How much do most of us really know about pregnancy? I honestly didn’t realise how little I knew until a friend of mine got pregnant. The changes that come with it and the strange symptoms really caught me off guard. At one point, she became obsessed with the smell of coffee – and this was someone who absolutely couldn’t stand it before she got pregnant. Let’s just say it was a sharp learning curve for me and I learned a lot. So, let’s get technical. Pregnancy, which can formally be known as gestation, is the time from conception to birth during which the offspring develops inside the mother. From the woman’s last menstrual period till birth, the process usually takes about 40 weeks, and when measured from conception it takes about 38 weeks. This usually comes to just over nine months. Early signs of pregnancy may include missed periods, tender breasts, nausea and vomiting, hunger, and frequent urination. Fun times all round.
Pregnancy is usually categorized into three periods, known as trimesters. The first trimester runs from conception – which is when the sperm fertilizes the egg – to week 12. During this time, the egg is fertilized to become the embryo which travels down the fallopian tube and nestles in the uterus or womb. This is where it, alongside the placenta which connects it to nutrients sourced from the mother, begins to develop. The second trimester runs from week 13 to 28, and it is during this period that the mother may begin to feel movement of the fetus.
The end of the second trimester marks an important milestone in pregnancy since, from week 28, 90% of fetuses can survive outside of the uterus if provided with high-quality medical care. If you’re wondering what the difference between an embryo and a fetus is, it’s simple. For the first 8 weeks, the offspring is called an embryo. Afterwards, it is known as a fetus until birth. The third and final trimester runs from week 29 to 40, after which you can say hello to a gorgeous little human and completely forget about the arduous process of bringing them into the world. If you knew all this already, I guarantee there are a few more pregnancy facts that will shock you.
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