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July 2015

FAQ188, July 2015

How does multiple pregnancy occur? A twin, triplet, or higher-order pregnancy (four or more babies) is called multiple pregnancy. If more than one egg is released during the menstrual cycle and each is fertilized by a sperm, more than one embryo may implant and grow in your uterus. This type of pregnancy results in fraternal twins (or more). When a single fertilized egg splits, it results in multiple identical embryos. This type of pregnancy results in identical twins (or more). Identical twins are less common than fraternal twins.

FAQ156, June 2015

How does pregnancy begin? Fertilization, the union of an egg and a sperm into a single cell, is the first step in a complex series of events that leads to pregnancy. Fertilization takes place in the fallopian tube. Over the next few days, the single cell divides into multiple cells. At the same time, the small cluster of dividing cells moves through the fallopian tube to the lining of the uterus. There it implants and starts to grow. From implantation until the end of the eighth week of pregnancy, the baby is called an embryo. From the ninth week of pregnancy until birth, it is called a fe...

FAQ103, April 2015

What is prenatal care? Prenatal care is the health care you get while you are pregnant. It includes medical care, education, and counseling. The earlier you get prenatal care, the better your chances are for a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Pregnancy Periods Sexuality and Relationships 10. Have safe and healthy relationships with a boyfriend or girlfriend. 11. Know when a relationship is threatening or harmful. 12. Talk about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) topics. 13. Think things through before you have sex for the first time. 14. Learn about safe sex. 15. Get birth control so you can choose to become pregnant when the time is right for you. 16. Plan ahead for a safe and healthy pregnancy. 17. Get tested for pregnancy. 18. Know what your options are if you become pregnant. 19. Protect yourself fr...

FAQ034, September 2014

What is high blood pressure? Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood against the blood vessel walls each time the heart contracts (squeezes) to pump the blood through your body (see FAQ123 Managing High Blood Pressure). High blood pressure also is called hypertension. Hypertension can lead to health problems. During pregnancy, severe or uncontrolled hypertension can cause complications for you and your baby.

FAQ165, April 2014

What is a birth defect? A birth defect is a problem that is present at birth, although it may not be noticed until the child is older. Birth defects may affect any part of the body, including major organs such as the heart, lungs, or brain. The defect may affect the baby’s appearance, a body function, or both.

FAQ098, November 2013

Why may special tests be needed during pregnancy? Special testing during pregnancy most often is done when the fetus is at increased risk of problems that could result in pregnancy complications or lead to stillbirth. This can occur in the following situations: High-risk pregnancy (a woman has had complications in a previous pregnancy or has a preexisting health condition such as diabetes or heart disease) Problems during pregnancy, such as fetal growth problems, Rh sensitization, or high blood pressure Decreased movement of the fetus Pregnancy that goes past 42 weeks (postterm pregnancy...

FAQ176, December 2011

What is diabetes mellitus? Diabetes mellitus (also called "diabetes") is caused by a problem with insulin. Insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into the body's cells where it can be turned into energy (see the FAQ Diabetes and Women). Pregnancy health care providers often call diabetes that is present before pregnancy "pregestational diabetes."

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
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