, striae gravidarum, and quickening. While under the probable signs are test that may or may not lead to positive pregnancy. Under this categorical signs includes serum laboratory tests, Chadwick sign, Goodell’s sign, Hegar’s sign, ballottement, Braxton Hicks, and Fetal outine felt by examiner. Lastly, the positive signs indicate positive pregnancy which includes heartbeat, outline seen through sonogram and movement felt by examiner.
What are the Emotional Responses of a Woman to Pregnancy?
A pregnant woman may experience one or more of the following emotional responses:
- Ambivalent feeling
- Narcissism or being egocentric
- Introversion and extroversion
- Being conscious in the Body Image
- Couvades syndrome
- Emotional Liability
- Changes in the Libido
What are Periods?
When a girl enters puberty, her body changes, along with the changes she experiences having periods or the so called menstruation, mense or menarche days. A period is when an amount of bleeding, which discharges blood, mucus and epithelial cells from the uterus, that takes place in the vagina. When this kind of bleeding occurs, you shouldn’t be alarmed since it is a natural experience that most women go through. The menstruation period is a natural phenomenon that tells the woman that she can bear children.
Physiology of Periods
The simplified menstrual cycle begins with the Hypothalamus. The Hypothalamus, by activating the gonad regulating hormone, will trigger the Anterior Pituitary Hormone to secrete the Follicular Stimulating Hormone or the FSH and the Luteinizing Hormone or the LH. After which it will trigger the ovary to release estrogen and progesterone which then triggers the uterus, which then starts the menstrual period.
In the uterus, the first menstrual cycle begins which is called as proliferative, estrogenic, follicular, or postmenstrual phase. What happens here is that the endometrium grows back to its normal thickness. It increases it thickness and grows rapidly eighth fold. This is during the 1st to 14th day.
The second phase is called the secretory, progestational, premenstrual or luteal phase. The endometrium has become a corkscrew or twisted in appearance and its lining becomes rich, spongy and velvet in hue. In this phase, glycogen and mucin is apparent. It occurs in 14th to 28th day period.
The third phase is called the ischemic phase where in when the corpus luteum, when not fertilized, goes into regress after 8-10 days leading to decrease in both progesterone and estrogen levels. At the 24-25th day, the capillaries rupture and the endometrium begins to slough off.
Finally, the last phase is the menstruation itself wherein the blood and capillaries rupture. The mense, which goes out of the woman’s body through the vagina, is rich in mucin, blood, fragments of endometrial tissue, and ovum which is microscopic, atrophied and unfertilized.
Can you get Pregnant on your Period?
There have been debates with regards to this question. Yet scientifically speaking and according to experts, one may get a slim chance of becoming pregnant during their period or menstruation. The reason lies in the scientific fact that the sperm can live up to five days and normally inside the woman’s body, it can live for about two to three days or 48 to 72 hours.
What are Causes of Pregnancy on your Periods?
When a woman has a normal menstrual cycle, chances are she can get pregnant easily than with those with irregular menstrual period. When one undergoes the normal menstrual cycle, as described before but this time the third phase and final phase doesn’t materialized. What happens is that the egg was fertilized by a sperm. Hence, the beginning of pregnancy and the menstrual cycle stops to give way to the pregnancy state. This is the primary cause of pregnancy on your periods.