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Fachspezifische Themenstellung aus Biologie und Ökologie/ Englische Arbeitssprache The Miracle of Life  Abigail Faffelberger 5CHW 2012/2013 Eingereicht bei Frau Prof. Mag. Hainzl Elisabeth St. Veit, 12.04.2013 her e Lehran sta lt für wirtschaftliche Be ruf e Dr. Arthur-Lemisch-Straße 15 9300 St. Veit an der Glan

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    Fachspezifische Themenstellung


    Biologie und kologie/ Englische


    The Miracle of Life

    Abigail Faffelberger

    5CHW 2012/2013



    Frau Prof. Mag. Hainzl Elisabeth

    St. Veit, 12.04.2013

    Hhere Lehranstalt fr wirtschaftliche Berufe

    Dr. Arthur-Lemisch-Strae 15

    9300 St. Veit an der Glan

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    Authors declaration

    Hereby, I confirm that all references in this text are indicated evidently and that the following

    paper is entirely my own scholarly work. Accordingly I take full responsibility for any

    inaccuracies of facts.

    Weitensfeld, February 2013


    (Abigail Faffelberger)

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    Table of Contents

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    In my final paper I wrote about what happens in a mothers womb during pregnancy. The first

    three chapters treat the three stages of pregnancy, and in the next few chapters I briefly

    examined the problems that can occur during pregnancy as well as the different stages of

    labor pains, the changes of women during pregnancy and how pregnant women can stay


    My decisive factors to write especially about pregnancy are that I am really interested in this

    topic, and if in future I have my own children I already know something about what happens

    in a mothers womb. Personally I am so fascinated by the development of a baby. Even

    though I thoroughly examined many things about pregnancy for this paper, the developmentof a human being is still such a secret to me and I cannot stop to brim over with enthusiasm

    for the development of a baby.

    My target audiences are especially women. I chose to write for this particular audience

    because it is actually the woman that is concerned, and if a woman reads my paper I would

    wish for it to speak to her heart that she gets touched by it and gets a different point of view

    about pregnancy. To have a baby is a beautiful thing and it is a present from God because

    the chance of getting pregnant is so small but still women can do it.

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    Pregnancy is a wonderful thing and women have the absolute privilege to be able to have a

    baby. For many women these nine months are a time of great happiness but a woman alsohas to go through many challenges during this time. But what would a woman not endure if

    she can cuddle a healthy baby at the end of this sometimes tough time?

    1 The First Trimester of Pregnancy

    During the first trimester of pregnancy all important organs of the baby are developed. In this

    time the baby grows faster than in any other stage of life. The first trimester begins with the

    first week and lasts until the twelfth week of pregnancy. Since the exact moment of a babys

    conception is unknown, the pregnancy is dated from the time of the last menstruation. But

    how can the date of birth be calculated? You have to add seven days to the first day of your

    last menstruation and then you have to subtract three months. In this way you can

    approximately figure out the date of birth. However, only in few cases do women give birth to

    their babies on the calculated date.

    1.1 The First Week of Pregnancy

    1.1.1 Fertilization of the Egg Cell

    In the womans ovaries, eggs ripen in fluid-filled sacs called follicles.

    After the ovulation, the unfertilized egg cell begins its journey. One

    of the womans eggs erupts from its follicle, is swept away from the

    ovary and is taken up by the fallopian tube. There it stays and waits for fertilization. The

    chance that a single sperm reaches the egg cell is a chance of one to one million. The

    released egg cell only lives for about 12-24 hours, and at best the egg cell will be fertilized.

    Men ejaculate about 250 million sperms but only about 300 sperms reach the oviducts upper

    part and only one manages to fertilize the egg cell.

    The sperms have to swim from the vagina through

    the cervix, up into the uterus to the fallopian tube,

    and penetrate the egg for fertilization to happen.1

    1 http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-2-weeks_6000.bc

    Figure : Fertilization of the Egg Cell

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    The second the sperm enters the outer membrane of the egg, it usually hardens. Fertilization

    is finished when the chromosomes of the sperm and the egg cell have been connected. The

    baby will become a girl if the sperm carries an X chromosome, and if it carries a Y

    chromosome it will become a boy. Unless the egg cell has been fertilized the change of the

    mothers hormones stops the normal cycle of menstruation. 2

    It takes the fertilized egg, now called zygote, about three to four days to reach the uterus

