When a woman is going to have a baby, it’s called pregnancy. Pregnancy can happen to any woman who has begun menstruating, no matter what age she is. During pregnancy, a fertilized egg becomes an embryo and then develops into a fetus. The mother carries the unborn child in her uterus or ‘womb.’ A normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks, or around nine months. Sometimes a pregnancy can last 41 or even 42 weeks. Certain medical conditions or trauma can cause a woman to deliver the baby before 40 weeks. When this happens, the baby may not survive. All pregnant women should get medical care as soon as they know they are carrying a baby.
Signs and Symptoms
The major sign of pregnancy is one or more missed menstrual periods. However, missing a period does not absolutely mean a woman is pregnant. Women’s cycles can be irregular. In general, if a woman has engaged in sexual intercourse, has missed a period, and has any of these other signs or symptoms, she may be pregnant:
• Heavy, swollen or tender breasts and/or nipples
• Light, spotty bleeding that does not look like regular menstrual blood
• Nausea and/or vomiting for no apparent reason
• Change in eating habits, such as craving food or developing an aversion to a particular food
• Rapid mood swings