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Last Updated: Oct 04, 2019
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Pregnancy - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Pregnancy? Stages of Pregnancy What are the Symptoms of Pregnancy? How to Detect Early Sign of Pregnancy Discharge? What are the Side Effects of Early Pregnancy? What are the Precautions Should be Taken During Pregnancy? What are the Food to Eat During Pregnancy? Which Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is the most exciting phase in the life of a woman. It is beyond imagination that she is carrying a baby inside her womb. The first and important sign of pregnancy is missed periods. When a woman misses a period, then pregnancy tests can be conducted to confirm whether she is pregnant.

Stages of Pregnancy

Generally, pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks till the birth of the baby. It is mainly divided into 3 stages known as trimesters

  • First Trimester
  • Second Trimester

  • Third Trimester

What Changes You Face in First Trimester?

Pregnant women are generally unaware of the changes that will happen in their body due to pregnancy. They should know about the change that may occur in their body and should contact the doctor in case of any discomfort.

Every woman experiences pregnancy differently. The first trimester is a period of health and vitality, for some, it is extremely difficult. Spotting or bleeding may be seen in the first trimester. Bleeding may happen when the fertilized egg gets embedded in the uterine walls causing minor bleeding.

If bleeding is accompanied by sharp pain or cramps then it can be a sign of miscarriage. Breast tenderness, discharge, fatigue, heartburn, vomiting, food cravings, mood swings, and constipation may be other signs in the first trimester of pregnancy. Some women experience vomiting or Hyperemesis gravidarum which is a serious condition as pregnant women may lose fluids and minerals due to vomiting.

What Changes You Face in Second Trimester?

The second trimester of pregnancy is a phase where the extreme symptoms of the first trimester subside and a woman gets more relaxed. In this trimester, the organs of the baby are fully formed and the growth of the baby starts. Women can feel the baby kicking in their womb.

Women in the trimester may experience backache due to the increase in weight of the fetus, bleeding gums due to changes in hormones, breast enlargement, bleeding nose and congestion due to hormone changes. Vaginal discharge is common during this stage and should be treated by a doctor if the discharge is green or foul-smelling. Frequent urination and headaches may be common in women in the second trimester.

What Changes You Face in Third Trimester?

With the approach of the third trimester, a pregnant woman is well aware of the approaching delivery. In this period, the sudden cramps develop, these are called Braxton Hicks. The cramps are a signal of the uterus getting ready for delivery. Many changes that are observed in the second trimester, gets carried over to the third trimester of pregnancy.

The end of the third trimester is delivery. Meditation and light exercise before delivery can overcome the anxiety of the pain and fear of delivery.

What are the Symptoms of Pregnancy?

  1. Menstrual Cycle: The earliest and most reliable sign of pregnancy is a missed period, especially in women who have a regular monthly menstrual cycle.
  2. Sickness: Feeling sick and nauseous starts around six weeks after their last period for most women. This is commonly termed as morning sickness, even though the timing may vary from day to night. A more serious form of this is a serious condition called hyperemesis gravidarum that causes severe vomiting and needs treatment.
  3. Tiredness: Feeling tired or exhausted is common especially during the first 12 weeks which is due to hormonal changes.
  4. Sore breasts - Breasts may become larger and feel tender; also the nipples darken and stand out.
  5. Increased urination - This is due to the increase in the size of uterus creating pressure on the bladder.
  6. Constipation - It happens due to increased levels of progesterone which slows down the passage of the food in the intestine.
  7. Increased vaginal discharge without irritation.
  8. Taste: Metallic taste, more sensitive sense of smell and craving for new foods
  9. Bleeding - Light bleeding may occur as a result of implantation of the embryo to the uterine wall. In many cases, bleeding maybe a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy too.
  10. Abdominal pain - It maybe a sign of ectopic pregnancy/miscarriage/urinary tract infection.
  11. False negative pregnancy test - In this case, the test must be repeated after a week if suspicion prevails.

Also Read: What causes bleeding during pregnancy?

What are Early Pregnancy Symptoms Before Missed Periods?

