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Symptoms might vary from woman to woman. Not all women experience the same symptoms during pregnancy. Fifteen early signs of pregnancy include the following:
- Spotting and cramping: When the fertilized egg attaches to the uterus, it causes spotting and cramping. It occurs 6-12 days after the fertilization of the egg. Cramping can be similar to menstrual cramps. Some women may even see staining and small amount of blood over the underpants.
- Missed period: The characteristic symptom of early pregnancy is the missed period. Women may notice this symptom in the fourth week. Once the implantation is completed, the body produces a hormone known as human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This helps in maintaining the pregnancy. With the help of a pregnancy kit, one can confirm the pregnancy at this stage.
- Vaginal discharge: Due to the thickening of the vaginal walls after conception, a woman may notice white, milky discharge from the vagina. This may be seen throughout the pregnancy, which is normal. However, if there’s a foul smell from the discharge or burning and itching sensation around the vagina, there may be chances of a bacterial or yeast infection.
- Fatigue: Pregnant women may complain of fatigue and tiredness around fourth to fifth week of pregnancy. High progesterone levels makes one drowsy. Perhaps, there may be other contributory factors too, when considering fatigue as a symptom.
- Frequent urination: During pregnancy, hormonal changes cause water to retain in the body. The kidney is forced to filter extra fluids resulting in frequent urination. This starts around the sixth or eighth week after conception.
- Breast changes: Most women may experience breast changes such as soreness, heaviness, tenderness, fullness, or tingling between fourth and sixth week. It may generally decrease after several weeks. The area around the nipple also tends to get darker.
- Morning sickness, nausea, or vomiting: Morning sickness is the most common symptom of pregnancy. Nausea develops around fourth to sixth week and may occur at any time of the day. Morning sickness is due to hormonal changes. Some women may never experience nausea, whereas some may have hyperemesis gravidarum (nausea throughout the pregnancy). For a few women, morning sickness may resolve by the 13th or 14th week of pregnancy.
- Food cravings or aversion: In the early stages of pregnancy, some women may experience cravings for certain foods, whereas some may experience aversion (unable to stand the smell of certain food). These symptoms may resolve in some by the 13th or 14th week, although some may experience it throughout the pregnancy.
- Mood swings: Due to the increased levels of estrogen and progesterone in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, pregnant women have more mood swings than nonpregnant women. Being anxious or stressed out during pregnancy is completely fine; however, if it lasts for a couple of weeks, does not get better, or causes constant sadness, then talking to a gynecologist would be an ideal option. Sometimes, thyroid imbalance in pregnancy may also lead to feeling low.
- Constipation: Pregnant women may have a surge of progesterone in their bodies. Progesterone causes food to pass slowly through the intestine causing constipation. Drinking more water, eating plenty of high-fiber foods, and exercising can ease constipation.
- Headaches: Pregnant women may experience mild headaches throughout the pregnancy. This may be due to hormonal changes.
- Dizziness and fainting: This may be due to the dilation of blood vessels and low blood pressure and sugar level caused due to hormonal changes.
- Heartburn: Some women experience heartburn as an early sign of pregnancy. The valve between the stomach and esophagus relaxes, which allows stomach acid to leak causing heartburns.
- Weight gain: Women may gain weight toward the end of the first trimester. About one to four pounds may be gained in the first few months.
- Nasal congestion: Increasing hormonal level and blood production can affect the mucous membrane of the nose causing to swell and dry out.
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