Friday, 12 December 2014

Pregnancy Period & Childbirth

Pregnancy Period & Birth of a Child:

Majority of births are successful natural vaginal births with least painful experience but sometimes complications may arise and need arise to perform a cesarean section. At labour time, a woman begins feeling uterine contractions, followed by changes of her cervix; primarily effacement and dilation. In some cases women do experience painful labour & some times not. 
The woman undergoes many physiological changes during pregnancy including cardiovascular, hematologic, metabolic, renal and respiratory that plays vital role in the event of complications. 
The fetus inside a pregnant woman is genetically differs from the woman. A Woman's pregnancy success depends on naturally developed maternal immune tolerance.

Stages of pregnancy term:

Preterm pregnancy - at 37 weeks;
Early term pregnancy - 37 weeks to 39 weeks;
Full term  pregnancy - 39 weeks to 41 weeks;
Late term  pregnancy - 41 weeks to 42 weeks;
Post term  pregnancy - up to 42 weeks.

Pregnancy period is broken into three periods or trimesters.
Pregnancy is considered at term when gestation has lasted between 37 and 42 weeks. Ideally the planned delivery of a child should not happen until after the completion of 39 weeks of pregnancy.
Events before completion of 37 weeks are considered preterm. Preterm birth is associated with a range of risks and problems and whenever possible should be avoided in favor of giving birth when the pregnancy is at term.
Sometimes if a woman's water breaks or contractions before 39 weeks, birth is unavoidable. A natural beginning to an early term delivery is usually a physiological sign that the time is right for birth. Intentionally planning to give birth before 39 weeks by Cesarean section or labor induction, even if considered at term, results in an increased risk of complications and harm to mother and child. This is from factors including underdeveloped lungs of newborns, infection due to underdeveloped immune system, feeding problems due to underdeveloped brain, and jaundice from underdeveloped liver. 
Babies born between 39 and 41 weeks gestation have better outcomes than babies born either before or after this range. This special time period is called "full term". Whenever possible, waiting for labor to begin on its own in this time period is best for the health of the mother and baby. Because of the likelihood of increased problems including the need for a c-section, between 39–41 weeks inducing labor without a medical indication is discouraged unless the cervix is favorable.
Events after 42 weeks are considered post term. When a pregnancy exceeds 42 weeks, the risk of complications for both the woman and the fetus increases significantly. Therefore, in an otherwise uncomplicated pregnancy, obstetricians usually prefer to induce labour at some stage between 41 and 42 weeks.

Usually it is defined that each trimester to lasts for 14 weeks, resulting in a total duration of 42 weeks. 

First trimester (Up to 13 Weeks of the pregnancy):
The womb will grow to the size of a lemon by eight weeks. Many symptoms and discomforts of pregnancy like nausea and tender breasts occur in this period.

Second trimester (Weeks 13 to 28 of the pregnancy):
Although the breasts have been developing internally since the commencement of the pregnancy, most of the visible changes appear after second trimester. Most women feel energized in this period, and may begin to put on weight as the symptoms of morning sickness subside and eventually fade away. The uterus, the muscular organ that holds the developing fetus, can expand up to 20 times its normal size during pregnancy.

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Although the fetus begins to move and takes a recognizable human shape during the first trimester, it is not until the second trimester that movement of the fetus which can be felt in the fourth month or in the 20th to 21st week, or by the 19th week if the woman has been pregnant before. It is common for some women not to feel the fetus move until much later. By the end of the second trimester, the expanding uterus has created a visible "baby bump". 

Third trimester (Weeks 28 to 42 of the pregnancy):
The uterus expands making up a larger and larger portion of the woman's abdomen. During the final stages of gestation before childbirth the fetus and uterus will drop to a lower position. Final weight gain takes place, which is the most weight gain throughout the pregnancy. The woman's abdomen will transform in shape as it drops due to the fetus turning in a downward position ready for birth. During the second trimester, the woman's abdomen would have been very upright, whereas in the third trimester it will drop down quite low, and the woman will be able to lift her abdomen up and down. The fetus begins to move regularly, and is felt by the woman. Fetal movement can become quite strong and be disruptive to the woman. The woman's navel will sometimes become convex, due to her expanding abdomen.
Head engagement, where the fetal head descends into cephalic presentation, relieves pressure on the upper abdomen with renewed ease in breathing. It also severely reduces bladder capacity, and increases pressure on the pelvic floor and the rectum.
It is also during the third trimester that maternal activity and sleep positions may affect fetal development due to restricted blood flow. For instance, the enlarged uterus may impede blood flow by compressing the lower pressured vena cava, with the left lateral positions appearing to providing better oxygenation to the infant.

After Birth :

Studies suggests that skin to skin contact between a mother and her newborn immediately after birth is beneficial for both the mother and baby. During the time immediately after birth, both the mother and the baby are hormonally cued to bond. The bond developed reduces crying, improves mother infant interaction, and helps mothers to breastfeed conveniently.  

The postnatal period begins immediately after the birth of a child and then extends for about six weeks. During this period, the mother's body begins the return to pre-pregnancy conditions that includes changes in hormone levels and uterus size.



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