Understanding the Earliest Symptoms of Pregnancy
Many women want to know if they are pregnant at the very earliest possible moment. Unfortunately, the earliest way to find out if you are pregnant is not through symptoms but through having an ultra-sensitive pregnancy test. A good pregnancy test can tell you if you are pregnant before the earliest possible signs of pregnancy will even show up.
Perhaps the earliest symptoms you will see in pregnancy is breast tenderness. The breast tenderness will feel a lot like it does before your period but will not go away when you miss your period. This will often be associated with an increase in white vaginal discharge or light spotting, which usually indicates that the embryo has implanted itself in the uterine lining. Fatigue is a common symptom of early pregnancy, and it usually doesn’t go away until you reach your second trimester.
Then you will have a surge in energy and will feel much better overall. Nausea and vomiting are other aspects of the first trimester that usually starts at around the sixth week of gestation. Nausea and vomiting can be mild and will show up just first thing in the morning or sporadically throughout the day.
Nausea and vomiting can be severe so that you develop hyperemesis gravidarum, which is a condition of pregnancy in which dehydration and electrolyte imbalance can occur. Some women need to be hospitalized when this occurs to receive IV fluids and medications to control nausea. Fortunately, most nausea and vomiting of pregnancy fades away by the end of the first trimester (around 13 weeks of pregnancy), only to be replaced by food cravings, which can be unusual. Some women develop cravings for non-nutritive substances such as chalk or dirt. If this happens to you, see your doctor as this can be a dangerous habit.
Most pregnancy symptoms are tolerable and require no intervention. At the beginning of the pregnancy, frequent naps can relieve some of the fatigue, and small frequent meals can keep your nausea at bay. Keeping crackers and water at the bedside can prevent early morning nausea if you chew on a few crackers before getting out of bed.
Things like round ligament pain and breast tenderness are simply annoying and do not need any intervention. You can wear a firm supportive bra to keep breast tenderness down, and you can make sure you stand up slowly so that you do not stretch the round ligament of the uterus.
It is okay to give into pregnancy cravings as long as you eat healthy most of the time. If you develop cravings for non-nutritive substances such as clay, chalk or dirt, this is not normal, and you should see your doctor about this. Try to eat as healthy as you possibly can during pregnancy and take a prenatal vitamin so you can be sure you are getting the vitamins and minerals necessary during pregnancy.
If you develop severe itching in your third trimester, talk to your OB/GYN doctor about this. There are medications that can be given to control the itching, but they usually make you quite tired. If the itching is interfering with sleep and activities of daily living, your doctor may want to induce you at 37 weeks gestation so that you can be relieved of these symptoms as soon as you deliver.
You can use a heating pad or ice pack to relieve low back pain in pregnancy. Practice good posture and rest when you need to so that the back pain can be relieved.