During every menstrual cycle ovary release egg during ovulation. When a sperm fertilizes an egg, pregnancy occurs. The fertilized egg moves down into the uterus, where it gets implanted. A successful implantation results in pregnancy.
In general, a full-term pregnancy lasts for 9 months or 40 weeks. Many factors can affect a pregnancy. Women who receive prenatal care and early diagnosis not only experience a healthy pregnancy but are more likely to deliver a healthy baby. Having a good knowledge of what to expect is always good as it helps you to monitor your and baby’s health. You would start to notice some signs and symptoms before the pregnancy test shows you some results. Some of the other test will show results as your hormonal level changes.
A missed period is a symptom of pregnancy; however, it is not necessary that missing a period means you are pregnant. A lot of women experience irregular periods and there are many health conditions that can cause a delayed or missed period.
Light bleeding and spotting can also be experienced during early pregnancy because of implantation which usually occurs one to two weeks after fertilization. Cervix surface might get affected due to bleeding during early pregnancy. It can also result in minor conditions such as an infection or irritation. Bleeding can also sometimes indicate a serious complication such as ectopic pregnancy, placenta previa or miscarriage. It is always advisable to contact your doctor in case you are concerned.
In early pregnancy, headaches are quite common. It is usually caused by changes in hormonal levels and increased blood volume. You need to contact your doctor if headaches don’t subside or are painful.
You must expect a weight gain of 1-4 pounds during your first few months of pregnancy. However, during second trimester, weight gain becomes more noticeable.
Hypertension or High BP might get developed during pregnancy. A lot of factors contribute to the risk, which includes:
- Being obese or overweight
- Having a family history of pregnancy-induced hypertension
Hormone changes can also slow down your digestive system resulting in constipation. Walking post meals is a good means to avoid some of the issues.
You may also experience cramps (similar to menstrual cramps) as the uterus muscles stretch and expand, giving a pulling sensation. Spotting or bleeding along with cramps can be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
Back pain is most commonly reported during pregnancy due to the increase in weight and the shift in the centre of gravity during pregnancy.
You might experience heartburns during pregnancy as the hormones released can relax the valve between your oesophagus and stomach. The leaking of acid from the stomach can cause heartburn.
Pregnant women have a high risk of anaemia. It causes symptoms such as dizziness and light headedness. Anaemia can harm your baby and can lead to low birth weight and premature birth. During the prenatal care, screening for anaemia is usually suggested.
Not getting good night sleep during early pregnancy is quite common. Hormonal changes, physical and mental stress can contribute to the problem. Deep breathing exercises and balanced diet can help you overcome the problem.
Almost a quarter of women can develop depression during pregnancy primarily because of emotional and biological changes. If you feel a lot of changes in your mood, please consult your doctor.
Changes in breast such as swollen and tender breast are also first signs of pregnancy. Even your nipples might become larger and more sensitive. The areolae area might turn slightly darker.
Morning sickness might not always happen in morning. Vomiting is quite common in the early four months of your pregnancy. Please read our article on Morning Sickness to get more details.
There is an increase in androgen hormones during early pregnancy which might result in acne. This results in oilier skin which can clog pores. This condition is temporary and clears after the birth of the baby.
One more common symptom is hip pain, primarily due to sciatica, heavy uterus, changes in posture and pressure on ligaments. It tends to increase in late pregnancy as you put on more weight.
Stress and pregnancy
Pregnancy is happy time as this period means a lot to you. However, the physical and hormonal changes can result in mood swings leading to stress, anxiety and anger. Also, it might mean changes in your personal relationship and body. Feel free to consult your doctor if you feel overwhelmed.
Digestive difficulties including Diarrhoea are quite frequent during pregnancy. It might occur due to change in diet and eating habits, stress and hormonal changes. In case of Diarrhoea, keep yourself hydrated and take a lot of fluids. Consult your doctor in case it lasts for more than few days.