Throughout the ages, long before First Response or Clearblue made pregnancy tests, women have noticed the signs of early pregnancy simply by attending to subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) changes in their bodies.
Here are just a few of the first signs and symptoms of pregnancy:
Fatigue: Extreme, unexplainable fatigue is probably the most common sign of early pregnancy. You may find yourself napping at your desk with the office door closed, passing out long before the 7 o’clock news or simply snoozing through the alarm clock.
Our advice: Listen to your body, take it easy, and try to stay well-rested. Let somebody else do the dishes, the laundry, the grocery shopping or whatever it is you are too tired to do (and yes, you can print this point out to share with your spouse!). Whatever you do, DON”T treat fatigue with excessive caffeine if there is any chance you may be pregnant; most research suggests that a lot of caffeine isn’t good for pregnant women or their babies.
Food aversions: Does the mere thought of your beloved hot wings suddenly make you gag? Do you find it impossible to pass the local Chinese place without running AND holding your nose? If this is happening to you, you might be pregnant. Many women report that intense food aversions are one of the first signs of early pregnancy; physicians believe these aversions are caused by rising levels of pregnancy hormone, beta-hCG.
Our advice: There isn’t all that much to do except steer clear of the hot wings and other foods that make you feel sick. Try to think of it in a positive light; you have a valid reason for staying out of the kitchen.
Sensitivity to smells. Scents that always bothered you (like cigarette smoke) and even ones you enjoy (such as your partner’s cologne) can also make you gag at the beginning of pregnancy. For some women, this can be a tip-off that they are expecting and, again, is probably the result of pregnancy hormones.
Our advice: Unfortunately, there is really nothing you can do except avoid unpleasant smells when you can. You should totally avoid cigarette smoke and/ or other noxious odors, which are not good for you or the baby.
Nausea and vomiting. It’s the hormones. Again. It’s probably not much comfort to you, but Her Royal Highness Catherine Middleton had to be hospitalized for excessive vomiting during her first trimester.
This condition, called hyperemesis gravidarum, happens rarely. However, this specific occurrence does demonstrate that, even if you wear a crown, you can’t control every aspect of your pregnancy.
- This too shall pass: Keep reminding yourself that the nausea and vomiting will likely pass after you reach the 12 week mark.
- Take heart. Rising levels of the beta-HCG hormone, which may cause morning sickness, also indicate a growing pregnancy.
- Eat to stay well. Beat back morning sickness (or all-day sickness, as the case can be) by eating offensively, as opposed to defensively. The key is not to let your stomach get too empty. Keep crackers by your bedside and have them before you get out of bed in the morning.
- Take those vitamins . . . carefully. Prenatal vitamins can also trigger nausea and vomiting for some expectant moms. Don’t take your vitamins on an empty stomach. Many women feel better if they take them at night or with dinner. Last word? We know you need them, but we also know they only work if you can keep them down.
- If vomiting takes place non-stop or you begin to lose significant amounts of weight, call us. We are always here to help.
Obviously, these symptoms can also indicate other conditions and not all pregnant women experience all of these symptoms. Nonetheless, if you think you could be pregnant and are experiencing any of the above signs, it could be time to drive over to CVS for a pregnancy test . . . or to call us.
More signs of early pregnancy next week . . . .