- 15 Early Warning Signs
- Confirming Pregnancy
- Hot Baths for Pregnancy
- Bath Safety While Pregnant
- Hot Bath Risks
Early symptoms of pregnancy are usually different for every woman. Some women might experience the first symptoms a week or two after conceiving, whereas others don’t feel anything for months. Many women may tell if they are pregnant within two or three weeks of conceiving, and some women know a lot sooner, even within a few days. It really depends on a woman’s ability to pick up on the changes occurring within the body and how sensitive they are to them. Doctors may always run a blood test, which can typically detect pregnancy as early as one week after conception.
As per the research done on 136 women who were trying to get pregnant, they kept daily records of their symptoms from the time they stopped using birth control until they were eight weeks pregnant (That's counting eight weeks from the first day of their last menstrual period). The results were as follows:
- 50% had some symptoms of pregnancy by the time they were five weeks pregnant.
- 70% had symptoms in six weeks.
- 90% had symptoms by eight weeks.
- The first sign of pregnancy is usually a missed period.
- The most common symptoms to follow are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, frequent urination, breast tenderness, and swelling. These symptoms can be mild or severe.
|% of Pregnant Women||When Pregnancy Symptoms Begin (weeks)|
Some pregnancy symptoms can begin a just few days after conception, even before a positive pregnancy test, which may include:
- Spotting or cramping: According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), spotting and cramping may occur 6-12 days after sexual intercourse. It is when the embryo implants on the uterine wall. Implantation bleeding can seem like a shorter or lighter period. However, not all women experience this symptom.
- Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes and increased blood flow might make breasts feel sore, swollen, and tender as early as one to two weeks after conception. They might also appear larger, feel fuller and heavier, and change in appearance. Increased hormones might also make areolas look darker. The sudden rise in hormones can also cause headaches early on in pregnancy. Changing hormones might also disrupt sleep patterns during the first few weeks of pregnancy. Hormonal changes may cause food cravings or aversions early in pregnancy. These changes in your food preferences may last throughout the pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy often cause sharp mood swings. These can occur as early as a few weeks after conception.
- Morning sickness and tiredness: This may be the most common symptom, typically making an appearance between two and eight weeks after conception. Nausea may be accompanied by vomiting and tiredness. This symptom won't necessarily be restricted only to the morning hours; hence it is considered the most difficult pregnancy symptom to deal with.
- Fatigue: Exhaustion throughout the day and lows are common signs of pregnancy. It is due to the fluctuations in the hormone.
- Raised basal temperature: Some women keep a track of morning basal temperature to chart their cycle; they usually notice that the temperature often dips the day before the period arrives. If basal body temp is staying high even when they are expecting their period, it might be a sign of a missed period and pregnancy.
- Frequent urination: During pregnancy, the kidneys produce more fluid. Women may notice that they are making frequent trips to the bathroom between weeks 4 and 6.
15 Early warning signs and symptoms of pregnancy
The signs and symptoms of pregnancy differ from woman to woman. All the signs of pregnancy may not be seen in one person. Additionally, the signs may appear in different persons at different times. Below are a few common signs and symptoms that may indicate early pregnancy:
- Missed menstrual cycle: It is the most common symptom of early pregnancy. If a woman has missed her period by a week or more, there is a chance that she might be pregnant. However, this symptom can be misleading if the menstrual cycle is irregular.
- Spotting: Blood or spotting on the panty prior to the monthly date is one of the early symptoms of pregnancy. About a week after conception, the embryo pushes itself into the wall of the uterus (or womb). This causes some light bleeding or spots of blood to appear on the panty.
- Vaginal discharge: Some women experience a thick, milky discharge from the vagina in early pregnancy. It is not associated with itching and foul odor.
- Vulva changes: Chadwick’s sign is one of the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy. The vulva and vagina turn bluish in color. This happens because more blood is needed in that area to build the tissue for pregnancy.
- Nausea with or without vomiting: Morning sickness, which may strike at any time of the day or night, often begins about four weeks after a woman becomes pregnant. Some women feel nausea earlier and some never experience it. Research emphasizes that pregnancy hormones may play a role in this symptom.
- Increased urination: Some women have increased urination frequency around the sixth to eighth week due to hormonal changes.
- Fatigue or tiredness: Fatigue is a high-ranked symptom among early symptoms of pregnancy. During early pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone increase, which makes a patient feel sleepy or tired.
- Breast and nipple changes: Tender or swollen breasts are an early sign of pregnancy. Hormonal changes might make the breasts sensitive and sore. Usually, nipples may become larger and darker as the pregnancy progresses. Women may also notice small, goosebumps or pimple-like white areas on their areola, which may be an early sign of pregnancy. Some women get a tingling feeling in their nipples as one of the early symptoms of pregnancy. The surge in hormones in the body causes an increased blood supply to the breasts, which causes a tingling sensation.
