Pregnancy


Pregnancy is the period during which a baby develops in the womb of a female. It starts with conception, which is when a sperm fertilizes an egg and this fertilized egg attaches to the inner lining of the womb. This then develops into the placenta and embryo, and by the eighth week, into a foetus. When a woman is carrying more than one baby, such as twins, or triplets or more, her pregnancy is labeled as a multiple pregnancy. A full term pregnancy is about 37 to 42 weeks since conception. A baby born sooner is called pre-term, and a baby born later is called post-term.
Pregnancy is divided into three phases or trimesters:

  • The first trimester is from 0 to 12 weeks and is a period of rapid changes for both the baby and the mother. During this period, the baby develops its brain, spinal cord and other organs, and its heart starts beating. Its toes and fingers start taking shape. This period is critical and carries the highest risk of miscarriage, which is the natural death of an embryo or fetus.

  • The second trimester is from 13 to 28 weeks, during which the baby develops further and starts to move and hear. Its heartbeat can be heard through a stethoscope during this period.

  • The third trimester is from 29 to 40 weeks. During this time, the baby gains weight, and its movements are more pronounced as it positions itself lower in the mother’s belly for delivery.

Pregnancy leads to many changes in the mother’s body as well, as it adapts to its new responsibility of nourishing and supporting a baby. Changes may include fatigue, mood swings, nausea, changes in breast and skin, frequent urination, constipation, weight gain, swelling and body aches ealong with other changes.

For most women, the first indication of a pregnancy is a missed period. Other symptoms include:

  • Spotting and/or cramping

  • Milky discharge from the vagina

  • Swollen, sore or sensitive breasts

  • Darkening areolas

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea (morning sickness)

  • Frequent urination

If you suspect you are pregnant, or have tested positive on a pregnancy test, you can consult a specialist working with the Women’s Health Care Service​ at The Aga Khan University Hospital. This is important because your Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (OBGYN) would be able to provide high quality pre-natal care, which is very important for a healthy baby and a successful pregnancy.

It is also important to not miss routine follow-up visits with your OBGYN to monitor your and your baby’s health during the 9 months of pregnancy. In addition, it is imperative to reach out to your physician if you see notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe nausea and vomiting

  • Fever

  • Rash

  • Vaginal bleeding or blood clots

  • Itching on body, palms or soles of feet

  • Yellowish discoloration of skin

  • Burning sensation while urinating

  • Pain in chest or upper belly, especially on right side

  • Headache

  • Blurry vision

  • Feeling dizzy or fainting

  • Lack of baby movements once it has started to move (5th month or later)

  • Strong abdominal contractions before term

  • Jelly like discharge from the vagina

  • Leakage of unusual fluids from the vagina

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here​ are some tips to help get you started.

Your health care provider will ask questions about your symptoms and may wish to perform a physical examination. The confirmation of pregnancy is usually done with a blood or urine test and/or an ultrasound.

During your initial prenatal visit, your doctor will assess your health and record all details in your file including your pregnancy history, family history, known medical disorders, any medications that you may be taking, findings of your physical exam, blood pressure, weight etc. You may be directed to undergo regular blood and urine tests throughout your pregnancy to evaluate your health and to screen for infections and diseases. Routine ultrasounds are conducted to monitor the baby’s growth and progress, and any indication of risks.

Pregnancy is a delicate period, during which, your OBGYN will regularly monitor and mark the baby’s progress and your health. You may be called in every 4 to 6 weeks at the beginning and more frequently, up to once a week or more, during the last few weeks of your pregnancy. This is to ensure all changes and developments are closely monitored at this crucial time before delivery.

During your entire pregnancy it is important to keep your OBGYN informed about all developments and share any concerns you may have. It is also important to take prescribed vitamins and medicines, to ensure a healthy and successful pregnancy.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.
 
The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
 
The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.




The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.