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Chapter 11

PSY354H5 Chapter 11: Fertility, Pregnancy, and Childbirth

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Brett Beston

NotesFromReadingCHAPTER11FERTILITYPREGNANCYANDCHILDBIRTHPGS318355Pregnancy and Childbirth Raise Major Health ConcernsKing Henry VIII had six wives in which a couple of them were beheaded 2 of them died in or soon after childbirth Only 3 reached adulthoodIf we exclude pregnancies that are terminated by induced abortion 80 of all established pregnancies in the US culminate in the delivery of live child Once a child is born it has a better than 99 chance of surviving infancy Only about 1 in 10000 pregnancies now leads to the death of the mother Pregnancy is Confirmed by Hormonal TestsPregnancy is established not at fertilization but several days later when the embryo implants in the uterine wall and starts to secrete the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin hCGhCG blocks the regression of the corpus luteum that normally takes place at the end of the luteal phase of the menstrual cycleMenstruation therefore does not occur and a missed menstrual period is the usual way that a woman learns that she is pregnant Other symptoms include breast tenderness fatigue and nausea the beginning of the morning sickness that can plague some women during the first 3 months of pregnancyPregnancy tests detect the presence of hCG in the mothers blood or urinePregnancy test kit work by means of specific antibodies that bind to hCG in the womans urine and then trigger a colour reaction on a test stripHome pregnancy tests are not nearly as reliable as laboratory tests Ultrasound Scan An imaging procedure that depends on the reflection of ultrasonic waves from density boundaries within the body Also called ultrasonographic scanThe Likelihood of Pregnancy can be Maximized by Tracking OvulationFor a fertile young couple that is having sex several times a week without any form of contraception there is a 20 chance of pregnancy per month93 chance within the first yearSubfertility Difficulty in establishing a pregnancy arbitrarily defined as the absence of pregnancy after a couple has had frequent unprotected sex for 12 months An ovum remains viable for no more than 24 hours after ovulation so coitus after that time in the cycle has very little chance of resulting in pregnancy Since sperm survive in the female reproductive tract for several days pregnancy can also result from coitus up to 5 days prior to ovulation but there is a lower likelihood of successCervical Mucus Mucus the consistency of which varies around the menstrual cycle secreted by glands in the cervix oThe woman takes a sample of the mucus by inserting a finger into her vagina or even simply by wiping her vulva with a tissue Then she tests the stretchability of the mucus by touching her mucuswetted finger to her thumb and gently separating themoFor about 2 days ending on the day of ovulation or the day before the mucus is clear and slippery and it stretches out into a thin thread between finger and thumbHome ovulation tests identify the surge in luteinizing hormone that begins about 36 hours before ovulation or by tracking basal body temperature BBT which rises on the day after ovulationBasal Body Temperature BBT Body temperature measured in the morning ebfore getting out of bedInfertility can Result from a Problem in the Woman or in the ManInfertility Inability of a man woman or couple to achieve pregnancy About 15 of couples have enough difficulty establishing a pregnancy that they seek medical attention It is usually the woman who gets investigated first
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