- Back pain: Having backache is a common symptom and an early sign of pregnancy. It may be accompanied by cramps like those felt during the period. It is because the body is getting ready for the baby.
- Headaches: The sudden change in hormones in the body can cause these headaches early in pregnancy. Headache with tiredness and sensitivity to light and noise may be an early sign of pregnancy.
- Leg cramps: It is quite common for women to suffer from leg cramps during pregnancy, and they might notice it a lot more in the early stages. This has been linked to having less calcium in the blood because it’s being taken by the baby.
- Food habits: Loss of appetite or aversion toward favorite food is one of the early signs of pregnancy. Pregnancy can really mess with eating habits. Changes in taste and a heightened sense of smell are very common and can persist throughout pregnancy. This sign is the strongest early on. Many women notice a strange, sour, slightly metallic taste in their mouths when they first become pregnant. This happens because of the pregnancy hormone progesterone.
- Food cravings: Having random food cravings is one of the most common early signs and symptoms of pregnancy. It’s caused by the body's craving for what it needs. For example, some women want combinations such as fish and ice cream; this could be because of a lack of proteins and sugars.
- Stomach cramping and/or bloating: The pregnancy hormone progesterone can cause the stomach to feel full, rounded, and bloated. Few women experience abnormal feelings inside their stomachs in the early stage of pregnancy that replicates the sensation of their muscles being pulled and stretched, usually referred to as abdominal twinges or bloating, which is one of the early signs of pregnancy. Constipation is also a common sign in pregnancy.
- Mood fluctuations: The flood of hormones in the body in early pregnancy can make women unusually emotional and weepy. Mood swings also are a common symptom of pregnancy.
What is the best way to confirm pregnancy?
The best way to confirm pregnancy is to do a blood test measuring the human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone.
- Women can also take a home pregnancy test. Home pregnancy tests are fairly reliable but may occasionally be a false-positive. This can occur for a number of reasons, including having a chemical or ectopic pregnancy or even taking certain medications.
- Following a positive home pregnancy test with a doctor’s visit for a urine or blood test to confirm the pregnancy is the best way to confirm a pregnancy.
Why are hot baths bad for pregnancy?
Many pregnant women like taking hot baths in a bathtub to relieve stress and pain. A hot bath with soothing Epsom salts can reduce lower back pain, stress, and help relax the muscles and nerves. However, prolonged hot baths may not be a good idea, especially in the first three months of pregnancy.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has conducted studies that support the finding that body temperature rising above 102.2 ºF when a person is in a hot bath may increase the incidences of birth defects in babies.
How do you safely take a bath while pregnant?
It is important to keep the core body temperature below 101 °F during pregnancy.
- A healthy pregnant woman’s internal body temperature is usually around 99 °F or 0.4 to 0.8 °F degrees higher than a healthy, nonpregnant woman’s body temperature.
- Hot tubs are often factory programmed to maintain a water temperature of approximately 104 ºF.
- As a person soaks and relaxes, their body temperature may hit 102 ºF or higher in just 10 minutes. Hence, given a choice, a hot shower is a better option compared to a hot bath.
While taking a hot bath, try to come out in less than 10 minutes. A thermometer may be used to check the temperature. A few studies have shown that water baths up to 104 °F will not raise the core body temperature to rise to unsafe levels for up to 20 minutes. However, each person may react differently to the temperature, hence it is better to avoid high temperatures.
If the woman feels overheated, she may take a cool shower to bring down the body temperature. Signs of overheating include feeling hot, red skin, and sweating. Giddiness, nausea, loss of balance, or fainting can occur in more serious cases.
- Bath products, such as bubbles, bath bombs, and special oils, should not be added to the water. These products can increase the risk of vaginal infections.
- Soothing Epsom salt may be added to the water. Epsom salt can reduce muscle aches, pain and provide stress relief.
It is important to maintain proper hygiene of the bathtub by thoroughly cleaning it with a disinfectant (such as bleach) before and after use to prevent infection.
What are the risks of taking a bath?
While taking a hot bath, a safe temperature to maintain in the tub is around 98.6 to 100 °F to avoid any serious complications. When a pregnant woman’s core body temperature increases by 2 °F or above 99 °F, there may be an increased risk of neural tube defects (NTDs). This risk also depends on the timing and duration of this temperature increase. Hence, it is important to maintain a safe temperature of the water, as well as identify and address signs of overheating immediately.
If the water breaks (rupture of the amniotic sac), it is advised not to soak in a bathtub without consulting or the presence of a doctor or midwife. Soaking in water with a ruptured amniotic sac can increase the risk of infection in the mother and baby. Though water births are becoming increasingly popular, they should only be conducted by an experienced health care professional.
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