For many women, pregnancy is an exciting time filled with anticipation of their baby’s arrival. However, a pregnant woman’s body will go through many physical and emotional changes throughout her pregnancy that will result in a multitude of symptoms. It is important for a woman to be aware of the common symptoms during pregnancy so she can be prepared for any changes that she may experience.
WHEN DO SYMPTOMS OF PREGNANCY START?
It is difficult to define when your first symptoms can start since every pregnant woman experiences them at different periods of time. For some women they may appear around 4-6 weeks after conception, some women can experience 14 days after your last period, and other people may not experience for weeks at all.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON SYMPTOMS OF PREGNANCY?
Here are some of the most common symptoms during pregnancy and how to handle them.
One of the first signs of pregnancy is missed periods. When you suspect you may be pregnant, it is important to take a pregnancy test to confirm the pregnancy.
NAUSEA AND VOMITING
One of the most common symptoms of pregnancy is nausea and vomiting, commonly referred to as morning sickness. It usually starts in the first trimester and can last until the end of the pregnancy. This symptom can hit at any time of day, not just in the morning, and it generally ends at the end of the first trimester. It’s caused by a combination of hormonal changes and increased sensitivity to odors and tastes. To manage morning sickness, it’s important to make sure you’re eating small meals throughout the day and avoiding foods that are spicy or have a strong odor. Ginger tea or ginger candy can also help to ease the feeling of nausea.
Fatigue is another common symptom during pregnancy. Women may feel exhausted, even after sleeping for long periods of time. This is due to an increase in progesterone levels, which can cause a decrease in energy levels. To combat this, getting plenty of rest, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly can help.
Headaches are another common symptom of pregnancy. They’re usually caused by a combination of hormonal changes, stress, and dehydration. To manage headaches, make sure you’re getting enough rest and drinking plenty of water. If the headaches become severe or are accompanied by other symptoms, it’s important to contact your doctor.
CHANGES IN APPETITE
Pregnant women typically experience changes in appetite during pregnancy. As the body goes through many changes, the appetite can increase or decrease, depending on the trimester. During the first trimester, many women experience decreased appetite and nausea, which can lead to weight loss. During the second and third trimester, appetite can increase as the baby grows and the body needs more nutriments.
Women may also experience cravings for certain foods during pregnancy. While food cravings are perfectly normal, it is important to make sure that the food cravings are healthy.
Food aversions may also occur during pregnancy, which is an intense dislike of certain foods. This is usually more common during the first trimester. This is due to hormonal changes.
Eating a balanced diet is essential during pregnancy, so it is important to make sure to get enough fruits, vegetables, and proteins.
TENDER OR SWOLLEN BREASTS
Tender and swollen breasts are common in pregnancy. Hormonal fluctuations can cause your breasts to become tender, swollen, and even slightly larger. This is due to increased blood flow to the breasts that causes the breasts to prepare for breastfeeding. To help relieve discomfort, wear a supportive bra, avoid tight-fitting clothing and try to take breaks during the day to allow your breasts to rest. You can also try using cold compresses or taking a warm shower to soothe the area.
Common skin changes during pregnancy can include acne, dark patches on the face, stretched and itchy skin, and spider veins. To deal with these skin changes, it is recommended to keep your skin clean and hydrated, put sunscreen, avoid hot showers and baths, use natural and gentle products, and protect your skin from the sun. In order to keep skin in a good state you need also to drink a lot of water, eat healthy food and try avoiding stress. Additionally, you can speak to a dermatologist or nutritionist to find out what is safe for you and your baby.
INCREASED FREQUENCY OF URINATION
Increased urination is another symptom of pregnancy. It can appear more frequent because of the growing baby that presses on the bladder. This is especially true during the later stages of pregnancy, when the baby is pressing on the bladder more. Other factors that can contribute to frequent urination during pregnancy include drinking more fluids, an increase in hormones, and an increase in blood volume.
If you are wondering how to reduce your constant bathroom walks, here are some pieces of advice on how to cope with such symptom.
First, try to drink plenty of fluids during the daytime, but avoid drinking before going to sleep. Avoid caffeinated sodas and drinks, as these can worsen the problem. Avoid drinking too much liquid at once, and instead spread it out throughout the day. Also, wear loose clothing, especially around the waist and pelvic area, and try to avoid tight jeans and clothing.
Backaches during pregnancy are common and they can occur because of weight gain, relaxed ligaments and increased pressure on the uterus.
Here are some tips to help reduce backaches during pregnancy:
Exercise regularly: Regular exercise helps strengthen your core muscles, which can help support your back.
Wear comfortable shoes: Make sure you wear comfortable shoes with good support. Avoid high heels and flip-flops.
Sleep on your side: Sleeping on your side can help reduce pressure on your lower back. Place a pillow between your knees for extra support.
Use a pregnancy pillow: A pregnancy pillow can help reduce the strain on your lower back by providing support to your hips and pelvis. You can find a wide choice of pregnancy pillows that can fit your body in our website.
Practice good posture: Good posture helps reduce the strain on your back muscles. Make sure your back is aligned, your shoulders are back and your head is raised.
Constipation is another common symptom of pregnancy. It’s caused by the increased levels of the hormone progesterone, which slows down digestion as well as by the growing uterus, which can press on the intestines and make it harder for waste to move through.
