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Biology of Pregnancy

– Understanding Why Pregnant Women Cry
 Pregnancy is, if nothing else a biological condition. There is a lot that the average person may not know about pregnancy. Most people realize that pregnancy when a woman is carrying a developing child in her uterus. Most people think of pregnancy as lasting 9 months and ending abruptly with labor and the birth of the unborn child. Most people are also aware that a woman becomes pregnant by having her egg fertilized by sperm. This is most often achieved through the act of sexual intercourse, although there are other medical interventions that have been developed that allow a woman to become pregnant without ever having sex.

Method of conception aside, there is much to know about the biology of pregnancy. Pregnancy is calculated and measured through the number of weeks that it lasts. Contrary to the popular belief that pregnancy lasts 9 months, the whole duration of a pregnancy is 40 weeks, which is closer to 10 months. Those 40 weeks are split into 3 trimesters, each of which enjoys certain characteristics. The first trimester is weeks 1 through 12. The first week of a pregnancy starts the day that a woman gets her menstrual cycle and it can be anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks more before conception actually takes place. By the time that the average pregnancy is detected, most women are somewhere between 5 and 7 weeks along!

In the first trimester, women will often notice a marked decrease in their energy level. Feeling dog tired and either hungry or nauseated all of the time is especially common. In the first trimester, women experience strong hormonal changes that prepare the body to grow and sustain a life. These changes cause the excessive tiredness and nausea as well as mood swings that are the hallmarks of early pregnancy. Typically these start to ease up in the second trimester of pregnancy, as the rapid hormonal changes slow down. For this reason, the second trimester is often referred to as the honeymoon period of pregnancy.

The third trimester of a pregnancy is weeks 28-40. During this stage of pregnancy, women typically begin to feel the urge to “nest” or to get things ready for the impending birth. For many, the tiredness may come back in spades, though that is more due to the added stress and work that is being placed on her body by the full fledged human being that she is carrying.