    through the fallopian tube. During this time the zygote will divide into 16 identical cells. As

    soon as the zygote enters the uterus it is called morula.3

    1.1.2 The Corpus Luteum (Yellow Body)

    During ovulation the egg leaves behind a tissue that had surrounded it before its release

    from the ovary. This discarded tissue is called the yellow body. The corpus luteum secretes

    the hormone progesterone and thus plays a key role in maintaining the plush carpeting of the

    uterus. The yellow body sends a signal to the uterus so that by the time an egg reaches it,

    the lining will be prepared and ready to accept it, allowing the egg to implant. After

    fertilization, the progesterone, which is secreted by the yellow body, keeps the uterine lining

    for 8-10 weeks, and then the placenta continues to make progesterone.4

    1.2 The Second and Third Week of Pregnancy

    A lot is now going on in the mothers womb. A part of the blastocyst

    starts to produce the pregnancy hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). Due to this

    hormone the increased production of progesterone and estrogen takes

    place, and the hormone also tells the ovaries to stop releasing eggs. By the end of the third

    week pregnant women are also able to get a positive result from their pregnancy test due to

    this hormone.

    At this point in time the developing baby is a little ball of

    cells called blastocyst. The blastocyst contains an inner cell mass that will become the

    embryo, a fluid-filled cavity that will become the amniotic sac, and an outer cell mass that will

    2 http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/pregnancy_calendar/week20.htm

    3 http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-2-weeks_6000.bc

    4 http://www.parenting.com/article/yellow-body-important-menstruationand-pregnancy

    Figure : Blastocyst

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    become the placenta. The placenta gives life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients to the baby

    and it even carries away waste products.5

    1.3 The Fourth Week of Pregnancy

    The embryo consists of two layers: the epiblast and the hypoblast.

    All organs will form from those 2 layers. At the moment the embryo

    only has the size of a poppy seed.

    The amniotic sac houses the baby, the amniotic fluid cushions the embryo as it grows, and

    the yolk sac is now ready to take over the duty of producing the embryos red blood cells, and

    also helps to deliver nutrients until the placenta has developed.6

    1.3.1 The Placenta

    The placenta is a very efficient organ and unique in its flexibility. It is able to perceive different

    functions of the lungs, kidneys, intestinal tract, liver and ductless glands. It also develops

    substances to prevent infections. Further, the placenta is also very important for the future

    production of milk, and it is also the main source for the hormones. The placenta even helps

    to keep mother and baby healthy. It can produce globulins, which are natural blood

    components, to defend infections. The baby is connected to the placenta with an umbilical


    5 http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-3-weeks_1049.bc

    6 http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/pregnancy_calendar/week4.html

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    1.3.2 The Umbilical Cord

    The umbilical cord connects the baby in the uterus with the placenta. It contains umbilical

    arteries and veins. These transport the blood from the heart of the embryo to the placenta

    and back. The umbilical cord looks like a bluish clew. During pregnancy it lengthens steadily

    and by birth it has a length of about one meter. 7

    1.3.3 Blood Circulation

    Despite the fact that the baby relies on its mother, it has its own blood circulation and its own

    heart that pumps about 30 liters of blood per day.

    1.4 The Fifth Week of Pregnancy

    In the 5th week both cell layers split and the middle layer appears.

    Now the embryo is made up of three layers: the mesoderm, the

    ectoderm and the endoderm.

    The embryos nerve tracts, from which the brain, the backbone, the medulla, and the nerves

    develop, grow in the top layer called the ectoderm. This layer is also responsible for the

    growth of the babys tooth enamel, skin, nails, hair, sweat and mammary glands.

    The heart and the circulatory system arise in the mesoderm, the middle layer. A tiny tubular

    heart is formed and begins to beat and to

    pump blood. The mesoderm will also develop

    the emybros muscles, subcutaneous tissue, cartilage and bone. With the development of the

    neural tube, the mesoderm is divided into equal blocks of cells, which are situated on both

    sides of the neural tube.

    The inner layer, the endoderm, forms the lungs, the digestive tract, and the beginnings of the

    urinary passages, and it will also house the embryos thyroid, liver, and pancreas. Meanwhile,

    the placenta and the umbilical cord have already started to do their job, and are supplying

    the baby with nourishment and oxygen. 8

    7 http://www.paradisi.de/Health_und_Ernaehrung/Anatomie/Nabelschnur/

    8 http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-5-weeks_1094.bc

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    1.5 The Sixth Week of Pregnancy

    The nose, mouth and ears are beginning to take shape.

