Anyone that has ever been a parent will agree to the fact that having a baby is a completely life-changing experience. From conception and the start of the pregnancy all the way through to birth, having a baby has a huge impact on the lives of both a mother and a father.
For all women, the period during which they are pregnant sees many changes to the body. These changes are both physical and hormonal and include fatigue and an increase in weight. The hormonal changes that occur can induce mood swings and feelings of depression in pregnant women. By week seven of pregnancy the mother-to-be starts to feel the aforementioned side effects and the baby’s heart begins to develop.
Throughout a woman’s pregnancy the baby continues to develop and by weeks nine to twelve, the fetus has many of the organs and features of a human. Support groups and classes are available for pregnant women and their partners to help them through what can be a testing time. Qualified professionals can help the woman and partner to deal with any mental or physical issues that arise during pregnancy and also help prepare them for the actual time of birth.
The baby continues to grow steadily until around week forty of the pregnancy when the baby is born. Most people choose to give birth in a hospital under the supervision of hospital staff and doctors. Others may choose to have a water birth or home birth, for which they will need to ensure they have a qualified midwife on hand in order to aid the process. Giving birth is obviously a very traumatic and dangerous time for both mother and baby.
Although most women have a natural, vaginal birth, some women choose and some women need to have a cesarean section. This involves doctors making an incision through the mother’s abdomen and uterus (laparotomy and hysterotomy) in order to deliver the baby or babies. According to the World Health Organisation, around 10% to 15% of all births are now performed using the caesarean section.
Once a baby is born it can again prove to be a very testing time for both parents. Problems include post-natal depression which is brought on by feelings of inadequacy and unsuitability to be a parent and can be treated by counseling and support. Many new parents experience sleepless nights due to the need for newborns to be fed every three hours. These sleepless nights can lead to irritability and mood swings.
Despite these problems and trials during and after pregnancy, there is no doubt that having a child is amongst the most rewarding experiences anyone can ever encounter. Many of the problems that lead to new parents being put under pressure throughout pregnancy and early years, settle down and ease off. This allows both parents and the child to enjoy the experience and joy that childbirth brings.