Pregnancy, defined as the process that begins with the fertilization of the female egg by the male reproductive cell sperm during sexual intercourse, lasts an average of 37-40 weeks. The possibility of pregnancy increases in sexual intercourse where birth control methods are not used.
How does pregnancy occur?
Fertilization is a complicated process. There are many factors that affect pregnancy. The timing of intercourse, especially regular and unprotected sexual intercourse, is also of great importance.
At this point, regular monitoring of the menstrual cycle is important for the expectant mother. The female body prepares itself for pregnancy every month during the menstrual period. During periodic ovulation periods, the mature egg follicle in the ovaries cracks and passes into the fallopian tubes, ready for fertilization. Meanwhile, the estrogen hormone is secreted from the same egg follicle, and this estrogen thickens the uterine wall, which will occur as a result of fertilization and enable the embryo to attach to the uterus. The egg waiting for fertilization in the fallopian tubes can only survive for up to 24 hours. However, it is known that sperm that pass through the vagina and travel to the fallopian tubes can live in the female body for up to 72 hours. For this reason, monitoring the time of ovulation is very important in pregnancy. As a matter of fact, the possibility of becoming pregnant increases with regular sexual intercourse, especially during this period. The ovulation period corresponds to day 14 of the menstrual cycle, which usually lasts approximately 28 days. This timing may vary depending on the length of the person’s menstrual cycle. Close monitoring of your menstrual period makes it easier to understand when the ovulation period will occur.
What are pregnancy barriers?
In addition to paying attention to factors that increase the possibility of pregnancy, such as the ovulation period, couples who want to have children should also be aware of situations that prevent or put pregnancy at risk. For example, experts recommend that the expectant mother stay away from cigarettes and tobacco-containing substances, as well as alcohol. Smoking prevents sperm from accessing the egg and increases the risk of miscarriage. It is strongly recommended that expectant mothers who want to get pregnant quit smoking and alcohol. In addition, lubricating oil etc. is used during intercourse. The use of products may also damage sperm and sperm quality.
Exercising at a high tempo is also among the factors that may hinder fertility. Stress and some medications can also reduce the chance of pregnancy. For example, it is known that chemotherapy drugs used in cancer treatment have various effects on sperm and eggs.
It is very important that the individual who wants to become pregnant does not have metabolic diseases such as thyroid or diabetes and undergoes the necessary health screenings. However, some diseases occurring in the uterus and fallopian tubes can also prevent pregnancy. Additionally, age is a factor that directly affects fertility for both men and women. While the probability of pregnancy as a result of regular and unprotected sexual intercourse is 20% in young women, this rate decreases with age. In men, sperm count and quality decrease with age.
Couples who cannot conceive despite a regular and unprotected sexual life should undergo relevant examinations under the supervision of a specialist.
How do I know if I am pregnant?
While a delay in the menstrual cycle may be a sign of early pregnancy, this does not represent a definitive result. Changing menstrual periods may give a misleading idea on this subject. As a matter of fact, weight, stress, intense exercise or hormonal disorders can also cause delays in menstrual periods. Some physiological symptoms can be observed starting from the second week of fertilization, but none of these alone can prove that the person is pregnant. The surest way to know you’re pregnant is to take a pregnancy test.
To get a reliable result, expectant mothers can take an early pregnancy test on the sixth day following the menstrual delay. These tests, which you can obtain from pharmacies and do at home, help determine whether there is HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone in the urine. In the early stages of pregnancy, the presence of this hormone in the blood increases significantly.
Before applying the different types of tests available on the market, you must read the specified instructions. Some tests are performed by inserting a stick into the urinary tract or by dipping the stick into urine collected in a container. The test result can be understood by the plus, minus, color change, double or single line appearing on the bar screen; However, these tests, which are largely reliable, have a small margin of error. Therefore, a blood test must be taken to reach a definitive result.
As a matter of fact, in some cases, exceptional cases called false positives or false negatives may occur. If the fertilized egg reaches the uterine canals and then miscarries after a short time, it may cause the test result to be false positive.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy?
Pregnancy symptoms and the duration of these symptoms may vary from person to person. While the earliest symptoms can be seen on the 14th day following sexual intercourse, the appearance of physical symptoms varies over time. Additionally, since pregnancy and premenstrual symptoms can be similar, these two conditions can be confused with each other.
The most common symptoms are nausea, smell sensitivity, loss of appetite, tender breasts and frequent urination. Although the severity and type of symptoms vary from person to person, the most frequently observed pregnancy symptoms in the expectant mother’s body from the early period are as follows:
Menstrual delay: It is not a symptom of pregnancy on its own, but if there is a delay lasting more than a week, a reliable and definitive result can be obtained with a pregnancy test.
Tenderness in breasts and nipples: It is one of the common symptoms. As in the pre-menstrual cycle, physiological effects such as fullness, tenderness and pain in the breasts are felt in the early stages of pregnancy.
Frequent urination: It occurs as a result of changing hormone levels in the body in the early stages of pregnancy. However, frequent urination may also be observed in the last weeks of pregnancy as the developing baby puts pressure on the bladder.
Smell sensitivity: The expectant mother may experience sensitivity, disgust, etc. to various foods or odors from the first weeks throughout pregnancy. may develop reactions.
Weakness: One of the most common symptoms during pregnancy is fatigue and weakness. Especially in the first three months of pregnancy, the expectant mother may experience constant sleepiness as a result of the increase in the progesterone hormone. However, this feeling disappears later in pregnancy in direct proportion to the development of the placenta.
Dizziness: Dizziness and consequent fainting are among the symptoms of pregnancy observed in the first weeks.
Nausea: Along with vomiting, nausea is a common symptom in the first trimester of pregnancy. These complaints, which can manifest as morning sickness, are related to changing hormone levels in the body as a result of fertilization of the egg. However, it is worth remembering that since nausea and vomiting may have many different causes, this condition alone cannot be considered a symptom of pregnancy.
Craving: Craving, one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy, can manifest itself as excessive desire or sudden disgust for different foods in the expectant mother.
Emotional turmoil: It is a natural consequence of the change in hormone levels. Emotional changes such as sudden laughing or crying may occur throughout pregnancy.
Back and/or waist pain: In addition to back and waist pain that can be observed during pregnancy, complaints of blistering and bloating/edema are among the common symptoms of expectant mothers. It is recommended that expectant mothers consume plenty of water to prevent edema.
Vaginal discharge: May occur due to changing hormone levels. It is extremely normal to experience changes in the color and amount of vaginal discharge.
Expectant mothers who have some of the first symptoms that lead to suspicion of pregnancy and whose subsequent pregnancy test results are positive should have all necessary health tests under the supervision of a specialist physician. It is of great importance for the expectant mother not to skip her routine check-ups and to stay in contact with her doctor until birth. In addition, the expectant mother’s frequent rest and careful attention to nutrition and sleep patterns are among the important factors that contribute to a healthy pregnancy.