Essay Example on Navigating Pregnancy: The Journey to Nurture and Protect a Growing Fetus - Free Essay, Term Paper Example (2023)


Pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum are topics that have been under study for so many years. Pregnancy is a unique, exciting, and joyous moment for a woman since it is the period in which they portray their creative and nurturing powers while offering a bridge to the future. Pregnancy comes with a cost, and it is also a period that demands a woman to be healthy and careful with their diets to support the health and future conditions of their children. A growing fetus entirely depends on the healthy body of their mothers for all needs. Hence, a pregnant woman must take the initiative of being healthy and well-nourished as they can. Concerning childbirth, different studies have been carried out to discuss and analyze the process before, during, and after birth. It is a complex process that requires proper preparation, both financially and physically. The physical aspect of the preparation needs an expectant woman to be healthy before the process and be physically fit. Researchers have also extensively worked on postpartum to establish the activities that take place in a woman's life after delivery. The main objective of this paper is to review different works of literature on pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.

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Literature Review on Pregnancy

Pregnancy is the period between fertilization and the delivery of a baby. It usually takes nine months, but there are cases of early and late delivery, which makes the duration flexible. As discussed by Whiting (2018), pregnancy can occur between puberty which represents the maturation of the genital organs and the advancement of secondary sexual features and the onset of menstruation and menopause, or the period that marks the end of fertility in a woman. Immediately after the egg is released, fertilization occurs in the fallopian tube, a hollow tube between the ovary and the uterus that relays eggs to the uterus during the menstrual cycle. Witt (2008) also observed that fertilization occurs in the fallopian tube, after which the zygote moves to the uterus where implantation occurs. Witt noted that when implantation fails, pregnancy fails. In most cases, pregnancies are single, but there are other cases where multiple pregnancies arise, which result in twins, triplets, or more. There are three stages of pregnancy, known as trimesters. During the first trimesters, the placenta develops and releases human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). This hormone regulates the corpus luteum, which increases the density levels of blood vessels in the uterine lining and nourishes the growing fetus (Prakash, 2018).

The views expressed by Prakash relative to the growth of uterus are also coherent with the sentiments of Whiting (2018), who observed that after the fetus has started developing, the uterus grows, and the mother might experiences symptoms such as nausea and breast tenderness. An expectant woman also frequently urinates experiences fatigue, headaches, and lowered sexual desires. The modification of the cardiovascular system during the first trimester is caused by the relaxin hormone and initiates labor and enhances baby delivery by dilating the cervix and increases the flexibility of ligaments and pubic bones. The hormone also increases the flow of blood from the heart. Fink et al. (2012) also observed that relaxation could also be applied by expectant women in enhancing delivery since it reduces maternal heart rate and blood pressure. Prakash also noted that relaxation is also integral in lowering the cortisol levels in pregnant women, minimizing the fight and flight response. Prakash reiterated that relaxation exercise should be routinely prescribed to expectant women who encounter anxiety or stress to enhance their psychological well-being. The findings made by Prakash were also coherent with the discoveries made by Witt (2008), who observed that relaxation positively impacts birth weight, labor duration, gestation length, and relaxation prematurity. Witt summarized his study by noting that relaxation has positive effects on both the mother and child during pregnancy, labor, and after birth.

The experiences of a woman during the second trimester were heavily covered by Fink et al. (2012) in their study of the relaxation during pregnancy. They observed that the period begins from the 13th week through to the 27th week, a period that is characterized by the continuous growth of the fetus. Just as observed by Witt in his study, expectant women experience nausea, fatigue, and headache during this period. Pregnant women also gain weight due to reduced nausea, but they encounter indigestion and increased urination. The expectant woman also feels the movement of the fetus, and she shows the physiological modifications connected to pregnancy. Parkash (2018) also observed that during this period of pregnancy, the skin also develops stretch marks since the torso expands to accommodate the growing fetus. He also noted that Braxton-Hicks, which also are known as preparatory contractions, occur during this stage, and they do not signify the onset of labor.

The concepts expressed by Parkash, Fink et al., and Witt all seem to be coherent in the third and final trimester, which lasts from week 28 to delivery day. The period is marked by elevated heartburns and fluid retention, which leads to swollen ankles and wrists. Pregnant women also experience backaches, which is caused by the heavyweight of the baby. The abdominal skin darkens as well during this period, and the level of progesterone hormone reduces while those of estrogen and prolactin rise. Prolactin hormone, which is responsible for stimulation of milk production, also increases this period, and it readies the breasts for lactation (Parkash, 2018). Just as noted by Parkash, Whiting (2018) also observed that expectant mothers experience secretion of milk from the mammary glands at the end of the third trimester. At this point, the level of relaxin hormone also spikes, which thins the cervix in preparation for childbirth. Besides cervix relaxation, the hormone also initiates labor and enhances baby delivery by increasing the cervix and flexibilities of the pubic bones and ligaments.

