Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

Quick GuideStages of Pregnancy: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Trimester Images

Stages of Pregnancy: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Trimester Images

What are the later signs and symptoms and signs of pregnancy?

Many of the early symptoms of pregnancy can persist during the second and third trimesters, for example:

  • Mood changes
  • Headaches
  • Increased urination
  • Backache
  • Food cravings
  • Fatigue

Certain symptoms, like tender breasts and nausea, often improve as pregnancy advances.

Additional symptoms of later pregnancy are related to the size of the growing uterus and weight gain. As with symptoms of early pregnancy, not all women experience all these symptoms, and women do not experience them to the same degree.

8 possible symptoms of later pregnancy

  1. Weight gain: Most women gain a total of about 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Weight gain is due to the growing fetus, placenta, breast enlargement, and increased blood and fluid volume. Your Obstetrician will follow your weight closely during your prenatal visits.
  2. Breast changes: The breasts expand throughout pregnancy; late in pregnancy there may be expression of colostrum (a yellowish fluid that is produced immediately after delivery) from the nipples.
  3. Heartburn: Pressure from the growing uterus may push the stomach upward and out of its normal location, leading to symptoms of heartburn. In addition hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause relaxation of one of the sphincters controlling the reflux of acid from the stomach.
  4. Swollen feet and ankles: Pressure from the enlarged uterus may slow down the blood flow of veins in the legs, leading to fluid buildup.
  5. Varicose veins: Increased blood volume may lead to the formation of varicose veins, hemorrhoids, or small spider veins.
  6. Leakage of urine: Pressure from the uterus on the bladder leads to frequent urination (which may have begun early in pregnancy due to hormonal changes). Sometimes, women notice leakage of urine when straining during laughing, sneezing, or coughing.
  7. Shortness of breath: The uterus enlarges and pushes the diaphragm further up toward the chest, possibly causing you to become out of breath easier than before.
  8. Braxton-Hicks contractions: In the weeks before delivery, many women experience uterine contractions. Unlike true labor contractions, Braxton-Hicks contractions are weak and do not occur at regular intervals. Labor contractions increase in frequency and intensity.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/15/2016

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