Overview of Pregnancy

Knowing what to expect during pregnancy is very important. A doctor needs to be consulted and your health during the three trimesters needs to be monitored.

Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy

Pregnancy (حاملہ) is the result of the fertilization between a sperm and an egg. The egg is released from the ovary during ovulation. After fertilization, the egg travels to the uterus and implants itself on the endometrium. Successful implantation leads to pregnancy.
Pregnancy is different for every woman. Prenatal care leads to a healthy pregnancy.

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Types of Pregnancy

Pregnancy symptoms can appear before you even notice that you are pregnant. For others, symptoms show themselves at a later stage, as the hormone level changes. Some of the classic pregnancy symptoms are as follows:

  • No Period

The most classic sign of pregnancy is the absence of a period. For those who are never late in their cycle, a missed period is a likely sign of pregnancy. But a missed period doesn’t always mean that you are pregnant, it can also happen due to other health conditions or maybe even stress.

  • Nausea and Vomiting

Morning sickness is mostly an indication of pregnancy. During the first few weeks, bouts of nausea and vomiting are high. Some women don’t get morning sickness.

  • Headache

Headaches usually happen in early pregnancy due to altered hormone levels. A doctor needs to be consulted for intense and painful headaches.

  • Weight gain

Body gains at least one to four pounds during the first and second trimesters. You might not notice that you have gained weight until after packing a few pounds.

  • Cramps

The expansion of the uterus can cause cramps like feeling. Spotting or bleeding when you have cramps may be an indication of complications in the pregnancy, a miscarriage, or an ectopic pregnancy.

  • Breast Changes

During the initial stages of pregnancy, breast changes are a big indication of being pregnant. The breast feels tender, swollen, and heavy. Nipples become larger and highly sensitive.

Other signs include:

  • Back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Acne
  • Heartburn
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Anemia
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation

Stages of Pregnancy

Pregnancy usually lasts over 40 weeks. The 1st week starts from the first day of the normal period. Weeks are divided into three trimesters.

  • First Trimester

The first trimester comprises Week 1 to Week 12. This is when the changes in the body occur. Hormonal changes are usually triggered first, which can cause changes even in the initial weeks of pregnancy. The period stops is considered to be the first sign of pregnancy. The changes body goes through include:

  • Extreme fatigue, tiredness
  • Morning sickness
  • Tender, swollen breasts
  • Mood swings
  • Strong emotional changes
  • Headache
  • Cravings
  • Distaste for certain foods
  • Heartburn
  • Weight gain or weight loss

Every woman feels these changes in a different way, some are greatly affected while some are hardly affected. It is a more crucial time as chances of miscarriages are usually high in the first trimester.

Baby Development

  • 1-5 weeks: The zygote develops into an embryo. The heart, brain, and spinal cord start forming. Arm and leg buds also appear.
  • 6-8 weeks: Heart starts beating. All major organs start to form, the legs and arms grow longer. Embryo converts into a fetus, resembling more like a human.
  • 9-12 weeks: Babygrows and the organ develops more. Sex organs are developed indicating gender. Nerves and muscles start to work together.
  • Second Trimester

The second trimester comprises Week 13 to Week 28. The second trimester is relatively much easier than the first trimester. Symptoms such as morning sickness and fatigue usually go away. Other physical changes make their appearance, such as the abdomen expands as the baby grows. More usual symptoms in these weeks include:

  • Stretch marks on the abdomen
  • Body ache
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Itching in the palms and soles and abdomen
  • Darkening of the areolae
  • Swelling of fingers, ankles, and face

Before the second trimester is over, the baby’s movement can be felt and the sex of the baby can be known via ultrasound.

Baby Development

  • 16 weeks: Skin begins to form, the skeleton continues to form and the baby can now make a sucking motion. Baby makes his first bowel movement during this time.
  • 20 weeks: Baby’s eyelashes, eyebrows, and nails are formed. The baby starts to move and the movement is felt by the mother. Baby can now hear and swallow.
  • 24 weeks: Real hair grows along with blood cells; lungs develop but do not function yet. The baby sleeps and wakes regularly. Baby starts to store fat.
  • Third Trimester

This trimester includes Week 29-Week 40. The baby continues to grow, the abdomen expands more and the baby presses on the organs. This creates the urgency to urinate more. Changes during this trimester include:

  • Back pain
  • Swollen feet, ankles, fingers
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tender breasts
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Heartburn
  • Belly button sticking out
  • Baby moving lower in the abdomen
  • Braxton hicks
  • Real contractions (a sign of labor)

After the 36th week mark, the baby can be born anytime. As the due date nears, the cervix becomes thinner and softer allowing the birth canal (vagina) to open during the birthing process. The progress is checked by a vaginal exam by the doctor in the last few weeks.

Baby Development

  • 32 weeks: Baby can now kick forcefully, the eyes can open and close and soft bones are formed. The baby grows more and gains weight.
  • 36 weeks: Body fat increases, giving less space for the baby to move.
  • Till 40 weeks: A full-term baby is considered 39 weeks. The organs are fully developed and can function on their own. Babies position themselves head down for birth.
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Complications in pregnancy can lead to health complications in the baby and the mother. Complications can occur during pregnancy or delivery.

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Preeclampsia
  • Preterm labour
  • Miscarriage

Treatment of Pregnancy | When to Consult a Doctor

Diagnosis of pregnancy can be done at home or the clinic.

  • Pregnancy Tests

Home pregnancy kits are very accurate. A positive result is an indication of pregnancy but a doctor’s appointment is still necessary.

  • Ultrasound

An ultrasound can clearly show if there is a pregnancy and any other news regarding the pregnancy whether it is a healthy pregnancy or ectopic.

  • Blood and Urine Test

hCG hormone is measured to confirm the pregnancy. High hCG levels are a clear indication of pregnancy.

  • Labour Stages

Sometimes women can experience false labour pains known as the Braxton-Hicks contractions. They are normal and feel exactly like real labour pain. These contractions don’t increase in intensity and stop after a while.

  • Early Labour

Early labour contractions or active labour contractions last usually between 30 to 45 seconds. Contractions are far apart in the beginning and by the end are only five minutes apart. The water bag might break early during labour or delivery.

  • Active Labour

Active labour is when the cervix dilates and contractions get closer. A doctor or healthcare provider will see you through the whole process of labour.

  • Labour Pain

Active labour is very very painful. Now, drugs can be taken to deal with the pain or drug-free methods can also be opted. Anaesthetics such as epidural completely block the pain and numb the region.
A healthy diet needs to be taken along with prenatal vitamins to ensure a healthy pregnancy. High mercury foods, raw meat, smoking, and alcohol need to be avoided at all costs.

Doctors to treat Pregnancy

Last updated on Friday 21/10/2022


Dr. Farah Karim

Gynecologist | MBBS, MCPS, FCPS

Royal Institute Of Medicine & Surgery (Rims) HospitalRs 1500


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Dr. Sadia Ahmad

Obstetrician, Gynecologist | MBBS, FCPS, CMT, MS

Doctors HospitalRs 2500


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Prof. Dr. Alia Bashir

Gynecologist | FCPS, MCPS, MHPE, MBBS, DGO

Doctors HospitalRs 3000


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Satisfied with Dr. treatment.

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