    Protruding buds mark the embryos emerging arms and legs.

    The embyros nervous systems are growing at a rapid pace.

    The digestive and respiratory systems are beginning to

    form too. The heart still consists of a simple flat canal. It beats

    almost twice as fast as the heart of an adult, at around 100 to 160 times per minute. In this

    stage the embryo is as large as a lentil. 9

    1.6 The Seventh Week of Pregnancy

    There are several major developments in this week. You can see that the embryo has

    already developed all vital functions. All organs are now emerged despite the fact that the

    embryo is just about 2 cm large and weighs only about one gram. It already has a human

    face with eyes, ears, nose, lips, a tongue and even the buds of its wisdom teeth are already


    The lungs of the baby have started to develop

    as well as the intestines. In this week the gullet

    separates from the air tube (trachea) and both

    connect to the stomach. The pancreas and the

    gall bladder are formed through the duodenum.

    Both brain hemispheres continue to grow and

    the liver ejects red blood cells (This happens

    until the bone marrow has formed the liver takes

    over this role). The brain shows similarities to

    the brain of an adult person. It sends impulses

    which control the other organs.

    1.7 The Eighth Week of Pregnancy

    In this week, fingers and toes are beginning to form, and the embryos breathing tubes are

    starting to extend from the tubes to the branches of its lungs that are developing as well. The

    9 http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/pregnancy_calendar/week6.html

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    eyes are becoming more visible due to the development of the pigment in the back of the

    eye. 10

    1.8 The Ninth Week of Pregnancy

    From now on the embryo is no longer called embryo but fetus. Its starting to look more and

    more human. The fetus is already very active despite the fact that it only weighs about 30

    grams. The heart is now divided into four chambers. The fetus eyes are now fully formed but

    the eyelids still stay closed until the 27 th week. Nerves, organs and muscles are kicking into



    development of arms, legs, and eyes are already clearly visible and the backbone is

    beginning to develop. The skin of the unborn child is still transparent and its organs are

    visible, with, for instance, the brain and the heart shining through. Compared to the rest of

    the body the head is still very big.11

    In this week the organs are starting to function, for example, the liver starts to produce blood

    cells. Also, the brain develops at a remarkable pace. Within two days it expands about a

    quarter of its original size. Up to 100,000 new nerve cells are produced every minute. Until

    the baby is born about 1 billion nerve cells will be produced.

    10 http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-7-weeks_1096.bc

    11 Schwangerschaft Tag fr Tag

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    1.9 The Tenth Week of Pregnancy

    Starting from now the organs and tissues of the fetus body grow and mature rapidly. In this

    week the fetus makes a lot of progress. Some spot minute details are tiny nails forming on

    fingers and toes as well as peach-fuzz hair beginning to grow on its sensitive skin. It has also

    started swallowing.

    1.10The Eleventh Week of Pregnancy

    In this week, the ears and eyes find their right position. The eyelids develop but stay closed

    for the next months. The baby is moving all the time and it can even control its movements.

    Even some hiccupping may be happening since the diaphragm is forming.

    The skeleton begins to ossify and to gain stability. Now the tips of the fingers and toes are

    forming. By this time the head of the fetus accounts for about the half of the body length. The

    mother will not feel the fetus acrobatics for another 1-2 months because it is still too tiny. 12

    1.11 The Twelfth Week of Pregnancy

    The most important developments of this week are the fetus

    reflexes. Fingers begin to open and close, toes start to curl, its mouth

    starts to make sucking movements and its eye muscles start to

    contract. The sensitive lips are formed. Taste buds and salivary

    glands develop. Even its vocal cords are formed this week. From

    now on the fetus is able to pass the amniotic fluid out of the body as

    urine. The movements of the baby become versatile and harmonize. By now the fetus has

    the size of a plum.13

    1.12Ultrasound Testing

    Ultrasound testing is when the body is exposed to

    high-frequency sound waves. It is painless and safe,

    12 http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/pregnancy_calendar/week10.html

    13 http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-12-weeks_1101.bc

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    and by using sound waves it captures the returning echoes as pictures of the interior of the


    At the first testing the ultrasound will detect whether the pregnant woman carries one or more

    babies. The anomalies of the uterus become visible and even some or more malformations

    of the embryo can be diagnosed.15

    2 The Second Trimester of Pregnancy

    2.1 The Fourth Month of


    The baby is growing so fast that it reaches half of the length

    it will have by the time it is born. In only four weeks it

    gains about six times of its weight and about 12cm in

    height. Meanwhile the placenta is fully developed,

    supplying the baby with oxygen and nutrients until it is born. By now you can clearly see if

    the baby is a girl or a boy. The baby can even squint, frown, pee, and grimace. The babys

    facial muscles are working constantly and its tiny features form one expression after another.

