Early Symptoms of Pregnancy

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 Do All Women Get Early Symptoms of Pregnancy?

The early symptoms of pregnancy vary from woman to woman and even from pregnancy to pregnancy. So not every woman has the same symptoms or even the same symptoms from one pregnancy to the next. Also, because the early symptoms of pregnancy often resemble what happens right before and during menstruation, you may have some of the symptoms and not recognize them.

What follows is a description of some of the most common early symptoms of pregnancy. It's important to keep in mind that the symptoms may be caused by other things besides being pregnant. So the fact that you notice some of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you are pregnant. The only way to tell for sure is with a test.

Early Symptom of Pregnancy: Spotting and Cramping

A few days after conception, the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall. This can cause one of the earliest signs of pregnancy -- spotting and, sometimes, cramping. Known as implantation bleeding, this early symptom occurs anywhere from six to 12 days after the egg is fertilized.

The cramps resemble menstrual cramps, and some women mistake them and the bleeding for the start of their period. The bleeding and cramps, however, are slight. Other things that can cause this symptom include the actual start of menstruation, altered menstruation, using a different birth control pill, infection, or abrasion from intercourse.

In addition to bleeding, you may notice a white, milky discharge from your vagina. This is related to the fact that, almost immediately after conception, the vaginal walls begin to thicken. It is the increased growth of cells lining the vagina that causes the discharge. This discharge can continue throughout your pregnancy, but typically it's harmless and doesn't require treatment. However, if you notice a foul odor to the discharge or a burning and i tching sensation, you should contact your doctor. These could be signs of a yeast or bacterial infection.

Early Symptom of Pregnancy: Breast Changes

Changes in your breasts are another very early sign of pregnancy. When you conceive, your body undergoes a rapid change in hormone levels. Because of the changes in hormones, you may notice in one to two weeks that your breasts have become swollen, sore, or tingly. Or they may feel heavier or fuller or feel tender to the touch. In addition, the area around the nipples, called the areola, may darken.

Pregnancy is not the only thing that can cause breast changes. A hormonal imbalance that's unrelated to pregnancy could be responsible. The changes could also be caused by a change in birth control pills, or they could be a premenstrual symptom.

If the changes are an early symptom of pregnancy, keep in mind that it is going to take your body several weeks to get used to the new levels of hormones. But when it does, your breasts will feel less painful than they do in the beginning.

Early Symptom of Pregnancy: Fatigue

Feeling unusually fatigued is an early pregnancy symptom that can occur as soon as one week after you conceive. The excessive tiredness is often related to a high level of progesterone in your system, although other things such as lower levels of blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and increased blood production can all contribute.

Fatigue not related to pregnancy can be caused by stress, physical exhaustion, depression, a common cold or flu, or other illnesses. If your fatigue is related to pregnancy, it's important to make sure you get plenty of rest; eating foods that are rich in protein and iron can help offset it.

Early Symptom of Pregnancy: Nausea (Morning Sickness)

The elevated levels of estrogen in your system can slow the emptying of your stomach. This contributes to another early symptom of pregnancy, nausea, or what many women call morning sickness. Not every woman gets morning sickness, and for many that do, morning sickness is a misnomer. The nauseous feeling can and often does occur at any time during the day.

Along with feeling nauseous, some women develop food aversions or food cravings when they become pregnant. These early pregnancy symptoms are also related to hormonal changes. The effect can be so strong that even the thought of what used to be a favorite food can turn your stomach.

Things other than pregnancy can cause these symptoms. For instance, a gastrointestinal upset or some other illness can be responsible for the nauseous feelings. A change in diet, stress, depression, or even being premenstrual may account for the cravings or food aversions.

It's possible that the nausea, cravings, and food aversions can last for the entire pregnancy. Fortunately, many women experience a lessening of the symptoms at about the 13th or 14th week. In the meantime, it's important to discuss your diet with your doctor to make sure that you and your developing baby get essential nutrients.

Early Symptom of Pregnancy: Missed Period

The most obvious early symptom of pregnancy -- and the one that prompts most women to get a pregnancy test -- is a missed period. But not all missed or delayed periods are caused by pregnancy.

Nor are all pregnancies free of periodic bleeding.

Women can experience some bleeding during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, ask your doctor what you should be aware of with bleeding. For example, when is bleeding normal and when is it a sign of an emergency?

You can miss your period because of a number of non-pregnancy-related issues. Excessive weight gain or loss can cause you not to have a period. So can hormonal problems, fatigue, stress, or tension. Some women miss their period when they stop taking birth control pills. But if your period is delayed and there is a possibility you may be pregnant, there's no reason not to get a pregnancy test.

Other Early Symptoms of Pregnancy

The altered balance of hormones in your body can cause multiple symptoms.

  • Many women find frequent urination to be problem starting around the sixth or eighth week after conception. Although this could be caused by a urinary tract infection, diabetes, or excessive use of diuretics, if you're pregnant, it's most likely due to increased levels of hormones.
  • The increased level of progesterone can also make you constipated. Progesterone causes food to pass more slowly through your intestines. Drinking plenty of water, exercising, and eating plenty of high-fiber foods can help offset this problem.
  • Mood swings are common, especially during the first trimester. These are also related to changes in hormones.
  • Many women report frequent mild headaches, and others experience chronic back pain.
  • Dizziness and fainting may be related to dilating blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and lower blood sugar. Some women don't discover they're pregnant until they go to the doctor because of a fainting spell and are told that being pregnant is a possible explanation.

If you are pregnant, you could have all of these symptoms, or maybe have only one or two. But if any of these symptoms become bothersome, talk with your doctor about them. The doctor can help you find ways to offset them.

 

 

Sun, 24 Oct 2010 @19:10

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