Pregnancy Symptoms (cont.)
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What Are the Early Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy Symptoms?
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Many women have questions regarding the early symptoms of pregnancy and may wonder if their symptoms are suggestive of pregnancy. This article focuses on the most common symptoms a woman might experience in the first trimester of pregnancy. In addition to a missed period, these include:
Missed Menstrual Period
A missed menstrual period is most often the first sign of pregnancy and is a common first trimester symptom. Sometimes a woman who is pregnant may still experience some bleeding or spotting around the time of the expected period, typically 6 to 12 days after conception. When it occurs, this so-called "implantation bleeding" is generally not as heavy or long as a regular menstrual period. This small amount of bleeding that happens at the time of the expected menstrual period occurs because the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall. This is referred to as implantation bleeding.
Any bleeding during pregnancy is typically lighter than that observed during the regular menstrual period. However, if a woman does not have regular menstrual cycles, she may notice some of the other symptoms of early pregnancy before it is apparent that the menstrual period has been missed. A missed menstrual period also does not confirm that a woman is pregnant even if she has regular cycles, since both emotional and physical conditions may cause absent or delayed periods.
Some women may experience feelings of abdominal enlargement or bloating, but there is usually only a small amount of weight gain in the first trimester of pregnancy. In this early stage of pregnancy a weight gain of about one pound per month is typical. Sometimes women also experience mild abdominal cramps during the early weeks of pregnancy, which may be similar to the cramps that occur prior to or during the menstrual period.
Morning Sickness (Nausea and Vomiting)
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Nausea and vomiting (morning sickness) also are common in early pregnancy. Traditionally referred to as "morning sickness," the nausea and vomiting associated with early pregnancy can occur at any time of the day or night. Its typical onset is anywhere between the 2nd and 8th weeks of pregnancy. Most women who have morning sickness develop nausea and vomiting about one month after conception, but it may develop sooner in some women. Sometimes women report an increased sensitivity to certain odors or smells that can sometimes cause nausea and/or vomiting.
Elevations in progesterone that occur early in pregnancy are thought to slow the emptying of the stomach and may be related to the development of nausea. Accompanying the characteristic "morning sickness" may be cravings for, or aversions to, specific foods or even smells. It is not unusual for a pregnant woman to change her dietary preferences, often having no desire to eat previous "favorite" foods, and desiring to eat foods that were previously not preferred. In most women, nausea and vomiting begin to subside by the second trimester of pregnancy.
Breast Swelling, Tenderness, and Pain
Feelings of breast swelling, tenderness, or pain are also commonly associated with early pregnancy. These symptoms are sometimes similar to the sensations in the breasts in the days before an expected menstrual period. Women may also describe a feeling of heaviness or fullness in the breasts. These symptoms can begin in some women as early as one to two weeks after conception.
Mood Swings and Stress
Mood swings and stress are common symptoms reported by many women in the early stages of pregnancy. Many women in the early stages of pregnancy describe feelings of heightened emotions or even crying spells. The rapid changes in hormone levels are believed to cause these changes in mood. Pregnant women may also notice more rapid and drastic changes in their moods. As with other nonspecific symptoms, mood swings can be caused by a number of conditions other than pregnancy.
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Some women report suffering from headaches early on in their pregnancy, which may be related to corresponding changes in hormone levels. These headaches are nonspecific, usually not involving just one side of the head, and are not accompanied by changes in vision.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/17/2016
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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs (Week by Week):
Pregnancy Symptoms - Early Symptoms
What were your very first signs and symptoms of pregnancy? Did you suspect you were pregnant before taking a pregnancy test?
Pregnancy Symptoms - Experience
Please describe your experience with early signs and symptoms of being pregnant.
Pregnancy Symptoms - Week by Week
How did your pregnancy symptoms vary from week to week?
Pregnancy Symptoms - Food Cravings
What foods did you crave early in your pregnancy?
Pregnancy Symptoms - Morning Sickness
What remedies or safe products were effective in treating nausea and vomiting during your pregnancy?
Pregnancy Symptoms - Headaches
If you experienced headaches in the early stages of your pregnancy, what remedies did you find effective?