    The babys body is covered with lanugos,

    protecting its skin from the amniotic liquid.

    Its eyelashes begin to grow. In this stage, the baby uses several methods to

    prepare for life outside the womb. Fat cells or adipose tissue starts to form under

    the skin, which will help to keep the babys temperature constant after birth.

    Several important organs and functions are also developed in this time. The lung

    cavities are formed but the lungs remain unused until the babys first breath. The

    babys bones begin to fix calcium and they become stronger week by week.

    Muscles continue to develop.

    The brain develops quickly during this time. The right and the left sides of the

    brain connect. The left half of the brain controls the right side of the body, and

    the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body. At the end of the 15th

    14 http://www.satyakiranhealthcare.com/Ultrasound.aspx

    15 http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=genus

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    week the baby can use fat as an energy source but it is still not as important as

    the glucose that is given to the baby through the placenta.16

    2.2 The Fifth Month of Pregnancy

    The head of the baby grows more slowly but its extremities grow faster. Soon the

    legs are longer than the arms. The fetus can already grab with its small hands, for

    example it plays with the umbilical cord, it even sucks on the thumb. These

    exercises are very important preparations for its first weeks of life after birth. All in

    all, the movements of the fetus become faster.

    The baby swallows amniotic fluid and rejects it again. The skin of the baby becomes thickerand consists of 3 layers. Liver and spleen start to produce white blood cells and the

    heartbeat becomes louder. Even the nipples are growing. The skeleton hardens, and so do

    the nail beds of the fingers and toes. In this month the baby gains

    a lot of weight because of the fat deposits. If the mother has not felt the babys movement

    before she will surely feel it this month. 17

    Preparing for life after birth, the babys immune system starts to develop by taking antibodies

    from its mother. It will also be wrapped in a white oily substance, a protective coating to ward

    off infections.

    Calcium is very important for the ossification of the babys skeleton structure. The baby picks

    the calcium from its mothers blood circulation. If the mother does not contain enough

    calcium in her blood, the extra amount needed is extracted from her bones. Generally,

    women need about 1300mg of calcium. They can get it by the intake of dairy products,

    canned fish, cereals, juices or bread.

    2.3 The Sixth Month of Pregnancy

    16 http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-pregnancy-15-weeks_1104.bc

    17 http://www.veria.com/pregnancy-parenting/5-months-pregnant

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    The fetus grows further five centimeters, reaching a length of about 22 cm, and gains a lot of

    weight during this month. At the end of this month it weighs a remarkable weight of about

    800g. In this month tiny tooth buds of the permanent teeth start to develop beneath its gums.

    The babys grip becomes so strong that it could lift its own weight.

    2.3.1 First Meconium

    The constrictor of the anus is fully functional. Hence meconium can

    get into the amniotic fluid. Meconium is produced after the 12th week of pregnancy. Its the

    fetus first bowel movement. The color of the meconium is greenish-black. It consists mainly

    of cells, which are released by the mucus membrane of the intestines during growth. Other

    waste products of nutrients, which the fetus absorbs

    by swallowing amniotic fluid, are also released.

    However, this gives no reason to worry, since the meconium is sterile because the intestines

    do not produce intestinal gases.

    2.3.2 The Surfactant

    During this time, the baby begins to form a substance called surfactant. With this substance it

    can breathe properly because the air sacs in its lungs are kept from collapsing and stickingtogether when it exhales air. If the baby is born prematurely, the amount of secreted

    surfactant is not enough, thus creating difficulties for the baby to breath. If this happens, this

    underdeveloped function could cause premature death.

