Each pregnancy is different. Women with more than one child can attest to that fact. There are common symptoms of early pregnancy that many women can expect. They may not have them all, but they will have a few. Often, the symptoms are confusing because they mimic the hormones and symptoms of a menstrual cycle.
Early Symptoms of Pregnancy
Even before a missing period, there can be signs and symptoms of a pregnancy like aches, bloating and tenderness. Women often ignore the signs because it's easy to confuse them with the symptoms of a menstrual cycle or an impending cold or sickness.
Frequent naps that don't seem to relieve the tiredness are a sign of pregnancy. The body is working hard for the new growing fetus. There are hormonal changes too. The body is producing extra progesterone that can make fatigue worse. Women will find that they are tired all the time and naps usually do not help with the fatigue. They will wake up tired too.
Most of the changes that will occur in the first trimester can be attributed to hormonal changes. Newly pregnant women will swing from extremely ecstatic to angry and weepy in the blink of an eye. The estrogen and progesterone fluctuate, which causes chemical changes common in pregnancy. This can make women feel out of control, but it's completely normal during the first and third trimesters.
If a woman has tender breasts during her period, she will often have the same symptoms in early pregnancy, which is why it's so hard to guess whether she's pregnant or not without confirmation from a doctor. The skin around the nipple called the areola can become darker during early pregnancy too.
Nausea and Taste Changes
The dreaded morning sickness is a common sign of pregnancy. This is often mistaken for a stomach bug or food poisoning. It can occur throughout the day too. The sense of taste can change as well. Foods that were tasty before pregnancy will make the woman feel ill after she's become pregnant. This can also cause a feeling of nausea. During the second and third trimester, a woman can have bizarre cravings for food, but during the first, the opposite might be true.
Heightened Sense of Smell
The heightened sense of smell isn't always because the woman is nauseous. The problem stems from the changes in her hormones. However, the increased sensitivity to certain smells will send her running for the bathroom. Smells that were pleasant before pregnancy will now be overwhelming.
This common sign of pregnancy can be confused with the onset of a menstrual cycle. It isn't caused by hormones, but by the loosening of the body due to the upcoming changes. It is thought to occur because the breasts can swell putting the body off balance too. The cause of the back pain cannot be pinned on a specific symptom.
This is a common problem in late pregnancy, but it's also a symptom of early pregnancy too. The body's hormonal changes can cause increased urination. The body's increased hormones and water retention can cause the need to urinate more frequently especially at night.
How to be Sure
With all the ambiguous early symptoms of pregnancy mimicking pre-menstrual or sickness signs, the only way to be sure a woman is pregnant is with a pregnancy test. A visit to the doctor will tell the woman whether she is pregnant or not.
After finding out she's pregnant, a woman should immediately develop some good habits and cut out the bad ones. Smoking is a definite bad habit. It can have a detrimental impact on the fetus. She should stop drinking alcohol too. While she can't nap at her job, going to bed early and sleeping a bit later can keep her from extreme fatigue. She needs to start sleeping well.
Early Fetal Development
Doctor visits are crucial during pregnancy. The doctor will prescribe prenatal vitamins, but even more important is that the mother eat well during pregnancy.
The myth that a pregnant woman has to eat for two is outdated. A woman only needs approximately 300 extra calories every day for her growing baby. Morning sickness during the first trimester can make proper nutrition tough, which is why vitamins are crucial.
The extra calories should be geared to have the biggest impact on the fetus. Those calories shouldn't be spent on candy bars and exotic cravings alone. Extra protein for the growing baby is essential. Calcium from milk and folic acid from grains are a few of the areas where expectant mothers should focus their nutrition goals.
By Eszter Hazai, PhD Google+