For most women, the most reliable sign of pregnancy is a missed period. Once you know you are pregnant, you might be feeling that everyone must know, but it’s very unlikely at such an early stage. While a huge amount of changes have started to take place, most are gradual and go unnoticed to people on the outside.
But what might you be feeling?
Some pregnancy symptoms like to arrive with a bang – like morning sickness. Morning sickness is experienced by around half of all pregnant women and usually involves getting sick without any prior warning or feeling nauseous. Symptoms normally start around 6 weeks and have generally resolved by the 16th week.
The tiredness associated with pregnancy, especially your first pregnancy is not to be underestimated. Feelings of complete exhaustion in the first few months of pregnancy can be quiet overwhelming. This can be hard to cope with, especially as it usually occurs before you have announced you are pregnant. The only way to manage it is to get as must rest as possible and try to eat a healthy diet if you are able to tolerate food.
Aches & pains
Most women experience some abdominal aches and pains in early pregnancy. This is the result of the growth and stretching of the ligaments and muscles attached to the womb. It is generally nothing to worry about, but if it becomes severe or is associated with any bleeding, it is important to get it checked by a doctor.
Due to hormonal changes your skin may become drier or spottier than usual. This generally settles down as the pregnancy progresses.
Good hair days
Pregnancy hormones can also be responsible for some of your best ‘hair days’. The natural process of shedding hair, stops during pregnancy and your hair can become very full, glossy and less oily.
Your breasts are likely to increase in size, feel heavy and become very tender. Your nipples get larger, darker and the veins become visible under the skin. These changes are in preparation for breastfeeding.
Changes “down there”
During pregnancy the cervix and vaginal walls get softer resulting in increased vaginal discharge. This happens to protect the growing baby and should be clear and white without any smell. Anything other than this, including itch or soreness can be a sign of infection.
Growing a baby requires a lot of energy and you might be shocked by how much extra food you are craving. You might begin to crave new foods and strange combinations. Some women complain of a metallic taste in their mouth and have a very sensitive sense of smell that can put you off your old favourites. Cravings are nothing to worry about but it is important not to overdo it on too many unhealthy foods.
Be prepared for some major mood changes! You might find that one minute you’re elated and the next you’re crying your eyes out for no reason. Feeling emotionally fragile is completely normal. While the majority of these feelings are beyond our control, if you find you are having feelings of anxiety then talking to someone and sharing worries and concerns will make you feel much better.
Pregnancy can be a rollercoaster of physical and emotional changes but they are all worthwhile once you welcome your little baby.