Hesperian Health Guides

Hesperian Health Guides

Chapter 6: Pregnancy and Childbirth

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HealthWiki > Where Women Have No Doctor > Chapter 6: Pregnancy and Childbirth


a woman holding a baby
Without water, the crops would die; and without children, life in the community could not continue.

—Mixtec saying, Mexico

Every pregnant woman needs good health, good food, and the love and support of her family and community. Many women feel very healthy during pregnancy and do not have difficult births. Most babies are born healthy.

At the same time, pregnancy can be one of the main dangers a woman faces in her life. About half a million women die each year from problems of pregnancy and birth (this is also called maternal mortality), mostly in poorer countries.

Most of these deaths could be prevented with basic care. This chapter has information that can help pregnant women care for themselves, or help others care for them.

How to Tell if You Are Pregnant

  • You miss your monthly bleeding.
  • Your breasts feel sore and grow bigger.
  • You feel sick to your stomach and sometimes vomit.
  • You have to pass urine more often.
  • You feel tired.
a woman counting on her fingers
ten drawings of the moon
Many women know when their baby will be born by counting the passing of 10 moons.

How to Know when the Baby Is Due

Add 9 months plus 7 days to the date when your last normal monthly bleeding began. Your baby will probably be born any time in the 2 weeks before or after this date.


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