Is this your 1st pregnancy? Maybe you’ve decided it’s your last? After finding out you’re pregnant, that now what moment doesn’t change. Here are 7 key things about what to do next.

Key things

1.Start taking your folic acid supplements and other vitamins if needed

2. Go to regular check ups

3. Eat healthy and remember to exercise

4. Start sleeping on your left side at third trimester

5. Remember to rest

6. Count kicks at the end of the pregnancy

7.Do not carry heavy objects in your third trimester

General

Conception

Conception can occur during ovulation, which takes place approximately two weeks after the first day of menstruation. The ovum can be fertilised by male sperm for 24 hours. Fertilisation happens when the male sperm cell penetrates the female ovum. The sperm can survive in the woman’s body for 2-4 days. The male sperm determines the sex of your baby.

The expected date of delivery

The due date, or expected date of delivery (EDD), is calculated from the first day of your last menstruation. A normal pregnancy lasts between 32 and 42 weeks. To calculate the expected date of delivery, add 40 weeks (= 9 months and 7 days) to the date when your period last began. Most babies are born during week 39 or 40. If your menstruation cycle is longer than 28 days, then conception will have taken place more than two weeks after the first day of your latest period. The EDD is checked against the size of the baby. In later scans, the EDD will not be revised

Placenta

The placenta begins to develop when the fertilised ovum is embedded in the lining of the uterus a few days after conception. A well-functioning placenta provides the basis for the healthy development of the foetus. The placenta acts as the lungs, liver, intestines, kidneys and source of nutrition for the foetus. Nutrients and oxygen travel from the placenta to the foetus via the umbilical cord. The veins in the umbilical cord carry the baby’s blood to be oxidised in the placenta and transfer the waste to the mother’s circulation. The metabolism takes place through a thin membrane: the blood circulations of the mother and the baby, although very close to each other, remain separate. A fully developed placenta weighs about 500 to 800 grams, and is shaped like a at disc. Many substances harmful to the foetus, such as nicotine and alcohol, can pass through the placenta.

Uterus

The uterus of a woman who is not pregnant weighs 50 to 70 grams and is 7 to 9 cm long. At the end of pregnancy, it weighs nearly 1 kg and has a volume of about 5 litres. During pregnancy, the uterus grows with the baby. During the fourth month of pregnancy, the uterus rises from the pelvis, which results in visible changes in the mother’s body: in week 16 the fundus of the uterus is halfway between the pelvis and the navel, by week 24 it is up to the navel, and by week 36 it is up to the diaphragm. Accelerated growth of the uterus may indicate a multiple pregnancy. The fundus of the uterus usually drops a couple of weeks before delivery and becomes round in shape. At the same time the baby usually turns head down ready for delivery.

Movements

Women who are having their first baby usually feel its movements by week 20 or 21. Mothers who have had previous pregnancies can already feel the movements around week 18. At first, the movements may feel like ”bubbling” or ”fluttering”, before they develop into gentle kicks and bumps.

Contractions

The uterus prepares gradually for the delivery. During the last weeks the uterus tightens in ”practice contractions”. In the beginning, the contractions only last for a few seconds, but towards the end of pregnancy they can last for up to 30 seconds. Contractions prepare the cervix for delivery. During the final weeks of pregnancy, the cervix may dilate a little, more if the pregnancy is not the first. Experiencing painful contractions during the second trimester may be a sign of an infection, and you should contact your prenatal clinic immediately.2.1 From conception to birth

Pregnancy and well being

Although pregnancy is a natural condition, it is nevertheless a strain on the mother. The entire body must adapt to the new situation. Metabolism is enhanced, breathing and circulation become more efficient, and the uterus grows. During pregnancy the placenta secretes enzymes and hormones which, together with the corpus luteum and pituitary gland, regulate these changes. Changes in the body also affect the mental state, or moods, of the pregnant woman. (See ”Preparing for parenthood” on page 20.) Pregnancy affects women in different ways: some suffer from several signs and symptoms while others experience very little discomfort. Some symptoms are common at the beginning, while others are typically experienced at later stages. Although the symptoms may cause serious discomfort to the mother, they seldom pose any threat to the baby.

During pregnancy, it is recommended not to take any medications or natural health products, not even cough drops, without first consulting a doctor or a nurse, because some drugs will be harmful to the baby. When at the doctor’s or dentist’s, always remember to tell them that you are pregnant so that they can adjust the treatment accordingly. Avoid x-rays.

Click here to read about Signs of pregnancy and how to lessen them