Your TTC Strategy 8: Recognize Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Am I premenstrual, or am I pregnant?
Temperature, Feelings, and Energy
Morning sickness is usually triggered by the sight, smell, or taste of meats and strong-tasting vegetables, which historically were likely to contain bacteria or birth-defect inducing chemicals. Also, in women who experience morning sickness, symptoms peak precisely when embryonic organ development is most susceptible to chemical disruption, between week six and week 18 of pregnancy. This all suggests morning sickness serves a useful function, evolving to protect mothers and embryos from foods that may endanger the pregnancy.
A woman in the early stages of pregnancy may also feel she has to urinate frequently, especially at nighttime, and she may leak urine with a cough, sneeze, or laugh. Pregnancy causes the uterus to swell soon after implantation, which puts pressure on the bladder, making you feel the need for more frequent urination.
Constipation is a problem experienced by women throughout their pregnancies. It can begin around the time of a missed period and usually gets worse as the pregnancy progresses. It is important to address this problem aggressively with plenty of fluids, fiber, and physical activity.
A persistently elevated basal body temperature (the oral temperature measured first thing in the morning, before arising from bed) is another characteristic sign of early pregnancy. An elevation in the basal body temperature occurs shortly after ovulation due to the release of progesterone and persists until menstruation occurs. Persistence of the elevated basal body temperature beyond 14 days is a sign of early pregnancy. Likewise, if you are using an ovulation predictor kit, failure to have a period 14 days after the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge is another sign.
Fatigue and utter exhaustion are very common early signs of pregnancy. Fatigue is a result of high levels of the hormone progesterone, which in high enough doses can put you to sleep. At the same time, lower blood-sugar levels, lower blood pressure, and increased blood production may team up to sap your energy. Fatigue tends to lessen after a few weeks, but it is a sign that you need to get as much rest and sleep as possible.
Women may also experience dizziness and lightheadedness, particularly when standing for long periods of time or when getting up from a sitting position. While common and often not a cause for concern, it is important to determine what is causing the dizziness. Dizziness can be caused by low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), low blood pressure (due to relaxation of the walls of the veins and arteries), fatigue, becoming overheated, anemia, and high blood pressure. Other causes of dizziness can be allergies, hyperventilation (breathing too fast), or health issues that have nothing to do with pregnancy. Persistent dizziness or dizziness accompanied by blurred vision, headaches, abdominal pain, or palpitations can be a symptom of serious illness that could affect your pregnancy. Contact your doctor immediately.
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