The Beginning

Once the pregnancy test turns positive, you feel that you’re being overwhelmed by strange emotions, electrifying thoughts and hundreds of questions, as if all these are announcing a new exciting period in your life.
Today we have chosen one of the millions of questions that are puzzling you:

How does everything start?

It takes over 10 hours for the sperm to make the entire journey through the fallopian tubes to the ovum which waits to be impregnated. The meeting of these two cells is actually the beginning, the moment when the magic starts.
The impregnation process involves the blending of the sperm’s and ovum’s nuclei. During the first two pregnancy weeks, the impregnated ovum or the zygote divides into more cells, and, at this point, the future baby is just a cluster of cells which shall soon turn into a blastocyst. The outer part of the blastocyst shall become the placenta while the inner part shall evolve into an embryo.
If the ovary releases more ova and if all ova are impregnated, then more zygotes shall be formed. Every zygote has two pairs of 23 chromosomes (one set of 23 chromosomes are inherited from the mother and the other set is inherited from the father). These chromosomes determine the baby’s sex, skin color, hair color, eyes color, height, etc. The zygotes with an ordinary number of chromosomes represent the state of euploidy. However, there are some cases when the number of chromosomes exceeds 46, and, in our next articles we shall approach this aspect.
In order to follow the evolution of your baby, please read the column “Week by week”.

First week of your journey

Once with the first week of pregnancy, you begin a unique, special and very exciting journey. Pregnancy is an extraordinary experience with great impact on every woman’s life, being actually the beginning of a life-changing lesson on love, trust and generosity.

Most women don’t even realize that they are pregnant during the first and the second pregnancy week because they frequently ascribe all symptoms to an ordinary delay of the menstrual cycle. Both the ovulation and fertilization processes take place during this two-week period. Your body produces estrogen and progesterone for preparing yourself for what will follow. The ovulation cycle is actually the 30 days period when the ovum passes from the ovary to the uterus, through the oviduct, where a spermatozoid fertilizes. The now fertilized ovum descends to the uterus, through the oviduct, implanting itself on the uterine wall.

As soon as after you found out that you are pregnant, you should write down the first day of the last menstrual cycle because depending on this information, your GP will be able to calculate the exact date of the birth.

However, there are certain signs which may announce your pregnancy. One of the most frequent sign is an increase in the amount of the limpid vaginal fluid. The more abundant and limpid is the vaginal discharge the more chances are to be pregnant.

Another sign is the increase of your body temperature brought about by your progesterone level. Therefore, if you notice an increase up to 0.2 or 0.3 degrees, this is perfectly normal and at the same time, it may be a pregnancy clue.

Other pregnancy related signs:

–          Increased level of tiredness

–          No menstruation

–          Nausea

–          Breasts sensibility

–          Metallic taste in your mouth

–          Sleeping disorders

–          Frequent urination

Once that pregnancy test turns positive and you’re got the great news that you are pregnant, you must realize that your body shall be the home for a future human being. Therefore, the first thing you should do is to make sure that you’ll be the best host for your’ baby and you can do this by adopting a very healthy lifestyle. Thus, we will walk you through the very first steps of enjoying this wonderful journey, the pregnancy:

–          Choose a healthy and diversified diet, including lots of fresh fruits and vegetables

–          Keep on exercising, starting with light exercises

–          Give up smoking, drinking coffee or taking drugs

–          Stay away of any kind of stressful activities

–          Consult your GP and ask about the importance of the folic acid

One urban myth says that you’re not actually pregnant during the first two weeks because the pregnancy starts effectively on the second week, when the fertilization takes place, and not immediately after the end of your menstrual cycle.

Have a nice and easy pregnancy! We’ll soon come back to you with the following steps of your wonderful journey!

Nature vs. morning sickness

Although pregnancy may be the best time of your life, it sometimes brings forth some inconveniences, such as the morning sickness (nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, also known as the NVP symptom). Most cases of morning sickness occur during the first trimester of pregnancy (reaching its peak during the 9th and 10th weeks) and last until the 14th to 16th week when the NVP usually clears up. Over 60% of new moms to be do experience this discomfort, which is accounted for by the buildup of the HCG (human chorionic gonadotopin) hormone in your system, also known as the pregnancy hormone.

Although morning sickness usually occurs during morning, NVP can affect you at any time of the day or night, and some women feel sick all day long. Frequently, the morning sickness is accompanied by bouts of nausea and vomiting, to varying degrees, affecting thus the nutrition which is highly important during pregnancy.

