Body processes

Pregnancy – Function, Task & Diseases


Pregnancy (lat. gravidity) describes the condition of a woman from conception to the birth of a child. The fertilization decides whether it will be a boy or a girl. When two X chromosomes meet, a girl is born; When the X and Y chromosomes meet, a boy is born. From the 9th week of pregnancy the fruit is called an embryo, later from about the 4th month it is called a fetus.

Due date & length of pregnancy

In general, the length of a human pregnancy is 266 days. If you calculate from the 1st day of the last menstruation, it is 280 days. According to the Naegele rule, the day of birth is calculated as follows:

Subtract 3 months from the 1st day of the last menstrual period and add 7 to 10 days to get the probable date of birth. The legal conception period, for example for proving paternity, is the period from the 181st to the 302nd day of pregnancy before the birth.


The signs of pregnancy are divided into uncertain, probable and sure signs. The uncertain signs of pregnancy relate to the mother’s body as a whole, excluding her sexual organs. They are primarily nervous (nerves) and hormonal (hormones), ie due to reactions of the autonomic nervous system and hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy. Common symptoms during early pregnancy are nausea , morning sickness , altered appetite and a general decrease in performance and mood , which is often associated with this . 

In late pregnancy , the expectant mother often suffers from back pain and hip pain, which can occur as a result of loosening of the ligaments and joints. So-called stretch marks (lat. Striae, shiny white, scar-like marks) can occur due to the strong stretching and tearing of the skin during pregnancy, especially on the abdomen and thighs During the course of pregnancy, the weight gain is about 8 to 12 kg.

The likely signs of pregnancy come from the woman’s genitals and mammary glands. These include the absence of menstruation , the loosening and bluish discoloration of the vaginal mucosa (due to the strong blood flow), loosening and enlargement of the uterus and tightening of the mammary glands. Pathological changes can also be responsible for these signs, so that a visit to the gynecologist is advisable in order to classify the conditions.

Certain signs of pregnancy emanate from the child. The heart sounds of the child can be determined very early by means of ultrasound . Infant movements can be perceived from around the 20th week of pregnancy (approx. 2 weeks earlier in the case of multiple pregnancies), but they can also be seen earlier in the pregnancy using ultrasound.


Complications can occur in various forms during pregnancy . These include infections, the use of addictive substances, mental illnesses, pregnancy-specific illnesses, miscarriages , etc. In order to gain the necessary security, the pregnant woman should have all check-ups from a doctor she trusts and seek competent advice. One speaks of a miscarriage (lat. abortus, miscarriage) when the fruit is rejected with a weight of less than 500 g and is not considered viable.

preparation for birth

You should start preparing for the birth as early as the 6th month of pregnancy . To this end, the woman and her partner can attend a birth preparation course offered by clinics, birth centers and midwives. Together you can find out about the place and position of birth, natural and artificial pain processing, delivery methods, birth processes in general, etc.

At the same time, relaxation and breathing exercises for the birth are learned and practiced in order to be well prepared at the crucial moment of the birth phase. These courses also focus on how to deal with newborns, care and nutritional information. Fathers like to be involved here, as nowadays they often want to actively accompany their wife’s pregnancy and the birth of the child and often take on the care of the baby. The onset of labor often marks the end of pregnancy.

You can find more interesting articles on the subject of pregnancy and childbirth in our guide under the category: Pregnancy, childbirth and babies

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.