Pregnancy signs: What’s normal, what’s not?

Pregnancy signs: What’s normal, what’s not?

Christia S. Padolina, M.D. lists symptoms that typically accompany pregnancy to help you know what to expect.


PLAYING: Pregnancy signs: What’s normal, what’s not?

5 min read

Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life. However, the experience varies/is different for every woman. While some women sail through without a twinge of a problem, others will face distressing pregnancy situations like morning sickness. Some pregnancy symptoms can be so unpleasant that you might even find yourself wondering: Am I supposed to feel this way or is there anything wrong with me?

To help you know what to expect, Christia S. Padolina, M.D. listed symptoms that typically accompany pregnancy and recommended when you need to call your healthcare professional.

Why it happens -
Spotting or light bleeding during pregnancy commonly occurs during the first trimester. In fact, approximately 20 percent of pregnant women will experience spotting and, most of them will go on to have a healthy pregnancy. 

One common cause of spotting is implantation bleeding, which occurs six to twelve days after the fertilized egg attaches to your uterine lining. Typically happens during the early stage of pregnancy, implantation bleeding is often mistaken as the beginning of a regular menstrual period. This type of spotting may last anywhere from a few hours to a few days but do not worry because it normally occurs to pregnant women. 

When to seek assistance - Any kind of vaginal bleeding can be a symptom of a larger problem. Thus, whether you are bleeding or spotting, it is best to contact your healthcare provider and answer detailed questions about your experience (e.g. the amount of blood you've lost or your overall feeling).

Why it happens -
Normal swelling or edema is often experienced in the hands, face, legs, ankles, and feet, due to the accumulation of excessive fluid in the tissues. While it can happen to anyone, edema is particularly common among pregnant women since the body produces approximately 50 percent more blood and body fluids to meet the needs of the developing baby. Swelling may be experienced at any point during pregnancy, but usually occurs around the fifth month and increases towards the third trimester.

When to seek assistance - Watch out for a sudden swelling in your hands, feet, and face, accompanied with rapid weight gain. This may be the early signs of preeclampsia, a pregnancy condition characterized by high blood pressure (hypertension) and increased protein in the urine. Compared to normal edema, this swelling is more severe. Contact your healthcare professional if you experience any of these red flags. 

Nausea and vomiting  
Why it happens -
Nausea and vomiting are common conditions during pregnancy. Although these are often referred to/called “morning sickness,” nausea and vomiting can occur at any time of the day. This pregnancy woe often develops during the first five to six weeks of pregnancy and might get worst in the ninth week. However, this usually improves by 16 to 18 weeks of pregnancy. In some cases, nausea and vomiting may continue until the third trimester in 15 to 20 percent of women and until delivery in five percent of women.

When to seek assistance - Nausea and vomiting are usually not harmful to the developing baby, but can have a serious effect on your everyday life, including your ability to work or do your normal activities. Call your healthcare professional to avoid possible dehydration, which might prevent you from gaining a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy. 

Since spotting, swelling, nausea, and vomiting are common pregnancy conditions, it is difficult to know when new symptoms are simply part of being pregnant or actually an indication of a serious problem, especially if it is your first time to get pregnant. That is why it is important to talk to a healthcare professional regularly to help and guide you along the way.

It is incredibly important to ensure that you have a healthy, safe and stress-free pregnancy, especially for the growing baby inside your womb. In addition to a trouble-free gestation, you also need a maternal milk that will supplement you and your baby with essential nutrients. 

With a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, you can make sure that you and your baby are getting the right amount of nutrition critical for your baby’s growth and development. 

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