8 primary Symptoms of Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, your body undergoes a series of changes.

From the moment you start trying to conceive, it’s important to know what to expect and how to take care of yourself and your baby.

Pregnancy symptoms can occur at any point in your pregnancy, but some signs are more common than others. Here are some of the most common early signs you’re likely to experience.

1. Heartburn

Heartburn is a common symptom that afflicts many pregnant women.

This is because, during pregnancy, the hormone progesterone rises and relaxes the valve between your stomach and esophagus, which makes it easier for acid to reflux into the tube.

Heartburn can feel like a strong burning sensation in your chest that can be uncomfortable, especially after eating.

It may also include a sour taste in your mouth and coughing or hoarseness.

The good news is that heartburn is not harmful to you or your baby.

However, if it is severe and interferes with your daily activities, you should seek medical attention.

In most cases, the best way to manage heartburn is by making simple lifestyle changes, says Jill Purdie, MD, medical director and ob-gyn at Northside Women’s Specialists in Georgia.

She suggests eating small meals,avoiding spicy and fatty foods, and sleeping on an elevated bed.

You should also drink liquids a little at a time between meals to avoid acid reflux and make sure you don’t eat anything within three hours of going to bed.

Keeping the head of your bed elevated and propped up with lots of pillows is helpful, too.

2. Nausea

Nausea is a common and unpleasant symptom during pregnancy.

It affects at least 70% of pregnant women, and it often starts around six weeks.

Though it’s thought that hormone changes in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy are responsible, morning sickness can also be caused by a range of things outside of your control.

For example, humidity, excess saliva, or a hot environment can all trigger nausea.

Fortunately, there are many ways to treat nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

These include avoiding certain smells and tastes, drinking plenty of fluids, and eating small meals.

If you’re feeling too sick to eat or are experiencing a serious case of vomiting, your doctor may prescribe an anti-sickness medication.

These are usually given in tablets for you to swallow.

If these medications do not work, or if you find they cause side effects, talk to your doctor about other options.

These may include Vitamin B6 and doxylamine, which help you sleep and can ease the symptoms of

3. Heart palpitations

Heart palpitations can be a frightening experience during pregnancy.

They are not serious, though, and usually go away on their own.

They can be caused by many things, including anxiety or stress, caffeine or nicotine, certain medications, and heart problems like arrhythmia (in which your heart beats too fast).

Your doctor will take a medical history and look you over to find the cause of your palpitations.

Your doctor may also order tests, such as a chest X-ray or an echocardiogram.

These tests can identify heart problems, such as fluid in your lungs, that could be related to your symptoms.

You can control heart palpitations by reducing your stress levels and eating well-balanced, nutrition-rich meals. Meditation and deep breathing techniques can also help.

However, if your heart palpitations seem to be getting worse or last longer, then you should see a doctor. This is especially true if they are associated with other pregnancy symptoms, such as shortness of breath or lightheadedness.

4. Exhaustion

Exhaustion is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy, especially in the first trimester.

During this time, the body is busy creating the placenta — an organ that provides oxygen and nutrients for your baby to grow.

The hormone progesterone also increases during this stage of pregnancy, which can make you feel tired, even if you are sleeping well.

In addition, your body needs to work harder to get the nutrients it needs from your food.

While it can be difficult to cope with fatigue during pregnancy, there are some things you can do to help. Staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding caffeine are all important.

Take naps during the day as often as you can, and try to get plenty of sleep at night if possible.

If you have an excessive amount of exhaustion or if it’s not improving, seek help from your doctor or midwife.

Sometimes, the cause of your exhaustion may be an underlying medical condition, such as gestational diabetes or anemia.

5. Breast tenderness

Breast tenderness is a common symptom of pregnancy, and may be the first sign that you’re expecting. Tenderness usually starts about one week before a period, but it can also happen at any time of the month.

Tenderness can be caused by several factors, but it is most often triggered by changes in hormones during your menstrual cycle.

The levels of estrogen and progesterone rise during the first half of your cycle, which causes your breast ducts to enlarge.

These enlarged breasts are a good thing, as they prepare your body for the arrival of a baby.