Literature Review on Childbirth

Childbirth is a process that is dreaded by most women, given the pain that is attached to it. However, it is equally a happy process, especially when the newborn baby is healthy. As noted by Boodhun (2015), the first birth takes roughly between 12 to 14 hours, and it usually is more prolonged than subsequent deliveries. The moment is marked by cervix dilation, which is facilitated by the production of relaxin hormone (Fernandez Fernandez-Arroyo, 2020). There are different ways of giving birth. A woman can give birth through water birth, home birth, active birth, hospital birth, or cesarean birth. The method used depends on the specification of the expectant woman or her body conditions, which might force medical assistants to apply the caesarian section. This process of birth entails the delivery of a baby from the mother's uterus via an incision in her abdomen. It is initiated by long labor or upon the mother's request. As observed by Tebekaw et al., 2014), an emergency cesarean birth is carried out when either the safety of the mother or the bay is questionable before or during labor. The process is aided by general, spinal, or epidural anesthesia. As also noted by Tebelaw et al., a hospital birth is a birth that takes place in a hospital, and the baby is delivered vaginally with or without medical intervention. The concept of hospital birth was not embraced in the 1960s. Many people heavily embraced it in recent years via mass education and reiteration of the importance of delivering in hospitals (Tebekaw et al., 2014). Vaginal birth can be done anywhere, but there are worries of complications that might develop and require the attention of medical practitioners.

Delivery in a hospital has many advantages that supersede other methods. One of the benefits of hospital delivery is that medical practitioners can quickly attend to any emergency. Most hospitals are now transforming their clinical setups to be homely and friendly to expectant women. This is because most women who had experienced complications during their previous births tend to have their other children in a pleasant, comfortably, and familiarity of their own home (Tebekaw et al., 2014). As noted by Whiting (2018), an expectant mother is assisted by a midwife with the help of a doctor during delivery after ensuring that everything that she will need is available before going to labor. Just as observe by Whiting, Fernandez Fernandez-Arroyo (2020) also found that expectant mothers should prepare in advance since over 90% of healthy pregnant women who receive good antenatal care give birth spontaneously. A water birth, on the other hand, is the birth of a bay via canal directly into the water. As noted by Boodhun (2015), water birth can either be done at home or in the hospital.

The sentiments expressed by the researchers cited above are coherent concerning the birth process and the necessary preparations to be taken to make it efficient. As noted by Witt (2008), the birth of a child is connected to a life renewal, and it is one of the most intense and significant moments of one's life. Witt also noted that the care provided during childbirth must focus on the requirements of the new mother, their rights, and their active role in the parturition process because of the specific social, biological, and economic specificities. Witt (2008) also observed that the current obstetric care model is characterized by overreliance on technical and technological interventions and the rampant use of C-section as a means of birth, which has expropriated women of their control over their anatomy and bodies. The views of Witt on the model were backed up by Prakash (2018), who also observed that the obstetric model had stripped women of their rights to their bodies, and this has generated the feminist movement. The technocratic obstetric model has been criticized for helping women regain their autonomy at childbirth.

Literature Review on Postpartum

A postpartum or postnatal is a period that begins immediately after childbirth, and it is characterized by modification of the mother's body, including hormone levels and the size of the uterus to the non-pregnant state (Rosenberg, 2013). Postpartum care is one of the challenges that a woman who has just given birth faces since it concerns the mother and her baby, two people with very distinct needs. However, as noted by Rosenberg (2013), the balance between the two can be achieved by providing effective quality care. There are numerous challenges that a woman who has just given birth faces. These challenges are nutrition and breastfeeding, immunization, birth spacing, HIV/AIDS, and postpartum depression. Postpartum is primarily about the provision of a comfortable environment in which a woman can comfortably take care of her baby; thus, much attention should be given to the mother after pregnancy, just like before giving birth.

Wani and Dalal (2013) also discussed the challenges faced by mothers during the postpartum stage. They observed that one of the most common problems faced by mothers who have just delivered is postpartum depression. The postpartum affective illness exists in three forms, namely: the blues (baby blues), postnatal depression, and puerperal psychosis. As noted by Wani and Dalal (2013), the most common among them is postpartum non-psychotic depression, and it affects roughly 10-15% of women. As such, it is a severe public health problem that affects women and their families. Rosenberg observed in his study that approximately 5-22% of women a...

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Essay Example on Navigating Pregnancy: The Journey to Nurture and Protect a Growing Fetus. (2023, May 30). Retrieved from


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