Pregnancy can make a lot of women anxious and paranoid. But who can blame them when they are carrying another life in their body, and their hormones are raging, right?
As soon as you see a positive pregnancy test and get confirmation from your OB-GYN, it’s hard not to worry and think of all the things that could go wrong for you and your baby, especially if it’s your first pregnancy.
Here are some of the most common normal and not-so-normal symptoms of pregnancy along with some tips on taking care of your body and warning signs of when to call your doctor.
A little bleeding or more accurately called spotting, is fairly common during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. According to maternal-fetal specialist Dr. Daniel Landers from the University of Minnesota, this is just due to the implantation of the zygote or the fertilized egg onto the uterine lining.
This is generally not a reason to worry, as 25% of pregnant women actually experience a little spotting or even heavy bleeding during the first thirteen weeks or so of pregnancy, most of whom deliver perfectly healthy babies.
However, heavy bleeding accompanied by abdominal cramps can be a sign of miscarriage or other less serious conditions. One thing that could be causing your bleeding during pregnancy is cervical polyps.
Cervical bleeding may also occur after intercourse if you are pregnant and have tender issues. Bleeding can also be due to the expulsion of the mucus plug sealing the cervix during early labor.
To be safe, call your doctor or caregiver whenever you experience bleeding, especially when the discharge is bright red blood or brownish and clot-like, is accompanied by very painful cramps, or when other pregnancy symptoms stop.
Light cramping similar to period cramps typically occurs during the early stages of pregnancy. However, according to Dr. Freya E. Marshall, OB-GYN from Torrance Memorial Medical Center in California, cramping can also be a sign of a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy.
Cramps that happen on later stages and are more painful than period cramps are especially problematic. True contractions can also be mistaken for cramps that are 5 to 20 minutes apart. When you suspect any of these, call your doctor immediately.
Probably the most common complaint is morning sickness, although not all pregnant women experience this. Morning sickness usually happens in the first trimester and is a sign that your pregnancy is healthy.
Nausea and vomiting are both signs of higher levels of pregnancy hormones or the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone a.k.a. (hCG) that prepare and equip your body for nourishing your baby.
This can actually be beneficial for both you and your baby. A recent study has reported that moms-to-be who have had morning sickness are less likely to deliver prematurely and miscarry. Their babies also excel on IQ tests and have fewer birth defects.
Dr. Yvonne Bohn, co-author of The Mommy Docs’ Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Birth. Also suggests that these symptoms prevent you from eating food that can potentially be harmful during the first trimester, like some vegetables and meat. This is important because this period is when your baby’s organs are developing.
There’s also nothing to worry about even if you’re not experiencing morning sickness since many women who don’t still have smooth deliveries and healthy babies.
You should worry, however, when you experience severe vomiting that continues for weeks, as this can cause dehydration. Inability to keep any food down is also not normal and may require special medication or hospitalization.
Vaginal discharges that are milky white or clear, odorless, and thin or watery are normal early during a pregnancy and even throughout your whole term. This is your body’s way of cleaning and fighting infection in the birth canal.
This is also due to a rise in estrogen levels, indicating that your pregnancy is on the right track.
However, if the discharge comes in large amounts, turns yellowish or greenish, or has an unpleasant smell, call your doctor and have yourself checked for any infections. Infections like bacterial vaginosis can lead to pregnancy complications.
Do your breasts feel painful or tender when touched? That normally happens during the first trimester. This is due to unusually high amounts of the female hormones progesterone and estrogen, both of which are essential for your pregnancy.
Your breasts may also enlarge and feel heavier; an indication that your body is preparing for breastfeeding and your baby is thriving, Dr. Bohn assures.
Most symptoms of pregnancy are absolutely normal, although it is still best to consult your doctor whenever you feel that something is off. Besides, no one should be ridiculed for taking care of your own body and your little one.