Pregnancy is defined as the fertilization and development of the embryo or fetus into a baby within the uterus. Pregnancy allows for multiple gestations, such as situations where a woman has been pregnant with twins, triplets, and beyond. Generally, childbirth will occur around 38 weeks after conception; however it has been known to occur earlier or later, depending on the health of the woman and other attributes that may be involved. Embryos are considered to be the offspring of the woman, which are developing during the initial eight weeks following the period of conception. Afterward, the term of fetus is used until the time of birth. It is estimated that around 40% of pregnancies within the United States are unplanned and around a quarter and a half of those pregnancies are considered to be unwanted.
Pregnancy can be diagnosed in a variety of ways. It is possible to get a diagnosis from a medical professional after using medical tests, however, it is also possible for a woman to determine whether or not she is pregnant by using a home pregnancy test. Generally, pregnant women will experience many symptoms which will provide some indication that their bodies are changing. This can include the symptoms of vomiting, nausea, tiredness, food cravings, and urinating more frequently during the night. There are also many medical signs which are known to be associated with pregnancy. These signs can include missing a menstrual period, implantation bleeding becoming present, the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin in the urine and blood, changed basal body temperature, and darkening of the skin around the abdomen. Morning sickness and weight gain tend to be some of the most common clues that a woman may be pregnant, however.
When a woman has discovered that she is pregnant, her doctor will provide her with information to help her start with planning for the overall development of the fetus. This can include prenatal care, such as advising women to take a deeper interest in nutrition. Prenatal vitamins may be recommended to ensure that the fetus is receiving all of the vitamins and other elements it needs in order to develop properly. There are some medications which women will not be able to take during the period of the pregnancy; in contrast, some medications only need to have their dosage changed. This is done in respect to ensuring that none of the medications can possibly affect or harm the fetus during its development. Doctors also take an interest in monitoring the weight of pregnant women because being overweight or underweight can have severe effects on the fetus during gestation.