    2.3.3 Amniotic Fluid

    At the beginning, the amniotic fluid protects the fetus. Later it pads the baby against punches

    to the womans stomach and helps regulate body temperature. The amniotic fluid carries the

    fetus, allowing it, so to speak, to be weightless and move around easily. However, staying in

    this fluid for such a long time could make the babys skin wrinkly, similar to what happens if a

    child stays in the bath too long. For this reason, a thick layer of white cream protects the

    baby. 18

    18 http://www.veria.com/pregnancy-parenting/6-months-pregnant

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    3 The Third Trimester

    3.1 The Seventh Month

    of Pregnancy

    This month the babys sight becomes more pure. The baby is able to close and open its eyes

    easily, and is able to differentiate between light and dark.

    Another thing that develops during this time is

    taste. The mother influences the taste of the amniotic fluid with the food that she eats.

    The lanugo, which used to be a further means of protection for the babys skin, now slowly

    begins to disappear but the scalp hair continues to grow. The eyelashes and eyebrows also

    become very distinct.

    At this time, the babys lungs are already developed so far they could even work outside the

    mothers womb, but still they are not yet fully developed.

    Another amazing feature is that the baby is able to differentiate different voices from each

    other. It is not able to hear the sounds clearly because its ears are covered with vernix, a

    waxy substance that protects the babys skin from becoming harmed by the amniotic fluid,

    but nevertheless it can distinguish different sounds. 19

    3.2 The Eighth Month of Pregnancy

    In the eighth month the fetus gains about 1 kg of weight. This month is mainly important for

    the formation of fat pads that are significant for keeping the body warm after birth. If the

    mother eats too much during this period the baby can become too corpulent. However, the

    baby will gain a lot of weight during this time. The brain and the nerve cells keep developing

    and the skull also grows.

    The babys bones strengthen but they stay pliable and soft until birth, so the baby is flexible

    enough to pass through the birth canal. The mother needs plenty of vitamin C, iron, folic acid,

    protein and especially calcium.

    19 http://www.veria.com/pregnancy-parenting/7-months-pregnant

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    In the womb, the baby swallows about half a liter of amniotic fluid and eliminates it. The smell

    of its taste is developed so far that the baby can notice when the mother has eaten spicy

    meals. The amniotic fluid does not enter the lungs but is swallowed into the stomach. The

    stomach is filled every 40 minutes. About two weeks later the gap widens to 80 minutes.

    For the baby it is not as calm in the mothers womb as we might think because it can clearly

    hear the mothers heartbeat, stomach cramps, and breathing. The baby begins to remember

    familiar sounds. We know this from the way the baby reacts to well-known sounds after it is

    born. Also, if the sounds are not familiar, the fetus might get frightened and turn away.20

    3.3 The Ninth Month of Pregnancy

    The fetus is now able to live on its own, because in the last 3 months, its mother gave many

    substances of protection to the fetus. It now sheds most of its lanugo as well as the vernix


    Proteins from the mothers blood, so called antibodies, fight diseases. The mother has

    specific antibodies against many illnesses, which she had faced during her lifetime, such as

    measles, chickenpox, mumps, whooping cough, scarlet fever, the common cold, and

    streptococcus diseases, as well as some forms of flu and infantile paralysis. 21

    4 Labor Pains

    There are several different types of labor pains. Some occur often during pregnancy but are

    harmless, others, which happen toward the end of the pregnancy, set birth in motion.

    Braxton Hicks contractions are sporadic uterine contractions that start around the sixth week

    of pregnancy. They usually involve only mild cramping, which the mother usually hardly feels

    until the last weeks of pregnancy. Normally they occur irregularly and infrequently, and are

    not harmful.22

    20 http://www.veria.com/pregnancy-parenting/7-months-pregnant

    21 http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/pregnancy_calendar/week34.html

    22 http://www.babycenter.com/0_braxton-hicks-contractions_156.bc

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    Early labor pains, on the other hand, set birth in motion. During this process, the mothers

    cervix thins out and opens. Active labor pains, also referred to as the pushing stage, follow

    the early labor pains. They are intense contractions, which occur every 2-3 minutes during

    birth. Through this process, the cervix is fully opened at 10 centimeters. Very often these

    pains will last 4-8 hours, sometimes they may only last about 1 hour. After the first active

    labor pains, a transition period follows, which lasts for about one minute. It usually involves

    very strong contractions.

