Usually the first indication of a pregnancy is a missed period, which typically happens the fourth or fifth week of pregnancy. However, you probably won’t begin to experience physical symptoms until the second month, or weeks five through eight. It is common for women to experience morning sickness, fatigue and breast changes during weeks seven and eight. These are considered healthy discomforts and usually do not pose a threat to mother or child. These symptoms can be significantly, but not necessarily totally, alleviated if mom is prepared and educated. Alternatively, if these pregnancy symptoms appear to be extreme or severe, do not ignore them. It is essential that the entire pregnancy be monitored by a physician and that you keep your scheduled prenatal visits.
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The hormones produced during pregnancy can cause symptoms. For example, the level of human chorionic gonadotropin hormone, or HCG, in the body is associated with morning sickness and frequent urination. During weeks seven and eight, many women experience nausea and may find it difficult to keep food down. Nausea can occur at any time of the day. You might not be able to maintain your pre-pregnancy eating routine and may find yourself with a decreased appetite and eating less. As a result, many women lose weight. It is important to stay hydrated. Occasional vomiting and mild nausea will not hurt the baby. The decrease in food intake along with other physical changes often lead to fatigue.
During weeks seven and eight, pregnant women begin to experience breast tenderness, which can be attributed to estrogen and progesterone production. These hormones cause an increase in the size of the milk-producing glands inside the breasts. Additional changes include the appearance of blue veins and a change in the skin around the nipple. At this time, the nipples usually become sore and sensitive. Stretch marks may appear as breasts begin to increase up to a cup size.
Preparation and education can go a long way in successfully dealing with pregnancy symptoms. Keep ready-to-eat healthy snacks with you throughout the day. Eat crackers, fruits, vegetables, nuts, dried cereal, sunflower seeds and yogurt. Stash snacks at your bedside, in your work desk and inside your purse. Drink plenty of water and adjust your sleeping routine to allow yourself nine to 10 hours of sleep at night. Check with your doctor first, but exercise throughout the day may help you feel better.
When to Alert the Doctor
The American Pregnancy Association explains the difference between morning sickness and a more serious condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. The latter is characterized by severe vomiting , unrelenting nausea, dehydration caused by vomiting and the inability to keep any food down. Additional symptoms include confusion, headaches, rapid heart rate, fainting and low blood pressure. The condition can be successfully treated with or without medication. A pregnant woman experiencing these symptoms should contact her doctor immediately.