A normal pregnancy usually lasts for 40 weeks though most first pregnancies might extend up to 42 weeks. Prognosis of pregnancy includes the understanding of pregnancy stages, pregnancy symptoms, pregnancy care and complications.

Last Updated: 22 October 2020

Stages of Pregnancy

For the convenience of medical observation and examination, pregnancy is divided into three distinct stages, commonly called as trimesters. The three trimesters mark important milestones in the progress of your pregnancy. Each trimester lasts for around 13 weeks, spanning the following pregnancy timelines:

·         First Trimester – Weeks 1 to 13: Following conception and implantation, your baby begins to grow rapidly in your womb during the first trimester. You may experience early signs of pregnancy, morning sickness and will have your first antenatal appointment.

·         Second Trimester – Weeks 14 to 27: In the second trimester, your baby’s senses and organs develop rapidly. You will undergo prenatal tests to check the well-being of your growing baby and you will begin to experience Braxton Hicks contractions.

·         Third Semester – Weeks 28 to 40: In the third trimester, you will become heavier as you get closer to labor and delivery.

Pregnancy Symptoms

Pregnancy symptoms vary from woman to woman. The common signs of pregnancy include the following:

·         Spotting

·         Breast tenderness

·         Morning sickness

·         Food aversion

·         Cramping

·         Fatigue

·         Frequent urination

·         Lightheadedness

·         Nasal congestion

Pregnancy Care

It is important to take good care of your nutrition and physical fitness during pregnancy. The prognosis of pregnancy, labor and childbirth largely depends on the lifestyle and care taken during pregnancy. The pregnancy essentials towards growing a healthy baby are:

Prenatal Vitamin Supplements: Your baby’s development begins even before you realize you are pregnant. Hence it is recommended to take prenatal vitamins from two months before you plan to conceive.

Balanced Diet: A good spread of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, iron and vitamins in your pregnancy diet is a must every day.

Pregnancy exercises: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends at least 20 to 30 minutes of pregnancy exercise per day on most days or all the days of the week. Safe exercises during pregnancy care:

·         Walking

·         Swimming

·         Prenatal yoga

·         Stationary biking

·         Low-impact aerobics

Adequate sleep, regular OB visits and safe sex are other pregnancy wellness tips.

Pregnancy Complications

A normal pregnancy in general sails smoothly without any complications. However, pregnancy may be associated with complications in some women. A few of the pregnancy complications which affect the health of the mother and baby are:

·         Gestational diabetes

·         Hypertension disorders such as preeclampsia

·         Miscarriage

·         Oligohydramnios

·         HELLP syndrome

·         Placenta previa

Labor and Birth

Towards the end of pregnancy, labor contractions will begin indicating labor and childbirth in the next few hours or within a day. It is good to be informed of the signs of labor and be prepared for labor and delivery. Labor will proceed in three stages as follows:

First stage of labor

In the first stage, labor contractions begin and continue to get stronger. With increasing contractions, your cervix begins to thin-out, also called as effacement. Your cervix starts to dilate from 0 centimeters to 10 centimeters.

Second stage of labor

You begin to push your baby down in the birth canal. Contractions continue to occur though can be 3-5 minutes apart now. It usually lasts for 1-2 hours. Depending upon how wide your vaginal opening is giving space, you may have to push more or undergo episiotomy or switch to C-section if the baby is monitored to be distressed. At the end of this phase, however, your baby is out!

Third stage of labor

Labor doesn’t end with the delivery of your baby! The placenta which nourished your baby is still inside and has to be expelled out. Contractions begin soon after childbirth and placenta begins to separate from the uterine wall. To your surprise, you will have to push again to get the placenta out through the third stage of labor usually lasts no longer than 20 minutes.




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