Understanding the Signs of Pregnancy
Missed period, morning sickness, breast swelling and tenderness, fatigue and a few others are some signs women are familiar to. But what do they mean? Why do they happen?
Missed period – this is one of the most common signs which a woman would relate to the possibility of her being pregnant. Menstruation is the shedding of the inner walls of the womb when there is no fertilization. When shedding does not occur, this means that the womb needs to maintain its thickened inner wall to support the fertilized egg. Unless irregular, most woman would expect that she’s pregnant a month or so after her supposed menstruation.
Morning sickness and tiredness– nausea and vomiting makes one weak. In early pregnancy, this happens most possibly because of pregnancy hormones. As these hormones lessen the movement of the stomach and intestines, future mothers often feel like vomiting and have less appetite to eat. This is usually managed by eating regularly and not skipping meals. Your gynae may recommend vitamins such as B6 which is relieves nausea as well as stress. Ginger is also proven scientifically to reduce vomiting. Morning sickness normally occurs in the first trimester (first three months of pregnancy).
Breast swelling – prepares the breasts for breastfeeding. In early stages, the breasts especially around the nipples, feel slightly tender and painful. Nipples darken in colour and you may notice small goosebump-like structures around the nipple area known asMontgomerytubercules. Besides darkening of the nipples, you may also notice a vertical dark line on your abdomen, also known as ‘linea nigra’. Women with darker complexion may experience general darkening of her skin.
Headaches – this is usually noticed later in the first trimester. Increased blood pressure is the main culprit. When one is pregnant, it is a signal for the body to pump more blood. The increase in pressure is necessary to push blood to the forming placenta. Usually, the pressure stabilizes later in the second trimester and headaches subside by then. It will be a problem if it doesn’t and a doctor should be noted. Having a good rest, short naps and avoiding noisy places is advisable. If you are trying to cease coffee consumption, it’s better to do it slowly. A sudden withdrawal from coffee or any other caffeine products will cause headaches. Close monitoring of your blood pressure throughout your pregnancy is highly recommended. In all cases of headache, never skip your meals as it will aggravate the pain.
Frequent urination – You may notice that your trips to the bathroom get more frequent. The new ‘pregnancy hormones’ cause this. When one is pregnant, the body pushes more blood to the pelvic area and therefore, more goes to the urinary system than usual. Since you are carrying another being in your body, more waste are produced as a result and more urine has to be excreted. In late pregnancy, the weight of the womb presses onto the urinary bladder which may cause frequent trips to the bathroom. In all cases, never keep yourself from drinking more water. This can aggravate urinary tract infections.
Vaginal spotting somewhere around your expected day of menstruation is alarming and confusing for first-time mothers-to-be. While it negates the fact that you’re pregnant, it also is, in fact, one of the signs of pregnancy. It all depends on its character. Normal menstrual blood on its first few days is dark red, happens around the time where your menses usually start, increasing in amount by the day. ‘Implantation bleeding’ during pregnancy happens a week or a few days before your expected period. When the fertilized egg is implanted in the wall of the womb, some blood are released and seen as vaginal spotting. But when this comes with sharp pain in the abdomen, it may be a sign of ectopic pregnancy (when the embryo is implanted elsewhere besides the womb). Immediately consult a doctor or call for emergency when this happens.
For many women, pregnancy is an exciting and a wonderful experience. Regular check-ups at your gynae can give you peace of mind and thus enhance your pregnancy experience.Click here for our full range of Women’s Health Services
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