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Yes, You’re Pregnant

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • High levels of stress or anxiety can cause irregular menstrual periods, which can sometimes be mistaken as a symptom of pregnancy.
  • Nausea and vomiting, heightened sensitivity to smells, breast soreness, fatigue, frequent urination, constipation—these may be signs that you are “pregnant”.
  • When you are pregnant, you may have some vaginal discharge due to changes in your estrogen levels, but this is not harmful to your pregnancy at all.

For many women, once their menstrual period is 5-7 days late, and especially if they start having symptoms of nausea and perhaps vomiting, they tend to assume automatically that “Yes, I’m pregnant”. In reality, however, pregnancy symptoms can vary greatly from person to person.

Signs You Are “Pregnant”

Missed Period

If your menstrual period is fairly consistent, and you miss one period, this is usually the first sign that indicates you may be pregnant. To be certain, however, it is recommended that you buy a pregnancy test kit, as a missed menstrual period may also be due to other causes, such as high stress levels or anxiety, or even due to other illnesses.

Nausea and Vomiting

These can also be possible signs of pregnancy. Nausea and vomiting, a combination of symptoms commonly called “morning sickness”, typically begins to occur around one to two months after conception. However, nausea and vomiting are not always fail-safe symptoms of pregnancy and can be triggered by other conditions as well. Some people have no morning sickness at all, while there are those who experience intense morning sickness all throughout and up until the very last month of pregnancy. Generally speaking though, morning sickness usually lessens or disappears when the pregnancy enters the second trimester.

Heightened Sense of Smell

An increase in the estrogen hormone during pregnancy can cause extreme sensitivity to smells, making you feel like gagging or vomiting when you come across certain odors. In some cases, a pregnant woman can no longer stand the smell of her own perfume.

Sore, Swollen Breasts

A woman may experience swelling of her breasts during the first trimester of pregnancy. Due to an increased blood flow to the chest area, this may cause the breasts to be engorged, as well as more sensitive to touch, or more tender or taut, similar to the symptoms experienced during a woman’s menstrual period.

Fatigue

You may feel incredibly tired even though you hardly did anything, or feel very drowsy and fatigued all throughout the day, which may be due to rapidly increasing levels of progesterone in the body. However, these symptoms will usually lessen by the time you reach the second trimester.

Spotting or Light Bleeding

Some mothers may experience spotting or light vaginal bleeding around 11 or 12 days after conception when the embryo implants on the uterine wall, which also coincides with the missed menstrual period. This kind of spotting is usually a pale red or pinkish color and should stop on its own in 1-2 days. If, however, you are experiencing symptoms of vaginal bleeding along with abdominal pain, you should see a doctor as quickly as possible, as these could also be signs of an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage.

Frequent Urination

About 1-2 weeks after a missed menstrual period, a pregnant mother will need to urinate much more frequently. This is because during pregnancy the body increases the amount of blood it pumps to various parts of the body. This causes the kidneys to process more fluid waste than usual and thus leads to more fluid in the bladder as well.

Constipation

When you get pregnant, changing hormonal levels in the body slow down digestion. The uterus also grows and expands, causing increased pressure on the bowels. Because of this, many mothers may experience constipation during pregnancy. To help relieve constipation, you should eat foods that are high in fiber, drink plenty of water, and get in some light exercise on a regular basis.

Irritability and Mood Swings

Pregnant women often find that they are more moody, irritable, and easily angered or offended. This is because the mother’s body is trying to adjust itself to new hormonal imbalances. Taking the time to understand these changes can help mothers to have a more positive experience, and help moods to normalize more quickly.

Slight Vaginal Discharge

When estrogen levels increase, and there is greater blood flow to the vaginal area, this may cause blood to build up at the cervix. This causes the cervical glands to work harder, and secrete more cervical fluid through the vagina. Normal bacteria and dead cells in the vaginal area are carried away with this fluid or vaginal discharge. This kind of discharge is not dangerous.

Although most pregnant mothers will experience similar symptoms, some women will experience a variety of different symptoms while others will have almost no symptoms at all. If you find that you are definitely pregnant, you should take extra care of your health during the early stages of pregnancy by eating healthy, nutritious food, drinking plenty of water, exercising appropriately and properly, and going for antenatal care and checkups in order to receive good medical advice and recommendations from your doctor.

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Sqn Ldr Natthaya Rajatavarn, M.D. Summary: Obstetrics And Gynaecology Reproductive Medicine