    Then a second wave of pains follows. There may be fewer contractions during this stage as

    the baby begins its descent. The doctor will tell the woman to push with each contraction that

    occurs. There is a huge difference when it comes to the duration of second labor pains, as

    they can last from a few minutes to several hours. First the babys head will emerge then the

    shoulders and finally the body. If everything goes well, this is a wonderful moment, especially

    for the mother, because after birth the mothers body releases endorphins, which are pain-

    relieving hormones. Due to this, she will forget the pains she had to endure and is happy to

    finally be able to kiss and cuddle her baby.

    After the baby has left the womb, the third stage of giving birth takes place, which delivers

    the placenta. These contractions serve to separate the placenta from the uterus and support

    the homeostasis as well as the remission of the uterus. Contrary to the other labor pains,

    these contractions are not painful at all. 23

    5 The Early Mother-Child Health Record Book

    The early mother-child health record book is a record book which contributes to a safe

    pregnancy and birth for mother and child. The aim of the record book is to recognize and

    treat health problems as soon as possible. It was introduced in 1974 and records all-

    important checkups. 24

    During pregnancy and in the first 14 months of a babys life, five inspections in total are

    required for mother and child.25

    23 http://www.babycenter.com/stages-of-labor

    24 https://www.gesundheit.gv.at/Portal.Node/ghp/public/content/Mutter-Kind-Pass-


    25 http://www.netdoktor.at/schwangerschaft/mutter_kind_pass_schwangerschaft.htm

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    6 The Change of a Womans Body during Pregnancy

    During the nine months of pregnancy, a womans body changes immensely. Not only does

    the outer form of her body change, her whole cardiovascular system changes, as well as herlung capacity, her skin and her hormonal balance.

    Beginning with the sixth week of pregnancy, en expectant womans blood volume will

    increase about 40%-50% but the red blood cells will only increase about 20%-30%. Due to

    the increased plasma it is necessary for the pregnant woman to supplement her body with

    folic acid and iron in order to keep a good level of hemoglobin. The increase of blood volume

    is necessary for the mother and the baby so that the respiratory gases and nutrients can be

    exchanged more easily. The increase also serves to minimize the risk of strong blood lossduring delivery.

    During pregnancy the size of the womens heart increases about 12mm and also changes its

    position. The heart will be pushed up close to the chest cavity because the uterus expands.

    The cardiac output, meaning the amount of blood that is pumped out by the heart per minute,

    also increases about 30%-40%. Normally the womans blood pressure will stay the same but

    it can also happen that it drops during the second trimester. However, this is usually no

    cause for concern since it regulates itself again during the third stage of pregnancy. 26

    Many pregnant women complain about breathlessness during pregnancy. This is because

    the baby also needs oxygen, thus decreasing the amount of oxygen in the mothers blood.

    The further along a woman is in her pregnancy the more the breathlessness increases,

    which is due to the fact that the growing uterus pushes the diaphragm up. 27

    During pregnancy many women feel and look better due to the change of the hormones,

    increased blood flow and the mild fluid retention. On the other hand, some changes are not

    welcomed as much, such as the so-called stretch marks and chloasma that will often


    Stretch marks can occur on the pregnant womans legs, belly, breasts, or hips. These

    stretches appear as lines colored pink or purple and they can also be very itchy. The other



    27 http://www.deine-schwangerschaft.de/schwangerschaft-veraenderungen/

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    change that can appear is skin discoloration, or chloasma. About 50-70 percent of pregnant

    women are likely to be affected by this increased pigmentation of nose, cheeks and chin. 28

    Pregnancy leads to a profound change of the hormone pattern in the mothers brain, ovary,

    and placenta. The most important supplier for womens hormones is the hypothalamus. The

    hormones take over and sometimes they can affect the pregnant woman in a strange way.

    On every part of the body hair will grow thicker. It can also be that the hormones affect the

    pregnant women in the same way as they affect teenagers, and she gets acne. 29

    7 Problems That Can Occur During Pregnancy

    Some women are not affected during their pregnancy, others may experience some of thefollowing symptoms that may come with carrying a child. Often pregnant women feel strong

    fatigue, the main reason for this being the massive change in hormones, and the physical

    burden that results from it.

    Another problem that can occur is sleeping disorder. The main reason for sleeping disorders

    is the constant urge to urinate. Also, many women get hungry during the night and others

    wake up because of a feeling of sickness in their stomach. Sleeping disorders occur

    especially during the first and the third trimester.

