Pregnancy also known as gestation or gravidity is the time when an offspring in the form of baby/babies develops inside a woman’s womb or uterus. Pregnancy usually lasts for around 40 weeks (10 lunar months) from the Last Menstrual Period (LMP) and ends with childbirth. The signs or symptoms of early pregnancy occurs in the form of missed periods, tender breasts, vomiting and nausea, hunger pangs and frequent urination. Pregnancy can be confirmed with a pregnancy test that is available in the form of pregnancy kit or by visiting gynaecologist in a clinic who then conducts pregnancy tests to confirm whether the concerned woman is pregnant or not.
The stages of pregnancy are typically divided into three trimesters. The First trimester is counted as week 1 to week 12, the Second trimester (week 13 – week 28) and the Third trimester (week 29 to week 40). The first day of your LMP counts as day one of your pregnancy and the estimated due date of conception can be calculated by online due date calculators.
Five pregnancy Myths
Pregnancy is a boon for humanity as it the nature’s gift for expanding the families. Therefore, it is very important for pregnant women to be careful, be informative about the facts of pregnancy, and be wary of myths about pregnancy. Driving away these myths will help in safe conception of the baby without compromising the safety of both herself and her child. The following pregnancy myths are presented herein below along with the facts or reality about pregnancy.
- Myth. 1 – Stress during pregnancy is dangerous or bad for the fetus.
- Reality – Recent research has concluded that a moderate stress is actually good for the foetus as having some stress tones the foetus’s nervous system thereby accelerating its development. Therefore, pregnant women with moderate stress need not worry about their stress levels.
- Myth. 2 – Pregnant women should not eat sweets.
- Reality – New Studies have proved that pregnant women who eat chocolate every day during pregnancy have babies who showed less fear and smile/laugh more often at six months of age. Eating five or six serving of chocolate each week during their third trimester have 40% lower risk of developing the dangerous high blood pressure known as preeclampsia.
- Myth. 3 – The shape or position of the stomach determines the sex of the baby.
- Reality – Scientists burst this myth by proving that there is no scientific evidence that pregnant woman carrying high stomach will conceive a girl where as if she is carrying low will conceive a boy.
- Myth. 4 – Pregnant women should avoid exercise
- Reality – This is another myth that is mostly believed by pregnant mothers. The reality or fact is that when a pregnant woman exercises, her foetus also gets the benefits of the workout as pregnant women who are physically active have heart rates that are slower and more variable. The babies born to woman who exercise during pregnancy have healthy weight with healthy (intelligent) brains. Moreover, hormones released during pregnancy causes the muscles and ligaments to become more flexible helping the pregnant woman to do exercises such as Yoga with ease.
- Myth. 5 – Having sex during pregnancy is harmful.
- Reality – There is a misconception that having sex during pregnancy is harmful but the reality is that the chances of the baby getting hurt due to having sex during pregnancy are negligible. In addition, sex is like an exercise that is good for both the mother and the health of the foetus. Research has shown that pregnant women who have regular sex during pregnancy have less chances of giving birth prematurely.
Your HCG level – Pregnancy Hormone
HCG is the abbreviation for the term “Human Chorionic Gonadotropin” which is also known as pregnancy hormone. A portion of placenta produces this hormone as soon as the implantation happens that is approximately one week after fertilization and ovulation. The presence of hCG levels is detected during pregnancy tests. The hCG levels continue to rise after implantation that remains in the urine/blood of the woman until about 10-12 weeks of gestation. After this period, the hCG levels begin to subside/stabilize or drop.
The hCG levels in the blood or urine helps in detecting the pregnancy. A pregnancy test becomes positive when there are sufficient levels of hCG in the body. These hCG levels also depend upon several variables such as the number of embryos when implantation happened. It is also related with Body Mass Index or BMI as a higher BMI usually have lower hCG levels. The following levels in hCG indicates-
- hCG under 5mlU/ml: – Not pregnant or negative pregnancy
- hCG between 5-35mlU/ml: – Indicates uncertainty – that is may be pregnant but not in definite terms.
- hCG over 25mlU/ml: – Indicates that you are pregnant.
However, in cases, where one has received an hCG injection for fertility, the presence of hCG does not mean that the concerned woman is pregnant.
Top Craving habits during pregnancy
Pregnant women often find themselves having a desire to consume some specific food items due to hormonal changes in the course of their pregnancy. Some of the top craving food habits during pregnancy include-
- Food craving for pickles
- Craving for chicken flavored pot noodles
- Craving for anything that is hot and spicy to the extreme of eating fresh chilies
- Consuming large quantities of ice creams or cold food
- Craving for chocolates that may be triggered due to shortage of Vitamin-B
The above-mentioned are some of the top craving habits of pregnant women.