However, morning sickness isn’t all bad since recent studies have suggested that mothers who experience morning sickness have fewer miscarriages so there IS a bright spot in the midst of your morning, or in some cases, all day miseries.

What can I do to cure my morning sickness?

We live in a world full of quick and highly-reliable solutions for almost everything. If, for example, a headache is about to ruin my day, all I have to do is to take a pill and wait for a few minutes. However, when it comes to morning sickness, both the doctors and the new moms to be are reticent in using medicines since these may be harmful to your pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. Therefore, the natural remedies are one of the safest methods to tackle the pregnancy ailments, without bringing about any unpleasant side effects.

And….we come back to Mother Nature who offers plenty of natural remedies, such as:

Ginger

Ginger is a safe and effective natural treatment for women suffering from morning sickness, during pregnancy. Health care professionals recommend the use of fresh ginger roots: a teaspoon of grated ginger root is steeped in a cup of hot water. You can drink this tasty juice either cold or hot.

We recommend the consumption of ginger during cold autumn or winter days, when you feel the need to enjoy hot drinks; this fact is also acknowledged by the Chinese tradition which considers it as a hot remedy.

If you’re not fond of the fresh ginger savor, you may purchase either ginger capsules, from specialized stores or special ginger candies.

Due to its potential side effects, characterizing all such similar products, ginger should not be consumed for more than 3 successive weeks.

Mint

While ginger is considered to be a hot remedy, mint is a cold remedy. Mint can be consumed as a cold tea, being expressly recommended for pregnant women claiming hot flashes and similar discomforts. Mint flavor can be also found in chewing gum and different sugarless delicious confections. However, in some cases, the strong mint flavor may aggravate the queasiness and nausea.

Roman Chamomile

The Roman Chamomile tea is recommended for digestion problems and for its easeful and healing effects.

Lemon

The lemon is well known for its positive effects against pregnancy nauseas. Sometimes, all you need to do is to smell the lemon rind.  Also, the lemon, mint or mandarin essential oils are very useful in allaying morning sickness.

 

Besides these natural remedies, here are some useful and practical tips:

–          Never skip your breakfast;

–          Eat less and more often;

–          Don’t forget to take your vitamin B6;

–          Don’t eat chocolate or spicy food;

–          Avoid coffee and all beverages that contain caffeine;

–          Exercise as much as you can;

–          Drink water between meals;

–          Carefully choose your sleeping position.

Pregnant during summer? Delicious, healthy and easy summer recipes!

A possible effect of pregnancy is the increase of appetite. Usually, the pregnancy brings about a general appetite, making you craving for everything you see or think of: chocolate, ice cream, different fruits, cakes, etc. or for a specific meal, vegetable or fruit, such as, for example, the water melon.

If you’re pregnant during summer, you may consider yourself lucky because this season teems with fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables, giving you and your baby the opportunity to enjoy a healthy and tasty diet. Tomatoes, cucumbers, marrows, cabbage, green apples, water melons, forest fruits, all fresh and tasty may be eaten during this season. However, all you need to do is to carefully wash them before consumption.

What can be more refreshing and relaxing, in a hot summer day, than a cold, delicious vegetable or fruit juice? And you talk about the orange juice, which is highly recommended for all pregnant women, due to its rich contents of vitamin C and folic acid. It is also rich in potassium which helps to the decrease of the blood pressure, a frequent problem of pregnancy.

Here is one of our healthy, quick and delicious recipes we recommend for summer days:

Frozen fruit yogurt 

Ingredients:

Yogurt

Milk

Fresh fruits or fresh fruit juice

Sugar or saccharin

Ice cream forms

Preparation:

Add yogurt, milk, sugar and fruits in a blender. As long as the resulting cream can be poured in the ice cream forms, the amounts are irrelevant. If the composition is too thick, you may pour anadditional amount of milk. If the fruits you’re using have seeds, you may filter the composition by using a sieve. Pour the composition in the ice cream forms and keep it in the fridge for minimum 2 hours. Bon appétit!

Pregnancy tests

The pregnancy test is the most common and available method to confirm or deny pregnancy.

There are two types of pregnancy tests:

–         the pregnancy tests using urine samples: these tests, also referred as urine home pregnancy tests or dip tests, are commonly used because they may be easily purchased from the drugstores and used at home. Usually a first – morning sample is preferred because it is the most concentrated. The home pregnancy tests based on urine are around 98-99% accurate when done properly, following the instructions. The urine home pregnancy test shall be stored at the room temperature and shall not be opened before using it.

–         the pregnancy tests using blood samples imply a visit to the medical office or to a health clinic and the collection of a blood sample to be analyzed. The accuracy of these tests is over 99,9%, allowing thus a quick and reliable confirmation or denial of pregnancy.

