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Conception, Pregnancy and Childbirth

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Western University
Psychology 2075
Leslie Janes

Chapter5:Conception,PregnancyandChildbirth Advantages of Remaining Childless • more time for self and companion • more financial resources • more spontaneity • more devotion to career • strain on earth’s resources • more time, freedom Advantage of Having Children • children give and receive love • may enhance relationship • build self-esteem, sense of accomplishment • greater meaning and satisfaction • personal experience,pleasure, extension, responsibility • companionship • religious beliefs BecomingPregnant • enhancing the possibility • intercourse just prior to or at ovulation • occurs at the middle of the menstrual cycle • ovum can be fertilized for about 4 to 20 hours after ovulation • sperm can live up to 3 days (possibly more); thus intercourse just prior to or at ovulation is optimum • predicting ovulation • Mucus Method: a few days before ovulation mucus becomes thin, slippery and clear. • Calendar Method: monitoring cycle over a period of time to figure out what you ovulate • BBT methods (Basal Body Temperature): taking temperature everyday and the same time; just before you ovulate temperature drops slightly and then peaks at the start of ovulation • Ovulation-Predictor Urine Test (over the counter kits): analysis of urine for hormones that precede ovulation • Other Methods: keeping the sperm inside the body for as long as possible (man on top sex, avoiding standing or urination; let the sperm travel deep) • Infertility • term typically applied to failure to conceive as it persists for over a year • diagnosis • more than 6 months trying = problem • > 1 year = infertility • 1 in 6 couple seek help • 15% of these couple get pregnant without any help • female fertility drops at 35 - women pursuing careers and delaying pregnancy • causes • often complex and hard to determine • unidentifiable in 15% • 30% of causes lie with male, other 20% are unknown or combination of both • Male Infertility • low sperm count • anything that increases and exceeds the temperature necessary for sperm production (tight shorts, runners, hot shower/tubs) • most common cause • impaired sperm production especially amongst men whose testicles are warmer than average - athletic activity, even long hot baths • irregularly shaped sperm • low sperm motility • chronic or infectious diseases • Female Infertility • failure to ovulate regularly • 10-15% of problems are from failure to ovulate (malnutrition, eating disorders, stress, illness) • drugs can typically help address it • endometriosis • can cause blockages • obstructions in reproductive tract • due to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) • infections may scar fallopian tube and block passage • declining hormone levels with aging • AlternativeforConception • Artificial Insemination • partner with low sperm count, ejaculates and sperm is manually inserted into woman during ovulation • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) • ovum is surgically removed and fertilized in a pea-tree dish • after fertilization is implanted in woman (usually more than one to ensure at least one ovum survives) • Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) • partner or donor sperm along with egg is inserted in fallopian tube • not waiting for fertilization • instead placing all elements and allowing for ‘natural’ fertilization in the fallopian tubes • not as common • Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT) • wait until fertilization and then placing fertilized egg in the fallopian tubes • slightly more successful due to guaranteed fertilization prior to implantation • Embryonic Transfer • 1) If a woman’s fallopian tube is blocked- another woman (surrogate) is artificially inseminated with partner’s semen;when she’s impregnated the embryo is moved tot he original woman’s uterus • 2) When a woman frequently miscarries but is able to conceive. She conceives normally and the embryo is transferred to surrogate • Surrogate Motherhood • typically only the male partner’s sperm is used • Adoption • Chinese girls • Russia (but being fazed out by Russian government especially to Americans) • Adoption from a teenage pregnancy • biological mother/parents can change their mind at the last minute • option for someone who is environmentally conscious Conception • 200 to 400 million sperm in each ejaculate • only a few thousand survive the journey through the cervix and uterus to fallopian tubes • about half go up the wrong tube • only one ovary has an egg • sperm can reach fallopian tube in 60- 90minutes after ejaculation • a few hundred remain to bombard the ovum • Ovum • Zona Pellucida • gelatinous coating around the ovum • sperm releases enzymes to thin the coating • more sperm around the egg, more enzyme releases, increasing likelihood of at least one getting to the egg • once sperm enters it thickens again • Zygote • the fertilized egg • PregnancyDetection • first signs: spotting, or no period; fatigue; tender breasts • nausea/vomiting • morning sickness • feeling sick in the morning but not actually vomiting • can vary in one woman from pregnancy to pregnancy • blood or urine tests for (HCG) • hormone that increases when woman is pregnant • doctors pregnancy tests can detect as early as 8th day of pregnancy, before missed period • over the counter home pregnancy tests as early as 1 day after missed period • not as accurate but still good for initial discovery, further along • at 6 weeks, subtle softening uterus MiscarriageandSpontaneousAbortion • Miscarriage • 15-20%
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