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Early Signs of Pregnancy
Ultrasounds, blood tests and urine tests are some of the best ways to know if you are pregnant and get the required medical assistance timely. But the body experiences several physiological responses after fertilization that provide signs and symptoms about your pregnancy. Below are some of the early pregnancy signs that most women experience after conceiving.
Below we have mentioned the early signs of pregnancy −
Mild cramping and Spotting
Implantation cramping and spotting are some of the earliest signs of pregnancy after fertilizing the egg. Implantation cramping is usually the result of the egg travelling through the fallopian tube and attaching itself to the uterus. It can occur 6-10 days after successful fertilization. In some cases, the cramps can occur at an interval of 5-14 days after intercourse.
Implantation cramping is often accompanied by spotting or mild vaginal bleeding resulting from the movement of the egg while getting attached to the inner lining of the uterus. Spotting usually occurs 10-14 days after conception and has a brownish or dark reddish appearance. It does not last for more than 1-2 days and does not cause much discomfort.
Avoid strenuous activity and high-intensity cardio during this period, as it can lead to uterine contractions and affect the implantation procedure.
Periods occur when the body does not perceive a fertilized egg and breaks down the uterus lining produced by it for the egg. When the actual process of fertilization occurs, the body retains the lining of the uterus instead of shedding them, resulting in missed periods. The first day of your last period marks the first weeks of pregnancy. So by the time you perceive the fact about your missed periods, you may be four weeks pregnant.
Avoid uncooked seafood and vaginal hygiene products during this time, as they can impact the growing fetus. That said, cooked seafood is an important food that should be incorporated into a pregnant person's diet as it is rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that prevent the risk of lower birth weight in infants.
It is also essential to take a pregnancy test once you suspect you are pregnant and start undergoing diet changes and lifestyle modifications for a healthy pregnancy.
Nausea starts in the sixth week of pregnancy and is the most intense during the ninth week. Studies have shown that almost 70-80% of women experience nausea during pregnancy, and 50% get the combined symptoms of nausea and vomiting. The symptoms usually get less intense during the second trimester of pregnancy, but in a few cases can experience nausea throughout the pregnancy.
The exact cause of nausea is unknown, but it is supposed that hormone fluctuations play a role in pregnancy-induced nauseous tendencies. Several clinical trials have shown an increased nausea tendency in women having the corpus luteum in the right ovary resulting in differences in venous drainage and subsequent nauseous tendencies.
As preventive measures for nausea conditions
Rinse your mouth frequently after vomiting to reduce the vile taste and protect your teeth
Choose your foods carefully that are low in fats and rich in proteins
Drink plenty of fluids as they will settle your stomach and keep you dehydrated after vomiting
Avoid smells, foods and other pre-nausea triggers that have the potential to make you feel queasy
Fatigue during pregnancy occurs because of energy depletion due to physiologic and psychological changes experienced by the to-be-mother. Factors like fetal growth and development, oxygen consumption, and hormonal and metabolic changes result in intense fatigue in early pregnancy.
Studies have shown almost 90% of women experience fatigue during pregnancy that impacts their personal and social activities. That added by child-birth fear and sleep deprivation tendencies add to the complexity.
Taking naps during the day and sleeping early can significantly help with fatigue. Physicians recommend avoiding caffeine, changing your sleep posture from the back to the left side and trying relaxation techniques to sleep peacefully and improve productivity.
Breast soreness is regarded as one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy that occurs because of an increase in hormone levels as the body undergoes physiologic changes to prepare for lactation after birthing. Sore breasts start to occur within two weeks of conceiving and continue till the third trimester, resulting in dull and achy breast pain.
The problem increases after birthing as the infant starts lactating, with the maximum impact on the nipples that look cracked and make it difficult to breastfeed.
Cold compress, wearing loose-fitting clothes with a supportive bra and using physician- advised painkillers can help ease the pain moderately.
Temperature changes are expected in pregnant women, manifesting in a warm skin sensation and an increased tendency to sweat. Physicians and medical experts widely regard that increasing progesterone production during this time raises the temperature and makes you feel hot and sweaty. Other factors like improved blood circulation, increased body weight and cardiovascular changes in the mother and fetus contribute to temperature changes during pregnancy.
Animal studies have previously extrapolated that higher temperatures can be risky for the fetus. To avoid any temperature-induced complications, sleep in a cool room at night while having blankets near your hand to prevent chills. Swimming and moisturizing can help as well in thermoregulating the body during pregnancy.
Mood swings can start as early as the fourth week of pregnancy because of stress, fatigue and hormone fluctuations in preparation for the healthy growth of the fetus inside the body. Researchers have observed mood swings to be at their peak during the first trimester at 6- 10 weeks and last trimester with heightened feelings of stress, depression and anxiety.
The good news is mood swings do not impact fetus development though they can impact their social and personal lives. Sleeping and eating well can significantly help in dealing with mood swings. Talking to your loved ones and, if required, a therapist can be helpful in a stress-free pregnancy.
Frequent Urination and Incontinence
An increase in the urination rates starts within two weeks of conceiving, with the colour of urine changing during pregnancy. While normal urine is transparent or straw-coloured, a pregnant woman's urine can look dark yellow to sometimes orangish. Urgent urination episodes start during the 10th to 13th week when the uterus starts expanding to accommodate the growing uterus and presses against the bladder giving rise to incontinence.
Kegel exercises can help during this period by helping strengthen the pelvic floor and helping control frequent urination tendencies. Physicians also advise other measures like avoiding caffeinated drinks and restricting fluids before napping.
What to do when you notice early Signs of Pregnancy?
First, go see a doctor as soon as possible to confirm the pregnancy and get started on prenatal care. Prenatal care is important for both you and your baby's health throughout the pregnancy.
Next, start making healthy lifestyle choices. This includes eating a nutritious diet, getting regular exercise, and avoiding alcohol and drugs. These healthy habits will help reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy. Additionally, make sure to get plenty of rest and relaxation. Your body is working hard to create a new life!
The signs may differ in each woman. But clear indications like listed above can provide helpful clues. If one or more of these symptoms apply to you, talk to your doctor. S/he may suggest for a definitive diagnosis. With a proper and timely diagnosis, any potential issues and complications can then be monitored effectively. And, you can ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy.
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