Both pregnancy tests are based on checking and measurement of the HCG hormone (human chorionic gonadotropin), also called the pregnancy hormone, which is produced only during pregnancy. After the conception, the placenta produces this hormone which may be found in blood and urine. The presence of the HCG hormone is detected through a blood pregnancy test as early 11 days after conception, and through the urine pregnancy test, after 12 to 14 days following the conception.

Sometimes the results of the urine pregnancy tests are negative because they are taken too soon, before the term when the pregnancy may be detected. This situation is common especially in young women and adolescents where the ovulation occurs later.

First early signs of pregnancy

Although your gynecologist may certainly and 100% confirm your pregnancy, there are several signs, symptoms and changes of your body that may indicate that you are pregnant.

However, it is extremely important to know as soon as possible whether you are pregnant or not because all vital organs of the child are formed during the first three months of intrauterine life.

Among all pregnancy signs, we have chosen 10 of the most frequent symptoms:

1. Delayed or missed period

However, this is not a reliable sign because the delayed or missed period may be brought about by several causes, such as hormonal issues, sudden weight gain or loss, fatigue, daily stress, etc.

If you are pregnant, your period is supposed to stop; however, you may experience, especially during the first 3 or 4 months of pregnancy, certain bleedings that might be easily taken for the period.

2. Enlargement of breasts

This sign is also a clue of pregnancy, especially if this occurs in a different period, other than the menstrual period. You may also experience breast itching.

3. Fatigue

The fatigue may occur even during the first pregnancy week due to the progesterone hormone. If you’re feeling exhausted, especially during the day, and you cannot find a plausible reason for your tiredness, this may be one of the first signs that you are probably pregnant.

4. Morning sickness  

The morning sickness occurs during the second pregnancy week and lasts until the eight pregnancy week, although there have been cases when the pregnant women claimed no such symptoms. Whereas most of the pregnant women start to feel the sickness especially during the morning, the nausea may also occur anytime during the day.

5. Frequent urination

During the pregnancy, your body produces larger volumes of blood and fluids and this leads to frequent urinations, especially during the night. Another cause thereof is also the development of the baby who starts pressing your urinary bladder.

6. Cravings or food aversions

Your appetite may be subject to significant changes during pregnancy. You may also experience the lack of appetite, although a typical sign of pregnancy consists in the increase of appetite or sensibility or evenadversity to certain food you used to eat.

7. Increased sensitivity to odors  

It is possible that during pregnancy, certain odors (such as gas, perfumes, etc.) may cause you significant states of discomfort or even nausea.

8. Mood swings

Due to the hormonal changes, you may experience different moods, such as extreme happiness, sadness, depression or joy. These mood swings are normal during this period and all you need to do is to look for and accept the support given by your partner and family. Read more about how to cope with mood swings and other early pregnancy symptoms.

9. Headaches and backaches  

While the headaches may chiefly occur during the first pregnancy weeks, the lower backaches may last over the entire pregnancy period, reaching higher intensities during the last pregnancy trimester.

10. Constipation

This is another pregnancy symptom brought about by the hormonal changes that slow down your digestion.

There are also several other pregnancy signs, such as the shortness of breath, nose bleeding, insomnia, a metallic taste in your mouth, darkening of your skin, etc.

It is also important to know that the presence of these symptoms and signs differs from woman to woman and from pregnancy to pregnancy. Also, some signs may indicate certain medical conditions and this is the reason we always recommend a thoroughgoing medical investigation.

A positive vibe, from the start

The womb is your baby’s first home. He or she gets 9 months of settling in, so as its first host, you need to provide your child with the best environment possible. However, this first place in which the baby gets cozy is not isolated from the outside world…Connected to you and your body, the baby perceives all the flows of feelings you go through, sharing your tensions and your moments of peace as well. That is why it is crucial for you to allow yourself to be at your best, leaving aside any minor problems that ask for your attention. During your pregnancy, your thoughts need to be a smooth flow of positive emotions which you can transmit to your child, so that it absorbs all the positive emotion it needs to flourish.

Positive thoughts and a relaxed mind are just as important during pregnancy as the nutrition you give your body, and subsequently, your child. As you are tied together and the baby grows organically within and from you, the degree of empathy between you is at its highest level and whatever you take from the world around you and internalize will make its way to your child, as it develops. Sharing is caring, but sharing the best of all things is what utmost care and love are about. Pay attention to the thoughts you plant within you each day, so that you can sow a healthy and peaceful child.