Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring develops inside a woman.
Pregnancy can occur by sexual intercourse or assisted reproductive technology.
Pregnancy and childbirth mark a significant life transition for a woman and her family. The profound changes that take place occur on many levels, including the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual. Whilst most of the focus is on the amazing physical changes that occur in pregnancy for women, it is affirming and important to acknowledge the very normal and even universal emotional themes that run through the trimesters of pregnancy and the preparation for birth.
Pregnancy is a time of acute and heightened emotions due to the massive amount of circulating hormones that are integral to the normal growth and development of the unborn baby.
For most women, pregnancy is a straightforward, happy and healthy time.
Having regular antenatal check-ups is an important part of staying healthy and making sure your baby is healthy. Regular checks during your pregnancy can assist in identifying and reducing risks to either you or your baby.
Although you may be feeling well, it is still important to go to all your antenatal check-ups.
Antenatal visits also give you a chance to ask any questions and to talk about any issues that you are unsure about, such as aches and pains, the birth, feeding your baby or any other concerns. Before each visit, it is a good idea to think about the things you want to talk about and then write them down so that you don't forget them.
If you are trying to have a baby or are just thinking about it, it is not too early to prepare for a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby. You should see your doctor for preconceptional care.
Preconceptional care is care you receive before you get pregnant. Your doctorcan help you figure out which steps you need to take now, such as
Finding and taking care of any problems that might affect you and your baby later, like diabetesor high blood pressure
Increasing the amount of folic acid you get to prevent neural tube defects
Getting up to date on vaccines
Avoiding smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking drugs
Trying to reach a healthy weight
By taking action on health issues before pregnancy, you can prevent many future problems for yourself and your baby. Once you're pregnant, you'll get prenatal care until your baby is born.