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The nine months of pregnancy is a period wherein you are creating and bringing a new life into this world. This also is a time of enormous changes in your anatomy and physiology. After delivery, some of these changes are restored to the pre-pregnancy state, and some remain. Embracing these changes as "just a phase" and as a natural, essential transition will help you to sail through your pregnancy effortlessly and joyfully.

Human pregnancy is a period of nine months and seven days or 280 days or forty weeks.

During these nine months, the little angel inside your womb is growing and developing. This wonderful creation process involves many intrinsic and delicate biological processes.

During fertilization, a tiny single ovum unites with the motile sperm and the journey begins. This journey is different for every woman. Even two pregnancies of the same woman are not the same. A 100 trillion (1012) cells develop from a single cell - the fertilized ovum; within a span of only about 280 days. By understanding the miraculous process of fertilization and progressing stages of pregnancy one can experience it as natural and blissful. And when this happens one starts seeing divinity in everything.

This span of forty weeks can be divided into three parts, called the trimesters. Each is of twelve weeks or three months.

The First Trimester

The first trimester is the most delicate and sensitive of all. Most of your baby's vital organs such as the brain, heart, lungs and spinal column are formed during this period. By the time you go for a pregnancy test and confirm that you are pregnant, your baby's tiny, primitive heart has already formed and started beating.

His brain structure, called the neural tube, begins to make rapid changes to form the spinal cord and brain. At just three weeks the brain cells are multiplying at a rate of 250,000 cells per minute! No wonder he sleeps all the time. By the end of the first trimester, he has formed all his facial features and limb buds too.

An Ultrasonography done at this stage will confirm pregnancy and also give so many more insights about your baby. As he starts to build his foothold in the womb in these early months, you may or may not experience certain changes in your body. Some minor challenges that most of the women experience in the 1st trimester are:

  • Nausea and/or Vomiting
  • Fatigue and Tiredness
  • Frequent Urination
  • Heavy, tender breasts

There is a medical reason to why they occur and the intensity may vary from one woman to another. Understanding these changes will make you realize the naturalness of the process of pregnancy.

The second trimester

The middle three months are more relaxing. Now you will noticeably be pregnant. Your waist line disappears and the tummy starts showing up. You start gaining weight. The baby inside is growing too! He is surrounded on all sides by a fluid called as amniotic fluid, which acts as a shock absorber and keeps him safe and secure.

Your baby now has a sexual identity. His external sexual organs although tiny appear. Fine hair called as *lanugo* and a white greasy substance called as *Vernix Caseosa* appear on his skin. By the time he is born most of the *lanugo* and the *vernix* disappear; just a few traces of *vernix* remain in the folds of the skin.

By the end of the fourth month or early in the fifth month you will begin to feel your baby's movements. This experience is amazing and women have described this feeling as hunger pangs, stomach rumblings, popcorns popping, fish darting and so on! Your experience could be different but definitely exhilarating.

Most women feel a sense of wellbeing as a few symptoms of early pregnancy disappear. You also develop a glow on your face and your hair looks thicker and shinier. Stretch marks develop on the tummy, thighs, breasts and buttocks. Though their occurrence is much variable. This is normal and most of the marks disappear within a few months after delivery.

A few basic blood and urine tests are advised by your doctor. An Ultrasonography scan done during this period will allow your doctor to observe and study your baby's complete anatomy.

Third trimester

The last few months! You just can't wait to have your little bundle of joy in your arms.

You may feel heavy and sweaty and that's because there is rapid maternal and fetal weight gain during the last few months. Shortness of breath and palpitations is a common challenge. Your heart is working more in order to supply blood to the tiny being inside your womb. Your baby is receiving the right amounts of blood and nutrients from you through the placenta, which is nourishing not only his physical body but his mind as well. Hair appears on his head and tiny nails at the end of his fingers and toes. The eyes open in the last month.

With the baby growing inside and reaching up to your ribs, you may sometimes experience certain challenges such as indigestion, heartburn, constipation and backache. Some modifications in your diet and lifestyle will help you to deal with them comfortably. Regular Yogasan and exercise work wonders on a pregnant woman's body. Your flexibility, strength and stamina increase and pregnancy becomes an enjoyable process.

During the entire period of pregnancy, the baby is able to know about many things in the outside world using his senses while still inside the womb. The mother and the father when aware that the little one is eavesdropping on their world can provide the right kind of stimulation for his all round development. It is rightly said "Development of an individual does start much before birth".

As an entire individual is being created, and so many changes are occurring in the mother's body, this phase of pregnancy is nutritionally demanding. Eating with awareness and including a variety of food full of natural goodness such as whole grains, pulses, fresh vegetables, fruits, milk and milk products will help you achieve the optimal balance of nutrients.

A sense of completeness, being effortless and joyful during pregnancy is nothing but signs of a great transformation... a transformation to greatness.

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