Symptoms of Pregnancy: Early Signs That You May Be Pregnant

Symptoms and discomforts of pregnancy are those symptoms and disorders that arise from pregnancy but do not substantially interfere with daily living practices or pose any significant threat to the mother’s or baby’s health, as opposed to complications of pregnancy. Still, there is often no clear separation between symptoms versus discomfort versus complications, and in some cases the same basic feature can manifest as either a discomfort or a complication depending on the severity. For example, mild nausea can be a mere discomfort (morning sickness), but if it is severe and causes water-electrolyte imbalance with vomiting it can be classified as a complication of pregnancy (hyperemesis gravidarum).

While pregnancy tests and ultrasounds are the only ways to determine if you are pregnant, you should check for other signs and symptoms. Missed period is more than the earliest signs of pregnancy. These may also include morning sickness, aversion to the smell, and weariness.

What is the early signs of pregnancy?

The early signs and symptoms of pregnancy most common could include:

  • Missed period. You may be pregnant if you’re in your childbearing years and a week or more has passed without the start of an anticipated menstrual cycle. But, if you have an abnormal menstrual cycle, the symptom can be misleading.
  • Tender, swelled breasts. Hormone changes early in pregnancy could make your breasts sensitive and sore. Within a few weeks, the discomfort will likely decrease as your body adjusts to hormonal changes.
  • Nausea with or without vomiting. Morning sickness, which can occur day or night at any time, also starts one month after you become pregnant. Many women, however, feel nausea sooner and some do not experience it at all. While it is not clear what causes nausea during pregnancy, pregnancy hormones possibly play a role.
  • More urination. You could be urinating more frequently than usual. During pregnancy, the amount of blood in your body increases, causing your kidneys to process extra fluid that ends up inside your bladder.
  • Fatigue. Fatigue ranks high among early pregnancy symptoms, too. Levels of the hormone progesterone rise during early pregnancy — which could make you feel sleepy.
  • Bloating. Hormonal changes can cause you to feel bloated during early pregnancy, similar to how you might feel at the start of a menstrual period.
  • Weight gain is increasingly common towards the end of your first trimester. In the first few months you might find yourself gaining around 1 to 4 pounds. Early pregnancy calorie requirements won’t change much from your usual diet, but they will increase as the pregnancy progresses.
  • Occasional, irregular, painless contractions occurring several times a day are normal, and are known as contractions of Braxton Hicks. Can be exacerbated by dehydration that will respond to an increased intake of fluids. Regular contractions (every 10–15 minutes) are a sign of premature labor and should be assessed through cervical examination.
  • Dehydration caused by increased intravascular space, and increased third fluid spacing. Complications include uterine contractions, which can occur because dehydration causes the body to release ADH which is similar in structure to oxytocin. Oxytocin itself can cause uterine contractions and therefore ADH can cross-react with receptors of oxytocin and cause contractions.
  • Leg cramps (involuntary spasms in calf muscles) can affect women during pregnancy, particularly during the last three months of pregnancy, from 30 percent to 50 per cent. Leg cramps can be extremely painful and may last for minutes while they usually last only a few seconds. It is not clear whether certain oral drug treatments (such as magnesium, calcium, vitamin B or vitamin C) are successful during pregnancy in the treatment of leg cramps, or whether such medications are safe for the mother or her infant. There is no justification for testing the efficacy and safety of other non-drug treatments, such as heat therapy, massage or muscle stretching (or foot dorso-flexion).
  • Food aversions. You may become more sensitive to certain odors when you’re pregnant, and may alter your sense of taste. As with most other pregnancy symptoms, these food preferences can be chalked up to hormonal changes.
  • Back pain is normal during pregnancy, can be very painful and may deteriorate later in pregnancy. Prevalence figures ranging from 35 per cent to 61 per cent were published, with half or more beginning from the fifth month. Back pain is thought to be caused by shifting posture, and may get worse at night. Low to moderate proof of consistency shows that water exercise, massage therapy, and back-care courses are helpful. There is a limited amount of evidence to indicate that acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, osteomanipulative therapy, or multimodal intervention (manual treatment, exercise, and education) may also be helpful. Pregnancy back-care courses include a range of drills and instruction. While general exercise not designed to strengthen the back may not prevent or alleviate back pain, further work is needed to be sure. It has not been shown that the maternity support belts minimize low back pain during pregnancy. These can have adverse effects for the mother, including discomfort and skin irritation, and potential effects on the fetus.

How soon can you get symptoms of pregnancy?

Many women experience common symptoms of early pregnancy, such as tender breasts, nausea, exhaustion, sensitivity to smell or bloating within days of birth, or about a week and a half before the expected arrival of your period.

(source : wikipedia)

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