In this article, we will talk about general concerns and describe some of the issues, symptoms and feelings you may have during pregnancy.
These are general descriptions, meant to give you an idea of what is normal and when you should be concerned.
As always, if you have a question or become concerned, you should contact your doctor.
After you find out you are pregnant, after the excitement and buzz has worn off, you should expect the physical reality to set in.
During pregnancy you may experience fatigue, tenderness in your breasts, morning sickness, etc. Not every woman has every symptom.
Some women SAIL through pregnancy and others seem to endure lots of little problems that don’t amount of anything serious, but are enough to disrupt life in general.
Here are some of the things you may encounter during pregnancy:
Fatigue – You may feel ‘bone tired’ or become easily fatigued during pregnancy, especially in your first trimester.
Remember that your body is working harder producing certain hormones and supplying blood and nutrients to your baby in the womb.
One of the hormones, progesterone, is a central nervous system depressant, so this hormone can make you feel drowsy or sleepy.
Try to pamper yourself during this time. Many women find that after their first trimester, they have renewed energy and stamina. In the meantime, take naps or just rest if you can.
Bleeding – It is not unusual to have a small amount of spotting or bleeding early in pregnancy – around 10 to 14 days after conception.
This bleeding is a bit earlier, spottier and ‘pinker’ in color than a usual menstrual cycle and it doesn’t last very long.
Talk to your doctor and let him know about this, but don’t be concerned unless the bleeding is heavy and lasts a long time. You may also get a bit of cramping early in pregnancy.
Changes in Appetite or Food Preferences – The smell of some foods may cause nausea during early pregnancy.
Or you may find you have a craving for certain foods during late pregnancy. The famous ‘ice cream and pickles’ legend is not so far from the truth for some women!
Many women find that they can no longer abide coffee during early pregnancy, and that this aversion subsides as their pregnancy progresses.
Among the foods that may wreak havoc on your stomach: Meat, cheese or milk, and spicy foods. Don’t be surprised if these preferences and aversions change as your pregnancy progresses.
Morning Sickness, Nausea and Vomiting – Typically confined to early pregnancy, though some women experience this symptom for up to six months.
Most women encounter morning sickness for about a month during their first trimester, and symptoms can start as early as 14 days after conception.
Morning sickness is not always confined to the morning, and it results from the changing levels of estrogen in the body.
Some women experience morning sickness with no trigger, while others will become nauseous from certain smells like cigarette or cigar smoke, strong perfume, coffee or the smell of certain foods cooking.
Increased Urination – As your uterus enlarges, you are likely to feel the urge to go to the bathroom more often. This is normal during the first and third trimester.
Breast Tenderness and Changes – Increased production of the estrogen and progesterone is required to prepare the breasts for nursing.
During the early stages of pregnancy, some women complain that their breasts become so tender and sensitive that they can’t even sleep on their stomach or touch the tissue on their breasts without discomfort.
This tenderness does pass. Women who are flat-chested often welcome the changes that pregnancy brings, as their breasts increase in size.
Be sure to buy and wear a comfortable bra, with plenty of support, during and after pregnancy to accommodate these changes. If you are planning to nurse your baby, you will want to look for special ‘nursing bras’ to make nursing easier.
Headaches – Many pregnant women complain of mild headaches that occur frequently, early in pregnancy. These headaches occur because of increased blood circulation caused by hormonal fluctuation and changes in the body.
Constipation and Bloating – Constipation is common during early pregnancy because of an increase in progesterone that slows digestion. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and help ease constipation and bloating.
Mood Fluctuation – Again, it is all due to the hormonal changes in your body. You may be an even-tempered person and suddenly find yourself crying or losing your temper for no reason.
Understand that these mood swings are common during the first trimester and will usually improve.
Dizziness – Early in your pregnancy you may feel dizzy or faint because of low blood sugar and changes in circulation and hormone levels.
Be sure to drink plenty of water and keep crackers and other healthy snacks on hand to address low blood sugar and don’t be surprised if you need to rest and pamper yourself a bit more, especially during early pregnancy.
Weight Gain and Changes in Center of Gravity – Your balance and center of gravity are going to change as your body changes.
Don’t try to walk a tightrope or a ladder in your new, ‘enhanced’ condition!
Wear sensible shoes without high heels so you can balance and walk more easily without falling or stumbling.
Most mothers gain 25 to 35 pounds, some as much as 50-60 pounds during pregnancy. And that additional can make you uncomfortable, causing back strain and soreness. 50% of all pregnant women develop low-back pain at some time during their pregnancy.
Be sure to use your legs when you are lifting and use common sense when lifting or climbing during pregnancy.
Increased and displaced weight puts more stress on joints and as the baby grows, your lower back must compensate for this weight.
We’ll talk about exercise in a little while, but for now, understand that it is important to keep your muscles strong and limber during this time, in order to avoid back strain and fatigue.