Pregnancy (the gestation period) is the time when a foetus (baby) develops inside a woman’s uterus. A pregnancy usually lasts for nine months, between 38 to 42 weeks. A woman can get pregnant through vagnial intercourse with a man or through technologically assisted pregnancy.
How does pregnancy happen?
Human beings reproduce by way of sexual reproduction through something called internal fertilisation. During vaginal intercourse, a man can insert his erect penis into the woman’s vagina, eventually causing the penis to ejaculate sperm. Sperm is expelled into the vagina where it moves across through the cervix and the uterus, to what is called the fallopian tube. A mature egg released during the female ovulation meets with a sperm cell at the fallopian tube and they fuse, a process called fertilisation. Only one sperm can fertilise a mature egg.
Once fertilised, the egg travels down into the uterus where it implants into the wall, a process
called implantation, and starts forming a placenta and umbilical cord. The placenta forms a
connection between the mother and the developing fetus via the umbilical cord. This is how the baby gets oxygen and nutrients for growth.
A normal pregnancy lasts between 38 to 42 weeks, and during this period the foetus forms
vital organs that are important for survival outside the womb.
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What are common signs and symptoms that I’m pregnant?
Signs and symptoms of pregnancy can vary, but common signs and symptoms include:
Tender and sore breasts
Nausea and/or vomiting (also known as ‘morning sickness’)
Others including; mood swings, abdominal bloating and constipation
*Note: When girls first start menstruating, they often have irregular periods and may even skip a month or two at times. However, if a young girl has had sexual intercourse, missing a period can be a sign of pregnancy. Missed periods can also be indicative of various other conditions, e.g. stress, inadequate diet, extreme exercise and certain other medical conditions.
I think I’m pregnant. How do I know?
To find out if you’re pregnant, self pregnancy test kits are the most accurate to confirm pregnancy at home. These are readily available at local chemists at affordable prices. They are also available at all health centre and clinics. Their usability is simple, just requiring one to dip the stick in urine. They can detect pregnancy as early as 10 days after unprotected sex.
You can also get tested with a doctor.
I’m pregnant. What now?
If you have confirmed your pregnancy and intend to have the child, it is important that you prepare a healthy pregnancy in the early stages. In order to have a healthy pregnancy, you need to seek a doctor, midwife or clinic as soon as possible. It is important to follow qualified and professional advice on requirements for relevant nutrition and supplements, and exercise.
Intake of alcohol, drugs, chemicals and smoking cigarettes is very damagingfor yourself and your child during pregnancy.
If you have not yet confirmed that you are pregnant, for further information.
If your pregnancy is unintended, for further information.