20 EARLY SYMPTOMS OF PREGNANCY

Introdution

The first symptoms of pregnancy are warning signs that encourage women to take a pregnancy test, be it a pharmacy test or a blood test for beta-hCG. Some women resort to home pregnancy tests when they suspect they are pregnant, however, these are not only unreliable, but can even be harmful.

The sooner a woman knows she is pregnant, the sooner she can start her prenatal care. As such, she can then take beneficial measures for the fetus, such as controlling blood glucose, improving diet, using supplements – such as folic acid and iron – monitoring blood pressure, promptly treating infections, and avoiding alcohol or medication that is potentially harmful to the baby in the first trimester of pregnancy.

It is important to note that the signs and symptoms of pregnancy are not the same for all women. In addition, the same mother may have completely different symptoms in the second pregnancy from those of the first. And even when these signs repeat themselves, they can vary in intensity, frequency, time of onset, and duration.

WHEN DO THE FIRST SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF PREGNANCY ARISE?

The fertilization of the ovum by the spermatozoon is an asymptomatic event. Therefore, it is impossible to know in the first few days after intercourse if the woman has become pregnant or not. What you may feel are some symptoms of ovulation such as abdominal cramps, more sensitive breasts, increased libido and changes in vaginal mucus.

The first signs and symptoms of pregnancy arise only when the embryo is implanted in the uterus, an event that occurs 1 or 2 weeks after the ovum has been fertilized, which is equivalent to 3 or 4 weeks of pregnancy.

From the implantation of the embryo in the uterus until about the 13th week of gestation, the increase in the production of hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, testosterone and HCG will make the woman experience a lot of symptoms that will be described in detail below.

Keep in mind that many of the early symptoms of gestation may be similar to the premenstrual discomforts to which you are accustomed. Since women who are not trying to get pregnant are not very aware of their bodies’ signs, the first symptoms of pregnancy can go unnoticed, being confused with a possible menstruation on the way.

SYMPTOMS OF PREGNANCY IN THE FIRST TRIMESTER

In summary, the first signs and symptoms of pregnancy are:

  • Vaginal bleeding.
  • Menstrual delay.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Breast soreness.
  • Breast growth.
  • Changes in the appearance of breasts.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Constipation.
  • Abdominal swelling.
  • Tiredness and sleepiness.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Food craving.
  • Changes in taste.
  • Aversion to strong odors.
  • Flatulence and Belching.
  • Dizziness.
  • Mood swings.
  • Headaches.
  • Vaginal discharge.
  • Acne.

1. MILD VAGINAL BLEEDING

→ Time at which it appears: 3rd or 4th week of pregnancy.
→ Frequency of this sign of pregnancy: uncommon.

The first sign of pregnancy is usually mild vaginal bleeding. Not all women have this sign, and some of those that do, do not recognize it as a symptom of pregnancy.

When the egg is fertilized, it transforms into a zygote (first stage of the embryo) and begins to travel through the uterine horn toward the uterus. After 6 to 12 days of travel, the embryo reaches the uterus and implants itself in its wall. This implantation can cause a small amount of uterine bleeding, which appears as discreet vaginal bleeding.

Since implantation bleeding lasts for up to 3 days, it can cause mild abdominal cramping and usually occurs around the time menstruation is expected, so some women interpret it as a weak period and do not suspect that this is their first sign of pregnancy.

It is important to note that the implantation of the embryo in the uterus is only one of several causes of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. More than 20% of pregnant women have some bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Therefore, if you are trying to get pregnant and have a different period than usual, pay close attention as this may be a sign of early pregnancy.

2. MENSTRUAL DELAY

→ Time at which it appears: around the 4th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this pregnancy sign: occurs in 100% of cases.

Since bleeding from implantation is not so common, in practice, the first symptom of pregnancy for most women ends up being the delay of menstruation. This is the sign that usually leads women to take the pregnancy test.

However, not all women find it easy to recognize delayed menstruation. Some women have very irregular menstrual cycles and exhibit periods of anovulation (they do not ovulate during a given month), which makes the usual interval between their menses often longer than 1 or even 2 months.

In addition, as explained above, episodes of vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy can mimic a period, causing a delay in the woman noticing that she is no longer menstruating.

It is important to note that menstruation can be delayed for reasons other than pregnancy, including stress, infections, birth control changes, changes in weight, tiredness, etc.

For a woman who does not want to get pregnant, but has been negligent by having unprotected sexual intercourse, the expectation of menstruation itself can cause a menstrual delay..

