Thursday, June 3, 2010
Childbirth is a momentous occasion, whether a first born or the seventh. The health and upbringing of a newborn is dependent on mother’s preparedness on how she handles this delicate issue. We can read or watch videos of childbirth but it is the experience that carries weight.
The first step is to understand female anatomy and how it works during different phases of childbirth. Ovulation is one such phase of the menstrual cycle, when an egg or ovum is released from ovaries. If this ovum meets with male sperm in its journey down the fallopian tube conception takes place. It does sound simple, but ovulation depends on the interplay of glands and hormones. This may be one reason why some women cannot conceive. The gland that affects ovulation is the hypothalamus, using its hormones for communication with the pituitary gland, referred to as the master gland of the endocrine system. In turn, the pituitary gland produces luteinizing hormone (LH) and FSH. High levels of LH cause ovulation within two days. The cycle continues with mature follicles releasing ovum into the peritoneal cavity and then into the fallopian tube, and from there to the uterus. If the ovum does not encounter a sperm within 24 hours it dies.
Ovulation occurs two weeks before the onset of the menstrual period once every month till menopause, or break in between for child birth and pregnancy. Certain changes occur in the cervical mucus, which gets slippery and slick, accompanied by general or localized pain. Sometimes there is delay or deviation from 24 to 35 days in the menstrual cycle, or slight fever in women who follow natural family planning methods. This persuades them to mistake ovulation for premenstrual symptoms, if accompanied by pain and changes in body. Instead of playing guessing games, ovulation should be confirmed with kits available in market or through blood tests or pregnancy ultrasound. Once sure, it is advisable to take precautions to avoid miscarriage or bleeding. Motherhood is something nature intended us to enjoy, and we should welcome it in all its cycles.