Symptoms and Signs of Pregnancy

Common Signs of Pregnancy

Many women claim that they know they are pregnant as soon as they conceive. While this may be true, only a pregnancy test will be able to tell if you are pregnant. But you may see other symptoms and signs of pregnancy before you take the test that may prove your suspicions including:

  • Increased fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Increased hunger or thirst

These physical signs of pregnancy may be accompanied by emotional signs of pregnancy as well that include:

  • Mood swings
  • Increased stress brought on by hormonal and physical changes
  • Feelings of ‘something different’

Following these feelings may lead you to take a pregnancy test.

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What pregnancy test will tell you?

Taking a pregnancy test will confirm those feelings you have been having lately. Buying a pregnancy test at the drugstore is what women usually do before seeing a doctor. These tests are very simple to use and work by measuring the HCG levels in your urine. These levels will be much higher in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant.

If the pregnancy test is positive, you should schedule a visit with your doctor. You should have another test just to make sure the first one was correct. Sometimes HCG levels can rise temporarily due to stress.



Once it has been confirmed that you are pregnant, you should prepare yourself for motherhood. If you have been trying to get pregnant for a few months, you will already be considering things like where the nursery will be, who your doctor will be, and which hospital you will be giving birth. If you have not been planning these things, you still have nine months to do so.

Keep in mind that drugstore pregnancy tests are not full proof and you should visit your doctor to get confirmation that you are pregnant.

Physical signs of pregnancy

There are many physical signs that can tell a woman if she is pregnant. These signs of pregnancy may not necessarily mean that you are pregnant, but the chances are very good that you are. These signs will vary from woman to woman and in the intensity of which they are felt. But one thing is for sure, you will notice physical changes after you become pregnant.

  • Late or missed periods
    If you miss two periods in a row, then you are probably pregnant. The best way to tell is to visit your doctor who will give you a pregnancy test to be sure. Sometimes missing a period or two could be a sign of other health issues. Either way, if you miss your period once or twice, you should see your doctor.
  • Light bleeding
    This may also be a sign of pregnancy. During the implantation stage, when the fertilized egg is attaching itself to the uterine wall, you may notice small amounts of blood on a day that isn’t during your regular cycle. If you miss your next period, then you should see your doctor. You could be pregnant.
  • Morning sickness
    If you are feeling nauseous in the morning or in the late afternoon or evening, then you could be pregnant. If this pattern continues for more than a week, then you should see your doctor. Morning sickness lasts through your first trimester and should taper off when you enter your second trimester. It may pick up again during your third trimester.
  • Frequent urination
    If you find yourself in the bathroom because you need to urinate more than usual, then it may be a sign of pregnancy. When you become pregnant as the baby grows, you will feel more and more pressure on your bladder, which will cause you to have to urinate more often during the day.
  • Swollen breasts
    This is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. If your nipples are suddenly swollen, this is because your body is preparing itself for providing food for your baby. This is normal and will continue throughout the pregnancy.
  • Fatigue
    If you are feeling more tired than usual and you cannot get through the day without napping, then you may be pregnant. Insomnia can also cause fatigue during the day, which is another common issue associated with pregnancy.



  • Headaches
    A mild headache is a common sign of pregnancy. But, If you are experiencing more headaches than usual, you should see a doctor as this could be the cause of many different health issues.
  • Dizziness
    During the early stages of pregnancy, the body will be changing itself in order to accommodate another person inside it. As a result, your blood sugar may drop during different parts of the day. This can cause dizziness. You should make sure to eat healthy foods and see a doctor who will determine what the problem is.
  • Constipation
    You may have bouts of constipation during the early stages of pregnancy. This is because of an increased level of progesterone, which can slow down your digestive system.
  • Body temperature increase
    Take your temperature in the morning after getting out of bed. If it is slightly higher than usual, then you may be pregnant, as it is one of the common signs of pregnancy.
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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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Emotional signs of pregnancy

Emotional signs that you are pregnant may be harder to see at first. If you are not feeling physically well, then your emotions may be showing that. But if you are in tune with your body and your emotions, you may notice slight changes that may signal that you are expecting.

  • Mood swings
    It is a common emotional sign of pregnancy. Depending on your personality, this may or may not be difficult to see. But chances are if you are happy one minute and crying the next, there must something going on with your hormones.
  • Withdrawing from others
    Because of fatigue, you may find yourself wanting to be alone more often. This could be a sign that you are pregnant.



  • Depression
    While most people are happy to find out that they are pregnant, if you have not found out yet and are dealing with physical changes, you could become depressed. You should visit your doctor as soon as possible in order to end your depression and begin celebrating the coming of your new baby.

