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Difference Between Conception and Gestation

Conception vs Gestation

What is conception and gestation?
Conception means beginning of pregnancy from the union of sperm and ovum. It is also called as ‘fertilization’ and it marks the beginning of development of a new individual in the womb of mother. Gestation means carrying the embryo inside the female’s uterus. It is the time period from conception to birth of the child.

Process of conception and gestation
Most women are able to become pregnant from the time of puberty, when they start menstruating. All the eggs are stored in her ovary at the time of birth and one is released from one out of two ovaries each time a woman menstruates. This is called ovulation. The egg enters her fallopian tube and travels towards the uterus for fertilization. If during this time a woman has unprotected sexual intercourse with a man, then one out of millions of sperms may penetrate her ovum in the fallopian tube and cause fertilization. But not all the fertilized eggs implant. If it doesn’t implant or if fertilization does not occur then the egg and the thickened lining of the uterus are shed out of the body and this causes bleeding of the menstrual cycle. If the egg is fertilized then conception is said to have occurred and if the pregnancy continues then gestation shall continue till the baby is delivered.
Conception refers to the successful fusion of gametes. Sperm from male partner unites with ovum of the female during intercourse resulting in formation of zygote. It then implants itself on the uterine wall within a period of 8-9 days and resides there for 9 months. The successful fusion of gametes forms the new organism. The zygote that is thus formed then travels from the fallopian tube to the uterus to implant itself in the wall of uterus for 9 months. These 9 months of pregnancy are termed as gestation.

Process of gestation
Gestation starts with conception, when the sperm unites with ovum in the fallopian tube and implants itself in the uterus, and it ends with the birth of the baby. When the fertilization occurs, the uterus produces a hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) which prevents shedding of the uterine lining. It is the hormone which is measured in the pregnancy test and confirms the pregnancy.
Gestation is divided into three trimesters, each 3 months long. First trimester is from the last menstrual period till the 13th week, second trimester extends from 14th to 27th week and third trimester from 28th to 42 weeks. There are signs and symptoms of pregnancy which a woman experiences during each trimester as the baby grows in her womb. Birth occurs at any time from 38th to 42 weeks.

Summary:
Conception is the process of meeting of sperm and ovum to form zygote which then implants itself in the uterus of woman. Conception occurs only during the reproductive years of the female from puberty till menopause. Conception can occur in any month at any time of the year unlike other mammals who can reproduce at only specific times in a year. Gestation begins when the fertilized zygote implants in the woman’s uterus and ends when the foetus leaves the uterus. It is the period of pregnancy and is 9 months long.


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