Am I Pregnant? 10 Common Pregnancy Symptoms


Carrying a very little human being around for nine months is not that easy plus it is linked to several pregnancy symptoms. And it doesn’t just stop there.Your body experiences huge changes during pregnancy that can make you feel uncomfortable most of the time. These discomforts that can really wear you down are called pregnancy symptoms and is really common in stages of pregnancy.

In addition, when you already have a tonne of other responsibilities on your plate, the discomforts of pregnancy can challenge your usual capacity for coping.

Pregnancy Symptoms #1: Frequent urination

This is especially evident in the first three and last three months of your pregnancy. A growing infant places pressure on and gradually squashes your bladder. Your kidney is also working harder at this time to flush waste products out. These changes can cause an urgent need to pee although you may have just emptied your bladder.

As part of pregnancy symptoms, some pregnant women even feel a sudden release of urine when they laugh, sneeze or cough. This is both common and temporary because your pelvic floor muscles are relaxing to get ready for delivery.

You can prevent encouraging these pregnancy symptoms by:

  • Avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea and colas. These are diuretics that promote urination.
  • Lean forward each time you urinate. This helps you to empty your bladder completely.
  • Wear a sanitary pad, especially when you are away from home. This can help to catch and absorb those small and sudden leaks without warranting an embarrassing dash to the restroom.
  • Do your Kegel exercises every day. This is a pelvic floor exercise named after the doctor who discovered it. These exercises are performed by tightening and relaxing the muscles that you use to stop and start the flow of urine. The beauty of Kegel exercises is that you can do them anytime and anywhere without anyone realizing that you are doing them!

Pregnancy Symptoms #2: Heartburn and indigestion

Hormones cause valves at the entrance of the stomach to relax during pregnancy. It causes stomach acids to seep back up the esophagus more easily, resulting in heartburn. Pregnancy symptoms like heartburn usually worsens in the second and third trimesters, getting even more uncomfortable when you lie down. In addition to these pregnancy symptoms, hormones also slow down the muscles that help you digest food.

You can prevent or lessen these pregnancy symptoms by:

  • Eating smaller meals, for example, five or six meals a day instead of three large ones.
  • Not drinking too much water during meals.
  • Wearing loose-fitting clothes. Tight clothes can increase pressure around the abdomen.
  • Avoiding heartburn-triggering food such as those that are spicy and oily.
  • Avoiding food that makes the valve relax even further, such as chocolate and caffeinated drinks.
  • Not bending or lying down after eating. Try to sit up, do some light housework or take a walk until you are sure your food has digested.
  • Not having meals too close to your bedtime.
  • Propping your head up with pillows when you sleep.

If pregnancy symptoms like heartburn becomes unbearable, consult your doctor immediately. Avoid popping antacids without checking with your doctor, just in case they are not safe for baby.

Pregnancy Symptoms #3: Hemorrhoids and constipation

A growing uterus places pressure on veins in the lower body. This can lead to hemorrhoids — varicose veins or swollen veins — in the rectal area. Hemorrhoids can be very painful and sometimes protrude from the anus. They can also rupture and bleed. If that’s not all, pregnancy hormones and the pressure of the womb on your bowel can cause constipation. Taking iron supplements can also worsen constipation. And hemorrhoids are more common pregnancy symptoms if you are also constipated.

Some simple lifestyle changes can help you prevent these pregnancy symptoms:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids will help ease bowel movements. If possible, drink a glass of prune juice every day.
  • Eating food rich in fiber, such as wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals, will make bowel movement more regular.
  • Exercising at least three times a week keeps both your body and your digestive system in good shape.
  • Never delay going to the bathroom. Resisting the urge will make it harder for you to pass out stools.

Pregnancy Symptoms #4: Backache

Studies show that at least half of all pregnant women experience backache as one of the common pregnancy symptoms. The pain is usually situated in the lower back, when you stand, sit or sleep. Pregnancy symptoms like backache is caused both by the strain of carrying extra weight around as well as changes in posture that shift your center of gravity forward, putting more pressure on your back. Backache during pregnancy is also due to the softening of muscles that support your spine.

You can lessen the pain of these pregnancy symptoms by:

  • Practicing good posture. Keep your hips forward and back straight.
  • Avoiding heavy lifting. And by bending your knees if you have to pick something up from the floor.
  • Sitting with your back straight and well-supported.
  • Using a firm mattress when you sleep.
  • Doing gentle pregnancy exercises that help stretch and strengthen your back muscles.
  • Wearing maternity pants with a wide elastic band that comes under the curve of your belly to offer better support.

If the pain is severe, consult your doctor immediately as it could be a symptom of pregnancy infection or other medical conditions. If you would like to take a painkiller, let your doctor choose a pregnancy-safe drug for you.

Pregnancy Symptoms #5: Breathlessness

Pregnancy symptoms such as shortness of breath during pregnancy has two key causes. In pregnancy symptoms early signs, higher levels of the hormone progesterone will expand your lung capacity, making you breathe more often so that you can deliver large amounts of oxygen to your baby. This isn’t exactly breathlessness, but can feel like it. As your pregnancy progresses, the growing uterus pushes against other organs and later presses on the diaphragm, making it harder for your lungs to expand fully when you breathe.

Doing the following can help you breathe easier:

  • Sitting up straight gives the lungs more room to expand.
  • Moving slowly puts less pressure on your heart and lungs.
  • Sleeping with your head propped up also places less pressure on your lungs.