Early pregnancy problems

You will have to undergo various tests during your pregnancy that will help catch problems that may come up. Some of these problems can be solved very easily, but others cannot. Every day children are born with birth defects or they are stillborn. While medical science has eliminated many health threats, there are still children who will be born with health problems.

Catching these problems as soon as possible will increase your baby’s chances of survival. Below is a list of common health problems that can occur in the first trimester and throughout your pregnancy.

  • STDs
    If think you have been exposed to an STD, you should be tested right away. Many times, the STD can be transmitted to the baby if nothing is done to prevent it. Doctors will give a full physical exam which will include a blood test. There are antiviral drugs that are available and if necessary, a cesarean section will be given so that the STD if transmitted to the child.
  • Listeriosis
    This is an infection that you can get from eating certain kinds of cheeses, unpasteurized dairy products, and lunch meat. It can cause flu-like symptoms. Once doctors have recognized what it is, they can give antibiotics that will help prevent the bacteria from spreading to the baby.
  • Toxoplasmosis
    This is another infection that can be contracted from eating undercooked meat, changing the cat’s litter box, or eating vegetables that were grown in contaminated soil. Amniocentesis may be performed to see if the infection has spread to the baby. If it has not, then the mother will be treated. If the infection has spread, then the baby will be treated before and after it is born to make sure that it will remain healthy.
  • Hepatitis B
    If you suspect that you have Hepatitis B, then you should inform your doctor, who will then conduct a blood test. If you test positive, the baby will be given a Hepatitis B shot after birth along with an HBIG shot.
  • Gestational Diabetes
    This form of diabetes will usually occur in the second trimester. If you begin suffering from dehydration and your blood sugar level continuously drops during the day, you should be tested. You may need to have insulin shots for the rest of your pregnancy.
  • Urinary Tract Infection
    If have had a UTI before, then you should recognize these symptoms. The most common is painful urination, pain in the pelvic or kidney areas, and painful intercourse. If you do not have this treated, then you may go into labor early. Your doctor will put you on antibiotics in order to clear up the infection.
  • Toxemia
    High blood pressure usually occurs around the thirtieth week of pregnancy. If it is close enough to your due date, doctors will usually induce labor. If you need to wait a few more weeks, then you may be placed on bed rest until you are ready to deliver your baby.



  • Ectopic Pregnancy
    This is caused when the fertilized egg gets caught in the fallopian tube. Since the egg cannot survive, surgery is usually done to remove the egg.
  • Stillbirth
    Even though this is rare, stillbirths can still occur. If you do not experience your baby kicking by your twentieth week of pregnancy or if the baby stops kicking, this could mean there is a problem. Tests will be run to see if the baby is still breathing and if it is caught in an awkward position and cannot kick for now. You may be placed on bed rest until the baby is born. Many times, there is no problem, but doctors just want to make sure.
  • Early labor
    Early labor is considered anywhere from twenty to thirty-seven weeks into the pregnancy. If you are experiencing contractions around this time, you should consult your doctor who can offer several suggestions on how to make them stop. You may need to rest more often or take medication.

If you have any concerns while you are pregnant, you should contact your doctor. Even if they are small, you may be able to catch a problem before it turns into a larger one.


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The stages of growth for your baby

Each month, your baby will grow and change as you experience new physical and emotional changes. As you get closer to your due date, you will have seen ultrasounds, heard the baby, and felt it kick. These are amazing feats in just a few short months. Below is a break down of what to expect in terms of your baby’s growth over a nine-month period.

  • First month
    During the first month of pregnancy, the sperm will fertilize the egg, which will travel to the uterus. It will attach itself to the uterus and begin to grow. A few cells will begin to multiply. The egg will be called a blastocyst when it is trying to attaché itself to the uterus. At the end of week four, the yolk sac will help the blastocyst survive until the placenta is formed.
  • Second month
    The blastocyst will become an embryo during the second month. It is also during this time that the heart will begin to beat. As the month goes by, organs will begin to form and you will be able to tell from the first ultrasound that the baby is beginning to form limbs. You will also see a head, but you will not be able to know the gender of the baby just yet.
  • Third month
    It is during the third month that the embryo will become a fetus. The bones will begin to harden and your baby’s eyes will be able to move. The baby will also develop ears. Even though their genitals are forming, it is still difficult to determine the sex of the baby from an ultrasound.
  • Fourth month
    You will be able to determine the sex of the baby through the ultrasound by this time. Your baby’s heart will be pumping blood and the baby will be urinating in small amounts. The baby will also have teeth and scalp patterns will be formed.