3. Abdominal cramps

→ Time at which it appears: from the 5th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this pregnancy symptom: common.

In addition to slight bleeding, the initial pregnancy may also cause some discomfort in the lower abdomen or a feeling of swelling in the belly, seeming very much like the premenstrual symptoms.

These discomforts and cramps, when associated with vaginal bleeding, may well mislead pregnant women, making them think they have menstruated.

Abdominal pain is a symptom that can occur in the first, second or third trimester of pregnancy. In the first weeks of gestation, it is more of a weight or discomfort than colic itself.

4. BREAST SORENESS

→ Time at which it appears: from the 5th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this sign of pregnancy: very common.

Another typical sign of pregnancy, increased breast tenderness, may appear early, only two to three weeks after fertilization. Often, simply touching your breasts or wearing a bra can be quite uncomfortable.

In women who do not have implantation bleeding and have not identified a delay in menstruation, breast soreness may be the first symptom of pregnancy to be noticed.

5. Breast growth

→ Time at which it appears: from the 5th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this pregnancy symptom: very common.

In addition to sensitivity, the breasts of pregnant women also tend to get bigger, causing a feeling of swelling.

This breast enlargement occurs due to hormonal changes that stimulate the development of the mammary glands, preparing them for the breastfeeding period that will come in the coming months.

The increase in breast volume usually occurs 1 or 2 weeks after the mother notices that they are more sensitive.

6. CHANGES IN THE APPEARANCE OF THE BREASTS

→ Time at which it appears: from the 5th or 6th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this sign of pregnancy: very common.

In addition to increased volume and soreness, the hormones produced during pregnancy also make pregnant women’s breasts change their appearance. It is common to have darkening of the nipples and the appearance of veins around the breasts. These changes last until the end of breastfeeding.

Another distinct change in the appearance of the breasts is the emergence of Montgomery Glands, small nodules located in the areolas. These nodules are glands that produce secretions that keep the areola and nipple lubricated. As the breast grows during gestation, the glands become more and more visible.

7. NAUSEA AND VOMITING

→ Time at which it appears: from the 5th or 6th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this sign of pregnancy: very common.

Nausea and vomiting usually develop from the 6th week of gestation. However, there are women who present these symptoms as early as the 4th or 5th week.

Nausea and vomiting are typical symptoms of the first trimester of pregnancy and tend to disappear in the second trimester. In most cases, nausea improves after week 12, and 90% of pregnant women no longer experience any degree of nausea at week 18.

In some cases, the sickness is so intense that the woman cannot even feed herself. Serious nausea, which requires medical support, is part of a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum.

8. CONSTIPATION

→ Time at which it appears: from the 5th or 6th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this sign of pregnancy: common.

Increased production of the hormone progesterone during pregnancy causes some organs and body tissues to become “looser” or “more relaxed.” This occurs so as to facilitate the great increase in uterine volume to come.

Among these organs are the intestines, which, because they suffer a reduction in their ability to contract, have more difficulty maintaining normal intestinal movement, resulting in constipation.

9. SWOLLEN BELLY

→ Time at which it appears: from the 5th or 6th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this sign of pregnancy: common.

You swear that, until last week, you fit into those super-tight jeans, and now, all of a sudden, your pants no longer fit around your belly.

This can occur because, even when the fetus is still too small to expand the uterus, some women have a certain swelling in the abdominal region, which occurs as the body’s preparation to support uterine growth.

This swelling is another symptom that can be mistaken for premenstrual symptoms.

10. WEAKNESS AND SLEEPNESS

→ Time at which it appears: from the 5th or 6th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this pregnancy symptom: very common.

A feeling of fatigue disproportionate to your daily activities is a very common pregnancy symptom. If you already have a tiring routine during the day, it can become exhausting.

Increased drowsiness is also very common. Your body gives you signals that you need to rest more often. You may start wanting to go to bed earlier and have more difficulty than usual waking up in the morning. During the day, a good nap seems to be everything that you most want.

Tiredness and drowsiness during pregnancy occur due to hormonal changes, especially progesterone, which acts directly on the central nervous system and the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

Tiredness is a symptom of early pregnancy that usually goes away in the second trimester. However, it returns at the end of pregnancy when the baby is already large and heavy.

11. Frequent urination

→ Time at which it appears: from the 5th or 6th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this pregnancy symptom: very common.

After about six weeks of pregnancy, the pregnant woman begins to feel the urge to urinate more frequently. These trips to the bathroom can occur even during the night, disrupting the pregnant woman’s sleep.

