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Early Pregnancy Symptom - Starting Of A New Phase

Early pregnancy symptoms can vary from woman to woman. Some experience everything imaginable, while others feel nothing much at all.   Just as every person is different, so are the symptoms that they experience.  Most pregnancy symptoms are driven by one common source—hormones. Hormones are rapidly changing during pregnancy and riding the roller coaster of adjustments can seem unending—especially if the symptoms are problematic.

The most common first symptom most women notice is a missed menstrual cycle.  It is usually the first indicator of pregnancy that a woman can recognize without seeing a doctor and some women claim to know they are pregnant before they miss a period—just call it female intuition. Tender swollen breasts are another early symptom that usually occurs at about 6-8 weeks gestation.  Breast tenderness, tingling and swelling can also be symptoms of other hormonal changes, as can a missed period, so the only real way to verify that you are in fact pregnant is to see a doctor for a thorough examination. He or she may do an ultrasound to see if the earliest development of a baby can be seen—known as the “fetal pole” this tiny peanut appearing spot is not usually seen until about 6 weeks gestation.  Don’t worry if there isn’t anything to be seen on your first doctor’s visit.

Spotting can be an early pregnancy symptom in some women as well. Some women report what seems to be a short light period before the onset of other symptoms, and often mistake it as such. This may be implantation bleeding and not a menstrual period at all. Implantation bleeding occurs when the vascular, blood-filled lining of the uterus spills over just slightly when an egg implants.  Without this nutrient-rich blood supply, the egg would not be able to survive.  Most implantation bleeding is very light and is usually thin pink in appearance.

If you know you are pregnant and you experience spotting of any kind check in with your doctor.  Spotting can have several different causes including a low-lying placenta or it could be a sign of miscarriage.

Tummy troubles are another common complaint.  Everyone has seen Hollywood’s portrayal of a nauseous, vomiting woman—which usually leads to lots of raised eyebrows.  Morning sickness—and for some women, all day and all night sickness happens more often than not.  Thanks again to our friend the hormone, the true cause of morning sickness isn’t exactly understood.  Try eating crackers before getting out of bed, and eating what sounds good. Don’t worry so much about your balanced diet early on.  Many women report a decrease in nausea symptoms when eating potato chips and lemonade.  Vitamin supplementation with additional folic acid has also been shown to reduce nausea, but talk with your doctor before taking any medications.

 Hormonal changes can also affect the digestive system in other ways by causing constipation and heart burn.  Eating frequent, small meals can help ease symptoms, but if you are losing weight or unable to keep down fluids, see your doctor or an evaluation and medications that can help.

Headaches are also quite common and begin at about the 6th week. A quick nap can help prevent headaches while pregnant, and medications like acetaminophen are generally safe—make sure to stay away from aspirin containing medications, and, you know it—talk to your health care provider before you take anything. Persistent headaches, especially those that occur with dizziness and chest pain should send you on a trip to the doctor. (Are you scared yet?)

If you have any early pregnancy symptoms like these, be sure to take a home pregnancy test. There are several types of tests on the market now.  Some are easier read than others and some claim to help you detect a pregnancy long before your period is even missed.  To ensure a proper test result, make sure to test in your first morning urine—when hormones will be the most concentrated. 

If you are pregnant, it is important to receive prenatal care immediately, if the result is positive. Your doctor will want to see you for some early screenings like a pap smear if you haven’t had one in the past year, as well as check for any infections like STD’s or physical conditions that might place your pregnancy at risk.   He or she will schedule regular check-ups and tests to help you and your baby be as healthy as possible.

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