Pregnancy Facts



  • Pregnancy begins when a woman’s ovum (egg cell) is fertilized by a man’s sperm cell. Usually this happens after sexual intercourse, but it can begin in a laboratory.
  • When a woman becomes pregnant her monthly menstrual periods stop. Tests on her urine show whether she is pregnant.
  • During pregnancy, the fertilized egg divides again and again to grow rapidly — first to an embryo (the first eight weeks), and then to a fetus (from eight weeks until birth).
  • Unlike an embryo, a fetus has grown legs and arms, as well as internal organs such as a heart.
  • Pregnancy lasts nine months, and the time is divided into three trimesters (periods of about 12 weeks).
  • The fetus lies cushioned in its mother’s uterus (womb) in a bag of fluid called the amniotic sac.
  • The mother’s blood passes food and oxygen to the fetus via the placenta, also known as the afterbirth.
  • The umbilical cord runs between the fetus and the placenta, carrying blood between them.
  • During pregnancy a woman gains 30% more blood, and her heart rate goes up.
  • During pregnancy a woman’s breasts grow and develop milk glands to produce milk for feeding the baby.