In the first few weeks, the urine buildup occurs because of a reduction of the bladder’s ability to empty completely, due to the relaxation caused by pregnancy hormones. At the end of pregnancy, the very large fetus compresses the bladder, reducing its storage capacity and causing small volumes to trigger the need to urinate.

Increased urinary frequency is an early symptom of pregnancy, occurring in almost 100% of pregnant women and, unfortunately, lasts until the end of gestation.

It is important to note that if the increased urinary frequency is accompanied by darker urine and/or burning when urinating, a urinary tract infection may be the cause.

12. FOOD CRAVINGS

→ Time at which it appears: from the 5th or 6th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this pregnancy symptom: common.

Craving for certain foods in the first weeks of gestation is one of the most clichéd symptoms of pregnancy. These strange desires may even make vegetarian women feel like eating hamburgers.

In the same way that they acquire these desires, pregnant women may also start disliking certain foods and/or smells. That Japanese restaurant you love may, during pregnancy, make you nauseated just by going through the door.

13. CHANGE IN SENSES OF TASTE AND SMELL

→ Time at which it appears: from the 5th or 6th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this pregnancy symptom: common.

Besides having food cravings and aversions, another very common pregnancy symptom is changing tastes.

Sweets can become too sweet, the coffee you love begins to have a weird taste and, during the day, you can have a metallic taste in your mouth for no apparent reason.

14. AVERSION TO STRONG ODORS

→ Time at which it appears: from the 5th or 6th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this pregnancy symptom: common.

Just as some foods cause nausea in the first weeks of pregnancy, intense, even pleasant smells like perfumes or foods can make you feel nauseated. Bad or very strong odors, such as cigarette smoke, gasoline, alcohol, cleaning products, etc., have the same effect.

A common symptom of pregnancy is a heightened sense of smell. Pregnant women refer to the sensation as having developed super-smell. Odors that went unnoticed or were not bothersome have now become unbearable.

15. Flatulence and Belching.

→ Time at which it appears: from the 5th or 6th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this sign of pregnancy: common.

Some women experience increased intestinal gases in the first few weeks of pregnancy. This can be an embarrassing symptom in cases where the pregnant woman needs to stay trapped inside an office or room with other people. There is an increased need to burp and release flatus (fart).

16. DIZZINESS

→ Time at which it appears: from the 5th or 6th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this pregnancy symptom: common.

Dizziness is one of those classic pregnancy symptoms that shows up in every movie when the character becomes pregnant.

Pregnancy hormones cause various changes in the woman’s body that can actually lead to dizziness, including reduced blood pressure, lower blood sugar levels, anemia, increased respiratory rate (which can lead to hyperventilation during a physical effort), insufficient feeding due to sickness, etc.

17. MOOD SWINGS

→ Time at which it appears: from the 5th or 6th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this pregnancy symptom: common.

Another pregnancy symptom that everyone has seen in movies. The pregnant woman may even cry when she sees a television commercial. Small things can take on disproportionate relevance.

Sudden mood swings are also common. A pregnant woman can go from happiness to sadness, or from sympathy to outbursts of bad humor with people who are close to them, from one moment to the next. There are cases of pregnant women who have even quit their jobs.

18. HEADACHE

→ Time at which it appears: from the 8th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this pregnancy symptom: uncommon.

Hormonal changes, relaxation of blood vessels and changes in cerebral blood flow explain why some pregnant women develop headaches during pregnancy. Stress and fatigue also contribute. Headache is a symptom that usually occurs in the first weeks of pregnancy.

19. VAGINAL DISCHARGE

→ Time at which it appears: from the 8th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this sign of pregnancy: common.

The onset of vaginal discharge, or intensification of your usual discharge, are normal symptoms during pregnancy. In general, this discharge is the same as the physiological discharge that some women have, being thick, milky or transparent and odorless.

20. ACNE

→ Time at which it appears: from the 10th week of gestation.
→ Frequency of this sign of pregnancy: uncommon.

Hormonal changes can cause some pregnant women to develop acne, or experience worsening of the acne they already had.

In women, acne is closely related to imbalances in the sex hormones that cause an increase of the oiliness of the skin. Acne during pregnancy can be mild or severe, and comes on at any time during pregnancy.

CONCLUSION

The signs and symptoms described above may indicate the existence of ongoing gestation, but in no way serve to confirm or discard it. While some women have only one or two symptoms, others may show almost all of them. None of these signs or symptoms are exclusive to pregnancy. Several other diseases or conditions may cause similar symptoms.

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