Early pregnancy symptoms before missed periods are as follows:

  1. Breast Changes: Breasts grow larger in size and feel tender. The areola darkens due to hormonal change.
  2. Fatigue: This is due to raise in the hormone progesterone together with low blood pressure and sugar levels.
  3. Nausea: It is the most common symptom of pregnancy and occur at any time of the day in spite of being commonly termed as morning sickness.
  4. Spotting and Cramping: These vague and mild period-like symptoms occur after conception and are due to implantation.
  5. Mood Swings: These are extremely common and often short-lasting, occurring due to the rapid hormonal changes.
  6. Headaches: These maybe due to many factors like morning sickness, fatigue, hunger, hormonal changes, low blood pressure, depression or even dehydration.
  7. Constipation: This is due to higher progesterone levels which causes food to move slowly through the intestines.
  8. Frequent Urination: This starts around sixth week of pregnancy due to the growing uterus causing pressure on the bladder.
  9. Fainting and Dizziness: This may occur due to low blood pressure, dilating of blood vessels or low blood sugar levels.
  10. Elevated Basal Body Temperature: The temperature remains elevated from ovulation throughout pregnancy.

Also Read: What is high risk pregnancy?

What are Signs of Early Pregnancy Symptoms After Missed Period?

Some common symptoms of pregnancy which may either are evident before or at times after missed periods.

  • Food cravings and aversion: Due to rapidly changing hormones, food choices may vary.
  • Lower Back Pain: Increasing weight and expansion of uterus causing loosening of ligaments leading to posture change, hence causing backache.
  • Bloating and Implantation Bleeding.
  • Tender breasts and Sore Nipples.
  • Constipation due to the high levels of progesterone which causes food to pass down slowly.

Also Read: What are the problems during pregnancy?

How to Detect Early Sign of Pregnancy Discharge?

Early signs of pregnancy discharge:

Leukorrhea is a type of early pregnancy discharge. This is often milky white, thin and generally harmless. If this becomes smelly, yellowish or green and thick, and accompanied by itching, then it is a sign of infection which are common in pregnancy, most common being candidiasis. The amount of cervical fluid during pregnancy increases and later changes into cervical mucus plug.

This mucus plug protects the baby and breaks down during delivery. The boost of estrogen around missed period time stimulates blood flow to the pelvic area leading to increased vaginal discharge. Sometimes, this discharge turns brownish or pinkish especially in early pregnancy and women may even have spotting.

Avoid using tampons, douching and making self-diagnosis. Using panty liners could be fine depending upon the condition. Consulting a doctor on time is the best solution to any discharge causing discomfort.

Also Read: What is medical termination of pregnancy?

What are the Side Effects of Early Pregnancy?

Side-effects of pregnancy are as follows:

  1. Yeast Infections: Intimate areas become more susceptible to the yeast infection during pregnancy as high estrogen levels unbalance the healthy bacteria down there.
  2. Swollen ankles: It is due to water retention and can be eased by use of specially designed socks. This is mainly seen in later half of pregnancy though some may experience it early.
  3. Body and Facial Hair: Pregnancy hormones send hair-growth hormones into overdrive making hair appear thicker however, this happens on the face as well which is not desired.
  4. Hair Loss: On the other end, some pregnant women will experience excessive hair shedding.
  5. Mask of Pregnancy: Some women experience Hyperpigmentation in the form of brown or dark patches on their faces known as melasma.
  6. Food Cravings: A well-known side-effect can also extend to the level of PICA which is a sign of nutrient deficiency.
  7. Extra Sweating: This may extend from first trimester all the way to postpartum and is due to the hormones confusing the brain.
  8. Weak Bladder: Growing uterus causes pressure on the bladder causing this symptom and pelvic floor exercises could help ease it.
  9. Bloating: This is due to high progesterone level which relaxes all smooth muscles slowing down the gastrointestinal system. This also leads to Constipation and Haemorrhoids.
  10. Excessive Salivation
  11. Nosebleeds and Bleeding Gums
  12. Itchy Skin

Also Read: What are the ways to avoid pregnancy?

What are the Precautions Should be Taken During Pregnancy?

