During your pregnancy, there are many changes that you can expect to go through, as your baby develops and your body prepares for childbirth and motherhood. While you may not experience all of the signs of pregnancy, it is likely that you will experience many of them.
Vaginal Symptoms and Clinical Signs
One of the most obvious signs of pregnancy is a missed period. Sometimes, a woman may mistake implantation bleeding, which occurs six to 12 days following conception, for a light period; however, implantation bleeding is a sign of pregnancy. Vaginal discharge is common during pregnancy, however, should your discharge become foul smelling or blood streaked, a trip to the doctor is warranted as these may be signs of pregnancy complications. During ovulation, you may experience a slight increase in body temperature. This rise in temperature will remain past ovulation if conception occurs. When you become pregnant, your body begins to manufacture human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). There are urine tests and blood tests that can be used to confirm the presence of this hormone. Your vagina and cervix will develop a bluish tint. Around nine to 10 weeks into the pregnancy, a practitioner can usually hear your baby's heart beat by using a Doppler instrument. An ultrasound or sonogram provides you with definitive proof that conception has occurred. As early as 22 days after conception, a fetal heart beat may be seen on the ultrasound.
Aches, Pains and Fatigue
Pregnancy can cause tender and swollen breasts. Additionally, your areolas may become noticeably darker. Hormonal changes during pregnancy may cause you to experience headaches, which may last the entire pregnancy. Mild lower abdominal pain, much like that of a sore muscle, is common during pregnancy. This stretching of pelvic ligaments occurs when the ligaments that support the uterus begin to stretch to accommodate the pregnancy. As the center of gravity changes to accommodate the pregnancy, backaches may become a problem. Starting as early as one week following conception, extreme fatigue may be present. This fatigue is the result of increased energy used for the placenta and fetus to grow.
Bloating, Urination, Acne and Saliva Changes
Water retention may cause you to feel bloated. Eating salty foods may increase this sign of pregnancy. During the first and third trimesters of pregnancy, you will usually make more trips to the bathroom. In the first trimester, increased urination is the result of increased hormones. During the third trimester, increased urination is because of pressure on the bladder caused by your baby dropping. Hormonal changes during pregnancy may cause you to develop acne. This may occur on the face or body. You may experience excess salivation or a metallic taste in your mouth. When these signs occur, they will usually remain the entire pregnancy.
Nausea, Vomiting, Cravings and Aversions
Nausea and vomiting, which are also known as morning sickness, are common beginning in the sixth to eighth week of pregnancy. Pregnancy may also cause you to crave certain foods; however, food aversions are also common. A food aversion occurs when you dislike foods you usually like. Some pregnant women experience a condition known as pica, which requires medical attention. This is craving non-food items such as dirt, clay or starch.
As Your Pregnancy Progresses
Sometime around 20 weeks into the pregnancy, you may begin to feel fetal movements. These are light fluttering sensations that can feel like butterflies in the stomach. As your baby grows, you may notice your waistline expanding. In the beginning of pregnancy, this expansion may be likened to bloating. Stretch marks, which are caused by the expanding of the skin, are common during pregnancy, especially on the stomach, breast and buttocks. The placenta and baby require increased blood flow to the abdominal area. This takes blood away from the rest of the body, which may cause lightheadedness. Your hair may grow faster and thicker during pregnancy. However, this may also lead to hair growing on undesired areas, such as the face, breasts or stomach. Linea nigra is a dark line that is common during pregnancy. This line runs from the belly button down to the pubic bone.