    Further, some women may experience swellings in their legs and ankles. Swelling appears

    because of the water increase in the cells and partly because of the increased amount of

    blood. However, the swelling can also be a sign for complications, like preeclampsia. When a

    woman does have preeclampsia it means that she has a high blood pressure and excess

    protein in the urine. This can lead to fatal complications for mother and the baby.

    Other women may sense that their breasts become very sensitive during pregnancy. This

    breast tenderness is due to a strong increase of estrogen and progesterone. More sensitive

    and larger breasts are also often an indicator for pregnancy. Sometimes the breasts hurt so

    bad that they cannot be touched. The nipples are very hot and pulsing.

    28 http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a222/skin-changes-during-pregnancy

    29 http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/your_pregnancy/pregnancy.html#

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    During the early pregnancy, a feeling of faintness can occur when the woman sits down. The

    reason for these heart and circulation problems is probably the lower amount of blood sugar.

    Pregnant women have to take care that they eat enough during pregnancy.

    Another normal occurrence is thrush. Normal vaginal discharge is thick and milky in color.

    Some indicators for thrush are a thick discharge that is white and creamy, soreness and

    itching in or around the vagina and bottom, or a feeling of pain when passing urine or during

    sexual intercourse. 30

    1 Staying Healthy During Pregnancy

    In order for both mother and child to stay healthy during pregnancy, some simple rulesshould be adhered to. Alcohol is one of the main things that should completely be avoided.

    There is no difference between wine, beer or any other alcoholic beverage during

    pregnancy, everything that the mother drinks will rapidly reach the baby. The alcohol enters

    the tissue of the embryo, causing developmental disorders and deformations by this

    poisoning of the fetus.

    Nicotine is another highly dangerous substance during pregnancy. The poisonous substance

    prevents nutrients from reaching the fetus. Babies of smoking mothers are often smaller,

    lighter and more likely to become ill. Even miscarriage and premature birth are more likely to

    happen when pregnant women smoke.

    Caffeine is not as harmful as either alcohol or nicotine but it should be cut down

    nevertheless. Pregnant women should not drink more than 200mg of caffeine per day during

    pregnancy. One thing to be aware of is, that caffeine is not only found in coffee but also in

    teas and chocolate. A high amount of caffeine can increase the pulse rate of the fetus, which

    is a burden for its heart and can lead to a risk of miscarriage.

    Generally during pregnancy, women should be aware of what they eat. Especially during the

    first trimester of pregnancy the mothers eating behavior is prone to changes. Some women

    have addephagia while other women suffer from an absence of appetite and have to force

    themselves to eat properly and enough. During the beginning of the pregnancy a sufficient

    supply of folic acid, vitamin-B and iodine are recommended. These substances are important

    for the development and cell division of the fetus. Vegetables, whole grain, and fruits contain

    30 http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/pregnancy-coping-with-discomforts

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    a lot of folic acid, and iodine is provided by salt and sea food like fish. Women should limit

    their intake of sugar, such as sweets, cakes, and also white flour.

    Also important to stay healthy are physical activities. If no complications occur during

    pregnancy, doing sports will only increase both the mothers and the babys health. Athletic

    activities are good for the circulation and relieve stress on the tendons and muscles. The

    baby is even supplied with more oxygen when his mother does some activities.

    Recommended sport activities are swimming, biking, Nordic walking, gymnastics, or simply

    going for a walk.31

    8 Complications During Pregnancy

    Unfortunately, complications can occur during pregnancy. Early miscarriages, anemia,

    amniotic fluid problems, or bleeding are some of these. An early miscarriage is normally

    caused by an illness of the fetus or by chromosome anomalies. The baby needs 23

    chromosomes of its mother and 23 of its father. If there is an absence of chromosomes the

    baby could be prevented from developing healthily. A miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of

    the pregnancy before the fetus is able to live outside the uterus. It affects 10-20% of all

    pregnancies. Mostly, it occurs in the first 12 weeks. Only 1% of women lose their baby after

    the first trimester. 32

    A pregnant woman has anemia when she does not have sufficient healthy red blood cells,

    which carry oxygen to the tissues. Simple anemia occurs often during pregnancy because

    there is a lack of red blood cells. Therefore, women should try to get enough iron, which is

    needed for the formation of hemoglobin. Lack of iron is also the reason for fatigue,

    breathlessness and paleness.33

    There are 2 types of amniotic fluid problems: polyhydramnios and oliohydramnios.

