Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too!by Mayo Clinic
Any woman looking for accurate, reliable, and authoritative information on pregnancy will appreciate this book from the world-class Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy offers hundreds of pages of in-depth information that new parents will find useful and informative. Features include week-by-week updates on baby's growth, month-by-month/i>
Any woman looking for accurate, reliable, and authoritative information on pregnancy will appreciate this book from the world-class Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy offers hundreds of pages of in-depth information that new parents will find useful and informative. Features include week-by-week updates on baby's growth, month-by-month changes that mom can expect, and a forty-week pregnancy calendar, as well as a symptom guide and a review of important pregnancy decisions.
In this illustrated book you'll also find advice on getting pregnant, meal planning, healthy exercise, and safe medication use, along with general tips on becoming a parent. This pregnancy book is the result of the efforts of a collective team of pregnancy experts who find nothing in medicine more exciting and satisfying than the birth of a healthy child with a healthy mother. The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy is an essential pregnancy resource for parents-to-be.
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Read an Excerpt
Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
By Mayo Clinic
Month 1: weeks 1 to 4
My husband and I had been trying to conceive for almost a year. I was delighted when my menstrual cycle was late. My husband, ever cautious, took a wait-and-see attitude.
After a few days had passed without my menstrual cycle starting, I bought a home pregnancy test. My husband waited in the living room while I took the test that would tell us whether we were parents-to-be. Sure enough, a faint blue line appeared on the test. I showed it to my husband, who said excitedly, "It's a maybe?"
No maybe about it. We were expecting our first child.
-- One couple's experience
Your baby's growth during weeks 1 to 4
If you're like most expectant parents, your mind is full of questions. What does my baby look like right now? How big is he or she? How is she or he changing this week? Becoming familiar with how your baby develops, week by week, will help you answer some of those questions. It may also help you understand some of the changes taking place in your body.
Weeks 1 and 2: Preconception and fertilization
It may seem a bit strange, but the first week of your pregnancy is actually your last menstrual period before becoming pregnant. Why is that? Doctors and other health care professionals calculate your due date by counting 40 weeks from the start of your last cycle. That means they count your period as part of your pregnancy, even though your baby hasn't been conceived yet.
Conception typically occurs about two weeks after the start of your last menstrual period. When your baby arrives, it will have been about 38 weeks since he or she was conceived, but your pregnancy will have "officially" lasted 40 weeks.
Even while menstruation is happening, your body begins producing a hormone called follicle-stimulating hormone, which fosters development of an egg in your ovary. The egg matures within a small cavity in your ovary called a follicle. A few days later, your body produces a hormone called luteinizing hormone. It causes the follicle to swell and burst through the wall of your ovary, releasing the egg. This is called ovulation. You have two ovaries, but in any given cycle, ovulation occurs from just one of them.
The egg moves slowly into your fallopian tube, which connects your ovary and uterus. There it awaits a fertilizing sperm. Finger-like structures at the junction between your ovary and fallopian tube, called fimbriae, catch the egg when ovulation occurs, keeping it on the right course.
If you have intercourse before or during this time, you can become pregnant. If fertilization doesn't occur, for whatever reason, the egg and the lining of your uterus will be shed through your menstrual period.
This is when it all begins. Your egg and your partner's sperm unite to form a single cell -- the starting point for an extraordinary chain of events. That microscopic cell will divide again and again. In about 38 weeks, it will have grown into a new person made up of more than 2 trillion cells -- your beautiful new baby girl or boy.
The process begins when you and your partner have sexual intercourse. When he ejaculates, your partner releases into your vagina semen containing up to 1 billion sperm cells. Each sperm has a long, whip-like tail that propels it toward your egg.
Hundreds of millions of these sperm swim up through your reproductive system. With the help of your uterus and fallopian tubes, they travel from your vagina, up through the lower opening of your uterus (cervix), through your uterus and into your fallopian tube. Many sperm are lost along the way. Only a fraction of the sperm reach the egg's position in the fallopian tube. Fertilization occurs when a single sperm makes this journey successfully and penetrates the wall of your egg.
Your egg has a covering of nutrient cells called the corona radiata and a gelatinous shell called the zona pellucida. To fertilize your egg, your partner's sperm must penetrate this covering. At this point, your egg is about 1/200 of an inch in diameter, too small to be seen.
Up to 100 sperm may try to penetrate the wall of your egg, and several may begin to enter the outer egg capsule. But in the end, only one succeeds and enters the egg itself. After that, the membrane of the egg changes and all other sperm are locked out.
Occasionally, more than one follicle matures and more than one egg is released. This can result in multiple births if each of the eggs is fertilized by a sperm.
As the sperm penetrates to the center of your egg, the two cells merge to become a one-celled entity called a zygote. The zygote has 46 chromosomes -- 23 from you and 23 from your partner. These chromosomes contain thousands and thousands of genes. This genetic material will determine your baby's sex, eye color, hair color, body size, facial features and -- at least to some extent -- intelligence and personality. Fertilization is now complete.Continues...
Excerpted from Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy by Mayo Clinic Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world. Doctors from every medical specialty work together to care for patients, joined by common systems and a philosophy that the needs of the patient come first. Over 3,600 physicians and scientists and 50,000 allied staff work at Mayo, which has sites in Rochester, Minn.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz. Collectively, Mayo Clinic treats more than 500,000 patients a year. For more than 100 years, millions of people from all walks of life have found answers at Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic works with many insurance companies, does not require a physician referral in most cases and is an in-network provider for millions of people.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I especially enjoyed the week by week pregnancy information in this book. I read them to my husband every week. There is also useful information on exercises that you can be doing as your pregnancy progresses. Many people suggested that I should have gotten What to Expect When Your Expecting; however, I have found all the information I need in this book so have not felt the need to get the other. I highly recommend this book to anyone thinking about getting pregnant or for someone who is already pregnant, it is my go to book.
Very informative and easy to read! Everything is thoroughly explained and the diagrams are great. I enjoy the exercises that are suggested throughout the chapters. The organization of the book makes it easy to go back and find information too. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant!