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10 Common Symptoms of Pregnancy

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Whether it was planned or unexpected, expect a lot of wonderful and exciting changes. Being pregnant means you gain weight and your uterus enlarges. Usually, a pregnancy lasts about 39-40 weeks and is categorized into three trimesters. The first trimester is weeks 1-12; the second trimester is weeks 13-28; and the third trimester is weeks 29-40.

At the end of 37 weeks, your baby is considered full-term with organs ready to function on their own. When your due date nears, your baby should turn into a head-down position for birth. Most babies weigh around 6 to 9 pounds and are 19 to 21 inches long. Here’s what you can expect, when you are expecting!

Symptom 1: Tenderness

Are your breasts tender to touch? Are they swollen? Sore? Sensitive? Do they look bigger or fuller?

Such tenderness and swelling occurs 1 to 2 weeks after you conceive a child. Then, it lasts all the while your progesterone levels rise during your pregnancy.

Symptom 2: Bleeding

Are you having slight, menstrual bleeding or cramps? Have your menstrual periods stopped altogether? Spotting can occur when you are pregnant because of more blood going to your cervix. However, bleeding while pregnant can be due to serious issues, including an infection, placental problems, a miscarriage, or ectopic pregnancy.

When you are pregnant, vaginal bleeding is not the same as menstruation. According to Babycenter.com, “Menstruation only happens when you're not pregnant: Each month, your uterus grows a thick blood-rich lining in preparation for an egg to embed there. If you don't get pregnant that month, you shed this tissue and blood – that's your menstrual period. But once an egg embeds in the uterine lining, hormones tell the blood-rich tissue to stay intact to support the growing baby. And you won't shed it and start having your period again until your pregnancy is over.”

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Symptom 3: Mood Swings

Are you experiencing severe mood swings? Happy one moment, and crying the next? According to the American Pregnancy Association, “Significant changes in your hormone levels can affect your level of neurotransmitters, which are brain chemicals that regulate mood. Mood swings are mostly experienced during the first trimester between 6 to 10 weeks and then again in the third trimester as your body prepares for birth.”

On Parents.com, Marisa Cohen shared her experience with pregnancy: “When I was three months pregnant, a slice of cheese made me burst into tears. It wasn't even an actual piece of cheese -- just the idea of it. I was still in that phase when most foods made me gag, and after I ordered a plain turkey wrap at the diner, I became irrationally convinced that the cook was going to sneak in an unwanted slice of Swiss. As my husband tried to calm me down, I got more hysterical, convinced that my dinner would be ruined and he just didn't understand what I was going through!”

Symptom 4: Food Aversions

Are you having food aversions or sudden cravings? Does looking at pizza, which you used to love, make you want to vomit now? Do you crave pickles and ice cream, or even chalk or dirt?

About 50 percent of pregnant women experience food aversions. Huffington Post shared some rather unusual aversions and cravings.

“During my first pregnancy, I craved deviled eggs. It was bizarre. My husband would come home to find me boiling dozens of eggs — I wouldn’t even wait until they were cold. I’d be frantically shoving warm deviled eggs in my mouth.” — Ashley

“I suffered from pica [the eating of non-food materials, that can sometimes strike during pregnancy]. I wanted dirt, rocks, and I loved the smell of cars and trucks that ran on diesel. There was absolutely nothing I could do to help my cravings.” — Andrea

“I would only eat tomato soup with a few M&Ms in it. It sounds totally gross, but it was my dinner for a few weeks during the third trimester.” — Nikki

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Symptom 5: Nausea/Morning Sickness

Do you have nausea and feel like vomiting? Ok, if those crazy cravings did not make you nauseated, pregnancy will!

During your first trimester, you may feel nauseated – especially in the morning. To minimize nausea, go outside or open a window to get some fresh air, place a cool compress on your forehead or back of your neck, and eat smaller meals.

Symptom 6: Headache

While pregnant, especially during your first trimester, you have a surge of hormones and an increase in blood volume, which can cause headaches.

The headaches may feel like a gripping pain or dull ache on both sides of your head or on the back of your neck. 

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Symptom 7: Body Aches

Do you feel pelvic pressure? Does your body ache? Do you have general discomfort? Do you have mild cramps?

Your body is just preparing for childbirth.

Symptom 8: Dizziness

Are you feeling dizzy? When you are pregnant, you experience a rise in hormones, making your blood vessels relax and widen. This is good for your baby, but slows down blood returning to your veins. Your blood pressure drops, and you become dizzy.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, “During the second trimester, dizziness may be caused because your growing uterus puts pressure on blood vessels. Dizziness may also occur later in your pregnancy if you lie on your back, allowing the weight of the baby to press on your vena cava (a large vein that carries blood from your lower body to your heart).”

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Symptom 9: Heartburn/Indigestion

When you are pregnant, you can suffer from heartburn and indigestion. During pregnancy, progesterone is a hormone that relaxes your muscles and stomach valve. You may feel pain or discomfort in your stomach, as well as a burning sensation caused by acid going from your stomach into the esophagus.

Try over-the-counter antacids to minimize the heartburn and indigestion.

Symptom 10: Swelling

When you are pregnant, besides your belly swelling, you have swelling elsewhere, and it is common. It is due to additional blood and fluid that softens your body to expand as the baby grows.

You may have swelling in your hands, face, legs, ankles, and feet.

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