To relieve constipation during pregnancy:
- Eat food that is rich in fiber. For example, dried fruits, whole grains, nuts, etc.
- Drink plenty of fluids, such as water, juice, and herbal teas.
- Exercise regularly, such as walking or swimming.
- Avoid foods that may be constipating, such as dairy products, processed foods, and caffeine.
- Have a warm bath or a hot shower to let your muscles relax.
- Talk to your doctor about taking a stool softener or laxative to help relieve constipation.
- Ask your doctor about the safety of using supplements such as psyllium husks, flaxseed, or prunes.
It is necessary to consult your doctor before using any laxatives or supplements, as they can have side effects.
Mood swings are a common symptom of pregnancy. They’re caused by hormonal changes and can range from mild irritability to extreme emotional swings. This is due in part to the many hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, as well as the stress and exhaustion that can come with it. It is important to understand that these feelings are normal and can be managed with certain lifestyle changes and activities.
To manage mood swings, it’s important to practice stress-relieving activities such as mindfulness, yoga, and relaxation techniques. It can also help to get plenty of rest and to talk to your partner or a trusted friend about how you’re feeling.
OTHER COMMON SYMPTOMS DURING PREGNANCY PERIOD ARE:
Insomnia is a common complaint among pregnant women. It is estimated that up to 80% of pregnant women will experience it at some point during their pregnancy. It is caused by a variety of factors, including physical discomfort, hormone changes and psychological stress. Insomnia during pregnancy can have a significant impact on quality of life, as it can lead to fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. It can also interfere with the mother's ability to take good care of herself and her baby.
There are several ways to deal with insomnia during pregnancy. The most important thing is to get enough rest and sleep. Establish a regular bedtime routine, keep your bedroom cool and comfortable, and avoid caffeine, large meals, and strenuous exercise close to bedtime. Also, try to relax before bedtime, such as by taking a warm bath, reading a book, or listening to soothing music. If you are still having trouble sleeping, talk to your healthcare provider about treatment options. They may be able to recommend medications or supplements that are safe to take during pregnancy. Additionally, they may be able to refer you to a therapist who can provide you with tools and strategies to help you manage your insomnia.
For more information visit our another blog article about sleep during pregnancy that includes the ways to improve your sleep quality.
Heartburn during pregnancy is a common symptom, typically occurring in the second and third trimester. It can be caused by rising levels of hormones and the pressure of the growing baby on the stomach. It can be uncomfortable and cause a burning sensation in the chest and belly.
There are several ways to help reduce heartburn during pregnancy:
- Avoid eating three big portions of meals a day. Eat small, frequent meals instead.
- Avoid foods that trigger heartburn, such as spicy, fried, fatty, or acidic foods.
- Avoid lying down soon after eating.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing around your waist.
- Avoid eating before bedtime.
- Raise the head of your bed about 6 inches to help keep stomach acid down while sleeping.
- Try not to bend over or strain too much.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Chew gum after eating to help produce saliva and neutralize acid.
- Ask your doctor if it is safe to take antacids to help reduce heartburn.
SPOTTING (light vaginal bleeding)
Spotting during pregnancy is often normal and can occur throughout pregnancy. However, you have to be careful as spotting can also mean that you may have a miscarriage or other health problem, so it is important to speak to a doctor if this happens. Spotting can be light or heavy, and may be accompanied by belly pain or cramping. If there is heavy bleeding, or if the bleeding is accompanied by severe pain, you have to address your doctor at once.
SYMPTOMS EXPERIENCED BY LESS THAN 20% OF WOMEN INCLUDE:
-varicose veins: can appear by the increased blood volume in the body
-appearance of more pimples because of hormonal changes or clearer skin
-pruritus (itchy skin): can be caused because of hormones rise
- leg cramp: can appear by lacking calcium in your blood
- vaginal bleeding: the flow of blood is much more (like in periods) than spotting.
SHOULD I CONSULT A DOCTOR WHEN I HAVE SYMPTOMS DURING PREGNANCY?
It’s important to remember that every woman experiences pregnancy in her individual way. So what some women can feel, some others may not. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, whether they are common or not, it’s important to contact your doctor as they can offer advice, help you manage your symptoms and provide the best treatment options.
Pregnancy can be a time of many physical and emotional changes. Fatigue, nausea, food cravings, changes in appetite, constipation, frequent urination, and mood swings are all common symptoms of pregnancy. It is important for pregnant women to take care of themselves by creating comfortable conditions for a good sleep, getting enough rest, eating healthy food, and drinking plenty of fluids. It’s quite important to be conscious of what common symptoms can appear during pregnancy and how best to manage them. This will help ensure that you and your baby stay healthy and happy.
UChicago Medicine 2022, Tips to manage pregnancy symptoms by trimester, 2022
Graner S., et al. “Pregnant women's perception on signs and symptoms during pregnancy and maternal health care in a rural low-resource setting” Wiley Online Library, 10 May 2013
Lutterodt Melissa C, et al. “Examining to what extent pregnancy-related physical symptoms worry women in the first trimester of pregnancy: a cross-sectional study in general practice” National Library of Medicine (NIH), 13 November 2019