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Chapter 6

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Western University
Psychology 2075

Chapter 6: Conception, Pregnancy & Childbirth Conception Sperm Meets Egg: The Incredible Journey • About day 14 the woman ovulates from the ovary and picked up by the fimbriae and enters the fallopian tubes • Disintegrates in about 48 hours • Sperm, manufactured in the seminiferous tubules of the testes, collected and stored in the epididymis • During ejaculation they moved up and over the bladder through the vas deferens, then traveled down through the ejaculatory duct and out through the urethra • Conception actually occurs in the outer third of the fallopian tube, of the 200 million sperm, only about 2000 reach the tube containing the egg • Sperm swarm the egg and secrete hyaluronidase produced in the acrosome to dissolve the zona pellucida around the egg • Fertilized egg is called the zygote, first two weeks of gestation, the conceptus; 2- 8 weeks called an embryo and from then on, it is called a fetus • Embryo: the developing organism between the second and eighth weeks of gestation • Fetus: developing organism from the eight week of gestation to delivery Improving Chances of Conception: Making a Baby • Time intercourse to the same time as ovulation • Keeping a temperature chart notifies when ovulation occurs • Maintaining a high sperm count appears to be important in accomplishing the task of fertilizing the egg. Possibly better to have intercourse every 24 to 48 hours or about four times during the week of ovulation Development of the Conceptus • Gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia are both conditions that can affect the woman and baby during pregnancy Embryo and Support System • Ectoderm, entire nervous system and skin • Endoderm, differentiates into the digestive system (pharynx, stomach, intestines, rectum) and the respiratory system • Mesoderm, muscles, skeleton, connective tissues, and reproductive and circulatory systems • Placenta- develops out of the mass of tissues surrounding the conceptus and nurtures its growth; this serves as a site for the exchange of substances between the woman’s blood and fetusʼ blood • Although the two blood systems never mix- oxygen and nutrients are able to pass through the barrier while CO2 passes out to be removed through the woman • Various drugs are also capable of crossing this barrier, which can affect the fetus • Placenta releases large quantities of estrogen and progesterone which may cause various symptoms of pregnancy • Also produces Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) • Chorion and Amnion are two membranes surrounding the fetus • Amniotic fluid works to cushion the fetus against possible injury and maintain temperature Pregnancy First Trimester (First 12 Weeks) Symptoms of Pregnancy • Most women experience a missed menstrual period (although can result from illness or emotional stress) • Temperature rises abruptly at time of ovulation and remains raised (~3 weeks) from increased levels of progesterone • Other early symptoms include tenderness of breasts, special sensitivity of the nipples, and N&V • May also include frequent urination, fatigue, and more need for sleep Physical Changes • Most changes occur due to the large increase in hormone levels- mainly estrogen and progesterone being produced by the • placenta • Breasts swell and tingle from development of mammary glands and areolas may darken and broaden • Higher frequency of urination related to changes in pituitary hormones affecting the adrenals changing the water balance • in the body, growing uterus also puts more pressure on the bladder • Morning sickness cause is not known- one theory is that it causes pregnant women to expel and avoid foods containing • toxic chemicals • Vaginal discharges may also increase due to increased hormonal changes result in changes of pH of the vagina • Fatigue and sleepiness is likely related to high levels of progesterone (sedative effect) Psychological Changes • Attitude towards the pregnancy makes a difference • Social class, low income is associated with depression during pregnancy • Availability of social support, supportive partners are less likely to be depressed • High stress has a higher risk of still births • Women who are very active prior to pregnancy may find this fatigue and lack of energy distressing • Most anxieties during this trimester come from fear of miscarriage Second Trimester (Weeks 13 to 26) Physical Changes • May become more aware of the fetusʼ movements • Rapidly expanding belly, some feel this is a magnificent symbol of womanhood, while others feel awkward and resent their bulky shape • Discomforts are at a minimum • Problems include