Hesperian Health Guides

Hesperian Health Guides

Pregnancy and Birth

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HealthWiki > New Where There Is No Doctor > Pregnancy and Birth


When a pregnant woman is in good health and gets the care she needs she will likely have a healthy pregnancy and baby. Mothers, midwives, and health workers can maintain the good health needed during pregnancy, and prevent, treat, or get help for problems if they arise.

Signs of pregnancy

 "A happy family"

A woman usually guesses she is pregnant when she notices some of these signs:

  • No menstrual bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Feeling tired
  • Urinating more often
  • Tender, growing breasts
  • Weight gain


A blood or urine pregnancy test can tell for sure starting about 2 weeks after the woman becomes pregnant (a month after the start of the last menstruation).

By about 4 ½ months of pregnancy, the mother can feel the baby move and a health worker can hear the baby’s heartbeat with a fetoscope.

When will the baby be born?

Pregnancies last about 9 months (10 moon cycles, or 40 weeks). To figure out when the baby is likely to be born:

a woman counting on her fingers.

Add 9 months plus 7 days to the first day of the last normal menstrual bleeding. That is the due date. Most babies are born between 3 weeks before to 2 weeks after this date.

For example, suppose the woman’s last period started February 10.

February 10th + 9 months = November 10th

November 10th + 7 days = November 17th

The baby’s due date is November 17th.


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