Human Reproduction is a process of child bearing through which the male inserts his penis, which needs to be erect, into the female's vagina, and then either partner initiates rhythmic pelvic thrusts until the male ejaculates semen, which contains sperm, into the vaginal canal.
MEANING OF OVULATION
Ovulation is one part of the female menstrual cycle in which mature egg is released from the ovary, pushed down the Fallopian tube, and is made available to be fertilized. This occurs at least once every month in females who have reached puberty, and before menopause.
MEANING OF CONCEPTION
Conception is simply the action of conceiving a child. It occurs when the egg produced during ovulation is fertilised by a sperm.
HOW CONCEPTION OCCURS
Conception occurs when a sperm cell from a fertile man swims up through the vagina (usually through sexual intercourse) and into the uterus of a woman and joins with the woman’s egg cell as it travels down one of the Fallopian tubes from the ovary to the uterus.
As the fertilised egg continues to move down the Fallopian tube, it begins to divide into two cells, then four cells, then more cells as the division continues. About a week after the sperm has fertilised the egg, the fertilised egg has traveled to the uterus and has become a growing cluster of about 100 cells called a blastocyst.
The blastocyst then attaches itself to the lining of the uterus (the endometrium). This attachment process is called implantation. Release of the hormones estrogen and progesterone causes the endometrium to thicken, which provides the nutrients the blastocyst needs to grow and eventually develop into a baby.
As cells continue to divide, some develop into the baby while others form the nourishment and oxygen supply structure called the placenta. Hormones are released to signal the body that a baby is growing inside the uterus. These hormones also signal the uterus to maintain its lining rather than shedding it. This means that a woman does not have a period that month, which may be the first way a woman knows she is pregnant.
EARLY SIGNS OF PREGNANCY
The following are the early signs of pregnancy:
- Fatigue (feeling tired)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Breast swelling and tenderness
- Frequent urination
- Food craving and sense of smell
- Darker nipples
- Feeling sick
- Spotting and cramping
- Missed period
Prenatal care refers to the regular medical and nursing care recommended for women during pregnancy.
Women who suspect they may be pregnant should schedule a visit to their health care provider to begin pre-natal care. Pre-natal visits to a health care provider include a physical examination, weight checks and providing a urine sample. Depending on the stage of the pregnancy, health care providers may also do blood tests and imaging tests, such as ultrasound exams. These visits also include discussions about the mother’s health, the infant’s health, and any questions about the pregnancy.
Preconception and prenatal care can help prevent complications and inform women about important steps they can take to protect their infant and ensure a healthy pregnancy. With regular prenatal care women can:
- Reduce the risk of pregnancy complications.
- Reduce the infant’s risk for complications.
- Help ensure the medications women take are safe.
- Normal Pregnancy and Types of Child Delivery
A normal pregnancy lasts between 37 - 42 weeks and is grouped into three trimesters.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE TRIMESTERS
The first trimester lasts from the first week through the 13th week of pregnancy. Although you may not look pregnant during the first trimester, your body is going through enormous changes as it accommodates a growing fetus.
In the first few weeks following conception, your hormone levels change significantly. Your uterus begins to support the growth of the placenta and the fetus, your body adds to its blood supply to carry oxygen and nutrients to the developing baby, and your heart rate increases. These changes accompany many of the pregnancy symptoms, such as fatigue, morning sickness, headaches, and constipation.
The first trimester is vital for the development of your baby. The fetus will develop all of its organs by the end of the third month, so this is a crucial time. It's important to maintain a healthy diet, including adding an adequate amount of folic acid in order to help prevent neural tube defects. Cut out any bad habits, such as smoking and alcohol. Both have been related to serious complications in pregnancy and birth defects.
The second trimester (weeks 13-27) is often the most comfortable period of time for the majority of pregnant women. Most of the early pregnancy symptoms will gradually disappear, and you should enjoy a more restful night's sleep and a surge in energy levels during the daytime.
Your abdomen will start to look pregnant, as the uterus will grow rapidly in size. At the end of the second trimester, your baby will be almost four times as big as it was at the end of the first trimester.
While the discomforts of early pregnancy should ease off, there are a few new symptoms to get used to. Common complaints include leg cramps and heartburn.
Screening tests are also performed in the second trimester, and this is when a diagnostic test would be performed. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your medical history and any issues that could put you or your baby at risk.
The third trimester lasts from the 28th week through the birth of your baby. During the third trimester you will start seeing your health care provider more frequently. Your doctor will regularly:
- test your urine for protein
- check your blood pressure
- listen to the fetal heart rate
- measure your fundal height (the approximate length of your uterus)
- check your hands and legs for any swelling
Your doctor will also determine the baby's position and check your cervix in order to monitor how your body is preparing for childbirth.
The third trimester is a good time to educate yourself about labour and delivery.
METHODS OF CHILD BIRTH
- Normal Birth
- A Cesarean Section
A normal birth or normal delivery refers to the natural way through which a mother can give birth to a baby through the birth canal (vagina). This is also known as vaginal delivery.
A cesarean section, also called a C-section, is a surgical procedure performed if a vaginal delivery is not possible. During this procedure, the baby is delivered through surgical incisions made in the abdomen and the uterus on the woman.
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