Pregnancy Symptoms #6: Varicose veins

Varicose veins are swollen, purplish veins that bulge below the surface of the skin. They usually appear on the legs and thighs but can also appear elsewhere on the body. Some women feel no discomfort despite their appearance, while others may experience an itching or throbbing sensation around a varicose vein. You might feel worse if you’ve been standing for long periods of time.

Varicose veins are very common pregnancy symptoms because a growing uterus can lead to increased pressure on the inferior vena cava and consequently, on leg veins. When you are pregnant, blood volume also increases and this further burdens your veins. Being overweight and having a family history of varicose veins are other causes.

Varicose veins usually improve after delivery, but meanwhile, you can minimize them by:

  • Moving your legs as often as possible to improve blood circulation.
  • Trying to keep to the recommended weight for your stage of pregnancy.
  • Raising your legs whenever possible.
  • Not sitting with your legs crossed.
  • Lying on your left side with your feet propped up. This will relieve the weight of the uterus on the inferior vena cava which is on your right side.
  • Wearing a special support hose which can be found at major pharmacies. This can ease blood flow back up to the heart and minimize both varicose veins and leg swelling.

Pregnancy Symptoms #7: Swelling

Because your body is now holding more water than usual, you may experience swelling in your feet, ankles, legs and hands. Standing or sitting for long periods can also cause swelling. This is no cause for worry as long as your blood pressure is normal, but do check with your doctor immediately if you experience sudden and severe swelling, severe headaches, giddiness, blurred vision and a sharp pain in your belly as these are symptoms of pre-eclampsia

You can reduce the risk of swelling by:

  • Raising your legs whenever seated to relieve pressure on your lower body.
  • Keeping your feet propped up when you sleep.
  • Not standing or sitting for very long periods of time.
  • Staying cool. Feeling hot can make swelling worse.
  • Taking a short walk to improve blood circulation.

Pregnancy Symptoms #8: Abdominal cramping

Feeling a slight cramping sensation in your belly now and then is one of the normal pregnancy symptoms. Severe pain, however, isn’t so it is always better to play it safe and get any persistent abdominal pain promptly checked by your doctor.

There are a few reasons for abdominal cramping during pregnancy. Implantation of the embryo into the uterus wall can cause pain that is similar to menstrual cramps. In the second trimester, the stretching of the muscles and ligaments that support your uterus can also cause a dulling ache. Closer to the third trimester, you may feel a tightening or pulling sensation that feels like contractions. These are known as the Braxton-Hicks contractions. Braxton-Hicks contractions are intermittent contractions of the uterus that actually start as early as six weeks into your pregnancy (although you may not feel them until much later). Unlike real labor, Braxton-Hicks contractions are irregular and much less painful. You may also feel pain due to gas or constipation. Intense cramping that occurs around your 37th to 38th week, includes vaginal bleeding and comes in regular intervals of five to 10 minutes may mean that you are going into labor!

You can comfort normal abdominal cramping by:

  • Taking it easy. Try to sit or lie down, padding your back with pillows and propping your legs up.
  • Bending toward the pain to relieve it.
  • Avoiding sudden changes in position such as twisting sharply at the waist.
  • Doing light walking or housework for pain due to gas or heartburn.

If you think that you are going into labor or sense that something is wrong, rush to your hospital as soon as you can.

Pregnancy Symptoms #9: Dizzy spells

Pregnancy symptoms like feeling faint or actually fainting is usually due to the hormonal changes in your body. You may feel dizzy when you get up suddenly from a sitting down or lying down position. You may also feel dizzy if you stand for long periods of time, such as when you are having a bath or waiting for a bus. Dizzy spells can be dangerous when you are away from home, driving or are alone at home, so it is important to take precautions.

When you feel dizzy, you can prevent injury to yourself by:

  • Lying down on the floor on your side with your arm under your head and your knees bent.
  • Sitting down with your head bent to ease the flow of blood back into your brain.

Some women find that eating a sweet helps to dispel giddiness. If you do faint, you will probably recover quickly and cause no harm to your baby. However, avoid being alone if you feel dizzy frequently and consult your doctor if your dizzy spells give you cause to worry.

Pregnancy Symptoms #10: Fatigue

Feeling tired is part and parcel of pregnancy symptoms due to the whole barrage of hormonal and physical changes taking place. Your body is producing progesterone, which can make you feel sluggish and your blood volume is increasing, putting an extra burden on your heart. You may also be feeling mentally or emotionally stressed as the responsibilities of the future start sinking in. Added to this are the other problems mentioned above, as well as possible lack of sleep. But although it is normal, fatigue shouldn’t be taken lightly. There could be other, less obvious causes like anemia, so do talk to your doctor if you are feeling overly tired all the time.

You can avoid feeling bogged down by:

  • Taking frequent breaks and naps.
  • Keeping to a regular and early bedtime.
  • Exercising for at least thirty minutes a day to increase your energy level.
  • Drinking plenty of fluid to flush out toxins from your body.
  • Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
  • Avoiding caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea.
  • Taking an iron supplement or eating iron-rich food such as seafood, poultry and iron-fortified cereals. Lack of iron can cause anemia.
  • Breathing deeply, listening to soothing music and avoiding stressful situations.

Some women sail through pregnancy without feeling any of the pregnancy symptoms mentioned above. But such good fortune is rare. Tell yourself that any slight pregnancy symptoms are your contribution towards providing your baby a safe and comforting environment to grow in. Be assured that despite how you feel, your baby is growing normally and healthily inside of you. And take comfort that in a matter of months, your uneasiness will disappear to be replaced by the euphoria of new motherhood!


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