Womens Health

So, You Think You're Pregnant

The most common evidence that a woman may be pregnant is a missed period, but there are other signs and symptoms that are experienced by most women in the early stages of pregnancy. Not all women experience all symptoms, and the symptoms are not the same degree in all women.

A Missed Period And Sore Breasts

The most frequent first sign of pregnancy is a missed period. There may still be some slight bleeding at the time of the menstrual cycle. This bleeding is an indication of the egg attaching to the uterine wall and is called implantation bleeding. Any bleeding that happens during the early stages of pregnancy is lighter than that experienced during a normal period. However, women with irregular periods may notice signs of pregnancy before actually missing a menstrual period. Even though a woman misses a period, it may not be due to pregnancy. A variety of issues may cause interruption in the menstrual cycle. Stress or illness may cause a woman to skip a period.

Sensations in the breasts similar to those felt just prior to a menstrual cycle can also indicate pregnancy. Swelling, tenderness, or pain along with a feeling of heaviness or breast fullness can be felt as early as two weeks after conception. The nipples will begin to change color and a dark line running down the center of the abdomen to the pubic area (linea nigra) appears. This line disappears after the pregnancy.

Why Do They Call It "Morning Sickness"?

Of all the pregnancy symptoms, the most traditional connection is with nausea and vomiting, affectionately referred to as morning sickness. The fact is, nausea and vomiting can happen at any time of the day or night and it is usually experienced between the second and eighth weeks of pregnancy. It may develop sooner than one month into the pregnancy. It is thought that morning sickness is due to elevations in estrogen that occur early in the pregnancy, which slow down the emptying of the stomach. Dietary preferences often change when a woman is pregnant. There are foods she can't bear and others she craves. Often nausea and vomiting subside by the second trimester.

Feeling Tired And Very Crabby

Women frequently experience fatigue and tiredness in the early stages of pregnancy. This symptom is thought to be related to rising levels of progesterone. Again, usually by the second trimester, the tiredness has passed and energy levels are on the rise. Mood swings, crying jags, and feeling stressed all appear around the same time as the tiredness.

My Tummy Is Bloated And I Have To Go...

Even though there is only a small amount of weight gained in the first trimester, many women feel heavier than they are in actuality. This is often due to bloating in the abdomen. The bloating may be accompanied by some cramping, similar to menstrual cramping, in the early weeks.

Once the embryo is implanted in the uterus, it begins to produce the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin), which is believed to stimulate frequent urination. That is why in the early stages of pregnancy a woman may feel like she has to run to the bathroom often, especially during the night. There may also be some leakage when she coughs, sneezes, or laughs.

Modern diagnostic tools take the mystery away from the initial stages of pregnancy. However, most women know intuitively they are pregnant long before the test results are conclusive. And if you are pregnant don't forget to research the best baby strollers, infant car seats and other baby products for you baby!

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