Pregnancy FAQ

How does pregnancy occur?
A: During ovulation, one of the woman’s ovaries releases a tiny egg that begins to travel down her fallopian tube. During sexual intercourse, a man ejaculates millions of sperm that travel up the vagina, through the uterus and into the fallopian tube where the egg meets the sperm. When the egg and sperm fuse, it is called fertilization.
In a normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube. On about the third day of travel, the fertilized egg arrives in the woman’s uterus. After two or three days in the uterus, the fertilized egg begins to implant in the uterine lining. Upon implantation, a pregnancy occurs. If the lining is rich enough with maternal blood, it will continue to grow there and will become an embryo, then a baby. After approximately 38 weeks, the baby is ready to be born.
How soon after I stop taking the Pill can I get pregnant?
A: You can get pregnant as quickly as three days after stopping birth control pills. The average time to return to regular menstrual cycles is three months, and the average time to pregnancy for couples trying to conceive, not counting accidental pregnancies due to missed pills, is six months.
What are the signs of pregnancy?
A: Some common symptoms of pregnancy include:
            • a missed period
            • nausea
            • inexplicable fatigue
            • sore or enlarged breasts
            • headaches
            • frequent urination
Note: Many women, especially young women, have irregular periods. These irregularities may include missed periods and other changes in the menstrual cycle, and can happen from month to month. Although pregnancy is the most common reason for missing a period, irregularity is also caused by illness, travel, worry, stress, and diet. The only way to find out if you are pregnant for sure is a pregnancy test.
How do I find out if I am pregnant?
A: You need to take a pregnancy test to tell if you’re pregnant. Many home pregnancy tests detect pregnancy by identifying the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in urine 17-20 days after fertilization. Some of the newer home tests can detect pregnancy from a urine sample as early as a few days after a missed period. If you use a home pregnancy test you must follow directions carefully and correctly. If you still have questions, it is best to visit to consult your physician.
Can I have my period and still be pregnant?
A: No, it is not possible to have a period and be pregnant, but it is possible to be pregnant and have vaginal bleeding that may seem to be a period. This is rare, however.
How long can sperm survive outside of the human body?
A: Sperm in the cervical mucus of a woman’s vagina can survive for up to seven days. Without the cervical mucus to both nourish and protect the sperm, the sperm will die within one-half to four hours. Anyone who has touched semen should wash and dry – or at least wipe it off – before touching the vulva or vagina.
Can a woman get pregnant from anal sex?
A: No. A woman cannot get pregnant if a man ejaculates inside her anus because the anus does not lead to the vagina, uterus, or fallopian tube. However, if during foreplay or after intercourse some semen gets into her vagina, sperm could swim up the vagina, through her uterus, and into the fallopian tube where the sperm could meet the egg. Because of the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, it is important to use a condom with every act of anal, oral, and vaginal intercourse.
Can pregnancy be prevented if the woman jumps up and down or douches after sex?
A: No. Neither jumping up and down nor douching after sex will prevent pregnancy. Neither one will effectively remove the sperm from the female body. In fact, douching may even push the sperm further into the woman’s vagina or cervix, increasing the chances of becoming pregnant.
What will happen to a woman’s body when she’s pregnant?
A: When a woman is pregnant, her body goes through many changes. It is very important for a woman to receive prenatal care throughout her pregnancy to monitor her health and the health of the baby.
During the first trimester, a woman:
            • will stop getting her period
            • may feel nausea during the beginning of the pregnancy
            • may have enlarged breasts
            • may have to urinate frequently
            • may be more tired than usual
During the second trimester, a woman:
            • will begin "showing," and people notice that she is pregnant
            • will begin feeling her baby move
During the third trimester, a woman:
            • will notice her uterus and abdomen are much larger
            • may experience weakness in her lower back since she is carrying extra weight
            • may need to urinate more frequently as the baby presses on her bladder
            • may experience indigestion
            • may feel the baby change positions in order to prepare itself for birth.
A woman may also have varied emotions during pregnancy; many women feel a mixture of joy, depression, excitement, and fear. All of this is perfectly normal.
What is delivering a baby like?
A: Delivery, or giving birth, is a different experience for each woman. A woman will know she is going into labor when she begins to experience contractions. These pains are similar to menstrual cramps but much stronger in intensity.
Vaginal Delivery: If a woman has a vaginal birth, her cervix (the opening to her uterus) will become dilated, which means it opens up enough for a baby to pass through. The woman’s health care provider will help her during the delivery and will provide support and can provide medication if the woman chooses.
Cesarean Delivery: If a woman is having a cesarean birth, an incision will be made in her abdomen and the doctor will remove the baby from her uterus. A cesarean section may be performed under general anesthesia, when the woman is asleep. It may also be performed under local anesthesia, when the woman is awake but her abdomen is numb. The health care provider will help the woman decide which kind of birth will be necessary for her.
From Planned Parenthood

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