The Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy (II)

This issue is a continuation of our last article: The Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy Part I.

Frequent urination is another of the common signs of pregnancy. Around six to eight weeks after conception, you may find yourself making a few extra trips to the bathroom.

During pregnancy the amount of blood and other fluids in your body increases, which leads to extra fluid being processed by your kidneys and ending up in your bladder. This symptom may worsen as the pregnancy progresses and your growing baby exerts more pressure on your bladder. Rising levels of the pregnancy hormone progesterone stimulate the bladder muscles so that it feels full, even though you might not need to urinate.   

Darkening of the areola, the skin around your nipples can indicate that you have one of the common early signs of pregnancy which may last throughout the entire pregnancy.

While you may not have a strong desire to eat pickles and ice cream, many women will have cravings for certain foods or combinations of foods when they are pregnant. This can last throughout your entire pregnancy. Everyone has at least one funny story about food cravings. Taking a good pre-natal vitamin supplement may reduce some of these cravings.

Less well known but equally common pregnancy signs are aversions to certain foods, which may be caused by the rapidly increasing amounts of estrogen in the system. You may find that some foods you previously enjoyed are no longer appetizing. Just the smell of certain foods can make a pregnant woman feel nauseated. This aversion may come and go for some women, but for others it could last throughout pregnancy.

Changes in taste and smell are common pregnancy symptoms. Many women claim certain foods make them feel queasy - while others experience a craving for other foods.  You can experience a heightened sensitivity to aromas, which may be a side effect of estrogen flooding your body. Even a favorite aroma, such as the smell of a food or perfume, can make you nauseated. The smell of fresh mowed grass, the smell of a gas station, smells of various foods, household cleaners, perfumes, cigarette smoke, etc., can all cause you to feel queasy. Another sign can be experiencing a strange metallic taste in your mouth.

You may have been feeling a little bit warm lately and wondered if you are coming down with something. Take your temperature and see if it is higher than it normally would be. If it stays high for two weeks in a row, something is obviously going on with your body. You may be pregnant, or you could have a low grade fever. Either way you should make an appointment with your doctor.

Constipation sometimes means you might be experiencing one of the first signs of pregnancy. This symptom is caused by a growing uterus pushing against the stomach and other organs. Also, increasing levels of hormones slow down digestion and bowel functions allowing the body to absorb as many vitamins, minerals and nutrients as possible from foods. Taking a quality prenatal multi-vitamin supplement is important to help your body get the nutrients it needs for your growing baby.

The slower emptying of the stomach may also cause the release of increased stomach acid to aid digestion, leading to a feeling of heartburn. Soda crackers and sparkling water can help. Smaller more frequent meals are easier to digest. Drink plenty of water and eat fruits, vegetables and perhaps some raisin and bran cereal to help regularity. Some vitamin formulas contain digestive enzymes which can also help with digestion. Ask your doctor before taking any kind of antacids as some contain aluminum and should be avoided. Unfortunately, constipation and heartburn can last throughout your term.

One surprising pregnancy sign is dizziness and/or fainting. Going up the stairs, standing up suddenly or just having to stand in line at the grocery store can make you feel light headed. You might even faint. As the uterus swells, it compresses the arteries in your legs. This can drop your blood pressure and make you feel dizzy. You can also feel faint when you have gone too long without eating. This is due to a drop in your blood sugar which is your baby's main source of food. You should eat frequent, healthy snacks to keep your blood sugar up. Make sure you have plenty of apples, bananas, grapes, yogurt cups, carrots and celery, cheese and crackers, small cartons of milk, juice boxes, granola bars, boxes of raisins, etc. on hand.

With all of these different symptoms of pregnancy that you are experiencing and the raging hormones that you are dealing with, it is it no surprise that you may have some mood swings and irritability! At the same time, you are dealing with the emotional adjustments to your world changing and your soon to be new responsibility. Even when your pregnancy is carefully planned, it is normal for you to be filled with questions about the timing, your career, finances, insurance, labor and delivery, motherhood, even the future costs of college for your unborn child. It is perfectly normal to feel mixed emotions such as excitement and depression, joy and sorrow, laughter and tears. Your partner may be very confused by these sudden changes in mood and may not seem to be very supportive. Explain that your mood swings are very normal signs of pregnancy and that you just need a little support and understanding. You are the one going through all these changes and it really isn't asking too much for your partner to be patient, understanding and ready with hugs and kind words of support when you need them.   Most fathers-to-be want to be supportive, they just need a little help understanding the different symptoms that you are experiencing during your pregnancy.   It really is a mystery to them. These mood swings may decrease in the second trimester.

Remember to get plenty of rest, eat right, take your prenatal vitamins and get some moderate exercise by taking short walks.   And last but not least, Congratulations!

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