Our body’s ability to give birth to a new life is astonishing. The process a woman’s body undergoes during pregnancy and childbirth is also extraordinary. It can cause irrational fear and anxiety in some, but also hasty confidence and naivety in others. Our society views women's pregnancy as an inevitable function, which can prevent women from expressing alternative opinions about pregnancy. Women need to know the function and capability of their own bodies in order to be able to make the best decision for themselves.
Women’s Body and Choice
“The sperm leaves the vas deferens and enters the uterus where it reaches the ovum and...” Sex education like this cannot sufficiently explain the realities of pregnancy. High rates of unplanned pregnancies and women’s anxiety regarding unwanted pregnancies highlight the failures of sex education in our society.
Pregnancy From the Omniscient Point of View of the Egg
Most sex education in the world starts from the point of view of the sperm. This refers to the story of billions of sperm swimming and finding the egg at the end of their competition and becoming the beginning of life. The portrayed role of the egg is to simply exist and wait as a passive object. What triggers the creation of life is the powerful dive of the sperm and he becomes the protagonist in this story.
But is this really the case? We need to look at pregnancy from the perspective of the egg or ‘ovum’. In fact, there is fierce competition even in the world of the ovum. Unlike men who start producing sperm at the onset of puberty, women have 2 million immature eggs and follicles from birth. These candidates go through fierce competition and only one winner is released every menstrual cycle. The dominant follicle generates a hormonal interaction that interrupts other competitors to mature quickly and reach the position of the ovum.
The sperm swimming vehemently toward the egg is not how it really happens. The sperm cannot successfully fulfill its adventure without the help of women's uterine muscles. The sperm “wanders around” instead of rushing forward before meeting the egg in front of the oviduct. The sperm can only find the egg in the dark cave-like oviduct if the egg sends a signal. The egg alerts its location by the movement of the fluid flowing in the oviduct and chemical signals. Only the sperm that are sensitive to temperature and can swim up through the flow of oviduct fluid can have the opportunity to meet the egg and attempt to fertilize.
Fertilization does not immediately lead to pregnancy. The woman's body continues to test the combined ovum and sperm to ensure it is strong. This is to check which embryo is worth the challenge as growing a fetus places an incredible burden on the body. The endometrium continues to disrupt the embryo implantation to enable only the most healthy to survive. Once there is a strong embryo that can overcome all trials, a woman’s uterus will allow room for the embryo to attach to the inner wall. This is the start of a normal and, hopefully, healthy pregnancy.
How to Check for Pregnancy
From sperm entering the vagina to implantation, it takes about five days to two weeks. This process is quickly prevented by taking emergency contraception after intercourse as it eliminates the possibility of pregnancy. If you are pregnant, how would you know? It can be difficult to quickly recognize pregnancy as the early pregnancy symptoms differ in appearance and severity for everyone. The most accurate way to check is by using a pregnancy test.
- Using a Pregnancy Test
The pregnancy test is a way to find out if you’re pregnant if you miss your period and think you might be. In most countries around the world you can purchase a test from pharmacies and convenience stores. The test result is most accurate after your menstruation date has passed. Even if it’s not the date of your period, you can take multiple tests to infer a semi-accurate result. Detailed instruction may vary by product but it generally involves the following;
- Test your first urine in the morning with the pregnancy test stick and wait five minutes.
- The product instructions will tell you how to interpret the result.
- Generally, two blue lines mean you are pregnant and one line means not pregnant.
- Visiting the Hospital
The pregnancy test is a highly accurate way to find out if you’re pregnant. But there is no 100% certainty. If you want to be sure of pregnancy, you need to visit the hospital to find out a definitive result. You can also get important information or advice for future plans if you are pregnant.
Pregnancy, the Choice Afterwards
Even if the pregnancy was planned, any woman can feel confused and lost at first when learning about the new thing happening to their body. The confusion would be bigger if the pregnancy was unplanned.
Pregnant women must make choices that can have an enormous influence on their life and future. The child could be birthed and raised, they could choose abortion, or the child could be sent to an adoption agency by giving up custody after delivery.
It’s a complex and challenging matter but one fact is clear. Women have the right to decide what is the best choice for themselves.
- We need to look at the process of pregnancy from the perspective of a woman's body.
- Every woman has the right to make the decisions for their life before, during and after pregnancy.
- AROOO unconditionally supports every decision every woman makes.