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Pregnancy lasts approximately 40 weeks from time of conception to the commencement of labour. It is signified by a missed period.

Early signs of pregnancy can include swelling of the breasts, darkening of the nipples and nausea which often occurs early in the morning. A positive test for pregnancy can be obtained from about the 8th day after the missed period.

Once pregnancy is established, hormonal changes exert an influence, either extreme or in a subtle less obvious fashion. (Emotional problems can occur, particularly in the last three months of pregnancy. A mild state of anxiety and depression may creep in, even after the initial emotional high of an acceptance and wanted pregnancy.)

When the babyís movements are felt between the 16th and 20th week, a period of relative calm can appear with the realisation of a new life inside the body which can motivate the mother-to-be to plan in a practical and satisfying way for the day the baby will be a reality.

Towards the last 3 months of pregnancy, physical changes occur which can lead to discomfort. The abdomen enlarges and this can be accompanied by a weariness which might make it hard for a woman to continue on at work, although in some cases, the pregnant woman can continue to work without too much discomfort almost up to the time of delivery.

The outlook at this stage of pregnancy, should be positive with the realisation that very soon life will return to a normality which will be different but will be stimulating and satisfying.

Allowing for the fact that it is possible to have your baby at home safely, it is important to realise that in Australia we do not have the facilities to look after sudden emergencies at home in spite of the skill of those attending the home birth. The advocates of home birth would claim that as long as emergencies are anticipated, a dash for the nearest hospital can be made should the need arise. This can put mother and child at risk. The safest and most reassuring place to have your baby is in a well equipped maternity hospital. A more homely and enlightened environment has been established at most maternity hospitals in order to put the woman at ease and to allow for the presence of the husband and family.

If you are interested in home births, then you should discuss this with your doctor and with the Child Birth Education Association who will advise you on the making of a considered choice as to where you are to have your baby.

You should also communicate with your doctor if you are concerned about the possibility of abnormalities, the sex of your baby and the possibility of multiple births. Modern medicine is well advanced in these aspects of obstetrics and you will receive practical advice.

During your pregnancy, you should not ride horse back, do hard physical exercise or lift heavy weights. This does not mean that you canít do a sensible modified workout in keeping with your stage of pregnancy and your level of fitness. Regular daily walking is encouraged. However, always stop when tired and donít allow yourself to become exhausted.

Skin diving, water skiing and snow skiing are best avoided and shouldnít be attempted in the later months of pregnancy. Ordinary swimming but not in extremely cold water is a practical and sensible way of exercising. You should not smoke or drink alcohol and only take medications prescribed by your doctor.

In the latter stages of pregnancy you should have a daily rest of up to two hours. This may be impossible if you are working or have other young children.

- Ageing - AIDS
- Anorgasmia - Barrier Methods of Contraception
- Frigidity - Genital Herpes
- Impotence - Loss of Libido
- Masturbation - Miscarriage
- Post Natal Depression - Pregnancy
- Premature Ejaculation - Retarded Ejaculation
- Sex and Disability - Sexual Activity during and after Pregnancy
- Smoking and Pregnancy - Stretch Marks in Pregnancy
- Syphilis and Gonorrhoea - Termination (Abortion)
- The I.U.D. (or Intra Uterine Device) - The Pill (Oral Contraceptive Pill or OCP)
- The Rhythm Method of Birth Control
or Natural Family Planning
- Tubal Ligation
- Vasectomy - What is Normal??

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