Pregnancy

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Pregnancy describes the condition of a mother carrying her unborn offspring. A woman becomes pregnant when a fertilised egg—a new human life—is implanted into her uterus. This is usually as a result of sexual intercourse, however other scientific techniques such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) are often used by couples who have trouble conceiving naturally. Liberals and particularly feminists promote abortion -- often at the expense of taxpayers -- rather than carrying a pregnancy to childbirth.

Pregnancy lasts approximately nine months, after which the baby, if born naturally, is born via the birth canal. Pregnancy in animals other than humans is referred to under the broader term of gestation. In humans, the terms "gestation" and "pregnancy" are not exactly synonymous. Physicians and midwives generally use the former word when discussing it from the fetus' perspective (e.g., Hearing develops between the 15th and 20th week of gestation ), and the latter word when discussing it from the mother's perspective (e.g., Morning sickness generally subsides between the 15th and 20th week of pregnancy ).

Contents

Timing

It can be difficult to determine the actual date of conception. This is because conception occurs within a short time of ovulation, and women often cannot determine the exact day of ovulation. For this reason, when determining how far along a woman is in pregnancy, doctors use the first day of the last normal menstrual period to date the beginning of the pregnancy. From that point, a standard pregnancy is considered to be forty weeks.

Stages of Pregnancy

Implantation

Pregnancy begins with the implantation of the conceptus into the wall of the uterus. This contains the cells that will develop into the baby as well as those which will go on to form the placenta and membranes.

Embryonic Stage

The embryonic stage consists largely of the differentiation of cells into the tissues of the body. It is divided up into 23 carnegie stages which represent different stages of development.

Fetal Stage

The fetal stage mainly consists of the growth of the foetus and continued development of internal systems.

Complications

Many complications can arise during pregnancy, endangering both the child and the mother. Two of the most common are ectopic pregnancy and pre-eclampsia. An ectopic pregnancy is when the embryo implants elsewhere than the uterus, such as in the Fallopian tube or the abdomen. This is an extremely dangerous condition which results in a non-viable embryo and a high risk of internal bleeding for the mother without intervention. Pre-eclampsia is a condition where the mother experiences severe hypertension and possibly renal failure. This can greatly endanger the mother and can only be resolved by either delivery of the baby or termination of the pregnancy, depending on the gestational age of the fetus and condition of the mother. The treatment of pre-eclampsia can be a very difficult ethical and moral decision.

Footnotes


See Also

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