    Polyhydramnios occurs when the pregnant woman carries too much amniotic fluid around

    the fetus. This can be caused by too much fluid being produced or by problems with

    absorbing the fluid. The symptoms are a hardening of the belly, breathlessness, heartburn,

    swelling of legs, and blockage in the veins. Oliohydramnios occurs when the pregnant

    31 http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/your_pregnancy/preg_health.html#

    32 http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a1039515/understanding-early-miscarriage#section1

    33 http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/anemia-in-pregnancy

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    woman carries too little amniotic fluid. This can be caused by the break of the egg membrane

    or problems with the placenta. Fetal anomalies or growth problems of the baby may occur. 34

    When bleeding occurs late in pregnancy, the mother instantly has to go to the hospital.

    Serious causes for late bleedings are a placenta previa or a placenta separation.

    Placenta previa is when the placenta lies low in the mothers uterus. When this happens, it

    lies close to the cervix or even covers it. Early bleedings are a result from it. It is painless,

    sometimes very strong and occurs repeatedly. 35

    Placental abruption occurs when the placenta starts to separate from the wall of the uterus

    and may lead to severe stomach aches. If the blood flows between the placenta and the

    uterus, the bleeding is not visible. A separation of the placenta is life threatening for the baby,

    because the placenta cannot function anymore. This is also very dangerous for the mother,

    because of internal blood loss.36



    35 http://www.babycenter.com/0_placenta-previa_830.bc

    36 http://www.babycenter.com/0_placental-abruption_1425791.bc

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    9 Conclusion

    In my paper I examined the three different stages of pregnancy that expecting women go

    through, pointing out important phases of the babys growth in these stages. Further, I lookedat the problems that may occur during pregnancy and how pregnant women can make sure

    to stay healthy when carrying a child.

    I really enjoyed writing about this topic and doing research on it, as I personally learned a lot

    by this, especially how important it is to put your whole heart when working on your final

    paper. You have to really enjoy the work you are doing, because only then the topic is

    examined well. My hope is that through my paper, people will focus on the beauty of

    pregnancy and the miracle of life that happens there.

    Pregnancy really is something so special and it makes me angry when I see how people are

    so egoistic and often destroy the life of a human being through abortion. I really hope that

    this paper may help in part for our society to rethink the uniqueness of the life of a child

    during pregnancy, that people see and realize what they are doing when they have an

    abortion, and that abortion will be banned from our society.

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    www.babycenter.com (27.02.2013)www.kidshealth.org (27.02.2013)

    www.parenting.com (28.02.2013)

    www.paradisi.de (27.02.2013)

    Schwangerschaft Tag fr Tag (17.01.2013)

    www.radiologyinfo.org (27.02.2013)

    www.veria.com (27.02.2013)

    www.gesundheit.gv.at (17.01.2013)

    www.netdoktor.at (19.01.2013)


    www.deine-schwangerschaft.de (16.01.2013)

    www.webmd.com (28.02.2013)

    www.phoenixchildrens.staywellsolutionsonline.com (28.02.2013)

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    Table of Figures

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    Register of Illustrations:

    Figure 1: http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/pregnancy_calendar/week2.html

    Figure 2: http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/pregnancy_calendar/week3.html

    Figure 3: http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/pregnancy_calendar/week4.html

    Figure 4: http://www.babycenter.com/fetal-development-images-5-weeks

    Figure 5: http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/pregnancy_calendar/week6.html

    Figure6: http://www.babycenter.com/fetal-development-images-7-weeks

    Figure 7: http://www.aurorahealthcare.org/yourhealth/healthgate/getcontent.asp

    Figure 8: http://thenealworld430.blogspot.co.at/2012/07/baby-neal-at-12-weeks.html

    Figure 9: http://mixentry24.blogspot.co.at/2012/02/ten-must-have-tests-during-pregnancy.h

    Figure 10: http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/pregnancy_calendar/week16.html

    Figure 11: http://www.thebabycorner.com/pregnancy-calendar/week-20/

    Figure 12: http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/pregnancy_calendar/week24.html

    Figure 13:http://www.babycenter.com/fetal-development-images-27-weeks

    Figure 14:http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a830/low-lying-placenta-after-20-weeks-placenta-