constipation and nosebleeds due to increased blood volume • Edema, water retention is common in hands, wrists, ankles and feet • Nipples may produce colostrum (thin, amber yellow fluid) Psychological Changes • Usually a period of relative calm and well-being- depression less likely with spouse Third Trimester (Weeks 27 to 38) Physical Changes • Uterus is very large and hard- putting increased pressure on several organs • Most women feel very low energy • Recommended weight gain for the pregnancy is around 15-40 pounds dependent on pre-pregnancy size- limited weight gain is recommended due to the incidence of complications such as high blood pressure and strain on the heart • Weight distribution can cause back pain • Braxton Hicks Contractions- not part of labour and actually thought to help strengthen the uterine muscles • In first pregnancy- two to four weeks prior to delivery- the babies head drops into the pelvis called lightening, dropping or engagement Psychological Changes • Psychological well-being is much greater among women who have social support (often from partner) have higher income or are middle class, also experiencing less concurrent stressful life events Sex during Pregnancy - Despite many people’s concerns, sexual intercourse is generally safe during pregnancy Nutrition during Pregnancy - Exceptionally important during pregnancy because the woman’s body has to supply the materials to create another human being - Women have to be careful about ingesting substances because some can penetrate the placenta barrier and enter the fetus causing damage Birth - Labour is divided into 3 stages 1. Cervix undergoes effacement (thinning) and dilation 2. The baby moves out through the vagina 3. The placenta is delivered - Caesarean section is a surgical method of delivering a baby After Birth - During the postpartum period, hormone levels are very low - Postpartum depression may arise from a combination of this hormonal state and the many environmental stresses on the woman at this time Breast feeding - 2 hormones are involved in lactation 1. Prolactin 2. Oxytocin - Breastfeeding has a number of psychological factors as well as health advantages Infertility • Refers to a womanʼs inability to conceive and give birth to a living child or a manʼs inability to impregnate a woman • Considered infertile when a couple has not conceived after one year, or 6 months if >35 • Female: • Most common is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease caused by a STI-Ovulation disorders are caused by poor diet, high BMI, low activity levels • Failure to ovulate, blockage of fallopian tubes, and hostile mucous • Less common incidences include; poor nutrition, eating disorders, exposure to toxic chemicals, smoking, use of alcohol, narcotics, or barbiturates • Male: • Most common is low sperm count; poor motility and poor quality- may be caused by STIs or varicoceles. • Smoking is thought to be linked to this • Less common causes include exposure to toxic agents, and use of prescription drugs • Obesity is also a factor increasing sperm abnormalities • Research of men having exposure to environmental estrogens cause sperm to mature too fast reducing their fertilizing capabilities, (beer and pesticides) • Immunologic Response- may have an allergic reaction to the man’s sperm producing antibodies to destroy or damage the sperm or may react to the fetus or placenta • Chemicals that disrupt the process of the sperm attracting to the egg *women tend to have more psychological stress, or whoever is found to be the source* Reproductive Technologies • Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantee that access to new reproductive technologies cannot discriminate on the basis of family stats, marital status, sexual orientation, etc. • Assisted Insemination: • Artificially placing semen in the vagina to produce a pregnancy • AIH - male partner/husband (low sperm count) • DI - donor insemination • IUI- intrauterine insemination (washed, concentrated and injected to uterus) • Sperm Banks- Freezing and storing sperm • Can be used for fathers to store sperm prior to radiation therapy • Embryo Transfer - fertilized, developing egg is transferred from the uterus of one woman to the uterus of another woman • For women who can conceive but always miscarries early in pregnancy to transfer her embryo to the surrogate. “Rent a womb” • Also used when a woman can’t produce viable eggs, male partners sperm can be used to artificially inseminate another woman (who donates the egg) and fertilized egg is transferred into the mother • IVF - scientists to join an egg and a sperm in a dish outside the body • Fertilized egg can then be transferred and implanted into the uterus of
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