However, they can also feel swollen, sore, and very sensitive to the touch.

If breast tenderness is severe, or if you have other symptoms such as spotting, bleeding, or cramping, it’s important to see your doctor.

They can make sure that you are not pregnant, or they can test for pregnancy.

6. Cramping

Cramps in early pregnancy can be a scary symptom, but they’re fairly common.

They may feel like a normal menstrual cramp but can last from a few minutes to hours.

During pregnancy, the uterus expands and causes your ligaments and muscles to stretch and pull in all directions.

This can cause mild to moderate cramps that often occur when you sneeze, cough, or move around.

These cramps aren’t a big deal, and they can usually be relieved by changing positions or drinking water. However, if your cramps are persistent, heavy, or accompanied by bleeding, it’s a good idea to check in
with your doctor.

Implantation cramps, which occur when fertilized egg implants in your uterus, are also normal.

They can feel like a small twinge or sharp cramping sensation, but may also be accompanied by light spotting called implantation bleeding.

If you study for a long period or work at a desk, make sure to move around every hour.

This will keep you energized and help you stay healthy during your pregnancy.

7. Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a common symptom of pregnancy that usually lasts a few days.

It may be triggered by a change in diet or by hormonal changes that affect your gastrointestinal tract.

The most important thing to do when you have diarrhea is to drink plenty of fluids.

It’s also a good idea to get some probiotics or yogurt to help boost your gut bacteria and promote better digestion.

If you have diarrhea accompanied by a fever or stools that look bloody, you should contact your healthcare provider.

They may be able to check for infection or other causes, according to Laura Riley, M.D., director
of labor and delivery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

It’s also possible that you have a condition called fecal impaction, which occurs when hard stool blocks part of the intestine.

In these cases, liquid stool can leak out around the obstruction and cause diarrhea.

8. Constipation

Constipation is one of the most common and frustrating side effects during pregnancy.

It may be caused by a variety of factors, including hormones, reduced activity, and pressure on your growing uterus.

Symptoms of constipation can include many days between bowel movements, small hard stools that are difficult to pass, and lower belly pain. Stools can also be hard, dry, and lumpy.

A high-fiber diet and regular exercise can help prevent constipation during pregnancy.

Try eating a bowl of whole-grain cereal with unprocessed wheat bran in the morning or adding more fruit and vegetables to your diet.

Be sure to drink plenty of water every single hour, especially if you’re a breastfeeding mother. This can help keep your bowels moving, even when you’re busy.

You can also try using a laxative, like Metamucil (R) or Citrucel (R) in doses of 100 milligrams twice daily.

These are available at your local pharmacy. If you experience more serious symptoms or if you can’t
get your bowels to move, talk to your doctor.

They will be able to provide more specific advice and guidance.

9. In Conclusion

Symptoms of Pregnancy: Most people notice the first symptoms of pregnancy a few weeks after conception or when they take a positive pregnancy test.

Early symptoms can include increased urinary frequency, tiredness, and back pain (1).

Fatigue (feeling tired): Most women feel very tired in early pregnancy because of high levels of the hormone progesterone.

The good news is, it usually gets better as you get farther into your pregnancy.

Food cravings and aversions: When you’re pregnant, your taste buds change.

Some foods might seem a bit sweeter, or less bitter. Others might be harder to swallow or cause heartburn.

Vaginal spotting: It’s normal to have spotting in the early stages of pregnancy, but it can be a sign of a serious problem like a molar pregnancy or ectopic pregnancy.

If the spotting is heavy or comes and goes, call your provider right away.

Nausea with or without vomiting: Morning sickness can happen at any time of the day or night, often starting about a month after you become pregnant.

You can also have a more severe form of nausea, known as hyperemesis gravidarum, which requires medical treatment.

Increased urination: Urinating more frequently in the early stages of pregnancy happens because your kidneys filter more blood to remove waste.

The extra fluid ends up in your bladder, which causes you to urinate more often than usual.

Finally, many women find it hard to focus and remember things during the first trimester of their pregnancy because they’re tired and mentally fuzzy.

Keeping a journal, making lists, and getting plenty of rest can help you feel more focused on your baby’s development.

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