Precautions to be taken during pregnancy

  1. Alcohol: It should be avoided as it affects the baby’s brain especially during first trimester.
  2. Medications: Most medications have a harmful effect on the development of the foetus and are harmful to the foetal organs, may cause miscarriage or even stillbirth, hence should be avoided.
  3. Recreational drugs: Cross the placenta into the baby’s system causing foetal defects, miscarriage, stillbirth and/or intellectual impairment.
  4. Smoking: Restricts oxygen supply to the unborn baby and passes toxic substances.
  5. Coffee: Must be consumed in limitation.
  6. Vaccinations: Some vaccines should not be given during pregnancy, such as the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine , human papillomavirus vaccine, and chickenpox vaccine.
  7. Foods: All food that has been left outside or uncovered for a long time, soft cheese, deli meats, unpasteurised dairy, raw meat like sushi must be avoided in first month of pregnancy to avoid listeriosis to avoid food poisoning risk. Sugar must be consumed in limitation too to avoid risk of gestational diabetes developing later on.

What are the Food to Eat During Pregnancy?

Foods to be eaten during pregnancy are as follows:

  1. No need to ‘eat for two’: It is a common notion that a pregnant lady has to eat for two to be able to provide sufficient nutrition to herself and the baby. This isn’t true as the baby derives nutrition from mother’s meals and doesn’t need a meal separately.
  2. Fruits and vegetables: Five portions of either of these have to be minimally consumed daily during pregnancy as these provide vitamins and minerals and also fibre which avoids constipation.
  3. Starchy foods: Should make up to just about one-third of a meal as these provide a lot of energy without calorie consumption. These may include potatoes, noodles, rice, cereals, maize, millet, oats, yam and cornmeal. Instead of refined starchy meals, wholegrain or higher fibre options must be chosen.
  4. Proteins: Must be a portion of every day’s meal and may include: beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat {avoid liver}, poultry, nuts, etc.
  5. Dairy: Contains calcium and other nutrients that both mother and baby need and include milk, cheese, and yoghurt and fromage frais. Alternatives include soy drinks and yoghurts. Low-fat and unsweetened versions must be chosen.
  6. Healthy snacks: These can be taken if you are hungry in between meals and include: small sandwiches, salads, low-fat low-sugar fruit yoghurts, hummus, dry fruits, soups, unsweetened cereals, fresh fruits, baked beans, etc.
  7. Preparing food safely: Includes washing fruits, vegetables and meat as well as surfaces and utensils, proper storage of raw and cooked food separately, well-cooked food and properly heated ready-to-eat meals.

Which Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy?

Foods to avoid in pregnancy are as follows:

  1. Soft Cheeses: Those with a white rindlike brie and camembert and also soft blue cheeses like Danish blue, gorgonzola and Roquefort should be avoided. On the other hand, many soft cheeses made from pasteurised milk are safe in pregnancy like cottage cheese, mozzarella, feta, cream cheese, paneer, ricotta, halloumi, goat’s cheese and spreads.
  2. Raw or partially cooked eggs: To avoid severe diarrhoea and vomiting in the mother.
  3. Pate: All types including vegetable pates must be avoided as they contain listeria.
  4. Raw or under-cooked meat: To be avoided due to the risk of Toxoplasmosis which is harmful to the baby.
  5. Cold cured meats: Salami, chorizo, and pepperoni should be avoided due to the risk of Toxoplasmosis.
  6. Liver: Contains high amounts of vitamin A which may be harmful.
  7. Fish: Should be consumed in limited amounts.
  8. Caffeine: High doses of caffeine may result in low-birth weights in babies, which may later lead to several health issues.

Popular Questions & Answers

Does gynaecosid tablet stop you from getting pregnant? I have consumed it once and its been a year I haven’t gotten pregnant is that ok?

MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, FCPS, DGO, Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning (DFFP)
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
Once consuming gynaecosid does not stop you getting pregnant. Pregnancy can occur only one day of the cycle that is ovulation day so unprotected sex around that day only important. As only one day in month nature should be given 12-24 trials (12 t...

Hello, sir/madam. I got period at 6 may. But this month I didn't I check pregnant it's positive approx 4 week of pregnancy. But I don't want I need to abort. What I do please help me I am feeding 11 month old baby. Plz help me come out from this tension.

MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, FCPS, DGO, Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning (DFFP)
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
Drugs for termination of pregnancy can be taken only under the supervision of doctors licensed for termination, so meet gynecologist.

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