  • Fifth month
    At this point, growth will slow down for a while. Your baby will develop fingerprints, teeth buds, and maybe covered in hair or a substance called vernix. Even though the baby may be moving, you will probably not be able to tell. You may be able to tell when the baby sleeps and when it is awake, however.
  • Sixth month
    Your baby should be moving a lot more during this month. They will also grow eyebrows and practice their breathing for when they are born. They will also be preparing for birth in just three short months.
  • Seventh month
    The kicking you were feeling last month may be reduced as the baby will be preparing itself to leave the uterus by turning itself. The baby will be able to hear sounds, it will be able to see light and dark, and it will hear everything that is going on inside of you. During this month, little developments such as eyelashes will be complete.
  • Eighth month
    Your baby is almost ready to be born. There is limited room in the uterus, the baby is urinating more frequently, and all the components needed for survival on the outside are in place. Your baby will continue to gain more weight until birth.
  • Ninth month
    Your baby is ready to be born! You will notice more weight gain which will help the baby survive on the outside once it has been born. Your baby will have hair and fingernails. Their organs are complete and your baby can breathe on its own.

These are the stages of development that every healthy baby will go through before it can be born. If for some reason your baby will be born early, up to a month is acceptable. Any more than that and the baby will need to stay in the hospital until it puts on more weight and finishes developing.

Nine months may not seem like a long time because of all the changes the fetus must go through in order to become a small human being, but that’s all it takes. While you may feel like it is an eternity, knowing who quickly your baby is growing and changing may help you feel better about being pregnant.

Genetic defects testing during pregnancy

Ultrasounds (USG)

Ultrasounds are conducted to make sure that your baby is developing correctly. These tests will not harm you or the baby and can tell doctors many things about the baby in terms of its health, positioning, and gender.

The main reasons for ultrasound include:

  • Rule out genetic defects
  • Check for ectopic pregnancy
  • If a medical problem arises, to make sure the baby is doing well
  • Give a date as to when pregnancy occurred

Ultrasounds may be performed at any stage during your pregnancy and can be done vaginally or abdominally. Most vaginal probes are conducted during the beginning of your pregnancy. After the baby has begun to form, an abdominal ultrasound will be able to capture the baby.

The most popular use of an ultrasound that most people think of is to see the baby and to determine its gender. Many parents consider ultrasound pictures to be their first baby pictures. This is a proud moment to see your new baby on the screen. It will seem very small, but as the month’s progress, you will get to see how fast it will be growing.

An ultrasound is also used to tell if a baby is ready to be born. If the baby has turned and you are nearing or have reached your fortieth week of pregnancy, then you will be ready to deliver your baby. Knowing how the baby is positioned will determine which birthing procedure is used.

Ultrasounds may also be used to make sure the baby is not stillborn, meaning that it died while still inside the mother. While this is no longer as common, it can still occur. Ultrasounds will check for movement including breathing to make sure the baby is alive.


Amniocentesis

An amniocentesis is done to make sure your baby is developing normally and that it does not have genetic diseases or lung problems. This test is given during your thirty-fourth week of pregnancy or sooner if necessary.

This test is administered by inserting a needle into the uterus and gathering some of the amniotic fluid. This fluid is then tested to see if there are any genetic abnormalities present.

If there are, then other tests will be conducted. It is at this time that parents will have to make difficult decisions concerning the treatment of the baby once it is born, living arrangements, and other considerations. Knowing this information in advance will prepare parents for what lies ahead.

Alpha-Fetoprotein Screening

This test will determine defects such as spina bifida and in some cases, down syndrome. This test is given between fifteen and eighteen weeks during your pregnancy.

Blood will be taken from you and analyzed. If anything unusual is found this does not mean that your baby will have birth defects, but it does mean that more tests will be conducted and you will be monitored throughout your pregnancy.

Precutaneous umbilical cord blood sampling 

This test will help determine if your child is suffering from a blood disorder or chromosomal issues. This test is given after your eighteenth week of pregnancy.

Blood is drawn from the umbilical cord and analyzed.

Stress/Non-stress testing

This test is usually conducted during your third trimester. It is to make sure that your baby is developing normally. Monitors are used to seeing the baby’s movements.

During your pregnancy, many tests will be conducted in order to see how well your baby is developing. While some of these tests may be uncomfortable, they are necessary for your baby’s health. If you have questions about any of these tests, you should ask your doctor.

Having a healthy baby depends a lot on you. How well you eat, sleep, exercise, control your stress, and how often you visit your doctor will help you have a healthy baby.

If you have any symptoms that seem out of the ordinary especially in your second and third trimester, you should contact your doctor. Being able to recognize symptoms and signs of pregnancy that are not normal may save your baby’s life and maybe even your own. These days medical technology can help cure babies that are in distress. Don’t wait until it is too late to help your baby. Report any unusual symptoms to your doctor.

Sometimes all it takes is a simple ultrasound or blood test to know that everything is just fine with you and your baby.


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