What are the signs and symptoms of Pregnancy?
Pregnancy symptoms differ from woman to woman, In fact, patients own symptoms may be different from one pregnancy to another. It is worth remembering that many of the earliest pregnancy symptoms are similar to routine pre-menstrual discomforts.
- For a woman who has regular periods. The earliest and most reliable sign of pregnancy is a missed period. However, some woman may experience implantation bleed (spotting or a slight staining of a pink or brown colour) or cramping. Occasionally the woman may continue bleeding in early pregnancy around time of supposed menstruation. Urine Pregnancy tests can be carried out on a sample of urine. It works best if performed at least a day or two after missed period. A positive test is almost certainly correct while a negative result is less reliable and hence, a repeat e test a few days later to be sure may be warantted
- Nausea and sickness. So called morning sickness. However, it can happen at any time of the day or night. These early pregnancy symptoms may come as soon as a week into the pregnancy and usually disappear by the 12th to the 14th weeks. This pregnancy symptom may often be helped by eating smaller, more frequent snack size meals
- Fatigue, tiredness and lack of energy. This is probably due to rising levels of the hormone progesterone .
- Cravings for certain foods. Some pregnant woman may also lose interest in some of their favourite foods.
- Frequent urination especially in the second and third trimester.
- Swollen Tender breasts and darkening of areolas (the area around the nipples) preparing your breasts for producing milk and breastfeeding.
- Uterine enlargement The womb become palpable abdominally by 12 weeks and the mother may be aware of an increased abdominal size by 16 weeks. The womb increase progressively in size till near term.
- Awareness of fetal movements usually at about 20 weeks in the first pregnancy and at about 18 weeks in women who had previous childbirth.
- Heartburn is very common and usually gets worse as pregnancy advances, it is due to relaxation of the muscle at the end of oesophagus symptom is caused by the uterus starting to swell and pushing against the stomach. The slower emptying of the stomach may also cause the release of increased stomach acid to aid digestion, leading to a feeling of heartburn/
- Constipation due to reduced bowel motility. The best way to manage constipation and flatulence is to eat frequent but smaller meals and try to consume adequate quantities of water, fruits and food rich in fibers.
- Mood swings and irritability excitement and depression, joy and sorrow, laughter and tears
- Skin changes (Stretch marks). During pregnancy, the skin stretches as the baby grows , causing stretch marks usually in tummy, hips and thighs.
- Vaginal discharge. Women may notice that vaginal discharge becomes heavier, this is due to increased cervical secretions brought on by the increased hormone levels
- Leg cramps, backaches and a feeling of heaviness in the abdomen, may be more pronounced. Braxton Hicks contractions may become more intense.
When you find out that you are pregnant. It is advisable that you contact your doctor or midwife so that you can start receiving antenatal care. Furthermore, get the advice and approval of your doctor before taking any drugs or supplement during pregnancy.